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Thread: Floral Walk-in

  1. #1


    Hi. I'm new on the block. I work for a large fabricating company in the northwest, and have 26 years in HVAC.
    I'm looking to purchase a small (5X6X8 or so)floral cooler for my daughter as she is starting her own floral business. She is 23 years old, has a floristery degree and wants to start out part-time at home.
    Who makes these boxes these days and would it make more sense to buy used (hard to find), from a manufacturer or have one custom built?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Brick, NJ


    The size you stated almost sounds like you want a small walk in. Is that what you are looking for.

    We had a local build a small walkin himself fromm a room in his store. I twas framed out insulated with foam and t111 coverd walls. The t11 was questionable because he didnt seal it. We added a low volocity evap and condenser and away he was relativly coast effectivly.

  4. #4
    I've built several from scratch. They are easy.

    You are probably looking for cold storage and not display, am I correct?

    If so, you dont need anythig special in glass or doors. Just low velocity fans in an otherwise normal setup.

    Take into account the ambient around this cold box when you give the specs to your local favorite wholesale house asking for load calc.

    It will probably be setting outside in the garage, right? If so, it will be hotter during the summer months out there than a normal floral display cooler which sits INSIDE the air conditioned store space.

    Her operation will easily take up half a two car garage during the slow season. And during the peak holidays, it will overflow even a double car garage space.
    And her cooler will never ever be big enough for her work during those peak times. But this is where she will make it or lose it!
    You will have to oversize the box itself for her estimated peak storage loads. Do not size her for normal useage!

    She will get rich during her peaks, so size her for them. Let her have the room she'll need, and most only dream of having ... for her busiest times.
    She will thank you for the rest of your life. You will be her hero!!!

    If you want to pursue this further, post away and we'll all jump in and make sugestions.

    I would use possibly used but in good condition evaporator coils. But I would go new condensing units, for sure.

    I would also suggest DUAL systems. One for slow season, which will be most of the year. Then the secodn system will make it work during the peak loads.

    If you went with just one single system, it would work fine duringthe heaviest loads, but it would be so oversized during low volume conditions that it would short cycle. And that would not be good.

    If she tells you 5 by 6 by eight ... I would go with 10 by 15 by two buckets high.

    Florists, whether they be wholesale or retail, they all store their stuff in five gallon plastic pails, with water in them.

    Figure out how much room is necessary to store two buckets high. That might be a seven foot ceiling or a nine foot ceiling.
    Some flowers are taller in the buckets than others are.

    If your going to build this for a florist, build it to fit their needs, not the whims or convenience of the builder!

    Whatever insulation you choose, make sure it is closed cell foam. Not fiberglass and definately NOT styrene or styrofoam! You will need a visqueen moisture barrier on all the walls, along with good seam sealing along the floor, ceiling and corner joints. That is, if you are going to build this from scratch yourself.

    Panels made in a factory are best. They can be added to plus the box can be moved or sold if needed.

    But once you committ to building a wood structure, it is there for life. Hard to add on to, not impossible, but difficult. And it is nearly impossible to sell it. And moving it is .... "dumb".

    There are three main things your daughter will be saving big money on by operating out of her garage.

    1) brick & mortar. (real estate) Overhead.

    2) hired help standing around talking on the phone.

    3) the yellow pages, the utility bills, the permits etc., from the city. And all those other trappings that go along with a storefront business.

    And if your daughter can sign on with an outfit like 1-800-FLOWERS who advertises worldwide ... she can wait by the phone for them to call her and give her the order to make and then deliver.

    Most florists consider signing with those big outfits to be a conflict of interest because those big firms demand fast response times. And the problem with meeting those demands is ... a storefront usually has other customers already. Your daughter will be ready for all the work the big outfits can send her way.

    I got a few more ideas, just ask for them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    you can contact Kysor Kalt, National or Imperial for cooler panels with russell for unit and evap. coils. for evap coils you would size for a wet coil and low air velocity to avoid drying out.

  6. #6

    Smile Floral Walk-in

    Thanks for the input, folks. I appreciate the help.
    Yes I'm looking for a small walk-in without any glass.
    My finished garage is only 8 ft. high, so to get the cooler inside, I would need a custom box(less-than the standard 8 ft. high ceiling). But that would be my ideal set-up.
    Obviously, I will want a unit that can be torn down when she moves out (she will, wont she?).
    My daughter is working full time right now, and hopes to build her own business so that she will be able to run full-time at a location to be determined later.
    If I can get it assembled in the garage, would I want 120 volt set-up, or go 220 from my elec. box?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Most manufacturers will build you any size box you want fairly cheaply.

    If you can find some old panels, you can easily cut them with a skill saw and a non ferris metal blade. You will have cut from both sides though.

    Any seems that end up non tongue and grove, like the roof. Just run a layer of expanding foam in the joint before you set it on. Then use aluminum angle on the inside corner and anchor it with tek screws.

    Some flashing around the top ouside corner to hide the exposed foam edge, and your done. Might even look professional, if your good.

    A Diamond is just a piece of coal, that made good under pressure!

  8. #8
    220 volt is balanced power. You will do better, energy wise, to run your condensing units on 220. However, if you can only get 115, use what you can get.

    This is not going to be a big system, no matter how you build or set it up. Not a lot of BTU's will be needed overall.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Couple of set-ups on ebay right now. Brand new but minus the box. Check it out at: ategory=-1&sapricehi=&sapricelo=&satitle=refrigeration&solo ctog=9&sosortorder=1&sosortproperty=1&sorecordstos kip=150

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Just copy and paste tha link into your browser. It didn't work for some reason.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2004
    have one forsale email

  12. #12


    make sure the people you are dealing with understand flowers. you want a low velocity coil with about a 6 degree or less td so you do not suck the moisture out of the flowers. also suction stop control of temperature will help in minimizing moisute loss rather than liquid line solenoid with pump down.

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