For restaurant and other food related business owners refrigeration is just one of the many purchases to consider when opening or expanding. Some non-food related businesses that may utilize a walk in fridge could include florists, mortuaries, labs, hospitals, pharmacies, vets, animal shelters or manufacturers that require the refrigeration of medicines or product ingredients. There are several options when it comes to configuration and brand selection, and most often larger establishments will opt for a walk in fridge. A walk in fridge is like a walk in closet, as compared to a regular closet where you are opening a door, surveying the contents, and then reaching in to grab what you need, with a walk in fridge, you are actually walking into a room (size varies) that is fully refrigerated. As you can imagine the cost of a walk in refrigerator continues after the initial purchase, with energy consumption.
Most commercial regulations require units to be no warmer than 40 degrees, and a thermometer clearly showing the temperature. To be sure that you meet these regulations, a typical commercial thermometer can be found at a reasonable price.
In some cases a walk in fridge is an entire existing room that has been converted by adding insulation and refrigeration units. In this case there is always an insulating barrier at all egresses, like a plastic curtain or swinging doors. Perhaps youve seen doors like this at your local grocery store near the dairy or meat and seafood departments. They ensure that the cold is staying in and heat is staying out, while still making the refrigerated areas accessible, especially for carts or pallets of food.
The other type of walk in fridge can be bought as a freestanding unit that is installed into a space. Often looking almost like a safe, the units vary in size and can be custom made. They are usually clad in stainless steel. This is the type of walk in fridge that is commonly used in restaurants. They can also have glass doors, which is often the case in convenience store or beer walk ins.
Choosing a Brand
There are numerous suppliers and manufacturers of walk in fridges. Choosing a local distributor can save a lot on shipping, and most large cities have a restaurant supply district for browsing. This is a neighborhood devoted to selling all things restaurant related. Depending on the city they can be anywhere from just a block of storefronts to more than four blocks square and can be great resources just for window shopping and comparing prices between new and used set ups. Some major American based brands include:
- Bush Refrigeration
- Polar King
- U.S. Cooler.
When choosing a brand, here are a few things to consider, keeping in mind that local is better:
- How big of a unit do you need?
- What are the delivery costs?
- What is the biggest dimension and how are you going to get it into your space?
- Who will install it?
- Where was the unit manufactured?
- Where were the components manufactured? (Material like insulation, hardware, seals, and metal does it make a difference where it was assembled if all the parts are shipping from overseas?)
- What is the life cycle of the unit and how will it be recycled when it is no longer working or needed?
- How much electricity does it use?
- What kind of warrantee does it have for both parts and service?
Walk in fridges and walk in freezers are effective at keeping large quantities of foods and other goods cool, and often more efficient than several smaller reach in units. The fact that they are so customizable makes them an option for virtually any space. There are an infinite number of design options and plenty of reputable manufactures and suppliers in the US to make any refrigeration vision come to fruition.