Understanding Refrigeration

The basics on the terminology and technology behind refrigeration and freezer vans

Refrigerated and Freezer Vans

Established in 1995, London Van Sales has all the information you need to know about refrigeration, its various components and the international standards that need to be adhered to. Browse through interesting facts listed here. If you have queries, feel free to contact our team in Waltham Abbey today!


In refrigerated vans, refrigeration simply means removing heat from the insulated load space and dissipating it.


Insulation is needed to control the temperature inside the vehicles. Using good insulation material, the flow or transfer of heat is inhibited. Quoted by industry standard as K, the standard for chill applications is 0.7K and standard for free applications is 0.4K.


A refrigerant is a substance used for refrigeration. These days, companies use ozone-friendly refrigerants, namely, R134a for chill applications and R404A is used for low temperature applications.


A compressor is responsible for discharging vapour from low pressure side of the refrigeration circuit to high pressure side which then moves into the condenser.


ATP is the international standard that all companies must adhere to when transporting perishable food items across international frontiers. If the goods are being delivered within UK, there is no need for an ATP certificate.


A condenser essentially cools down and hence condenses the hot, high-pressure refrigerant vapour that passes through it onto the evaporator.

Direct Drive Systems

The Direct Drive Systems as the name suggests take power from the van’s engine. This happens since the compressor is directly connected to the engine. It also has a clutch that gets disconnected when the load space reaches the desired temperature.


A standby is a system that allows the refrigeration system to be plugged into the mains without having to connect to the van’s engine.


Frost reduces the efficiency of the refrigeration system and defrosting as the name suggests is the process of freeing the accumulated ice. This can be done easily by disconnecting the compressor from the engine and keeping the fan running. Since the air passing over the coils is more than the freezing point, the frost begins to melt.

Strip Curtains

Strip curtains over the door gaps slow down the warm air when the doors are open.

Drop Rates

The number of time the doors are opened to make deliveries is called the drop rate.

Refrigeration Best Practices

When using a refrigeration van, we recommend you to follow some easy-to-understand rules to make sure that you get the best from your investment.  Here’s how you will know that your product will be kept in the correct temperature:

              • It is important to cool the refrigeration load space before using it
              • Make sure the products are loaded at the desired temperature
              • It is advisable to not run the unit on engine/standby when loading
              • Reduce the number of times the door is opened
              • Avoid restricting the air flows around the load space or evaporator
              • Keep the strip curtains in their correct position
              • Do a manual defrost after the last delivery of the day
              • Do not use damaged parts of lead work or exposed wiring
              • Avoid plugging in a live lead into the refrigeration system          

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