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Avoid These Errors When Buying a Flammable Storage Refrigerator / Freezer

  • by Richard Clubb
  • Jun 1, 2020, 10:36 AM

Avoid These Errors When Buying a Flammable Storage Refrigerator / Freezer

All flammable storage refrigerators are NOT created equal. Whether you're outfitting a new research lab or writing a grant for hospital expansions, your choice in flammable storage will impact your bottom line.

Flammable storage refrigerators and freezers are a considerable investment. The costs associated with flammable storage will be both upfront and ongoing. So, a clear understanding of the resources used - for the performance needed - from a flammable storage refrigerator or freezer will help you make the best choice.

  • Furthermore, a knowledge of the specific use of your flammable storage unit is vital.

American BioTech Supply (ABS) is here to help. From temperature settings to electrical requirements, we'll cover the common errors laboratories and hospital procurement departments tend to make when buying flammable storage refrigerators and freezers. As always, you're welcome to reach out to us directly if you have questions beyond the scope of this article.

Error #1. Not Knowing the Performance You Require From a Flammable Storage Refrigerator / Freezer

Know that your choice in laboratory or hospital flammable storage should meet NFPA and OSHA guidelines 45 and 70 for the refrigerated storage of flammable (volatile) materials.

For additional safety:

  • Choose a model that houses no electrical components in the interior of the unit
  • Look for electrical components that are sealed in a vapor-proof enclosure

Temperature range and control are essential nuggets of information you'll need to know before you start shopping flammable storage.

For example, there are four basic categories of standard laboratory freezer:

  • Standard freezer (-20°C)
  • Plasma freezer (-40°C)
  • Ultra-low freezer (-80°C)
  • Cryofreezer (-150°C or lower)

Talk to your laboratory supervisor before shopping flammable storage refrigerators and freezers. It becomes a bit of a hassle when you get a grant for five "Model A"s and then find out later your lab needs five "Model B"s instead. As we've previously mentioned, all flammable storage refrigerators and freezers are not created equal, and we cannot stress it enough.

Most flammable storage freezers and fridges are somewhat adjustable, but some models are hard-set to one specific temperature. If you need a range of temperatures, look for a control panel or similar user interface and keep the manual nearby. Flexibility in temperature range is a key feature many labs prefer.

Error #2. Neglecting the Difference Between Flammable Materials Storage and Explosion-proof Storage, and Failure to Look for Important Safety Features

If your lab handles combustible materials, like alcohols, staff needs adequate storage to prevent explosions and fires. These requirements ultimately depend on your laboratory purpose and environment, so it's a good idea to talk to lab supervisors and techs before pricing storage options.

  • Flammable material storage (FMS) refrigerators and freezers always have all electrical components on the exterior of the unit. This feature is designed to prevent igniting vapors in the cabinet.
  • Other key features of flammable storage include self-closing doors, and fortified insulation meant to limit the damage if a fire was to occur.
  • Hazardous Location / Explosion-proof storage (EPS) goes a few steps farther by requiring complete protection from external vapors.
  • In other words, all electrical components are housed outside the refrigerator or freezer, and completely sealed from the environment. This can be an essential feature if the unit is located near lab work-spaces.
  • Additionally, EPS refrigeration units have a heavy-duty conduit outlet box. This ensures a safe connection to the circuit breaker, and potentially reduces instances of spark.

The concept of spark segues nicely into our next error: outdated electrical systems.

Error #3: When an Older Facility Neglects to Update Electrical Systems

Many refrigerators and freezers operate at 115/120 V, 50-60 Hz, and 15 amperes. Lower temperature units, like those we've listed above, may require greater amperage, even 20 amperes or more.

  • Many older medical facilities are not equipped for this higher current.
  • They may not be able to support heavy duty flammable refrigeration, or house multiple freezers / refrigerators.
  • Always check your laboratory's circuit breakers and outlets (or have your electrician do it) prior to buying heavy-duty freezers, to ensure the system can handle the greater load.

If you're designing a brand-new laboratory, your electrical systems will likely be capable of handling the considerable load required by flammable storage refrigeration. If you're remodeling, renovating, or simply updating an older medical facility with new technology, it's wise to get a professional electrician to check on your building systems capacity.

  • Even ultra-modern solar power systems, which all rely on batteries to function, should also be addressed. Improper inverter or battery settings might lead to an early drain in batteries, and ultimately early battery replacement costs.
  • As with any major equipment purchase for the facility, choose Energy-star compliant models whenever possible, to reduce future utility expenditures.

The goal of flammable storage refrigeration is to make your lab more profitable, not less! So take the time to research the laboratory's specific needs and the building's electrical capability.

How to Purchase Flammable Storage Refrigerators & Freezers from ABS

ABS doesn't sell direct to customers, but we're happy to work with your favorite vendor.

  • Just contact your usual vendors where you purchase medical equipment or supplies, even if they don't carry our products specifically.
  • Provide them with the model # for the flammable storage refrigerator you're interested in.
  • They should be able to provide you with pricing and availability.

You can also contact Customer Service at 1-800-648-4041, and we'll provide you with our list of our web-based Distributors.

Our Role at ABS - We Focus on Efficiency and Sustainability

At American BioTech Supply, we strive for sustainability every day. It is a commitment to our customers and our employees. It is the responsibility we have to the communities we live in, as well as the planet we live on, and we take it seriously. Sustainability is at the center of all we do.

Know that many refrigerators and freezers manufactured by ABS are Energy-star Compliant. We are committed to leading the industry forward in terms of decreasing our customer's carbon footprint and reducing your utility costs whenever possible. We are continually updating our list of compliant units, and we look forward to providing your organization with the most energy-efficient flammable storage refrigerators and freezers on the market.

Please contact us to discuss the best possible solutions for your refrigeration requirements and needs

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