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Coffee Smog: The Hidden Particulates Clogging Your Coffee Shop’s Air Filter

Coffee Smog: The Hidden Particulates Clogging

Your Coffee Shop’s Air Filter

It sometimes feels like there’s one on every corner – and in fact, there are now an estimated 22,845 coffee shop outlets in the UK, with the last decade seeing the largest growth period for the industry. The country’s increasing passion for hot beverages and ham-and-gruyere toasties is worth a staggering £8.9 billion in annual revenue. But the coffee shop atmosphere creates a distinct problem for equipment maintenance companies.

Air-conditioning is now an accepted and expected part of running a commercial establishment, offering a level of comfort cooling, dehumidifying open spaces, and maintaining indoor air quality regardless of the weather. Air-conditioning units naturally become less efficient when exposed to dirt and debris over time: their filters are estimated to be around 60% effective, preventing larger dirt particles like dust and skin cells from getting through to the unit, but allowing in smaller particulates with the air. As filters gradually become clogged, dirt is pulled through to land on the coil surface. After that, it’s a domino effect of escalating problems:

  • the dirt acts as an insulation layer,
  • the reduced heat transfer makes the system work hard to achieve the same cooling effect,
  • the internal components, under additional strain, are more likely to leak or otherwise fail,
  • energy and maintenance costs for keeping the unit running spiral (an inefficient unit can boost the energy bill by around 36%), and
  • eventually the unit is beyond repair and must be replaced.

This is a recurring issue in every commercial establishment, but for coffee shop franchises, it presents a particular problem. Coffee and cocoa powders, milk powders and sugar particles settle on the AC unit; when combined with moisture and heat from the coil, these deposits become a sticky, tar-like substance. No one chemical cleaner will remove this combination of dairy, sugars and fats easily, and not every cleaning company is able to provide a bespoke solution. A dark, damp environment like an AC unit very quickly becomes a haven for bacteria and microorganisms, and it’s essential to clean efficiently and regularly to maintain good standards of public health.

What can be done? Firstly, the owners of coffee shop franchises need to be aware of the hazards of insufficiently maintained air conditioning systems, and build regular cleaning sessions into their budget. With inverters, heating and cooling can be provided from the same equipment, and these modern air-conditioning plants are increasingly replacing traditional heating systems. As this means the equipment is running all year round, it’s under a great deal of pressure. Systems like this become inefficient when left unmaintained, and it’s best to follow the instructions of the original equipment manufacturer to keep it running in peak condition. A regular clean helps prevent the build-up of deposits and bacteria, and makes those deposits easier to remove.

Many AC manufacturers recommend two deep cleans a year at minimum, and independent HVAC training organisations have recommended that a Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) programme should include the following:

  • Carry out a visual inspection
  • Check all fittings and fixtures
  • Remove and clean filter
  • Remove and clean condensate tray
  • Deep clean exposed coil
  • Clear and clean pumps and drain lines
  • Check refrigeration cycle
  • Check for refrigeration leaks
  • Check airflows and temperatures
  • Reassemble
  • Check system operation – raise a repair call if faults are found.

 

As for the cleaning process itself, we are finding that a combination of dirt removal with various cleaning fluids works best, freeing the coils from contamination and checking the pumps and drains for any bacteria slime blockages. Some contractors have invested in UVB technology to disinfect AC coils, but if the dirt is not effectively removed, then no level of UVB will suffice. The right chemical solution, in conjunction with the most effective cleaning method, is crucial.

As the coffee shop demand shows no sign of slowing down, we’ll keep abreast of the most cutting-edge new research – to make sure the air stays as clean as your coffee mug.

 

Contact TotalCare Hygiene Services: Air Conditioning Maintenance

 

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Launch – New Website and Improved Support

Over the past few months, TotalCare has been investing across different areas of the business, ranging from accreditations, staff training, internal processes and marketing, to future proof the way we engage and offer our services.

Today we are proud to launch Phase 1 of our new website. We plan to add new features to our website which will make it easier to get in touch, book services and receive faster quotations. The website is more intuitive across different screen sizes and devices.

We will keep you up-to-date with our activities, including: business updates, activities, events and where we are. We are excited for the future, and feel confident that by continually building a strong business behind the scenes, this will improve our customers experience front of house.

Visit our website today and watch out for new features coming this year: www.totalcarehygieneservices.com

 

 

#cleaning #cleaningservices #refrigeration #hotel #website #service #facilities #maintenance #engineering #newhorizons

To Scrub or Not to Scrub: Why TotalCare’s True Love Isn’t Actually Cleaning 

‘I contacted TotalCare to assist me with the completion of a tight (refrigeration) maintenance schedule. This was a success: it is safe to say that I am very pleased with the results. They took ownership over their responsibility, allowing me to get on with my own important tasks. I will continue to use them, and would happily endorse them.’

– Greg Lindley, ColdService Ltd

Recent Cooling Post Article: http://www.coolingpost.com/uk-news/bradley-comes-clean-with-new-service/

This might surprise you, but cleaning isn’t our passion. It’s part of what we do, of course: wherever human beings live or work, we create dirt and chaos that must be resolved into cleanliness and order. But anyone can mop your floor or shampoo your office carpet. We’re interested in more than that: we want to promote long-term solutions that will preserve system, facility and human health. The continuing health and happiness of your workforce. The preservation of your equipment to keep it working efficiently and well. A workspace that protects and provides for your employers. We believe that clean conditions, smooth-running equipment and healthy, comfortable inhabitants make a business really soar; a house feel like a proper home.
That’s why we employ Hygienists, not cleaners.

We want our services to make a tangible difference to the way you live and work. So we invest in the latest equipment and technologies, keeping abreast of developments in the industry. And putting the customer first means starting with our own employees.

Every one of our Hygienists is part of our core ethos, from the very beginning of their career. Each has undergone specialised training courses, then shadowed a senior Hygienist before joining a team. As a company we cover domestic, commercial and specialist cleaning and hygiene services – everything from gardens to windows to carpets to fridges, in homes and offices large and small –there’s a lot to learn. We run a strong mentoring programme to keep developing individuals’ talents, and a continuing incentive scheme to recognise outstanding contributions. Everyone is employed full-time on a secure contract, and we are proud to support the living wage for all our staff.

Our theory was that happy Hygienists would make for happy customers. Once we’d put all these systems in place, we found we had motivated, passionate employees who care just as much about your health and happiness as you do.

So when I call TotalCare Hygiene Services and book a session, what can I expect?

Do you have a garden or grounds to spruce up? An office space to sanitise? Toddler-stained carpets to rescue? Congratulations: we’ve got Hygienists ready to help you! Each of our teams is comprised of a trainee, a supervisor and a senior. They are trained in a workflow we call PAC: preparation, where the job is thoroughly assessed, planned and prepared for; application, where each team member is delegated an individual task that will receive their full attention; and confirmation, where every job is checked personally by an appointed supervisor before completion.

We’ll ensure you’re fully informed at every stage. After the initial assessment, we’ll explain what needs to be done, how we’ll achieve it and how long we expect it to take. If anything unexpected comes up during the task, you’ll be the first to know. And once we’ve finished, we’ll take you through what’s been done to make sure you’re satisfied with the results.

What if I’m not satisfied?

We try very hard to make sure you will be! But in case you’re not, our guarantee means that we’ll return quickly and at no extra cost to resolve any problems.

If you’re interested in any of our services, we’d love you to contact us via our website. Let’s make your long-term health and comfort our business: one team of happy Hygienists at a time.

Taming the Beast: How TotalCare Makes Refrigeration Headaches a Thing of the Past

 

Next time you’re in a supermarket, count up the refrigerated display cabinets (yes, we know how to live). Chances are, if you’re a customer, you’ve never noticed how many there are. In fact up to 79,000 throughout a single large grocers estate! Each chiller (another word for fridge) has on average 5-6 fans per fridge to circulate airflow, totalling 395,000 fans across one supermarket brand. If you’re a Store Manager or employee, though, we’re willing to bet you spend far too much time thinking about refrigeration units, and the many problems they tend to cause.

 

Refrigeration units: can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em

A large grocer couldn’t run without refrigeration, to cool and preserve the goods on sale. Sales revenues from chilled foods make up more then 60-70% of all goods sold throughout some single grocers. So, how critical are chilled goods from a sales and profit perspective to supermarkets? The answer is incredibly important!

Yet maintaining, servicing and mending each cabinet consumes valuable time and resources, and can even affect consumer confidence. Here’s a quick run-down of the common issues:

 

  • Drain blockages: Refrigeration units are havens for bacteria biofilms(jelly-like bacterial secretions that thrive in warm, dark and damp areas). Once the biofilms have built up, condensate is unable to drain away, resulting in water spillages on to the shop floor. Employees can only soak up the water with absorption socks called Puddle Pythons, and wait for a refrigeration engineer to be available. In the meantime, customers may slip and fall, resulting in potential injury and possibly out-of-court settlements and increased insurance premiums. 40% of all declared injuries throughout supermarkets are due to slip&trip hazards (Health&Safety Executive).

 

  • Shut-down for cleaning: most refrigeration cabinets are given a deep clean once every 9-12 months (housing and panels are generally cleaned every few weeks). The traditional cleaning method involves vacuuming drain-lines and high-pressure washing with cold to warm water – which means shutting down the cabinet, removing produce, and disrupting customers. No disinfectants are used to remove micro-organisms. However, due to the lack of correct use of chemical products in situ with a poorly executed methodology, the 1-2 time maintenances become more frequent throughout the year, which may result in compromised reputations for both the contractor and grocer.

 

  • Parts/Component breakdown: it’s been reported that, on average, 7% of refrigeration fans and fan motors need replacing every month. Based on what has previously been stated, this is approximately 27,650 per year throughout a single supermarket chain. In larger stores this can work out to be a whopping thirty parts per month per larger store! As a result of faulty fans, due to drain blockages, the evaporator coils are also prone to freezing, necessitating a full defrost and potential loss of goods and sales revenues.

 

  • Increased energy bills: The build-up of biofilms can also affect the heating/cooling flow within the unit, increasing surface corrosion and making the unit less energy efficient. It is a proven fact, throughout the refrigeration industry, that for every 1 degree increase in condensing temperature energy costs can rise by 2-4%. Studies have shown in some cases of an overall increase of up to 36%!

Other costs to grocers and contractors include: Service Contractor call out fees (inclusive contrac or pay as you go), system downtime, loss of sales revenues, component replacements, insurances premiums and energy taxes!

The build-up of dirt and bacteria jelly is worrying for stakeholders, especially when located so close to goods that are for human consumption.

What’s a Store Manager to do about all of this? It’s vital for the store’s reputation and name – and for the health and happiness of its customers – for refrigeration units to be cleaned well, maintained efficiently and mended in a way that causes the least disruption. Unfortunately, current cleaning methods don’t tend to address the underlying issues, allowing bacteria to rapidly return, and the cycle of breaking-down and patching-up to continue.

 

TotalCare does things differently

We’ve got good news for you: we believe our one-time, first-time approachshould apply to even the most troublesome of refrigeration cabinets. That’s why we’ve adopted a new cleaning method for commercial refrigerators, using products that have been registered with the international NSF non-food compounds programme. It means they can be used safely where food is stored and handled. And because we use safe cleaning products not just warm water, we completely remove the damaging biofilms each time, discouraging regrowth for longer. Infact, up to the next scheduled cleaning regime.

We also physically remove dirt and dust from circulating airflows, improving the surrounding air quality. We’ve found that our method preserves component life for longer, reduces the number of service calls, keeps drains leak-free for up to fourteen months, helps units stay energy efficient, and significantly reduces disruption in-store.

We think of ourselves as your reputation insurers: a vital, willing partner in boosting customer and employee satisfaction. This is achieved when the right combination of cleaning products with the right level of technical understanding come together.

Imagine it: no more water leak-and-breakdown headaches. You and your refrigeration cabinets can be friends for good. More importantly your customers will want to come back knowing that their goods are kept in a clean and hygienic environment!

Find out more: http://www.totalcarehygieneservices.com/refrigeration.html

TotalCare: A Big Solution for A Hotel’s Biggest Problem

 

Hotels are big business here in the UK: 36 million overseas visitors came to the country during last year alone[1]. It’s safe to say the economy would not function without the revenue the hospitality industry provides.

From a hotel manager’s perspective, return customers are everything: it costs five to eight times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one[2]. Give the customer an experience that is comfortable, easy and enjoyable – whether they’re a couple celebrating a special occasion, a tourist exploring the local area, or a business employee looking for a stress-free stay – and they’re much more likely to come back. Which means steadier revenues and a better reputation – vital in today’s era of internet reviews and viral complaints.

So let’s talk logistics for a second, because the organisation involved in keeping any hotel running smoothly can be staggering. Hotels aim for 80% room occupancy over the year: around 10% of occupancies are lost to no-shows, and staff generally over-book to compensate for these. Since the final unoccupied 10% represents only a loss in revenue, it’s vital that room turnover is as efficient as possible.

Where does that leave the cleaning schedule?Rooms are prepared for new customers after every departure, of course, but deep-cleans and refurbishments take time – and most hotels aim for a minimum of one deep-clean per room, per year. Imagine a hotel with 178 rooms: around 15 rooms will need to be cleaned per month, if every room is to be cleaned at least once within the year. It’s the hotel manager’s task to schedule the cleaning of those 15 rooms at times when occupancy is lowest, and revenues will be affected least.

The average three-star London hotel charges £128 per day[3]. So putting 15 rooms out of use for a full day means a loss of £1920 over a month, and therefore £23, 040 over the course of the year. If the type of deep-clean requires two days to fully dry and air, as some do, then that loss of revenue is doubled, to nearly £50 000.

 What do these figures tell us, here at TotalCare?That the method used to deep-clean a hotel room is far more crucial than it appears. Most carpet cleaning systems use high volumes of pressurised water and cleaning agents to penetrate the carpet, and the dirt is then lifted out using a specialised vacuum. Depending on the environment, the carpets treated this way may take anywhere from four hours to two days to completely dry. The room, at least, will need to remain unoccupied for at least a day. For older hotels, carpeted floors without underlays may trap moisture from the cleaning, resulting in condensate stains that will also need to be cleaned. More time, and more expense – and if a customer is accidentally placed in a room with a still-damp carpet, there will be complaints, possible health and safety implications and a loss of reputation and revenues via refunds or a free nights stay.

So we decided we could do things a little differently, and developed a method that will allow for same-day turnaroundfor deep-cleaned rooms. Our aim is to complete our pre-scheduled rooms (between 15-20 at a time) between the hours of 6am and 12pm. If check-in starts at 2pm, it’s possible for a room to be completely refreshed without losing any occupancy at all.

 

What are the benefits?Well, we hope the general manager’s schedule will be considerably less complicated as a result, as well as the schedules of housekeeping staff and sales teams. A hotel cleaned with our method can maximise bookings and revenues, minimise unoccupied rooms, and increase customer satisfaction. So more of those gold-standard returning customers, and fewer wet carpets. We think we can all get behind that.

 

You can read a real-life, recent case study about this method in action here.

 

[1]http://www.bha.org.uk/2609_bha_lobby_day_briefings_uk/

[2]http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles/11472/10-tips-for-retaining-loyal-guests

[3]http://gb.hotels.com/hotel-price-index/7-average-room-prices-by-star-rating.html

 

Fast Drying vs Slow Drying

Just as with many things, each and every item has its advantages and disadvantages. This is the same with carpet cleaning. The first and most important is the consistency in stain removal.

Stain removal can be a hard and complex science. There isn’t a once size fits all scenario, this is because of the pH level of different substance that are drop, leaked, trodden onto the fabric. Choosing the right chemical solution and method for removing the stain is skilled job and in many cases experience wins.

The most common carpet and upholstery cleaning methods are:

  1. Bonneting – A heated (Damp) pad is used in conjunction with a slow rpm rotary machine. The pad softens the fibres and lifts dirt off the surface. Low to medium pile carpets, the likes of which found in offices, hotels and public areas, benefit from this system. Other benefits include: Fast drying, low noise, more efficient turnaround.
  2. Extraction – An Extraction wand with jets force cleaning chemical under pressure deep into the carpet pile. At the same time, as the extraction wand is moved over the carpet while powerful vacuums evacuate the moisture. Measuring the moisture level both before and after ensures the minimum amount of liquid remains in the carpet. Benefits of this cleaning are: deeper clean in between the fibres, ideal for heavily soiled carpets, removes deeper darker stains.

Extraction takes longer to dry. Bonneting is faster drying. The balancing act for any expert is matching the quality expectation vs drying expectation. The longer and slower isn’t always the best step forward, as more moisture introduced the carpet will take longer to dry. Less moisture may not remove most stains.

Both have there uses. Both can be used in combination each other. The nature of the clients expectations, operations and quality expectation will determine which is best suited to the job. An expert carpet cleaning provider should offer multiple options to get the best results.

Stain removal is a complex task. The general rule for successful stain removal is time. The faster one can react more likely the stain can be removed. Simply cleaning it with either of the above method after a long period isn’t enough. The correct steps in line with the correct chemical choice is key, but again speedy reactions will prove the most successful.

The client should also not hold its vendor to ransom, if certain stains are not removed…there something’s outside of everyone’s control.

The Golden Rules of Commercial Fridge Maintenance

It’s a debate that still rages within the UK’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning industry: which product performs best at keeping drains clear and free from water leaks? It’s particularly fierce between the manufacturers of those chemical products, all of whom recommend their own strip or tablet options, with impressive claims as to their effectiveness and longevity.

But that’s not really where the discussion should begin at all: here at TotalCare Hygiene Services Ltd, we know it’s important to understand the cause of a repeatedly blocked drain, before a solution can be recommended. And the root causes of blocked drains tend to be threefold:

  1. Poor Drainage Installation:

There are two common offenders here –

a. Design.In recent years, the designers of refrigeration display cabinets have tried to maximise the amount of goods the cabinet can hold. As a result of this trend, the space between the bottom of the cabinet and the drainage area is reducing. A smaller space reduces the flow levels in which drain pipe can run.

b. Installation.For water to flow freely, the drainage equipment should be installed with a minimum gradient to allow free flow of water. It’s an easy thing to miss, and done incorrectly it leads to big problems.

 

  1. Dirt and Contaminants: 

It’s astonishing what our engineers have found in the bottom of refrigeration cases over the years: foodstuffs, packaging, labels, pens, tools, bulbs, coins, hair and even mice. Each has the potential to block the drain. As customers and staff restack goods or take them away, items can fall into the condensate collection tray under the refrigeration cabinet, adding to the blockage risk.

 

  1. Exopolysaccharides:

Or, to use their more common name, biofilms. They’re robust, jelly-like substances secreted by colonies of bacteria, especially in damp, dark placeslike refrigeration cabinets. Not only do they look unsightly and unhygienic, they can very quickly plug the drainage system, causing water to short-circuit the fan motors and put the whole unit out of action.

 

What’s the solution?

After correcting any issues with installation and drainage, the most vital change to make is also the simplest: at minimum, booking a deep clean once a year. While we do have effective cleaning products we prefer and use, the frequency of cleaning matters even more.  The dirt layer acts like insulation, with Refrigeration equipment relying heavily on heat transfer, this layer will reduce its efficiency and then a cascade of problems will follow.

Some supermarket chains only allocate a deep clean once every two years, and the strain on the refrigeration unit tells – One such tell, are water puddles around the refrigeration equipment. Other chains will allow for more frequent visits, these may not resolve all problems, but in many cases water leak call-outs can be significantly reduced.

And those wonder products that promise to keep drains blockage-free for up to twelve months? They’re effective, but they should be the last step in the process rather than the first port of call. Just as doctors need to clean a wound before they can treat it, to reduce the possibility of further complications, so we need to find the cause of repeated blockages in supermarket refrigeration before we treat the area with preventative measures.

 

Good refrigerator hygiene helps your bottom line

When a unit breaks, it’s never just about the unit. Keeping your refrigerators in good health for longer means:

  1. A reduction in service calls
  2. A reduction in potential visitor and staff injuries
  3. A reduction in system downtime
  4. A reduction in component failure and replacement parts
  5. A reduction in possible health hazards from multiplying bacteria
  6. A reduction in store operation disruptions
  7. An increase in sales

All of which include a direct cost benefit to the business. What’s needed is more than the correct chemical choice: it’s the right service provider delivering its thoughtful cleaning solutions in the right way.

TotalCares top tips for maintaining refrigeration plant are:

  1. Pumps & Drains cleared from blockages, via Vacuum or Heavy Duty Drain Unblocker
  2. Chemical Selection:
    1. Disinfectant and Cleaner for the removal of dirt and eradication of biofilms.
    2. Biocidal tray treatment – Ongoing protection between maintenance visits
  3. Frequency – Frequent visits to monitor and regular cleaning cycles.

Call TotalCare Hygiene Services Ltd, and we’ll work to understand the problem and find the right solution. No ‘wonder products’ required.

 

 

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Air conditioning coil cleaning in retail and cafe environments.

Contaminated AC = COST £££

Every environment may have different types of airborne dirt. A coastal environment, one would expect to find higher concentrations of salt. An office may have printer inks, moisture, paper and fabric fibres. A salon you will find hair and proteins from lotions and hair sprays. All of these contaminants, overtime, will find their way into both refrigeration and air conditioning systems.

Both types of cooling systems circulate air through a refrigerated coil, which is designed to remove heat energy from the environment. Airborne particulates follow the circulating air and are then drawn into the unit. Dirt begins to collect and clog the coil and filter (if fitted).

A dirty heat exchanger, if left untreated, could see energy costs increase by up-to 36%. Other related issues around poorly maintained coils include:

System refrigerant leaks

Higher energy costs

Higher tax on climate change levy’s

System repair

Component failure

Drain blockages

Ice build-up

Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) helps to

Other benefits may also be enjoyed, such as improved Indoor Air Quality fewer particulates in the air and a reduction in potential cross contamination.

Cleaning the filter isn’t enough, it will help, but dirt can find its way into all surfaces within a AC and Fridge.

TotalCare supports refrigeration contractors in the delivery of their PPM contracts.

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