Walk-In Refrigerators

Buying Guide: How to Know When It Is Time to Replace Your Walk-In

Summertime is approaching quickly and your refrigerators and freezers will be working overtime. While walk-in refrigerators and Norlake walk-infreezers can have very long service lives, there are a few telltale signs that a unit needs replacing.

With new and more energy efficient technologies continuously being developed (see my previous post detailing ENERGY STAR products here), experts recommend that walk-ins be replaced after 15 years of service.

If panel skins are deteriorating or separating from the foam, the walk-in most likely needs to be retired. Frost accumulates when warm air is allowed to enter the walk-in. If your walk-in is a new installation and the frost is forming along seam lines, you may have an air leak at the seam. Interior panel seams that have condensation or frost build up typically signify that the seal is allowing air to leak through. This can compromise holding temperatures and leave you needing a new unit.

If the frost is around the door you likely have a leaking door gasket or wiper gasket on the bottom of the door. To determine this, go inside the freezer, have someone turn off the lights. If you see light, you have a leak at the gaskets that will need to be repaired. Door seals and sweep gaskets can be replaced. However, sagging doors that allow outside air into the walk-in can cause ice buildup on the evaporator coil, compromising efficiency and eventually requiring the purchase of a new unit

Finally, if the frost is on the ceiling, particularly near the unit cooler (coil), you may have a failed fan delay relay. The fan delay relay functions to delay the coil fans from restarting after a defrost cycle until the coil refreezes. If there is no delay the water on the fins of the coil will evaporate and turn to frost on the ceiling of the walk-in freezer. You’ll need a refrigeration tech to confirm the problem and replace the fan delay relay.

Walk-In Coolers Buying Guide

Walk-In Coolers are an essential equipment for any commercial kitchen. In essence, a Walk-In Cooler is a very large refrigerator that is large enough to walk into (also called a vault). Perfect for storing ingredients that need to be kept cold, Walk-In Units have ample room and the ability to walk in to it means that you can store even the bulkiest items and organize everything at the optimal temperature. Prior to entering the foodservice industry, I’m pretty sure you’ve never had a reason to think about or research the ins and outs of Walk-In Coolers. Keep in mind, that when using a Walk-In Cooler, food temperature will not drop as quickly as it would in a Blast Chiller. For example, Nor-Lake Units will hold food temperatures at   +35°F., -10°F., -20°F.

This buying guide includes a brief questionnaire that will assist you in selecting the right equipment for your needs.

What Are You Using It For… Selecting the right Walk-In Cooler depends on what you will be using it for. Here are a few examples:

  • For Beer or Beverages…. You want a cooler unit that will hold beverages at a lower temperature than food items.
  • For Food… The Walk-In Unit must be able to hold the food at 38-40 degrees.

Nor-Lake Indoor Walk-In Cooler- Top Mount

How Cold… Select from:

  • Walk-In Refrigerator… Perfect for storing crisp lettuce, mayonnaise, meats, and other foodstuff that needs to be stored between 28 and 35 degrees Farenheit.
  • Walk-In Freezer… Will keep meats, seafood, desserts and more icy cold by holding at below 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

Inside or Outside Box…  A Walk-In Cooler can be placed inside or outside.

  • Inside Walk-In Cooler… If the unit will be inside, select the coolest place in your establishment to set it up.
  • Outside Walk-In Cooler… It is important to decide where you will be placing the Walk-In, as an Outdoor Box, will have a protective covering to protect from the elements.

Compressor Location…

  • Self-Contained Compressor: A compressor located on top or on the side of the Walk-

    Kolpak Indoor Walk-In Cooler- Side Mount

    In Cooler will need 6″  of clearance from the top of the compressor to function properly and not burn out the compressor.

  • Remote Compressor: The compressor sits on the roof of your building, basement, or the ground and a pre-charged tubing is used to push cold air through it.

Your Floor… Can your current floor hold a 1250+ pound Walk-In Cooler as well as the foodstuff inside of it, for years without damaging the floor? If not, then you will need to have the floor reinforced. For example, if you will be using it as a keg cooler, it’s a good idea to reinforce the floors anyways due to the weight of the kegs getting wheeled across the floor, loaded and unloaded multiple times each day.

  • If you are using the Walk-In Cooler to store produce, you may not need a reinforced floor.
  • You will always need a reinforced floor for a Walk-In Freezer unless the concrete floor is already insulated.

Configurations… Knowing a few configurations before calling us, will help us better assist you in selecting the right Walk-In Unit for your establishment.

  • What are your dimensions including height?
  • What is the door specification and how many doors will you need? A standard door is 34″x76″
  • Where do you want the door hinges?
  • Where will the refrigeration be… Remote, Side, Top, or Self-Contained?
  • Will you need 208/220 or 115 Voltages; Single or 3-Phase?
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