Why Hiring Chillers for Outdoor Ice Rinks is Becoming Increasingly Important

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Outdoor ice skating rinks require proper forethought and specialist equipment to be a success. As the British climate becomes increasingly erratic, rink companies here are having to change the way that they operate. In Britain during the winter of 2011/12, many outdoor ice rinks had to close due to warm temperatures. For example, ice skaters were left disappointed when rinks at the Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford, east London, and in Manchester, and Tunbridge Wells, had to close after the ice there turned to slush (the meltdown was made worse by strong winds).

If temperatures continue to climb, and this coming winter is less predictable than normal, anyone planning an outdoor rink needs to take heed and think ahead to ensure that they have sufficient capacity to keep their ice rink frozen. Forging a link with a proven chiller hire company now (rather than just before the festive season arrives) is essential, and can provide peace of mind for clients both before and during the British ice skating season.

The Attraction of Outdoor Ice Rinks

Many British towns and cities host special winter attractions to generate money for the local economy and to help residents get into the yuletide spirit all the more. German-style Christmas markets are becoming increasingly popular, and some local councils even go as far as organising a more substantial ongoing Winter Wonderland in their area. An outdoor ice rink is regarded as an integral part of this and is one of the most anticipated features, perhaps because, as Brits, we rarely have the opportunity to enjoy ice skating on a naturally frozen lake, as thousands of Canadians do each year…

But Even Canadian Ice is Under Threat From Climate Change

Even in Canada, where they are usually better able to plan outdoor ice activities, such as skating, curling and ice hockey, the temperatures rose significantly last winter, stopping some local ice hockey traditions.

Climate change resulting in milder winters could mean in the coming years that Canadians can expect an increasingly shorter ice season: a growing number of unfrozen lakes could render their much-loved winter sports unplayable, reports the Guardian Online.

Ice Skating Tickets are Already Being Snapped up

We British simply cannot believe that the weather here will change sufficiently to allow us to ice skate in only a few months after the hottest days of the year; this has never been a country where frozen lakes in winter are guaranteed. For keen outdoor skaters, open-air ice rinks are their only option. It is no wonder, then, that some of the most sought-after ice skating tickets start pre-booking during the summer: Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland has been marketing itself for Nov-Jan 2012/13 since August, and charges up to £15/head per hour.

Required Temperatures at Outdoor Ice Rinks

Outdoor rinks (used by the general public) need to maintain an ice temperature of around -12 to -14 degrees Celsius. For pantomimes and other theatrical productions staged on outdoor ice stages, performers often prefer an ice temperature of -2 degrees Celsius, while for professional ice hockey players -4 degrees Celsius is often preferred during the winter season, states HowStuffWorks.com

Types of Chillers Used

For outdoor ice rinks, hireable low-temperature chiller units are best. As well as being easy to
install and maintain, these units provide reliable and energy-efficient ice cooling. Alongside the hired chiller units themselves, a specialist chiller hire company will also provide temporary hoses, pumps and buffer tanks, in accordance with the client’s specification.

Rink suppliers should take advice from a chiller expert who will understand the climactic issues and know which chiller to specify for different locations. As well as giving advice on power sources, the expert will be aware of the best ways in which to meet Health & Safety requirements (in terms of the location of the units and ducting). In addition, they will be able to offer guidance on meeting environmental standards – keeping a chiller operational in a mild winter obviously requires some energy usage, but steps can be taken to minimise the consumption.

Get your skates on.

Article submitted by Carl Webb, Specialist Hire Director at Andrews Sykes. Andrews Sykes is the UK's largest chiller rental/a> company, with over 25 years’ experience providing chiller hire services to ice skating rink operators.

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