Cold storage is not created equal and choosing the right walk-in cooler or freezer can be challenging. From farmers to florists to restaurant owners, walk-in coolers and freezers act as a crucial component of business success; thus, choosing the walk-in that fits your specific needs takes consideration and a little bit of homework. We’ve compiled the major factors to review to make it easier to choose the right walk-in.
Walk-ins should be specific to your work environment. Understanding what will work for your business will help you select the right cold storage solution.
- What are your capacity needs?
- Your volume of production and the size of what is being stored affects the required temperature of your cooler.
- What are the types of products you are storing and their peak inventories?
- An overpacked cooler or freezer restricts airflow, affecting the unit’s ability to keep products at their recommended temperatures.
- What type of cooler do you need?
- Indoor, outdoor, split, drop-in, etc.
- What does the area adjacent to the walk-in?
- The environment surrounding a walk-in cooler will affect its performance. For example, is the walk-in next to an oven or grill? Is it located in an ambient space?
- Does your cooler need to meet specific requirements?
- Some projects require antimicrobial, impact-resistant surfaces and/or specific flooring.
- What kind of ventilation do you need?
- Are there specific elements that require a custom unit, or could you purchase a stocked option?
Considering Insulation Material
There are different types of insulation materials available with varying R-Values, so it’s essential to understand how the R-Value varies and could impact cold storage performance.
- Highest R-Value per inch thickness of any building insulation
- Up to R8/inch
- Offers the best long-term thermal performance of insulation
- Over 12-year life, only lost 1.55% of R-Value for freezers and 5.68% for coolers
- Extruded polystyrene (XPS)
- Up to R5
- Over 12-year life, lost an average of 21% of its insulating value, falling to a net R-Value of 3.95 per inch
- Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)
- Up to R4
With many factors to contemplate, enlisting the services of a professional refrigeration consultant may make your choice easier. You can discuss the number of products that must be stored, the temperature needs, air infiltration, elevation of location and ambient environmental factors. Some questions to ask your consultant include:
- What type of control system should be implemented?
- How much R-Value do you have? Less R-Value means more refrigeration capacity is needed.
- Should you choose stock or go custom? If you don’t have any specific requirements, choose a stocked unit.
Setting the Record Straight
At KPS Global®, we hear about operators making common mistakes when choosing a walk-in cooler or freezer. To avoid a similar misstep, consider the following:
- Don’t focus solely on price—think about the long-term value.
- Location is key—consider your environment and how it affects your refrigeration.
- Understand the ancillary elements associated with a walk-in cooler (plumbing, electrical, etc.).
- Are there Local Code, National Certifications, or energy efficiency requirements by governing bodies that must be adhered to?
- Will your walk-in cooler fit all of your products?
- Do you have a qualified installer?
When choosing a walk-in cooler, cutting costs can cause increased expenses later on. Buying what you need rather than what is cheaper can save you time, money, and headache down the road.
KPS Global® is the industry-leading manufacturer of walk-in coolers and freezers for supermarket and convenience stores along with insulated panel systems for industrial utility enclosures, refrigerated warehouses, and scientific chambers. Dedicated to exceeding expectations and creating enduring relationships with our customers, KPS Global not only offers superior products, seamless installation and turnkey general contracting services but also supplies aftermarket parts and replacement equipment. To learn more about our products and services, click here.