Walk-in coolers are defined as an engineered, refrigerated storage room. They can be found in restaurants, food storage facilities, convenience stores, and research laboratories. A walk-in cooler should be able to maintain a temperature as low as 35 degrees F. They are pre-engineered or pre-fabricated units that come in both standard and custom sizes. Custom walk-in coolers can be manufactured to meet specific size and shape requirements.
Walk-in coolers consist of prefabricated panels with urethane insulation between metal material. Panels are rated with an R-value, and typically most panels are rated as an R-30 with 4” of insulation. Higher R-value panels are available. Walk-in coolers have prefabricated insulated ceilings, and can have prefabricated insulated floors also. A floor is an optional part of a walk-in cooler, due to the fact that the unit can be placed directly on a properly prepared floor. Walk-in coolers can be located on the inside or the outside of a building. They can range in size from a small 5’x6’ room to warehouse sized units.
In the food service industry, walk-in coolers are typically used to store large quantities of food that need to remain at a constant temperature.
Walk-in coolers require refrigeration systems that can be either self-contained or remote. In the self-contained model, the evaporator coil and compressor/condenser is mounted to the cooler. The refrigeration lines are then mounted on the ceiling or sidewall. A remote system is used when there is not enough room within the box to provide ventilation for the unit. The remote unit is typically located outside of the building or on the roof. Walk-in cooler doors are constructed similar to the wall panels and include reinforced door frames and heavy duty hinges. They are available in widths from 24” to 34”. Locking mechanisms are common on many models, along with safety features inside, such as push bars, to prevent an individual from being locked in.
Walk-in cooler manufacturers offer a variety of accessories and features, such as ramps, automatic door closers, automatic temperature controls, sliding doors, and viewports. Wire shelving with a polymer coating is typically used for storing items inside the walk-in cooler.