The average person has a refrigerator with an attached freezer in their home ranging anywhere from 9 to 30 cubic feet in size. But larger establishments like hospitals and restaurants need to be able to safely store and keep cool a much larger amount of food. Walk-in coolers and freezers are ideal because they provide optimum refrigeration and freezing for perishable food, while making it easy for employees to get what they need quickly.
Rather than measuring in cubic feet, walk-in coolers are measured in square footage since they take up quite a bit of floor space. These coolers can house only a few shelves of goods or they can be as big as a warehouse, depending on the customer's needs. The coolers are made of large panels that are insulated with a special coating or "skin." This coating serves as the insulation to help keep the contents cool. There is a foam insulation material inserted between the metal panels. The cooler is typically sealed tight with a metal or glass door and locks are installed to only allow access by authorized personnel.
How They Work
Walk-in coolers have a thermostat inside that helps to monitor and regulate the internal temperature. Much like a home's heating and air conditioning system, the thermostat helps determine when the cooler should power on to maintain the preset temperature. The unit is attached to a condenser that helps pump cold air inside. There is coolant inside the coils of the condenser that circulates throughout to keep the air cold. Everything runs on a cycle so the condenser does not overheat. Fans are also installed inside the cooler to ensure that the air doesn't get overly cold and cover the contents in ice, resulting in freezer burn. It is essential that the entire unit is properly insulated and completely sealed to prevent energy loss and so that the food inside doesn't go bad.
It's important to do a few things to ensure the walk-in cooler is working properly and that everything inside is being kept at the right temperature. The doors should always remain closed when going in and coming out of the cooler. The condenser coils should be cleaned at least once per year. All insulation around the doors should be maintained and if they get damaged, the insulation should be replaced. Employees need to be trained on how they can help ensure the walk-in cooler works optimally and does its job to the fullest capacity at all times.