Master-Bilt® Refrigeration News & Product Information
Seal The Deal: Keep Your Walk-In Airtight
The door is arguably the most used and abused part of a walk-in. At the same time, it’s one of the most vital parts. To increase your energy efficiency, protect your perishable food items and avoid bacterial contamination, doors must close completely and form an airtight seal against warmer outside air.
There are three main components on the door that help maintain a tight seal: hinges, gaskets and the door closer. Learning more about these parts will help you understand their function and how to take care of them so you have a securely sealing door.
Hinges are, of course, what hold the door to the frame. But there’s more to them than meets the eye. There are many kinds of hinges depending on manufacturer and door type. Additionally, many factors such as door width and weight, metal finish and corrosion resistance can influence the choice of hinge.
Typically, there are two hinges per entry door but, depending on door type or individual requirements, there may be a third or even a fourth hinge.
One common feature on walk-in door hinges is a cam-lift action which lifts the door as it’s opened and drops it into a secure seal when it’s closed. Cam-lift hinges are sometimes spring loaded for added closing tension.
Another important feature to look for in hinges is an adjustable hinge plate. These plates are foamed-in-place inside the door behind each hinge. Most doors settle over time and need to be leveled. The plates make it possible to adjust the door horizontally and vertically as needed to maintain a proper seal. For more on adjustable hinge plates, see the article in the April 2014 issue.
Made of vinyl or plastic, gaskets fit around the inside top and edges of the door and function as a block against outside air. Most gaskets have a magnet inside them that attracts to the frame metal and snaps the door shut within an inch or so. At times, gaskets may get torn or pulled out. It’s a good idea to routinely inspect and repair the gaskets as needed. You may need to replace the gasket and, if so, it’s usually very easy to pull out of the door and install a new one. Smaller tears may be repaired sometimes with silicone caulk.
Along the bottom of the door is a vinyl wiper, or sweep, gasket. Just like the gasket along the door edges, its purpose is to keep cold air inside. Most of the time, the wiper gasket is vertically adjustable. Make sure it’s not positioned so far down as to keep the door from closing. Also inspect for wear and tear as with other gaskets.
Door closers are located at the top of the door and are usually hydraulic or spring activated. As the door closes, a roller mounted on the door fits into a hook on the frame and the door is pulled shut. If the roller doesn’t fit into the hook correctly, you can typically correct the situation by loosening the hook with a screwdriver, lowering the hook and tightening it back. Consult your user manual for instructions.
Keeping your walk-in as airtight as possible begins with taking care of your door. Making sure your hinges, gaskets and closers are in proper working order will go a long way towards accomplishing the task.