New Vert-Ergo™ Handle a Success

Have you ever wondered, why residential refrigerator handles are vertical and walk-in cooler/freezer handles are horizontal? Maybe you haven’t, but we have. We have witnessed the struggle of restaurant employees opening their walk-in cooler door several times with an awkward, uncomfortable reach with their hand gripping down. So we thought, why can’t walk-ins be designed with a more comfortable handle? This lead to the design of the Vert-Ergo™ walk-in cooler/freezer handle.

In April, U.S. Cooler launched the release of the Vert-Ergo handle for walk-in coolers and freezers. The Vert-Ergo handle is the industry’s first vertically positioned walk-in cooler or freezer handle. The vertical handle design places your hand further from the hinges on the door, which in turn, makes a substantial decrease in the effort required to open the door. When users grip the Vert-Ergo handle, they use a more natural, vertical grip allowing the use of powerful muscles in the forearm and upper arm. The round handle allows for a full grip making it more comfortable to use.

With over 200 Vert-Ergo handles in the field, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the usage of the vertical handle. The simplistic yet strong design looks a bit different than the horizontal handle, but users enjoy the ergonomic benefits.

U.S. Cooler’s new Vert-Ergo handle is built to exact standards with a quality you can see and feel. It is available with an externally mounted lock or as a standalone handle. A padlock can be added as an additional locking mechanism. The handle is mounted with a glow-in-the-dark safety release located inside the walk-in. The Vert-Ergo handle can be mounted on either a right hand or left hand opening door.

The Importance of Refrigeration Gaskets

Refrigeration gaskets are a very important part of your walk-in cooler or freezer’s performance. Under-performing gaskets could cost your business hundreds or thousands of dollars in energy bills. Gaskets are responsible for sealing your walk-in door and panels to stop any air infiltration. When your walk-in door is closed, the gasket keeps the cold air from escaping and more importantly warm air from entering your walk-in. When gaskets are not working properly, your refrigeration unit will have to work harder to keep its cold temperature – which in-turn generates higher energy bills and wear and tear on your equipment.

 
There are two different gaskets on your walk-in door that are both vital to your walk-in’s performance.
– The magnetic gasket is the thicker gasket attached to the door and helps to seal and keep the door closed.
– The wiper gasket is the thin single-dart gasket that helps seal the door to stop any outside air infiltration. Wiper gasket is located on the door and on the frame.

Magnetic Gasket and Wiper Gasket on U.S. Cooler door.

Periodically check door gaskets and door sweeps for wear and tear. Keep your gaskets performing longer by cleaning and removing any food, dirt, or debris build-up. It is suggested to include wiping down your gaskets during your daily cleaning routine.

 
Signs that your gaskets may need to be replaced:
– Step inside your walk-in and check for any light coming from around your door. If light comes through you know there is an opening in the gasket.
– Physically check to see if gaskets are ripped or torn.
– If your walk-in cooler gasket isn’t working properly, you may see sweating between the door and door jam. On a walk-in freezer, there may be ice or ice build-up.

 
When replacing your gasket, make sure to purchase the correct gasket for your brand of walk-in. Walk-in brands use different styles of gasket.

Introducing the New U.S. Cooler Walk-in Door.

U.S. Cooler walk-in cooler

Here at U.S. Cooler®, we work hard to bring you a quality product at a reasonable price with exceptional attention to the needs of the customer.  So, with that in mind, starting today, all walk-in coolers and freezers will come standard with our break-through Vert-Ergo™ handle, new adjustable hinges, efficient LED lighting, and a dual-temperature display with touch switch.  Below, we have more information about each of the new products, but what does this mean for you?  In short, our new Vert-Ergo™ handle provides a more ergonomic hand position while increasing your leverage to make opening your walk-in cooler or freezer easier.  The new adjustable hinges allow easy adjustment of door alignment with standard spring-action door closing.  The efficient LED lighting offers a reduction in electrical usage, plus a decrease in heat generation for further savings.  Lastly, the thermometer with built-in light switch offers dual-temperature display with an easy-touch switch, as well as multiple other add-on features for further energy control.  We work hard to ensure that every detail of your walk-in cooler and freezer is built to our superior quality standard and is manufactured with your needs in mind.

Vert-Ergo™ handle

Handle-200x355
  • Vertical handle design for easier opening.
  • Ergonomic positioning for a comfortable feel.
  • Reversible for mounting on either a right hand or left hand door.

LED Light

1808 LED Light
  • Designed to reduce electrical usage by 85%.
  • Minimal heat generation will lower utility cost.
  • Exceeds Federal Energy Act Requirements.
  • Rated for 50,000+ hours of life.

Adjustable hinges

1346 Performer Hing
  • Strap adjusts horizontally, providing door lift and rotation to compensate for unlevel or uneven floors.
  • Built-in spring action is standard.
  • Left and right hand hinges use the same component parts for faster mounting and replacement.

Dual-temperature display with touch light switch

1967-3
  • Dual-temperature display changes between freezer and cooler temperature probes.
  • Designed for (wet & dry) in-door and/or outdoor locations
  • Light relay with touch technology
  • Quick Installation, No connectors required

Replacing Your Hinges and Latches

When replacing hinges and latches for walk-in refrigerators it is important to get an exact or comparable replacement part. The back of the part will stamped with a series of numbers and letters called a mold number. The back may also read “flush” or have the offset size (e.g. 1-3/4″). It is important to have that number on the back to ensure you get the proper replacement. Additionally, having the serial number of your walk-in (often located in the door jamb on the hinge side or in a corner inside panel) can be a huge help if you’re ordering the replacement part from the walk-in manufacturer or your parts supplier.

hinge with serial number
Call the walk-in manufacturer or get the mold number off the back of the part.

Hinges

Walk-in cooler and freezer hinges are either flush or offset. The easiest way to determine which style you have is to place your hand on the outside wall of the walk-in and slide it towards the door. If the door stops your hand from moving across the door, then you have an offset door. If your hand slides across the door, it is flush.

Determine the offset measurement by measuring from the wall surface to the door surface. The offset measurement combined with the mold number on the back will ensure you receive the correct hinge.door offset

Thermometers: Trust but Verify

If the temperature in your walk-in cooler or freezer is not optimal for the type of products you are storing, it can lead to spoilage or the spreading of food borne illnesses. Thermometers are a very important indicator to tell if your walk-in is maintaining your desired holding temperature properly. However, thermometers don’t always give accurate readings, so it’s a good idea to verify that they are working correctly from time to time.

When the thermometer for your walk-in cooler or freezer left the factory, it was calibrated to be accurate within one degree of the actual temperature. However, the thermometer may have been mishandled in transportation, or it may have lost its bearings over time; so it’s always a good precaution to test the reading against a known standard such as melting ice water. If the reading is incorrect, you will need to calibrate it.

thermometer calibrationDial Thermometer Calibration

1. Remove the lens to expose the pointer by un-threading counterclockwise (threaded lens) or by carefully prying (press-in lens) the lens away from the case using the molded slots.

2. Fill a glass or insulated mug with crushed ice and add water. Stir the glass and let it sit for 5 minutes, until all the ice is melting into the water.

3. Check the accuracy by inserting the temperature sensitive probe into the center of the cup of melting ice and water (32°F, 0°C). Keep it there for at least 30 seconds and take it out when the pointer has stopped moving. If your thermometer does not read 32°F, ± 2°F, continue onto step 4.

4a. If the temperature reads high: Stabilize the pointer by placing a finger next to the left side of the wide end. Insert a screwdriver into the slot in the pointer hub and carefully turn the hub clockwise until the desired setting is reached.

4b. If the temperature reads low: Stabilize the pointer by placing a finger next to the right side of the wide end. Insert a screwdriver into the slot in the pointer hub and carefully turn the hub counter-clockwise until the desired setting is reached.1

Digital Thermometer Calibration

digital thermometerYour digital thermometer should have a reset button or a recalibration screw.

Kason Changes with the Times

Although some of the hardware for commercial refrigeration, foodservice, step van and industrial equipment that Kason Industries Inc. manufactures is traditional, much of it evolves over time. “Some products we’ve been making since the 1950s and ‘60s,” Executive Vice President Burl Finkelstein points out. “They haven’t changed a lot since then.”

kason parts hardware
A sample of Kason’s walk-in hardware

But others have evolved with their various industries, and Kason must keep up with those trends. “The tricky part of our business is knowing our customer applications,” he reveals. For example, when the blowing agent used in insulating foam panels for walk-in refrigerators and freezers changed for environmental reasons, the fastener holding that foam had to evolve.

“As the foam blowing agent changed, how it adhered changed, and we had to go back to the panel fasteners that bond it and make sure the foam will bond to the fastener and work well with our fastener,” he continues. “As the market changed from mechanically latched doors to magnetic gaskets, we changed the hardware, made a lighter-weight hardware and went to pull handles.”

The current U.S. energy act mandates self-closing doors and minimal air infiltration for walk-in coolers and freezers. “So we have more focus on hinges that will close the doors more efficiently, and strip curtains and vinyl flex doors to block air infiltration when the door is open,” Finkelstein notes. “We’re keeping our fingers on the pulse of the market.”

Replacement Dart Gasket Installation Instructions

walkin freezer dart gasket
Magnetic dart style gasket

There are various mounting styles of gaskets used in manufacturing walk-in coolers and freezers. Some are secured with screws, stapled onto a flat surface, or cemented into a channel. U.S. Cooler chooses to use magnetic dart style gaskets that push into a groove.
The causes of gasket failure are numerous, from loss of vinyl elasticity over many years to an employee ripping the gasket by running into it with a cart. If your gasket is building up ice or condensation, that’s a sign that your seal is not tight and you need a replacement gasket.

Installing replacement gaskets correctly is important to ensure a tight seal with no air infiltration or icing along the door frame.

Dart Style Gasket Installation Instructions

  1. door gasket drawing
    Soak the gasket in warm water for several minutes in increase pliability.

    Remove door from walk-in cooler/freezer (some hinges have lift-off capability when the door is open) and place on a pair of saw horses or table with gasket side up. Using a screw driver, remove the 7 screws from the inside edge of the old gasket if they were installed. (NOTE: some types of gaskets are not screwed in).

  2.  After old gasket has been removed place new door gasket around door, laying it out across the top and down the sides of the door. With door gasket in position around the door starting at the top corner, firmly seat the spur of the door gasket into the groove of the extrusion along the edge of the door using a hammer. It’s important that the spur be positioned over the groove correctly as it needs to be seated on the first impact of the hammer. Continue along the top of the door seating the gasket and then down the sides until you get to the bottom of the door.
  3. Trim the bottom of the door gasket so it just covers the metal strip of the door sweep. It should not extend onto the rubber part of the door sweep. If the gasket is trimmed, remove the rubber plug from the trimmed piece and insert it into the bottom of the gasket to keep the magnets in place. Use NSF approved silicone caulk to keep the rubber plug in place.
  4. Using a screw driver, install 7 screws into the locations shown on this drawing.
  5. Re-install door onto the hinge blocks on the walk-in frame and check door for proper operation.

You can buy name-brand walk-in parts such as gaskets, handles, and door closers from walkincoolerparts.com. Walk-in Cooler & Freezer Parts has the lowest prices on the net and will ship most orders the same or next business day.

Buy Replacement Walk-in Parts

Has your walk-in cooler or freezer seen a lot of use and abuse over the years? Door parts on walk-ins are particularly susceptible due to heavy traffic and may become worn or break. In the past we have exclusively provided walk-in parts for our units by calling our parts line 866-261-2797 (8-5PM CST). U.S. Cooler is proud to announce the launch of our new parts website walkincoolerparts.com. The site will allow you to create an account and save items in your cart to be purchased at a later date. It also offers the convenience of 24/7 ordering, free shipping, secure checkout and no minimum purchase amounts.

Currently, our online catalog only offers parts that are standard on U.S. Cooler walk-ins. These include cam locks, closers, gaskets, handles, hinges, light fixtures, screed and more. In the coming months, we will begin adding additional items to our catalog encompassing parts that require specific sizing or aren’t found on U.S. Cooler manufactured units.

cooler parts

Walk-in Cooler Parts accepts Visa, Discover, and MasterCard. Appropriate sales taxes will be charged for shipments to California, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Texas.