A Reader Glances Back

Your featured section in The News, “Glancing Back,” is of particular interest to me because I lived through and worked with supermarket refrigeration during the years between 1944 and 2000. I believe your readers might be interested in some of the events in which I was involved during that time. This covered many aspects of the development and application during a time span of over 50 years.

A little about myself: In 1948 I was hired by Hussmann Refrigeration as a field service engineer and five years later was promoted to West Coast Division sales manager. I spent a total of 14 years with Hussmann before moving on to become vice president of Store Equipment in Honolulu, HI.

Hussmann, then a private corporation, pioneered a number of innovative designs for the supermarket industry. Probably the most noteworthy of these was a so-called “Big System,” in which just three refrigeration units — one 25-horsepower and two 50-horsepower machines — provided for all refrigeration, plus air conditioning, for a 30,000-sq-ft Safeway store in Sacramento, CA.

In addition, this design provided reverse-cycle, hot gas defrost for all low- and medium-temperature display cases. It also provided heat recovery, which aided in heating the store in winter. One of the 50-hp York direct-drive compressors handled the store air conditioning during summer months, and was interconnected to the other 50-hp refrigeration system as a standby in the event that the refrigeration compressor failed.

The single 25-hp machine was a first-stage booster for the low-temperature fixtures. A single receiver tank, which held about 400 lb of R-22, was used for the entire system.

The Hussmann Big System was the brainchild of a self-educated refrigeration engineer, Lester Quick, from Eugene, OR. Quick and I spent many hours meeting with Safeway engineers to promote a trial store and were successful in persuading their Sacramento Division to give it a try. Shortly after the Sacramento store opened, I moved to Hawaii to join the Hussmann distributor.

We supplied Big Systems to two Foodland stores, one in Waipahu and one in Coco Head. To the best of my knowledge, these were the only ones that were put into operation, probably because their advanced design made them difficult and expensive to maintain. I still have a photo of the first Hussmann Big System, which was installed in 1961, just 40 years ago.

Ralph Wayne White, Danville, CA

It’s A Wet Heat

Your “75 Years of Heating” was a great issue [Nov. 12]. A couple of things came to my mind after reading it.

The gentleman who wrote that steam never really became popular for house heating must not be operating in the Northeast. I would say about half of Baltimore’s pre-World War II houses had steam or vapor systems and the other half had hot water, based on what I’ve seen. It’s roughly the same in New York; and probably in Philly, Boston, Washington, and other Northeast cities.

And the gentleman who was trying to come up with a heating system that can run without electricity? We already have equipment that can do this! A gas-fired boiler with millivolt controls in a gravity-return steam system needs no power to run — and it’s not likely to freeze if it breaks down. But it does need a float-type LWCO [low water cut-off] that has to be blown down every week. One of these days I’m going to build a system like this.

Keep up the good work!

Frank Wilsey, Baltimore, MD

Kills Mold Dead

I have just read with great interest Joanna Turpin’s series of articles on evaporators [November 19]. I agreed with everything that was reported. However, there is something new in the field of evaporator cleanliness. The engineers at one of our Climate Control Divisions, International Environmental Corp., have been working for the last three years or so on the development of an alternate solution to the problem.

What they have come up with is the UV UltraShield. It is, to quote them, “The only complete antibacterial light kit with the patent-pending UVC Plastic Tube!”

What does it mean, you may ask. It means that a contractor or handyman-homeowner can install a UV UltraShield with shatter-resistant bulb in front of an evaporator coil in almost any residential or light commercial application, without fear of breaking the light or destroying it with fingerprints.

The UV UltraShield is a germicidal device that emits ultraviolet light (“C” band) for mold, mildew, and other microbial control on surfaces in all types of heating and air conditioning units and systems.

It has long been known that UV light technology can kill bacteria and prevent its growth on filters, in drain pans, and on evaporators. Up until now, it has been extremely delicate to work without breaking the light itself, and there were some issues with ozone emissions.

These have been addressed and are no longer a concern with the UV UltraShield technology.

It only requires a 1-in. diameter hole through which the bulb will enter the cavity in front of the coil and/or filter. The mounting bracket itself is only 2.5 in. in diameter. The bulbs come in 13- and 19-in. lengths and are available to operate at 120V or 24V.

The only drawbacks are that it is low-grade radiation, so you cannot directly expose skin or eyes to the light. That means “install it” before you turn it on. It may also have an adverse effect on plastic parts, so it should be installed where it will not illuminate them.

Beyond that, it appears to be perfectly safe unless you are a germ or some form of bacteria that comes to rest on the filter or coil where the light can see you.

It is a marvelous way to keep those coils cleaner without the use of cleaners and the intensive labor costs associated with cleaning. You can check it out further at www.iec-okc.com (website).

Gary L. Wolf, Vice President, Climate Control Group, Oklahoma City, OK

Publication date: 12/17/2001