Walk-in refrigerators are bigger than reach-in units and offer much more customizable storage space. They can range in size from a small 5′ x 5′ pre-fabricated model to warehouse-sized units located outside and are available as either insulated panels or refrigeration systems. It’s important to choose a unit that is compatible with the amount of food you will store and your budget as well as the temperature control needs in your establishment.
When choosing a walk-in, it’s important to consider the insulation used as it is a big factor in the energy efficiency of your unit. There are two types of insulation used in walk-ins, foamed-in polyurethane and extruded polystyrene. Extruded polystyrene is less expensive, but it doesn’t have the same R-Value as foamed-in polyurethane. The higher the R-Value, the more efficient your walk-in will be.
Preserve Freshness with Precision: The Advantages of Walk-In Refrigerators
The outer construction of your walk-in will also affect how efficient it is. You can select from galvanized steel, aluminum, and a galvalume coated metal that is stronger and more durable than aluminum and rust-resistant. Galvalume is the most popular choice for commercial kitchens as it will not corrode, especially in wet environments.
Some walk-ins include curtains that can be pulled over the door to reduce heat loss when employees enter and exit the unit. This helps your walk-in run more efficiently as it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain a cold environment. You may also want to add a door alarm or self-closing mechanism to prevent staff from leaving the doors open (which wastes energy in the best case scenario and could result in spoiled product or refrigeration system damage in the worst). Some municipalities require that all new walk-ins be equipped with a pressure relief valve to protect against the buildup of excess refrigerant.