• Retrofitting LED Lights Can Pay Off In Your C-store

    September 16th, 2013
    led optimax light

    Anthony Optimax Retrofit

    As a convenience store owner, if there was a change you could make to increase merchandise sales, lower your electric bill, reduce maintenance costs, and be environmentally responsible would you make the change? The opportunity to do just that is here with the advent of LED Retrofit Kits. These kits replace the existent fluorescent lighting on your glass door merchandising walk-in cooler and freezer with 4’, 5’ or 6’ long LED light strips.

    LED lighting provides a 68 to 85% energy savings over the fluorescent lights typically used in coolers and freezers. LEDs use only 15 watts for a 5’ model and 18 watts for 6’. They also produce less heat than a fluorescent light, which will lessen the load on your refrigeration system. But if energy savings was the only advantage, adoption of LEDs wouldn’t be near where it is today. The real difference is the attractive quality of the light it gives off. LEDs give your products a beckoning glow and more uniform illumination than fluorescent.  You can choose between lights that give off a neutral or slight red or blue hue. Conventional wisdom suggests that the more appealing the product presentation, the more likely a customer is to take notice and purchase it. Read the rest of this entry »

  • Size Your Walk-in Refrigeration Unit

    July 26th, 2013

    When buying refrigeration units for walk-in coolers & freezers, it’s very important that your refrigeration is sized correctly for your box and application. Incorrectly sized refrigeration can result in problems such as the refrigeration unit constantly running and eventually freezing up.

    To help you get the right size refrigeration unit, Heatcraft Worldwide Refrigeration has put together a Quick BTUH Load Calculation Chart. It can be used for walk-ins rooms from 6’ X 6’ X 8’ to 40’ X 40’ X 8’ and with holding temperatures of -20°F, -10°, 0°, 30° and 35°. Loads are calculated based on boxes utilizing 4” of urethane R-25 insulation.

    heatcraft refrigeration chart

    Click here to view the Refrigeration Sizing Chart

    Before using these charts, get this information about your walk-in cooler or walk-in freezer:

    1. Room information:

    •Length, width, and height of the box in feet

    •Holding temperature of the refrigerated room (°F)

    •Relative humidity in the refrigerated room (if specified)

    •Summertime design ambient temperature (°F). This is usually the temperature expected at the location of an air cooled condensing unit which cools the room

    2. Insulation information:

    •Type of insulation, insulation thickness (inches), and external temperatures on walls, ceiling, and floor.

    3. Infiltration load information:

    •The temperature (°F) of the entering air and the relative humidity of the entering air. Also, an estimate of the door usage – average, heavy, etc.

    •Does the box have glass doors? Dock doors? How many? Read the rest of this entry »

  • Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance

    July 2nd, 2013

    I’m Mitch Byrne. I have been working in the Refrigeration Trade for over 16 years. I know from experience that commercial refrigeration maintenance can extend equipment life by years & save big on electrical consumption. This article will explain the importance of Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance. It will also outline basic DIY Maintenance as well as professional clean & checks done by a contractor. It is possible for equipment owners to perform some basic maintenance tasks between contractor visits.

    Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance is critical, especially when it comes to Walk-In Coolers, Freezers & Ice Machines. This is especially true when it comes to line coolers. All refrigeration needs to expel heat. The majority of units do this through an air cooled condenser coil. This is done by drawing air through the coil. This causes dust & debris to form fairly quickly on the condenser coil. Failure to clean condenser coils on a regular basis will increase electrical consumption & lead to major system component failure such as burnt wiring, a failed condenser fan motor, a restricted metering device or a failed compressor. These are some, but not all of the possible consequences of lack of maintenance. Without a doubt poor maintenance will decrease the lifespan of equipment & increase electrical consumption.

    There are things you can do between contractor clean & checks that can really help. The following is a checklist of tasks you can perform to help extend the life of your commercial refrigeration equipment.

    1. Visually inspect the condenser coil on self contained refrigeration. Often the condenser coil is behind a cover at the top or bottom of commercial coolers & freezers. Condenser coils can also be located at front right or left on a unit & also at the back of a unit.  The condenser cover can usually be removed with a Philips screw driver. Occasionally a ¼” or 5/16” nut driver is needed to remove cover. Pictured are a couple types of coolers & condensers.restaurant commercial refrigerators Read the rest of this entry »
  • Diagnose Walk-in Cooler & Freezer Refrigeration Problems

    June 7th, 2013

    A systematic approach to walk-in cooler and freezer maintenance is the technician’s best guide.

    The ubiquitous walk-in cooler or freezer is an essential part of many cafeterias, restaurants and convenience stores. It is also a large energy user in these facilities but is rarely considered until problems emerge.

    Problems include failure to maintain pressure and compressor failure, both of which can result in expensive losses to the products stored in the cooler. These problems, as well as unnecessarily high energy use, can be avoided by observing equipment and taking corrective action.

    Evaporators
    Moisture from the air freezes onto the evaporator coils (the cooling coils in the freezer) and forms an insulating barrier to heat transfer. Airflow also decreases as the passages narrow due to ice buildup. Each evaporator has a defrost cycle to melt frost/ice that has built up on the evaporator coils. Water from the melted ice is drained from the freezer . . . ideally. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 11 Tips for Purchasing a Walk-in Cooler or Freezer

    May 23rd, 2013

    It’s important to carefully select your walk-in because it’s a major purchase that will have a lasting effect on the operation of your business. Before diving headlong into this purchase, here are a few items to consider before making this decision.

    1. Storage Space – If you’re running a restaurant, you will need approximately 1.5 cubic feet of storage space for every meal you serve per day. Read this article for a more in-depth sizing formula. It’s better to have too much storage space than not enough. However, your walk-in shouldn’t be exorbitantly large because your monthly operating cost generally increases as its size increases.
    2. Location of Box – Whether you’re going to locate your walk-in indoors or outdoors, make sure you have adequate space to accommodate the box. Outdoor walk-ins will require a rainroof, refrigeration hood and a drip cap for over the door (if the door doesn’t open from within the building). Assess the floor to make sure it’s suitable for load-bearing. If you have a concrete floor, a walk-in cooler can be placed on it. If the walk-in is going on a wood frame floor, it will require floor panels. A walk-in freezer always requires an insulated floor.
    3. walkin remote refrigeration

      A walk-in with remote refrigeration.

      Refrigeration System – Confirm that you are getting a refrigeration system that is sized correctly for your walk-in. If your system is underpowered it will run often and wear out quickly. If your system is overpowered it will not cycle enough to effectively remove humidity from the box and may cause icing. There are different types of refrigeration systems with different purposes and benefits. For example, remote refrigeration can be located outdoors when your walk-in is located indoors. This is beneficial because you’re not adding heat or noise to the room where the walk-in operates. It’s also important to know the voltage requirements for your building (single or 3 phase power). In general, commercial buildings will use 3 phase power and residential will use single phase. Learn more about the different types of refrigeration for walk-ins. Read the rest of this entry »

  • DOE EISA Compliance Clarification

    March 21st, 2013

    We have received some clarification from the Department of Energy in response to our last blog “The Risk of Selling Non-Compliant Walk-ins”.  The information in context was correct but there was a misunderstanding as to whether Walk-in Cooler manufacturers on the DOE website were compliant.  It was our assumption that all manufacturers that registered on the website are EISA compliant, but this is not necessarily the case.  Also, there may be some manufacturers that are EISA compliant and have tried to register on the DOE website but are not listed as of yet.  Please check with the manufacturer and verify if they are EISA compliant.  Below is the response that we received from the Department of Energy:

    Under current law, only manufacturers of component parts of walk-in coolers and freezers must certify their products with DOE.  In this certification, manufacturers of these components must state that their equipment is manufactured in accordance with the requirements found in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) and subsequent DOE regulations found at 10 C.F.R Part 431, Subpart R.  DOE specifically requires that the manufacturers of panels, doors and refrigeration systems certify with DOE that their equipment complies with the applicable statute and regulations.  The certification requirements for walk-in cooler and freezer components are fully described in 10 C.F.R. §§ 429.12 and 429.53.

    Once DOE receives a certification submission from a component manufacturer, it will be processed and the information will be posted on the DOE website at: http://www.regulations.doe.gov/certification-data/.  It typically takes two weeks from the time a submission is made before it appears on the website.  Because of this delay, it is possible that manufacturers of walk-in cooler and freezer components could have submitted their certification to DOE and not yet appear on the DOE website.  Products are listed on the DOE website by brand rather than manufacturer.  Because of these facts, the list of manufacturers that US Coolers has provided in their email does not accurately reflect the manufacturers who have certified that their equipment complies with the law. Read the rest of this entry »

  • The Risk of Selling Non-Compliant Walk-ins

    March 13th, 2013

    U.S. lawSince EISA (Energy Independence and Security Act) was put into effect in 2009, there have been several regulations imposed on the walk-in cooler and freezer industry. Some of the requirements that are specified in EISA include prescriptive R-values, EC motors for refrigeration units and spring loaded hinges.  Manufacturers must register with the DOE stating they are compliant with all EISA regulations.

    The DOE (Department of Energy), the government agency that regulates EISA, requires walk-in cooler manufacturers to be compliant with all EISA regulations. Some manufacturers may have a statement on their quote or website stating they are compliant, yet DOE only considers the manufacturers registered with the DOE and listed on their Certification List compliant.

    Hefty fines have been levied for non compliant walk-in cooler/freezer manufacturers. It is our understanding the DOE may levy fines to dealers and end users who purchase walk-ins that are not EISA compliant.

    Several manufacturers are certified with the DOE however; there are some that are not. It is important to make sure you are purchasing EISA compliant walk-ins to avoid any penalties or fines that could be imposed on you. A list of all compliant walk-in manufacturers is below or can be found on the DOE website. Read the rest of this entry »

  • Maintaining Your Walk-in Cooler or Freezer

    March 8th, 2013

    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.
    • Make sure fan motors are running at optimum speed.
    • Clean fan blades to reduce drag.
    • 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 restrict airflow.
    • Occasionally have 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 condensing unit and evaporator coil. Replace as needed.
    • Hinges should be lubricated once a year to ensure the closes 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.
    • Do not pile anything on top of the walk-in. This could cause damage to the ceiling panels.
    • 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. If so, check with your local health codes for the correct procedure to follow as far as repair and replacement. Read the rest of this entry »