Indoor vs Outdoor – Where to Locate Your Walk-in

indoor walk-in cooler
Indoor walk-ins can take up precious usable area.

Choosing whether to locate your walk-in indoors or outdoors is a very important decision. Once the walk-in cooler or freezer is installed it will be a large hassle and waste of money if you change your mind. Here are some considerations to take into account before making your decision.

Space Requirements – Whether you locate indoors or outdoors you will need to account for the amount of space you’ll need. For indoor walk-ins you need at least 6 inches of airspace above the walk-in and 2 inches on all sides for proper airflow. An indoor condensing unit needs to be easily accessible for cleaning and repairs and should have plenty of airspace all around it. Some customers request hatches in their walk-in’s ceiling to easily access top-mount units. You may consider an outdoor walk-in if your indoor space is limited or if you’d like room to grow in the future. Be sure your property is large enough to house the size of outdoor walk-in you require.

outdoor-walk-in
Outdoor walk-in butted against the building.

Butted vs Freestanding – A freestanding walk-in will be a separate structure and have a door that opens to the outside. A butted walk-in will usually have a door opening to the inside of your building. The panels of a butted walk-in will be butted up against the building on one or more sides. Butted walk-ins will not require a drip cap and the door and its hardware will last longer since it’s not exposed to the elements. Freestanding units should be equipped with locks as they are susceptible to theft.

Condensing Unit Location – If you own a restaurant or any other consumer-based business, you don’t want a loud refrigeration unit ruining the ambiance. There are refrigeration units designed to be quiet, but most of the time a remote refrigeration unit is your best option. A remote unit allows you to locate your condensing unit outside the building, even if your walk-in is inside. Condensing units also give off heat which is not optimal when you’re trying to cool your building. Keep refrigeration units away from any heat sources such as vents, fryers or ovens and anything that can get the unit dirty or greasy.

Freight Increases for Walk-in Cooler and Freezers

NMFTA logoAs of the beginning of 2015, shipping costs for walk-in coolers and freezers have risen an estimated 30% to 50% due to freight class reclassification. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) standard’s board is systematically reassessing classifications for all types of commodities shipped via freight. NMFTA has increased the freight class of walk-ins and commercial refrigerators from 92.5 to 150.

NMFTA’s standards board groups products into 18 different freight classes from 50 up to 500. These standards are based on a product’s stowability, density, handling and liability. The change on walk-ins was made due to freight liability and a large number of damage claims. In 2014, freight charges for commercial refrigeration equipment, such as evaporator and condensing units, increased drastically due to reclassification. In 2015, air curtains and dishwashers are two more product types that are targeted for freight reclassification.

To learn more about these recent changes for commercial refrigerators and walk-ins you can read the NMFC’s disposition.

Focusing on You – NAFEM 2015

nafem-showThis year at the NAFEM show U.S. Cooler will be displaying a custom L-shaped walk-in featuring custom doors and windows. U.S. Cooler is widely known for their ease of producing high-quality custom walk-in coolers and freezers at unbeatable prices. U.S. Cooler has always differentiated themselves in their industry. From the ease of custom-ability, to offering different insulation types, to local factory experts, U.S. Cooler is like nobody else.

U.S. Cooler is one of the only companies that gives you a choice when it comes to the insulation of your walk-in cooler or freezer. By offering both extruded foam insulation and foamed-in place urethane, U.S. Cooler puts the choice in your hands. Both products are made with superior quality, design flexibility and exceptional performance. Depending on the requirements for your job, U.S. Cooler gives you the option of choosing the insulation to fit your needs.

U.S. Cooler’s unique manufacturing process allows them to manufacture custom walk-in coolers and freezers in an automated fashion. This provides their customers with custom designed walk-ins at no extra cost or production time. U.S. Cooler leads the industry in this capability.

U.S. Cooler is one of the only walk-in manufacturers that have factory specialists living locally and helping you. All sales managers are direct employees of U.S. Cooler, live in their territory and only focus on one product line rather than several. Sales managers are in the field to help you every step of the way. From the initial site assessment and measurements to a delivered product, U.S. Cooler offers the all-around best customer service in the industry.

Visit U.S. Cooler at the NAFEM Show this year in Anaheim, CA February 19-21, 2015 booth #433 to see how U.S. Cooler’s capabilities can work for you!

SCHOTT Gemtron Exits North American Market

Here is the letter from glass door manufacturer Anthony International regarding the SCHOTT Gemtron announcement.

Dear Valued Customer:

I would like to inform you that SCHOTT Gemtron has determined to discontinue its North American Food Display operations at its Vincennes, IN, production facility, and has offered to sell certain manufacturing assets to Anthony.  Anthony has decided to purchase these assets, which consist of the manufacturing equipment used for commercial food display refrigeration and freezer products.  SCHOTT Gemtron is a United States joint venture of SCHOTT Group and AGC Glass Company North America.

As part of this asset purchase, Anthony will be able to supply SCHOTT Gemtron customers in North America (US, Canada, Mexico) with our full product offerings and customer support during this transition.  This transaction complements Anthony’s planned expansion of our overall plant capacity and capabilities.

Anthony is looking forward to providing our customers throughout the industry with the products they need to continue to successfully operate their businesses. We welcome the opportunity to meet with each of you to better understand your needs and to provide you with the very best value added solutions possible.

For more information on Anthony, please visit us online at www.anthonyintl.com.  To find the Sales Representative assigned to your area, you may utilize our Sales Rep locator tool found under the Contact Us portion of our website.

Sincerely,
Sean E McGrann
Vice President, Sales & Marketing

U.S. Cooler Mobile Site uscooler.mobi

U.S. Cooler mobile site on a smartphoneU.S. Cooler has released an updated version of our mobile site http://www.uscooler.mobi for our dealers and customers on the go with smartphones and tablets. This site will allow you to check the status of your order from the main page (all you need is the job number and dealer phone number). As you’re completing a job you can easily pull up installation instructions or our troubleshooting guide. You can also view product information, find dealer sales websites, call U.S. Cooler, size refrigeration and much more.

Currently we are not automatically redirecting mobile users from uscooler.com to uscooler.mobi. Users will have to type in uscooler.mobi or click the “View on Mobile Site” banner that will appear on our main site when viewed from your phone. What are your opinions of automatic redirection from standard to mobile websites? Is there any other information you would find useful on our mobile website?

Maintaining Your Walk-in Cooler or Freezer

Whether you run a restaurant, convenience store or a supermarket, your walk-in is an important investment. It should be taken care of to ensure many years of efficient usage. Here are tips from walk-in manufacturer U.S. Cooler for maintaining your walk-in cooler or freezer.

How to keep your walk-in operating efficiently:

torn gasket
Torn gaskets can let warm air infiltrate the box.
  • Close the door when not in use. Do not block or prop the door open for extended periods of time. Make sure it is closed at all times except when entering and exiting the walk-in.
  • Periodically (minimum of twice a year) clean the evaporator and condensing coil. If located outside, the coils should be cleaned more often. Clean the fan blades to reduce drag.
  • Make sure fan motors are running at optimum speed.
  • On outside condensing units, maintain clear and adequate airflow. For example, do not allow trash or weeds to accumulate around the walk-in.
  • Make sure there is nothing stacked around the coil to prevent restricted airflow.
  • Do not pile anything on top of the walk-in. This could cause damage to the ceiling panels.
  • Occasionally have a service technician check all electrical connections to make sure they are good and tight. Loose wires could cause high amperage, which will cause your unit to use more energy.
  • Check for damage or decay in the insulation on suction lines between the condensing unit and evaporator coil. Replace as needed.
  • Hinges should be lubricated once a year to ensure they close properly. (Some hinges utilize self-lubricating nylon cams, so this will not be necessary if that is the case.)
  • Make sure the lights are off when exiting the walk-in. Lights produce heat, which will cause your unit to run more to hold its optimal temperature. Make sure your walk-in has a switch with a pilot light so you can tell if the light is on without opening the door.
  • Check the door sweep for tears and make sure it is sealing properly against the threshold.
  • Periodically, check gaskets between panels to make sure they are not cracked or weathered. Replacement of damaged gaskets will ensure your walk-in is efficient and up to local health codes.

How Walk-in Panels Create an Airtight Seal

stacked walk-in panels
Modular panels are equipped with cam locks and double barrel panel gaskets.

Air infiltration, or lack thereof, plays a major role in an efficient walk-in cooler or freezer. Walk-ins are manufactured to be air-tight because any cold air that escapes will lower efficiency and any warm air that enters can cause condensation and icing problems. Air and moisture infiltration can damage panel insulation, causing it to lose R-value and reduce the life of the walk-in. It seems like a walk-in constructed of numerous separate panels would be prone to air leakage, but this isn’t the case. So how do manufacturers of walk-ins create an airtight seal between panels?

gray screeding
Screed for the base of walk-in panels

Manufactures have different methods of sealing panels, but at U.S. Cooler, we use precision-cut tongue & groove insulation between two metal skins (of galvalume or stainless steel), cam locks and panel gaskets. The interlocking design of our panels ensure they fit together like puzzle pieces and are held tightly in place by aligning and tightening cam lock mechanisms. Double-barrel compression gaskets line the inside and outside of each panel. When the panels are locked into place with a cam wrench, the gaskets seal against each other and create an air and moisture barrier. Walk-in coolers without an insulated floor are inserted into a vinyl channel (screed) to prevent air from entering when mounted on concrete.

Refrigeration Solutions for Craft Breweries

brewery countThe craft brewery industry has seen exponential growth this decade, fueled by consumer demand for full-flavored beers. According to the Brewers Association there are 3,040 breweries operating in the U.S., 99% of which are small, independent craft breweries.1 With thousands more breweries in the planning stages, this trend shows no sign of slowing.

The logistics of how to keep beer cold and fresh before shipping to the consumer is vital to the success of any craft brewer. That’s why Brew Cave by U.S. Cooler is introducing their new line of walk-in coolers for the brewery industry. Brew Cave is best known for its walk-in kegerator for residential bars, but now produces everything from keg storage warehouses to tap house coolers.

tapped kegs
Kegs rigged up to supply a tasting room.

Every brewery has unique needs and budgets. Brew Cave’s flexible design process allows them to easily create custom walk-in coolers. Whether the cooler needs to be angled, have reach-in glass doors, operate with minimum sound, be located outdoors or any other special case, Brew Cave is up to the task. Their parent company U.S. Cooler has been in operation since 1986 and its employees have extensive experience catering to a wide assortment of industries from bars, convenience and grocery stores to scientific and manufacturing facilities.