A walk-in fridge can last for many years if it is properly maintained, but it loses some of its effectiveness after many years in your restaurant. Since new technology is continually being released, it is recommended to replace a walk-in every 15 years or so. Do you think you may need to replace a walk-in freezer or cooler earlier?
It could be time for an upgrade when:
There are two basic types of walk-ins: prefabricated and built-in. This guide will focus on prefabricated units, which are built from pre-made urethane panels and usually come in set layouts and sizes, which make them quick to set up, easy to expand, and easy to relocate.
Built-in units on the other hand tend to use insulation covered by structural tiles on the walls and floors. They have the advantage of being built to your exact needs, but they also can't be moved or changed as easily as a prefabricated unit.
The panels are what help your walk-in stay cold and run efficiently. They consist of insulation foam sandwiched between thin metal sheets, sometimes called the “skin”.
You have a choice to order a walk-in with or without a floor included. Ultimately which one you go with depends on how you intend to use the unit and the layout of your space.
The door is the most used part of your walk-in, and like the other parts of the unit you may have several options available to you.
To bring it down to basics, you need to know how much power the refrigeration system needs to cool the walk-in box and where you want to put that system. The available space and layout of your facility will have a big impact on which options are available to you.
Generally speaking walk-in coolers will require a compressor of around 1/2 hp, while walk-in freezers will require a compressor of around 1 hp. This is very dependent on the size and layout of your setup, though, so be sure to consult product literature for specifics.
You'll also want to consider how the refrigeration system is controlled and monitored. Do you want a digital or dial display? How easy is it to access the controls? If your business uses a HACCP plan, then consider temperature monitoring and recording systems to make data collection easy.
Pre-Assembled Remote Systems
Now that you know about the different components that make up most prefabricated walk-in coolers, it's your job to find the best walk-in cooler for your business. There are many variables, but here are a few basic things that you can nail down right now:
The first question you want to ask is do you want your walk-in to store refrigerated or frozen foods? Walk-in refrigerators will hold foods below 41 degrees Fahrenheit, but a walk-in freezer temperature is lower, keeping food frozen around 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Walk-Ins are designed to be installed either indoors or outdoors, they’re not interchangeable. If you do decide to go with an outdoor walk-in box, you’ll want to consider a few other factors:
Walk-ins come in a wide range of floor plans and configurations, from tiny boxes that give a small boost to storage, to massive units that hold vast quantities of food. When determining which one to use, a good rule of thumb is:
1 cu. ft. = about 28 lb. of food.
This can help serve as a good walk-in cooler size calculator to get in the right ballpark. Also be sure to consider:
The most important thing you can do prior to ordering a new walk-in is to measure your space and read over the relevant literature carefully to ensure that when it’s delivered, everything will fit and your installation will go smoothly! There are many walk-in sizes available so you will most likely be able to find the appropriate one for you, even when you have limited space.
Having a new walk-in delivered and installed takes time and can disrupt operations, so plan ahead and take steps to lessen the impact on your workflow. Some general tips include:
Making your cooler more energy-efficient can increase the cost of the installation, but when it's done right it will help you save money on your energy bill in the long run, and reduce strain on your refrigeration system, which will help it last longer too.
A walk-in is a big investment and it can be a big hassle to replace one, so make sure that you review the terms of your walk-in's warranty before ordering and consider:
To clean and sanitize your walk-in cooler or freezer, use an approved cleaning solution like 4 oz. of bleach in a gallon of water or Arctic Kleen freezer cleaner. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions when cleaning to achieve the best results. Some other accessories that can be helpful when cleaning a cooler include mops, brushes, sprayers or buckets, and safety apparel like gloves and protective glasses.
Keep the door in good condition to maintain the unit's energy efficiency. By keeping dirt and debris out of the door seal, you'll extend the life of the door and the gaskets. If any of the gaskets start to wear out, replacing them is a relatively inexpensive way to keep your cooler in top condition.
Make sure that the condenser coils are kept clean. When they become clogged, it puts additional strain on the compressor and can cause the refrigeration system to give out.
Mildew and bacteria can grow on the walls, ceiling, and floor inside a walk-in cooler or freezer. It's a good idea to regularly wipe down all surfaces to prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms. Also, avoid using corrosive chemicals and high-pressure hoses as these can damage the metal skins on the panels.
Once your cooler is installed, there are still many items you'll need to get it ready for use. To maintain your cooler and ensure that it continues to work properly, we offer everything from cleaning solutions to refrigeration thermometers. And don't forget about shelving and racks! Check out our assortment of walk-in accessories to make sure that you have everything you need once your cooler is up and running.
Different Types of Restaurant Shelving
Creating and maintaining your storage area efficiently in your business can be challenging, particularly if you have limited space and lots to store. Purchasing a shelving unit allows you to organize and increase your storage space. There are different types of restaurant shelving, materials, components, and accessories to consider when purchasing a unit, each with pros and cons. With this in mind, we walk you through each shelving option, its benefits, and where it fits in your commercial kitchen . Shop All Restaurant Shelving Use the following links to explore different types of restaurant shelving: Restaurant Shelves Shelving Materials Types of Shelving Mounts Types of Specialty Shelving Shelving Accessories Popular Shelving Brands Where
Reach-In Refrigerator and Freezer Buying Guide
From large institutional cafeteria settings, to small mom and pop restaurants, reach-in refrigerators and freezers can both improve the quality and speed of service, as well as help you save money. Because your reach-in fridge or freezer will be the most heavily used piece of equipment in your kitchen, it is important to find the proper configuration of door type, compressor, and size to perfectly fit your needs. Be sure to check out our commercial refrigerator reviews as well!
Chef Base Buying Guide
When you're planning the layout of your kitchen, both equipment size and function play an important role in determining what to include in your work environment. For efficient, streamlined work stations, chef bases are available with refrigerators or freezers to fit every need as you make the most out of your valuable kitchen space.