BBQs and Outdoor Blog


Posted by Bethany Henry on December 10, 2013

Glass Door Bar Fridge Buyers Guide – From Bar Fridges Australia

It’s important to know some relevant information about the product you are considering purchasing. The reason we have developed this buyers guide is because 95% of Retailers, wholesalers, and importers fail to provide critical information. Display style refrigeration has increased threefold over the last 5 years due to the renovation and outdoor alfresco boom, meaning that in a growing industry, few possess the knowledge to assist buyers to make the correct purchasing decision with a glass door fridge.

Bar Fridges CTB68-SSImportant Facts to Consider
Commercial vs Domestic – Glass door fridges are geared up completely differently to a normal household domestic fridge. Glass doors units do not possess the same level of insulation that a solid door has, therefore they have to deal with additional heat in the fridges interior as it makes its way through the glass. This process creates longer compressor running times, and the need for additional hot air to be removed from the cabinet. Fans that perform these functions have to be larger, work harder and longer, and therefore generate additional noise compared to a domestic fridge.

Workload – Although a lot of our range now has been cleverly geared up for low energy usage and quieter fans, you will still need to treat glass door fridges as a ‘commercial appliance’. These units work hard for long periods of the day and maintenance is a requirement to extend their lifespan. Avoid allowing a front venting glass door fridge to sit for 3 years without any cleaning or maintenance. Think of your unit like a vehicle which runs 24/7 and has a variety of complex
parts. Regular cleaning of the condenser/filter, seals, and interior cabinet is a given.

Bar Fridge CTW340-SSDirect Sunlight – Sunlight definitely impedes a fridges performance. It is recommended that the unit be in a covered area and in no way in contact with sunlight or other variables that will heat up the area in which the fridge is to perform. Always aim to place your unit in the best location to avoid burnout and excessive power bills from non-stop running.

Ventilation – Most of our units are designed to vent 100% from the front, meaning that you can place them in a cabinet with a gap of only a few centimeters. Each of our listings separately states if the unit is front venting, semi front venting, or free standing. Front venting fridges require air to circulate so that when warm air is vented from at the front it can easily rise and clear the unit rather than being sucked back into the cool air inlet. Semi front venting and free standing units require additional ventilation. Failure to provide the recommended space around a unit will make the fridge work harder, lower its life expectancy, and increase your energy consumption.

Condensation in Humid Areas – It is quite normal for glass door fridges to condensate. The higher the relative humidity, the more likely that condensation will form on glass doors. Even if the ambient temperature is mild at 25°C, the relative humidity can be a high at 80%, meaning that doors will still have low levels of condensation build up. Super hot days in conjunction with high levels of relative humidity bring large levels of condensation to glass doors. A similar effect is a windscreen on a car. Should you live in an area of high humidity (55% RH Plus), then consider the units with Low E tinted
glass or Heated Glass to combat this issue, especially if you have expensive flooring that might be damaged by water droplets. Alternately you can wipe down glass doors as the condensation builds up.

Bar Fridge CTW340-SSNoise Levels – All commercial style fridges make noise. The level of noise and what is perceived as ‘noisy’ will vary with an individual. Most commercial under counter 1, 2 & 3 door models run between 49 and 55 decibels (Db). A small domestic fridge will run at around 36Db to give a comparison of actual noise. We have indicated a 3 tier level of noise on every product – LOW/MED/HIGH.
LOW = silent or extremely quiet. MED = quiet but can still hear. HIGH = you will hear the unit running.

Our range of ‘Schmick’ wine and beer models are designed specifically to reduce noise for domestic, office, and indoor applications whilst still delivering commercial style performance. You will still hear the fridges running, but nowhere near to the noise levels of our commercial units that are generally utilised in hotels, clubs and pubs, and restaurant kitchens. Where ever tranquility and performance is desired we recommend LOW or MED range units from our scale.Power Consumption – One of the most asked questions is how much is it going to cost me? The simplest answer is that
a glass door fridge will cost you close to 2 times what a domestic solid door fridge will cost to run.

The variables are many, but that’s a standard comparison based on Domestic vs Commercial. There are many features on the units that we have implemented to save energy so take time to look at these on each listing when making your decision.

Each of our units has a KWh/24Hrs figure in the Main Specifications. This represents the energy (kilowatts) that the fridge will use over 1 full day (24Hrs). It is calculated in most cases where the ambient temperature is 32°C – so the energy used will be considerably less in lower operational temperatures. The cost of A KWh with your electrical provider currently varies from about 0.21c to 0.47c (depending on off peak, peak demand, and whether you are over quota).

Most households can calculate a rate of 0.25c per day per KWh. A unit that draws 2.0KWh/24Hrs will cost 0.50c per day or $182.50 per year to run. Remember the old days of the big 2 door glass fridges? These used to draw around 13Wkh/24Hrs. Similar units now draw less than 3KWh/24Hrs – that’s $1186.25 vs $273.75 so you can see that technology with refrigeration has come along in leaps and bounds.

Did you know that a fridge works and chills much better when it is filled with product. The reason is that the fridge only needs to chill around 25% of the air volume of what it would have to regularly chill if the fridge was empty. When first operating a new fridge, it’s best to load it up and let it run flat out for 24 Hours without opening the door. This effectively runs it in, and it will then settle into its normal mode where the thermostat will limit the running time of the compressor. All fridges should NOT BE SWITCHED ON for a minimum of two hours after relocation, transport, or moving. Oil and gas in the compressor is relocated to the walls of narrow piping and ducting. Gravity and a level fridge are a
requirement for the oil and gas to return to their operational position. Failure to let a fridge “settle” can result in compressor failure and an expensive repair which is not covered under warranty.

If ambient temperatures rise to high levels (such as 30°C +) your unit will take far longer to chill down. Each unit will also work comparatively harder and require more energy to meet the same chilling levels. An electronic thermostat control in most commercial fridges has a variance of 4-7°C. This means that if you set the unit to be 2°C and the variance on the control is 4°C, then it will turn OFF at 2°C, but the air temperature inside the cabinet will need to get to 6°C before it starts up again. The display can often get to 7- 8°C before the cooling process kicks in and you may naturally panic, but this is perfectly normal as the probe is measuring the air temperature and not the
temperature of your drinks. Without being too technical the air temperature may get to 8°C, but the drinks will only have two degrees to 4°C from when the compressor cut out, so they will only need a little tickle to be back at 2°C.

The compressor cuts in and out as the fridge goes through the normal operation of running, and it is not unusual for a compressor to kick on and off up to 10 times per hour. It all depends on how low the temperature is set, the ambient temperature, the variance on the controller, and how many times the door is being opened and closed.

Cooling systems – There are two types of fridges on the Australian market – compressor driven, and ‘Peltier’ which are also known as Thermo Electric Coolers. Each system is completely different and both have certain advantages over the other. Compressor cooling is more expensive to build and this refrigeration style is suited for extremes in ambient temperatures. The Peltier style chillers work on what temperature the ambient is around the unit, and they then have a maximum decrease of usually between 12°C and 15°C from the room temperature that they are located in.

Wine Fridges – You can find very cheap Peltier wine fridges (between $150 + $300) .Peltier units are not utilised in larger wine fridges (generally above 30 bottles) Nearly all Peltier units have cooling modules that last between 18-24 months.
We make use of the latest Japanese modules in all of our units which have been tested to last for around 5 years. You should not use a Peltier unit in an outdoor environment, if ambient temperature is 35C°, the best the unit can do is 12-15°C below that, meaning it will effectively cool to 20-23°C. This means your good wine could be spoiled.

We’re sure that this information helps greatly with selections check out the full range of Bar Fridges here