Get a Small Business Grant to Help Purchase Your Walk-in Cooler or Freezer

government-grantsBeing “green” and “energy efficient” are big advertising buzzwords today.
But besides the benefits to the environment, there are definitely good economical reasons for “going green“. There is a HUGE potential for savings on your next electric bill. However, investing in new efficient equipment like walk-in freezers, furnaces, or stoves often present too much of an up front cost (even if they would pay for themselves in energy savings in a few years) so the purchase is delayed as long as possible. Think you can’t afford that new refrigerator or ice machine? Maybe you can with the help of your state government.

In this political environment there are many grants available for small businesses, especially when it comes to making your business more energy efficient. The following is a list of websites where you can find and apply for grants in your state (most are linked to the state’s business website but some are linked to specific energy grants). There is also an online government grant and loan search available. Different grants have different requirements and payouts (for example, some will require you to reduce energy usage by at least 20% and the state will foot 25% of the equipment bill).

Economic Development Websites:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Note: Website links accurate as of 8/22/2014. Let us know of any changes in state website links.

Walk-in Cooler & Freezer Shopping Tips

shopping walkin coolerBe aware when shopping for walk-ins online that you are comparing the same size box and refrigeration. Some companies are offering smaller sized refrigeration packages, which make it look cheaper upfront but may not provide you the results you are looking for.

Some systems, whether they are coolers or freezers, are designed only to hold the temperature of the product coming in and are not designed to pull-down the temperature of the product to the desired holding temperature. Pull-down happens when there is product entering the cooler or freezer that is warmer than the desired temperature and needs to cool in a short amount of time. For example, when a restaurant owner has a large pot of soup that needs to be cooled quickly to avoid bacteria growth, the refrigeration must be able to cool the soup to the desired temperature in a reasonable and safe time while maintaining the holding temperature in the cooler/freezer. Systems designed for holding only and not to pull down the temperature of the product coming in will only work properly if products entering the box are already at the desired temperature, either cold or already frozen.

The industry standard design temperature for freezers is at -10° F. Some online companies are selling their freezer refrigeration at a holding temperature of 0° F. If you try to run a walk-in designed for 0° F holding temperature and set the thermostat to -10° F, it will run constantly trying to meet the -10° F temperature it was not designed to hold. This will shorten the life of the compressor and may cause the coil to freeze and consequently warm up the box to melting temperature, damaging the food stored inside.

Before purchasing, you must understand the difference and what implications it could have on your business. Most perishable items that are stored in a freezer are not frozen to start with and will need to freeze and stay frozen for a period of time. If the box is designed for holding temperature only and is set at 0° F, the refrigeration will work harder and longer to pull the temperature inside the box back down to 0° F once warm food is stored in the freezer. Frozen products, such as ice cream, hold up better at -10° F rather than 0° F. When a freezer goes into defrost it can raise the box temperature by 10-15°. If your box is set at 0° F, a 10-15° temperature swing can cause some products to be damaged or melted. When dealing with food it is imperative to make sure the holding temperature in the freezer is low enough to keep products frozen, protecting from bacteria or other hazards that spread through food not refrigerated correctly. (Check with your local health codes for the required holding temperature of your walk-in cooler and freezer.) It is also important to note that when refrigeration is working longer and harder, your energy costs will increase as well as the chances of your refrigeration breaking down or having inefficiencies.

Every state has requirements for storing cold food; here is an example of Illinois’s Administrative Code.

U.S. Cooler Saves Customers Money with Energy Efficient Walk-ins

stacked walk-in panels
Extruded polystyrene panels for walk-ins.
Most walk-in coolers and freezers are purchased based upon the initial cost. What many fail to realize is that operational costs can dig deep into consumers’ pockets. U.S. Cooler is giving the Cold Storage Industry an energy efficient option by manufacturing walk-ins with extruded polystyrene insulation.

Extruded polystyrene is the most efficient insulation available on the market. Over time, extruded polystyrene resists moisture while other insulations start absorbing it. One must consider a real life application to understand moisture absorption.

Freezers normally operate at -10° F inside, but may have an exterior temperature of up to 95° F or even more. With the extreme difference in temperatures, the insulation is vulnerable to retaining moisture in the structural voids. When water starts collecting inside walk-in insulation, the R-value drops and moisture inside the insulation starts to freeze.

r-retentions1

When moisture is absorbed and R-values start to decrease, refrigeration systems start working harder and longer to make up for the heat transferring into the walk-in. A refrigeration system working overtime means higher energy bills. By using extruded polystyrene, consumers can save that money.

Extruded polystyrene is unique; the insulation is a closed-cell product, meaning the cells of the material are so tightly packed together that moisture has a difficult time penetrating, which is optimal for moisture resistance and keeps the R-value from decreasing.

Using studies performed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CREEL), U.S. Cooler demonstrated extruded polystyrene saved consumers over $5,000 in energy costs over the first five years of operation. The savings again are due to extruded polystyrene’s ability to resist moisture and to retain its R-value better than other insulators.

energy-savings2

When buying and selling walk-ins, consider more than the initial cost of the walk-in-consider energy costs. Educate yourself about how to save money; to find out more about extruded polystyrene and energy savings, call 800.521.2665 or visit www.uscooler.com.

U.S. Cooler at the 2009 National Restaurant Association Show

nra

U.S. Cooler exhibited at the NRA Show in Chicago, May 16-19, 2009.

Since last NRA, U.S. Cooler has been busy working on new and innovative processes to reduce waste, inventory, time, and costs while increasing productivity. All of these factors together equal savings for dealers and consumers. Providing customers with quality, affordable walk-ins in a convenient amount of time has always been U.S. Cooler’s highest priority.

U.S. Cooler, through their discount dealer program, passes savings on to consumers via the internet. Quick delivery, quality product, and competitive prices have drawn customers from across the nation to buy walk-in coolers and freezers from U.S. Cooler’s internet dealers online. Recently, prices were discounted even further, saving consumers even more money. Check out www.fastcooler.com, the internet’s best resource for discount walk-in cooler and freezer dealers.

Stop by U.S. Cooler booth 1834 to learn more about our discount internet program and how U.S. Cooler can save you money.

California Accepts EISA Regulations

The use of energy has become a commonly discussed issue with environmental and economic concerns. Everyday a significant amount of energy is used for commercial equipment in restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and warehouses. Prior to 2006, there had not been any set regulations on energy usage for commercial refrigeration.

California was one of the first states to set energy regulations for walk-in coolers and freezers. They previously required an envelope insulation rating of R-28 for refrigerators and R-36 for freezers. California was also one of the first to require electronically commutated motors or permanent split capacitor-type motors for refrigeration. Before more states could pose their own requirements on energy consumption, the federal EISA (Energy Independence and Security Act) agreement was signed in 2007. California has fully accepted the EISA requirements, amending their previous appliance energy code.

Defrost termination fan delay control

The defrost termination/fan delay control is a temperature-activated, single pole-double throw switch controlled with a remote sensing bulb (Fig. 1). The control can be an adjustable type. One example of the installation of an adjustable defrost termination/fan delay control is on a walk-in freezer’s evaporator (Fig. 2).

fig. 1
fig. 1

The control is wired into the refrigeration circuit. The control’s remote sensing bulb is located high on the evaporator where the frost is likely to clear last. The function of this temperature-activated switch is to terminate defrost when the evaporator coil has been defrosted, and to delay the evaporator fans from coming on immediately after defrost.

fig. 2
fig. 2

Defrost time clocks can be programmed for certain defrost duration periods. This is a time duration set at the time clock in minute increments. For example, a defrost time clock on a freezer could be programmed to defrost every six hours (four times daily), and have defrost durations of 40 minutes. However, there will be times throughout the year where the coil does not need the entire 40 minutes. These times could be from low usage of the freezer where the door openings are minimal, or when the humidity is low and not much frost accumulates on the coil. This is where the defrost termination part of the control comes into play.

Read the full article to learn how the defrost termination & fan delay systems work

Energy (and money) Saving Tips for Your Walk-in

steel walk-in coolerHere are some ways to help you save energy costs on your walk-in refrigerator or walk-in freezer.

  • Properly seal all penetrations in walk-in.
  • Replace worn or damaged door seals.
  • 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.
  • Do not prop door open for an extended period of time.
  • Add strip curtains or air curtains to your walk-in for extra protection from air infiltration when door is open.
  • 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 there is nothing stacked around the coil to restrict airflow.
  • Make sure fan motors are balanced and running at optimum speed. Clean fan blades to reduce drag.
  • Use an evaporator with an EC Motor.
  • Install refrigeration away from doors.
  • Keep condenser coils clean.
  • Utilize Smart Defrost Kits.
  • Set defrost frequency at minimum requirements.

Smart Defrost Kit for Walk-in Refrigeration

Make your refrigeration smart and save money by adding a Smart Defrost Kit (SDK) to your walk-in refrigeration system. SDK decreases the amount of defrost cycles in commercial walk-in refrigeration units by 30-40%. Typical electrical defrost refrigeration systems are scheduled to defrost at regular intervals, which is not always the most efficient or safe way. For applications where food safety is critical such as restaurants, convenience stores and grocery stores, the SDK works to protect perishable products as well as enables refrigeration systems to operate more efficiently, ultimately saving you money. All systems are different, which is why SDK takes time to study your system and helps decrease energy costs by keeping the box temperatures consistent. The SDK works by using temperature and pressure sensors to constantly monitor the system.

sdk-kitClick here for more information on Smart Defrost Kits.

Check out their savings calculator that demonstrates how much money you could save by installing a Smart Defrost Kit.