The Imperative of Communication – Walk-In Cooler Repair

While on the surface, a walk-in cooler repair sounds simple enough. However, for the largest US pharmacy with nearly 10,000 stores nationwide, situations can quickly become complicated. CVS is a large and complex organization with some stand-alone locations that are company-owned, some are leased, and other locations are leased spaces within multi-retail or mixed-used buildings.

On one Thursday afternoon in the early spring, a CVS store in a leased mixed-use space in Boston encountered an issue with their walk-in cooler. The store manager immediately called LC Anderson for help.

More than Just a Walk-in Cooler Problem

The LC Anderson technician arrived promptly and evaluated the walk-in cooler and associated refrigeration systems to determine that the equipment was not able to maintain the 37-degree temperature required for preserving the store’s perishables and groceries. Additionally, all the water source heat pumps that provide A/C to this location were affected. The water source heat pumps were failing on high head pressure due to failing components in the building’s centralized heat exchanger. The entire building of tenants was affected by this issue. Once the building’s critical systems issue was resolved, the LCA technician’s plan was to return to the store and reset the walk-in cooler to its proper settings.

Later the same afternoon, the store manager called LC Anderson to report that the entire store was oppressively hot. LC Anderson’s technician returned to find that the water temperature from the building was at 140 degrees and the units were tripped on high-head pressure. The building manager advised that they had diverted the water from the residential areas of the building to the store temporarily while resolving the heat exchanger issue. The technician reset the units as a temporary fix until all the building repairs were completed.

Ripple Effects

The following day, the LC Anderson technician was called back and found multiple heat pumps tripped on high head pressure. The building-supplied condenser water was still over 100 degrees and could not maintain the heat load from the store. The building manager informed the LC Anderson’s technician that the part they needed was expected to arrive soon, and the repairs would be completed within a few hours. The technician reset the units, knowing the problems would persist until the heat exchanger issue was resolved.

As the day wore on, it became clear that the repairs could not be completed as promised, and LCA’s technician was informed that the condenser loop would need to be drained and refilled before it would operate properly. They expected the process to be completed around 2:00 AM on Saturday morning.

LC Anderson’s technician returned early Saturday morning and found that the building-supplied condenser water repairs had been completed, and the condenser-supplied water was now at 70 degrees. The technician reset all the heat pumps and the walk-in cooler and tested all the heat pumps’ operation. He informed the CVS manager that the walk-in cooler would require some time to get down to temperature and not to put any perishables in the walk-in until it came down in temperature.

Setbacks and Interventions

The store manager contacted LC Anderson on Saturday night because the walk-in cooler had not completely come down to the required temperature. When the technician arrived, the cooler was at 44 degrees and still dropping in temperature. He found that the condensing unit was slightly low on refrigerant and there was a small leak at the suction service valve. The technician added refrigerant to the system and tightened the cap at the suction valve. The unit came down to 40 degrees upon his departure and was functioning normally.

LC Anderson’s customer service manager remained in constant contact with LC Anderson’s technician, the building manager, the store manager, and the CVS regional manager to share throughout the three days until all issues were resolved. As the CVS regional manager responsible for the overall performance and operations of 550 locations in New England, there are countless details to track on any given day and communication is key.

Walk in cooler repair Boston

Robert Mancini, the CVS Regional Facilities Manager, expressed his appreciation for the work done by LC Anderson’s team, saying, “Thanks very much for the recap! Good information. Thanks to the LC Anderson team as well; we were on the phone a couple of times and texting a lot between Friday night and all day on Saturday. Extra thanks to your tech for the continued follow-up at the store.”

VRF Systems variable refrigerant flow

The Rise of VRF Systems

At LC Anderson, we understand the ever-growing need for commercial facilities to prioritize energy efficiency. Lighting retrofits, smart building controls – these are all important

Read More »