Top vs Bottom Mount Refrigeration
Your refrigerator might arguably be the most important piece of equipment in your kitchen. Thus, spending an appropriate amount of time and effort in choosing the best unit for your kitchen can impact your restaurant on a daily basis! For reach in units, choosing between a top mount versus bottom mount refrigerator might seem like an afterthought when, in fact, that choice can impact your kitchen greatly. There are pros and cons to both top and bottom mounted units, so finding which balance suits your restaurant best is the key to choosing the right refrigerator for you.
The job of your compressor is to add the heat of compression to the refrigerant vapor so it can lose its heat to the cooling medium, condense into a high pressure liquid, and go through the expansion orifice to become a low pressure vapor. The compressor also acts as a pump to circulate the refrigerant through the system. All of this action leads to an output of heat, and this can affect your unit based on where its located.
For bottom-mounted units your refrigerator will need an extra layer of insulation to separate it from the compressor and the cavity, as the heat from the compressor can rise into the refrigerator itself and decrease its overall efficiency. At the same time, kitchens that tend to get really hot may benefit from a bottom-mounted compressor because it’s drawing air in from the coolest point of the room (the floor) and will have less of a likelihood of shutting off due to safety constraints. For instance, someone with small kitchen that tends to get over 130 degrees in the ambient air may have a problem with safety shutoffs if they use a top mounted unit.
It’s no secret that a big bonus to a top mount unit is that it will draw in less debris and trash from the floor like a bottom mount unit would. On the other hand, grease in the air will get drawn in more often with a top mounted unit, clogging the vents and reducing efficiency over time. If your refrigerator is in a high traffic area that tends to accumulate dust and debris, you may want to consider a top mounted unit. If you plan to place it near the cooking line with equipment that uses a lot of grease, the top mounted refrigerator will draw in grease-laden steam. Consider these factors when choosing between top and bottom mounted units, as it will safe you labor costs with maintenance and may actually prolong the usable life of your unit.
Finally, it comes down to space. A top mounted unit will have more space in the cavity for more items because there’s no need to make room for additional insulation as you’d need for a bottom-mounted unit. Also, when you have a bottom-mounted unit, your top shelves are at the highest point of the overall refrigerator. In a top-mounted unit, your highest shelves are a bit lower because they’re beneath the compressor and condenser, making for easier access for your employees.