Master-Bilt Refrigeration News & Product Information
Increase Walk-In Efficiency With Options
Many options are available to increase the service and performance of your walk-in cooler or freezer. Some of these are well-known but others you may not have considered. Take a look at the list below and see what you might add to your walk-in to increase efficiency.
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.
Screeds are U-shaped channels, typically vinyl, used to secure a floorless walk-in to a building floor. Screeds offer ease of installation because they can be placed first and used as a guide for placement of walls. The U-channel screed also has a radius on the bottom to keep contaminants out of crevices. The radius eliminates the need for cove molding and saves installation labor.
In high traffic areas, vinyl curtains make it easy for employees to move in and out of the walk-in without constantly opening and closing the door. The curtains, available as hanging strips or as swinging clear panels, allow walk-in doors to be left open for short amounts of time while still retaining cold air.
View windows provide a clear view of inside contents and inventory for kitchen staff while increasing security and decreasing possibility of theft, sabotage and employee non-production and unauthorized activities.
Alarm And Light Management Systems
Electronic controllers that combine alarm and light management into one interface are very convenient. One system replaces multiple components such as mechanical thermometers, separate alarms and light switches. These controllers are also designed to save energy with door open alarms and a light management system that automatically turns lights on when the door is opened and off when closed. Lights may also be controlled by an automatic timer or through occupancy sensors.
Electronic Controller Systems
Electronic systems that control removal of frost build-up through reverse cycle defrost, provide on-demand defrost and offer internet monitoring of all setpoints and diagnostics are more than just a convenience. They reduce installation labor and material costs while increasing energy efficiency. In some cases, the savings on wiring installation alone covers the cost of the controller.
Outdoor walk-ins and warehouses typically require roofs and there are several types available. The most basic roof is a vinyl membrane type which comes in rolls and is cut to fit your roof. Membrane roofs are available for a maximum of 2400 actual square feet roof surface area. These roofs can also be constructed with a slope for added rain run-off.
Prefab aluminum roofs offer more durable protection with sectional panels that attach to the top of the walk-in by screws. Aluminum roof packages typically include all screws, joiners, clips and roofing paper for completely installing roof sections.
Larger structures will most likely require a galvalume roof. These roofs, available from 25 ft. up to 100 ft. widths by length desired, are sectional and constructed of galvanized steel. They also come with all necessary hardware for assembly including fasteners, graduate spacer purlins (to provide roof slope), galvalume decking, end closures, ridge caps and ridge vents.
Kickplates are especially helpful for protecting doors and door frames in very busy foodservice environments. They shield the door from dents and scratches that can result from carts, two-wheelers and jacks going into and out of a walk-in.
Product loading, door openings and refrigeration system defrost cycles can lead to temperature changes in the walk-in. These temperature changes cause changes in the atmospheric pressure sometimes making it difficult to open a door. Heated relief ports keep the pressure equalized inside and outside a walk-in and make it easier to open and close the entry door. Most freezers will already have a port as a standard part of the door frame. However, they can be added to cooler doors if desired. Ports come in several models depending on the size of the walk-in and refrigeration system used.
A good way to make the most of your walk-in is to use shelving to provide additional stacking space. One of the most durable shelf types is the welded wire stainless steel variety. Plastic shelving is also available as are solid shelves. No matter the type, shelving is designed to assemble easily, usually without need of special tools. Shelving is available in multiple tiers, usually a minimum of two, and optional casters provide mobility. Remember to make sure whatever shelving package you use, that it meets NSF and local sanitation codes.
Heavy-Duty Or Structural Floor
If there’s frequent wheeled traffic going in and out of your walk-in, a heavy-duty floor is a good idea. 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, there’s the 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.
Anti-Sweat Controls For Glass Doors
In retail environments, product visibility is everything and glass door walk-ins are ideal for showing off a wide variety of items. However, when glass doors fog up with condensation due to frequent openings, visibility drops. Heated doors will fix the problem most of the time but door heat requires more energy use. An efficient way to tackle the problem is to use an anti-sweat control module. The module is designed to save energy by turning off glass door and frame heaters when no door heat is necessary. Heaters are energized only when required based on sensor readings of store temperature and humidity.
These protectors, sometimes called “rub-rails,” are attached to the sides of a walk-in with screws to prevent exterior walls from being dented or scratched. Protectors can be constructed of stainless steel or vinyl.
A locking bar provides additional security beyond the normal locking handle found on a walk-in. The bars prevent unauthorized opening even if door hinges and latches are removed. There’s also an inside safety release to prevent entrapment.