Commercial Walk-In Buying Guide

walk-in cooler

How to Select a Commercial Walk-In For Your Business:

Without a reliable cold storage, your business could fail. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. A walk-in cooler is the standard and common piece of equipment in restaurants, breweries, florist shops, and on farms. The refrigeration system is the most important feature of a walk-in cooler. Most parts of any cooler system are standard. The door must have industrial grade hinges and a self-closing mechanism. The box may be just two sheets of metal with insulation in between, but the refrigeration system is the most essential part of a walk-in cooler. There are three types of walk-in coolers.

Self-Contained Refrigeration System

All parts (the compressor, the motor, the fan, etc.) are factory sealed and contained in one main structure. The self-contained system is called a closed system which is plug and play. There are some disadvantages to this system. First, it may not be good for a low ceiling, because it will blow hot air into the area if it is located inside. Secondly, even if there is not a low ceiling, if the structure is located inside, the fans and motor could be noisy.


Remote Refrigeration System

This system has two parts, one which is located remotely and the other which is isolated on the cooler. The evaporator absorbs the heat, while the condenser gets rid of the heat.


 Factors When Comparing Refrigeration Systems

Refrigeration systems vary significantly in the energy use, maintenance requirements, and setup which can also determine the cost of a walk-in cooler. Industry standards and general construction principles for the cooler box and door of most commercial coolers are built the same.

The Cooler Box

The cooler box is constructed of two sheets of galvanized steel with insulation in the middle. The industry standard for insulation is 4 inches using a polyurethane fill. The steel panels have a lock every 2 ft. on each side using a camlock system of hooks and pins which connect the ceiling, the floor, and adjacent panels. Gaskets all around the perimeter ensure no air condensation and a perfect seal. The insulation should be dense to repel water and hold a high R-value.

The Door

A high-quality door will survive years of frequent opening and closing. Factors to consider: usage (opening and closing), food content/temperature of food, and heat load.

What to look for in a door

  • Gaskets that provide a tight seal

  • Industrial-grade hinges

  • Self-closing mechanism

  • A temperature read out display on outside of the door

The Floor

A common question asked by customers is if they need an insulated floor. Generally, an insulated floor is always better. An energy savings of 15% can result from having an insulated floor, quickly making savings from the investment upfront.

Tips for Cooler Floor

  • If your cooler is outside it must be insulated to keep out water, heat, and small bugs and rodents.
  • The cooler must be on a flat surface. If the floor isn’t level, panels won’t align correctly and can leak making your cooler less efficient.
  • When using concrete, an insulation treatment must be put on the slab before the concrete is poured. Concrete alone does not make good insulation.
  • Crawl spaces, basements, decks, and trailers should be insulated to prevent empty space underneath the cooler.


Questions When Choosing the Best Cooler:

  1. How big of a cooler do you need?
    An 8x8 cooler can hold 1000s of pounds of product. The most expensive mistake people make is buying a bigger cooler than they need.
  1. How much cooling do you need?
    To answer this question, one needs to consider ambient temperature, incoming temperature, pounds of product, and where one will put the cooler.

In conclusion, correct sizing, cooling power, and selection are the most cost effective and energy efficient things to consider when buying a cooler. A commercial walk-in cooler is a great investment for the future of any business. Check out our Blog: Walk-in Coolers & Freezers

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