Master-Bilt® Refrigeration News & Product Information
Five Myths About Walk-Ins
1. Used equipment is just as good
Sure, you can probably save a few bucks by purchasing used panels and refrigeration systems. However, keep in mind there are several potential snags.
Not that your used equipment provider isn’t trustworthy, but there could be issues that they don’t know about. Mold inside the panels and mechanical issues with the refrigeration system are just a couple of nasty surprises that can arise. By purchasing new, you get the manufacturer’s full warranty and lower maintenance costs. Also remember, new equipment will be agency listed for proper sanitation while used equipment that may have been modified voids the sanitation listing. Other pitfalls with used equipment include parts availability (particularly with refrigeration systems) and lower energy efficiency.
2. A walk-in panel is a walk-in panel
Most panels may look the same from the outside, but not all of them are equal. You should look for a durable outside finish, or “skin,” that will hold up to corrosion and retain its appearance over the years. Stucco embossed, acrylic-coated galvanized steel is a popular finish that helps hide smudges and the inevitable dents and dings. It’s also a brighter metal that also helps enhance appearance.
The main thing that sets panels apart, though, is insulation. There are several different types of insulation out there, but foamed-in-place polyurethane is highly reliable and provides many advantages over other types:
- Superior moisture resistance due to polyurethane’s 97% closed cell content
- Polyurethane has higher R-values (or insulation ratings) than other types of panels which means they meet or surpass Department of Energy and other federal requirements.
- Polyurethane foam allows for thinner walls which maximizes walk-in storage space
- Polyurethane foam permanently adheres to metal panels adding strength and reliability
- The 245fa blowing agent used in polyurethane is environmentally-friendly with zero ozone depletion potential
Don’t forget about doors, either. Be sure that your door has a welded, rigid inside frame that will hold up to years of constant use. Self-closing, spring-loaded, cam-lift hinges are also important for an easier, complete door closure (because you don’t want cold air leaking out an open door). Plus, your door should be equipped with adjustable hinges to account for any misalignments that may occur during installation or after years of use.
3. What’s stored inside doesn’t matter
The temperature of the items stored in your walk-in can make a big difference in its overall performance. That’s why refrigeration load sizing is vital. Sometimes walk-in refrigeration systems are designed for “hold only” meaning they hold the temperature of the product that’s brought in. However, if the items you are placing in the walk-in have just come from a hot environment, like an oven, the heat from those items is going to warm the entire interior of the walk-in and, consequently, all the other stored items. In this case, you’re going to need a system designed to pull temperature down to a desired level. Talk to your dealer or manufacturer about what you are storing. They can help determine the refrigeration load and recommend the best refrigeration system to match it.
4. Any installer will do
Look for someone with refrigeration installation experience and make sure the installer you choose is qualified to install the equipment you have purchased. Work with your local dealer and/or manufacturer as they will likely have specific contacts to help you or may possibly handle the installation for you.
5. Options are not important
You may not need all the bells and whistles on your walk-in but some options can prolong the life of the walk-in while making your life a lot easier. Here are a few examples…
- If you’re going to have a lot of wheeled traffic going in and out of your walk-in, consider a heavy-duty floor. These floors contain a layer of foamed-in-place plywood to distribute weight of light wheeled traffic across a floor. For heavier traffic, such as carts or pallet jacks, you should think about a structural floor option. These floors are constructed of the usual insulated panels but with foamed-in-place structural pillars and plywood underlayment. For added strength, the surface is a 1/8-inch thick diamond tread finish.
- Interior and exterior ramps make it much easier to enter and exit a walk-in, especially if you’re moving items with a two-wheeler or jack. Ramps also feature non-skid strips to help prevent slip-and-fall accidents.
- Shelving is great for additional stacking space and for organizing your stored items. Shelving is available in several types: Welded wire stainless steel, plastic and solid. Shelving comes in multiple tiers, usually a minimum of two, and you can add casters for mobility. Remember to make sure whatever shelving package you use meets NSF and local sanitation codes.
There are lots more options available for walk-ins. For more ideas see our May 2016 Cool It! article.