New Concealed Freight Damage Policy

Concealed Freight Damage Time Window

The NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification) has made changes to the window of time you have to report damage to freight carriers. Concealed freight damage to your shipment previously could have been reported within 15 days of delivery, but as of April 18, 2015 all concealed freight damage must be reported within 5 business days of delivery. Concealed damage refers to any damaged that was not able to be seen at the time of delivery. If 5 business days pass between delivery and the reporting of damage (or request for inspection by the buyer), it is up to the buyer to provide evidence that damage was not incurred after the shipment had been delivered. Call to report any damage you see on your shipment to the freight company as soon as it is noticed. Be sure to leave the shipping container and its contents in the same condition as when the damage was discovered (as much as possible) so a proper inspection can be done.

Read the entire document from the NMFC – Supplement 1 to NMF 100-AOU.S. Cooler logo "Concealed Freight Damage"

Indoor vs Outdoor Walk-in Cooler Location

Location is Everything

Choosing the location of your walk-in cooler to be 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 the location. Here are some considerations to take into account before making your decision.

indoor walk-in cooler location
Indoor walk-ins can take up precious usable area. Find the best location for your walk-in cooler!

Space Requirements – Whether your location is indoors or outdoors you will have to account for the amount of space needed. 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.

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 your walk-in cooler or freezer
  • 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.

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.

Refrigeration Guidelines for Specific Applications

This article is courtesy of Austin Industrial Refrigeration.

floral storage refrigerator
Flowers do best with High Humidity and Low Velocity refrigeration

Aside from the box temperature, other considerations that are particular to medium temperature applications (walk-in coolers & refrigerators) are the air velocity and humidity of the refrigerated space. Below freezing, humidity is inherent (the moisture is mostly frozen out of the air), so low temp applications are easier to spec than medium temp.

The following are common design parameters and examples of their application:

  • 35 degrees F / 90%+ relative humidity (low velocity coils) – high humidity – Used for: sensitive materials, floral – roses
  • 35 degrees F / 85% – 90% relative humidity – general purpose – Used for: foodservice, fresh meats, packaged goods not sensitive to humidity, short-term mixed produce, thawing, and dry goods unaffected by humidity
  • 35 degrees F / 60% – 75% humidity – low humidity – Used for: retail, beer and beverage coolers, packaged items, materials sensitive to humidity
  •  45 degrees F / 55% – 70% humidity – low humidity – Used for: aging red wine
  • 45 degrees F / 90%+ humidity (low velocity coils) -high humidity – Used for: sensitive materials, floral – general
  • 55 degrees F / 55% – 70% humidity – low humidity – Used for: processing rooms occupied by personnel
  • 55 degrees F / 60% – 75% humidity (low velocity coils) – low humidity – Used for: produce

Fixing Icing Issues in a Walk-in Freezer

Do you have a walk-in freezer that gets frost or ice accumulation on the walls or ceiling?

ice on ceiling
Ice on panels or the ceiling is not something to ignore.

There are several different possible causes for icing or frost. Infiltration of warm humid air into the freezer is the most likely culprit. The following tips will help you reduce or prevent this.

Check Your Gaskets – If there is icing near your door, check to make sure your door is sealing properly. Inspect the main gasket as well as the wiper gaskets and door sweep for any cracks or rips. Any rip can potentially allow air infiltration and cause icing issues. There are also gaskets in the seams between panels, which may have been damaged or cracked. You can use a bead of low-temp NSF-approved silicone caulk to help seal between the panels.

Inspect Your Door – If your gasket is sticking and freezing to the metal trim on the door frame, your freezer door’s heater wire may be burnt out or not strong enough to sufficiently heat up the trim. If your door is failing to close, test the operation of your hinges and door closer. You may have cam-rise or spring loaded hinges which should aid in closing the door enough to get it to the door closer. At this point, a roller at the top of your door closer may not be catching the hook enough to close the door. Sometimes a simple adjustment or bending can get the hook back into a position to come into contact with the roller. The hydraulic mechanisms in door closers can eventually fail or leak over the years, so check for any fluid leakage. To replace components on your door you can speak with your service provider, the manufacturer of the walk-in or order from walkincoolerparts.com. If the frame or the door is damaged, it may be able to be repaired or replaced.

How do I keep my glass doors from fogging up?

Glass doors in refrigerators and freezers are prone to getting condensation on them. For businesses such as floral shops, supermarkets and convenience stores, this fog on the glass is unattractive and obstructs the customer’s view of their products and may reduce impulse buys.

Why do glass doors get condensation?glass door fog

An important fact to keep in mind is that warmer air is able to hold more moisture than colder air. The “dew point” is the temperature at which the air becomes saturated and can’t hold any more water vapor and some of the water vapor must condense into a liquid form. The dew point is always lower than (or equal to) the air temperature. For example, glass of ice water will begin to sweat in a warm room because the air coming into contact with the glass is cooled to the dew point. This will cause the air to lose its capacity for holding moisture and condensate will stick to the glass. The exact same thing happens when the colder surface of your glass doors meets the warmer air in your building.

How do I fix this problem?

You may find that wiping windows down a few times a day may be all that is required, but this is not a permanent solution.

1. Adjust your thermostats.

Try slightly raising the temperature in the walk-in cooler. This will also raise the surface temperature of the doors, possibly to a temperature that will not cause water to condense on them. If that doesn’t help, you may also try lowering the temperature in your building. A colder setting on the air conditioning may help to pull more moisture from the air near your walk-in cooler. You may also try using a dehumidifier in your building to help remove excess moisture in the air.

hunting deer

Aging the Best Deer Meat with the Game Locker

hunting deerDeer hunting seasons are underway in some parts of the nation, so it’s time once again to prepare yourself to venture into the fields and forests. Once you’ve managed to harvest and field dress your first deer, there’s the matter of storing it in the proper environment to get the best tasting meat.

Some people will quarter the deer without aging it, but this is a major mistake if you want quality venison. The deer stiffens during rigor mortis in the 24 hours after being killed. If it is processed during this time, the muscles shorten and contract causing the meat to become tough. You should let your deer hang for 2 to 4 days at minimum before processing to avoid this. For the best tasting deer meat Mississippi State University recommends 14 to 18 days of hanging time. A general rule of thumb is, the older the deer, the longer the hang time. Longer hanging times will allow the deer’s natural enzymes and acids to break down and tenderize the meat and give it a smoother, less “gamey” flavor.

meat in game locker
Deer meat hanging in a U.S. Cooler Game Locker

An optimal temperature to hang deer meat at should be temperature above freezing but below 40 degrees F. Many people let the deer hang in their garage, but this far from the proper conditions because of contaminants, pests and temperature fluctuations that come with an uncontrolled environment such as this. If your meat is stored above 40 degrees it will start to rot, but if it is frozen at temperatures below 28 degrees it can become freezer burned. In these situations, having access to a commercial-sized refrigerator that will keep your deer at a constant temperature and free of outside contamination is optimal.