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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.

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