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Walk-in Cooler

  • Generally keeps a constant temperature of or around 38 deg F.
  • Commonly used for cooling of produce, dairy, beverages and meats that will soon be used.

Walk-in Freezer

  • Generally keeps a constant temperature of or below -10° F.
  • Commonly used for freezing of meats, ice cream, and items with a longer shelf-life.

Storing Fresh Produce: Walk-in coolers should maintain a holding temperature of 41° F, or less, but temperatures inside a cooler can range from colder (32 °F) to warmer (41 °F), depending on the location. Inside, cooler much colder temperatures are found in the back, and warmer temperatures in the front near the door. So, some produce should be stored at warmer temperatures near the door for best quality. Location of fruits and vegetables is important, because fruits, in general, produce ethylene gas, which fosters natural ripening, but it also can cause most vegetables and a few non-ethylene producing fruits to deteriorate more quickly, and develop undesirable characteristics. Ideally, ethylene-producing fruits should be stored in the refrigerator as far from ethylene-sensitive fruits and vegetables as possible.

Keep your freezer at zero degrees (0°) or below to maintain the quality of frozen foods. Most foods will maintain good quality longer if the freezer temperature is -10 to -20°F. At temperatures between 0 and 32°F, food deteriorates more rapidly. Fluctuating temperatures, such as those in self-defrosting freezers, also may damage food quality. Do not plan to store frozen foods for the maximum suggested time if your freezing unit cannot maintain zero degree temperatures. Even foods stored properly will lose color, texture, flavor and nutritional quality but will not cause food-borne illness. Freezer temperatures, however, do not destroy pathogenic or spoilage microorganisms, which will begin growing under warmer temperature conditions. When frozen foods are thawed at room temperature, the surface of the food warms enough for microorganisms to grow and multiply


Location: Indoor vs Outdoor

When it comes to choosing the right location for your walk-in cooler or freezer, being inside or outside, this is a very important decision. Because once your walk-in cooler or freezer is built & installed, it will be a very big hassle and waste of money to change your mind on the location. So before making this decision call Jean’s Restaurant Supply so we can consult you on the many considerations you need to take into account before making your decision. Here are just a few things to consider:

Space Required – Whether it is inside or outside, you need to account on the amount of space needed for a walk-in. If your walk-in is inside, you’ll need at least (6”) six inches airspace above and (2”) two inches on all sides for airflow. If an indoor condensing unit is installed, it needs to be accessible for cleaning and repairs, as well as plenty of airspace for ventilation. A hatch above the walk-in’s ceiling is at times requested for access. You may consider an outdoor walk-in if your indoor space is limited, or if you’d like room to grow in the future. 

Examples of some indoor and outdoor walk-ins installed by Jean's Restaurant Supply:



Condensing Unit Location – Having a walk-in cooler or freezer indoors with the condensing on top, tends to be loud, and possible ruining your restaurant’s ambiance. There are some units to be quiet, but they tend to give off heat which is not optimal when you’re trying to cool your building. In most cases, having a remote unit is the best option. With a remote unit, you can locate your condensing unit outside, even if your walk-in is inside.This well keep your unit away from any heat sources such as vents, fryers or ovens and anything that can dirty or grease up your unit.



Butted vs Freestanding – A freestanding walk-in is a separate structure, will have a door that opens to the outside, which should be equipped with locks as they are susceptible to theft. A butted walk-in will have the door opening inside of the building. The wall-in panels will be butted up against the building at least one or more sides. Butted walk-ins require a drip cap to be installed so that the door and hardware will last longer because it’s not exposed to the elements outside.



Wear & Tear – Panels, gaskets and door hardware are the most likely to get damaged if exposed to the elements, which can lead to air leaky, leading to icing within the walk-in and moisture accumulation in the panels. Most panels are made from rust-resistant metals, but if badly scratched rust can form. Panel insulation will wear out sooner due to exposure moisture, extreme heat and extreme cold.


So before deciding between an indoor or outdoor walk-in cooler or freezer, be sure to consult with an expert and choose carefully.

How to Size a Walk-In

No real formula, chart or rule to actually determent the size of a walk-in cooler or freezer that a business would need presently or coming future for growth. Keep in mind: Food and storage demands during peak seasons. Layout of walk-in area (shelving, dead space, walking area). There are many variables to deside, here are a few basic ideas....

Sizing the space and capacity for a walk-in is determined by several factors:

  • Need to consider the amount (lbs) of food to be stored during peak hours.
  • The amount of available space, indoor or outdoor, be sure to including the height of the ceiling for indoor walk-in.
  • Include an amount of additional space needed for storage that you may need right now.
  • Also how much additional space you’ll need within the next several years for growth.

A basic rule of thumb that 1 cu. ft. of space can hold approximately 30 lb. of food.


Cooler or Freezer? - Are you needing a cooler, freezer or both? A very basic question that is the first decision you need to make. The physical size differences between the two are small in comparison, but greatly determines your decision. The refrigeration system for a freezer are much larger and powerful than a cooler. Also the panels are thicker on a freezer in order to maintain the colder temperatures.


Floor or No Floor?

 All walk-in freezers require flooring, but some walk-in cooler flooring is optional. For new constructions, floors may be: Sunken to be flush with the ground or Substituted with insulated concrete slab. Read more....


Flooring - The floor is an important factor when you installing a walk-in cooler or freezer. You can purchase a walk-in with or without an insulated built-in flooring. This is ideal because they are well insulated for better energy-efficiency. Outdoor walk-in’s usually come with floors include, because they are mounted on a concrete slab which will absorb heat from the sun, make it difficult to maintain its holding temperature.

We recommend flooring for all walk-ins for added insulation and efficiency.


 Ground and floors MUST BE LEVEL to install any walk-in!


Price Difference

Several factors contribute to the price differences between walk-in coolers and freezers. There are many manufacturers to choose from, granted they all provide similar product but at a difference price range and quality of product, Also the difference panel materials you want to install depending on the type of insulation, panel, and metal skin type will affects the price. Lastly, the physical size of the walk-in width, length and height is other factor that affects the price.


Various Brands of Walk-In Manufactures                                               Walk-in Physical Size: Width, Length & Height


Contact our Design Team for free Consultation Email:


Operating Cost...

So you may be wondering, how much it is all going to cost to operate a new walk-in cooler or freezer once it has been installed?

Estimates for Standard Sized Walk-ins - To give you an idea on the cost to operate a walk-in cooler or freezer, based on the national average of $0.1071 per kilowatt, review the estimated monthly cost chart below: 

 Note: These calculation are based on a 12-month average cost of $0.1071 kilowatt hour. Provided by the Energy Information Administration, this average cost is based on the United States commercial electricity usage from November 2016 to April 2017. 


 To determine you actual operating cost, below are various condition to account.

    • The type of insulation and thickness.
    • Energy efficiency of the condenser unit.
    • External temperature around the walk-in
    • Location of the walk-in; being indoor or outdoor.
    • The amount and frequency products needing to be pull-down to hold temperature.
    • Amount of traffic going in and out.
    • The condition of the walk-in.
    • Maintenance and up-keep of evaporator and condenser unit
    • Cost of electricity.

These are just a few to name, if you would need a more accurate energy cost, contact a licensed mechanical
engineer that can design and calculate your system.


Installation Reguirements

To avoid any injury or damage while installing the walk-in Jean’s recommends to wear protective eye wear, hard hat, gloves and steel toe shoes. Also use ergonomic lifting and handling methods to prevent back injuries while lifting panels or equipment. All electrical wiring and circuity  must be conducted by a licensed and bonded electrician. Any refrigeration handling freon must be conducted by a licensed refrigeration technician. It is advisable to never work alone, always have another person to help or observe in case of an emergency. 


PLEASE NOTE: A licensed electrician should be retained and used to wire any circuits supplying power to the lights, evaporator and condenser. Severe and permanent damage will result from improper wiring!


Follow the installation instruction provided, they are designed to assist with the correct and safe method to assembly your walk-in.


If any copper pipe soldering is required, it should be conducted by a licensed refrigeration technician.



Jean’s Restaurant Supply will help with any question or instruction to properly install your walk-in cooler or freezer.

At Jean’s Restaurant Supply we understand the importance of investing in large scale commercial refrigeration and want to help you in choosing the right walk-in cooler and walk-in freezer. If you have any questions regarding your walk- in cooler or walk-in freezer contact us and we will be happy to help you. Custom sizing is available.


Energy Act Regulations

On January 4, 2007, President George W. Bush approved and signed the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007”. A portion of the Act includes new regulations on Walk-In Coolers, Freezers and Refrigeration Systems. Listed below are the requirements and a short explanation or all walk-in coolers and freezers installed in the U.S. and occupying less than 3000 square feet in floor space have to meet a new set of rules. Read more...

  • All walk-in must have an automatic door closers that firmly close the walk-in door that have been closed to within 1 inch of full closure, except that this subparagraph shall not apply to doors wider than 3 feet 9 inches or taller than 7 feet.
  • Walk-in doorways must have a strip doors, spring hinged doors, or other method of minimizing infiltration when the doors are open.
  • Walk-in walls, ceiling, and door insulation of at least R-25 for coolers and R-32 for freezers, except that this subparagraph shall not apply to glazed portions of doors or to structural members.
  • Walk-in floor insulation of at least R-28 for freezers
  • Walk-in evaporator fan motors of under 1 horsepower and less than 460 volts, use - (i) electronically commutated motors (brushless direct current motors); or (ii) 3-phase motors.
  • Walk-in condenser fan motors of under 1 horsepower, use – (i) electronically commutated motors; (ii) permanent split capacitor-type motors; or (iii) 3-phase motors.
  • Inside walk-in all interior lights, use light sources with an efficacy of 40 lumens per watt or more, including ballast losses (if any), except that light sources with an efficacy of 40 lumens per watt or less, including ballast losses (if any), may be used in conjunction with a timer or device that turns off the lights with 15 minutes of when the walk-in cooler or walk-in freezer in not occupied by people.
  • Transparent reach-in doors for walk-in coolers and windows in walk-in cooler doors shall be – (i) double-pane glass with heat-reflective treated glass and gas fill; or (ii) triple-pane glass with either heat-reflective treated glass or gas fill.
  • Transparent reach-in doors for walk-in freezers and windows in walk-in freezer doors shall be of triple-pane glass with either heat-reflective treated glass or gas fill.

Visit / Customer Resource Center / Buyer’s Guides to view Sec. 312 of the 2009 Energy Act Cooler.



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