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.

Beer Stores to Expand Current Cold Storage Displays in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania – The state of Pennsylvania is undergoing a dramatic change on how beer is sold to consumers in the state. Among other things, the new bill that will go into effect January 14 will allow single-bottle, six-pack, mix-and-match six pack and growler sales at beer distributors. Thus being a dramatic change from how beer is sold today, beer distributors will be renovating their displays to accommodate the single, six-pack and growler beer products. Retailers will need to act fast to accommodate this additional cold storage space before January 14.

Brew Cave by U.S. Cooler specializes in beer storage and can help facilitate in the design process for new cold storage display coolers. Many beer distributors will be expanding their current walk-in cold storage space and will have limited options for additional display. Brew Cave focuses on custom walk-in coolers and display coolers that can fit most any design specification. From growler coolers to keg warehouses to display coolers, Brew Cave specializes in any type of beer storage.

Need assistance in designing and planning for these changes? Brew Cave by U.S. Cooler is ready to assist merchants in designing their new cold storage space to display these new products. Although Brew Cave by U.S. Cooler does not sell direct to beer distributors, a factory sales representative is located in Pennsylvania and available to facilitate with any cold storage needs.

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Visit Brew Cave or U.S. Cooler for information on cold storage options.

 

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