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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Long Branch, NJ
    Posts
    7

    Question

    Hello.....Have been viewing this forum for a few days hoping to un-confuse myself on how to buy a Walk-In Cooler for my new business. I'm still confused so I'll just put the question out there for hope that the experts can help me. I'v received quotes from a few different companies but before I purchase, want to be sure it's the right decision.

    We are opening a Fresh Pasta and Ravioli Market and will have Italian Specialties as well. It is strictly take-out and mostly manufacturing so the Walk-In box is an obvious necesity rather than individual refrigeration units in the back and front of store. Items to be stored in Walk-In are mostly: cheeses, fresh produce, certain types of flour,sauces, and possibly pre-cooked foods, and some meat.

    We are limited in space, approximately 900 sq ft (first floor). THere is a basement and the Walk-In would be placed on the first floor above. It has been recommended that in order to conserve space and money, we should purchase a Walk-In with Display doors on the opposite side. Originaly we wanted a small Walk-In for the back of the store, and Display units for the front. The recommendation seems to make sense. Right now we're looking at a 6'w x 10'L x 7'-8'h with 2 30" display doors and a standard entry door on the 10' side with a floor. Not thrilled that we are using that amount of space, but we have to do it. Outdoor cooler was an option, but it seems like too much of a hassle since we are leasing the space. The outside set-up is a house converted to commercial property. We would have to prepare a concrete surface underneath as well as overhead protection, get approved, etc., etc.

    Is there anything I should be aware of when buying the unit? Some issues that have come up are: the fan being placed above rather than on shelf space inside; display doors need to be heated; compressor placed outside rather than in the basement; installation of central AC will require an extra ton to compensate for all refrigerated units inside store; power loss. These are just some of the recommendations we were given.

    Frankly, I need a solid opinion on what is good for us. We are trying to be conservative with the money spent, but do not want to jeapardize quality. Right now we're looking at a 5-year Lease with options after that, so that Walk-In isn't moving for a while.

    Any help with manufacturers, features, etc. is appreciated. Thanks.




  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    12,230
    In my opinion the pass thru doors are a good idea but remember they are glass. The heaters in-between the glass are prefabricated. They are a great time saver and you don’t loose shelf space as you do with a door.

    Since the cooler box is only 6’ by 10’ it will be a great idea to use a low profile ceiling mount evaporator coil. A little tougher to keep clean. They pull air in from the bottom center and push air out the sides. You must drop the pan and clean the coils from the inside.

    By all means if you can remote the condenser and remove the heat from your building, please do so. Let your service professional give you a list as long as his arm for doing so.

    Have your power considerations calculated by your electrical professional. He will need the information from your equipment dealer on all installed devices new and existing. He will check building capabilities and make the proper recommendations to go forward with your plans.

    When it comes to physical size, configuration of box and locations of doors you may want to use a professional merchandiser. When it comes to building it properly and to code with the correct amount of refrigeration cooling capacity you want to use a professional service company and this guy can do both.

    It sounds like you are getting good help with your needs. The professional that you called is bringing up the correct questions for economy and safety concerns. With old renovated houses you may run into a few building or electrical code situations that will not be grandfathered in when converting to commercial. Be sure all codes are addressed or you will not get your CO. (certificate of occupancy)

    Thank you for using a field professional that serves this business and your community. You will be glad you did before your 5 year lease is up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Western New York
    Posts
    1,063
    Originally posted by needadvice
    Right now we're looking at a 6'w x 10'L x 7'-8'h with 2 30" display doors and a standard entry door on the 10' side with a floor. Not thrilled that we are using that amount of space, but we have to do it.
    So you are taking up just about all of one 10' wall with 2 glass doors, and 1 36" walk-in door (you did say standard). With an entry area for the walk-in door, and 30" - 36" shelving for the glass doors, at least a walkway 24" wide along the 10' lenth, you are talking about 10 - 12" of storage along the opposite wall from the doors.
    This is INSANE! You have a walk-in behind the reach-in cooler to stock the shelves, and no storage.

    In MHO, never build a walk-in smaller than 8' wide. Remember cooler dimensions are OD, not ID. Get some paper and draw it out. Try transfering it to kraft paper, on the floor, full scale. Walk around it, and see what I mean.

    Experience is what you have an hour after you need it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    12,230
    Baub,

    Did I read it wrong? Are the glass doors going on the 10' wall with the cooler door? Then indead you are correct. Not a very good idea.

    Also if this is the case a good walk around will be just the ticket.

    I thought the two glass door would be a pass-thru on the 6' side facing the kitchen. If that is not the case, good eye....Glad you saw that.


  5. #5
    Originally posted by baub
    Originally posted by needadvice
    Right now we're looking at a 6'w x 10'L x 7'-8'h with 2 30" display doors and a standard entry door on the 10' side with a floor. Not thrilled that we are using that amount of space, but we have to do it.
    So you are taking up just about all of one 10' wall with 2 glass doors, and 1 36" walk-in door (you did say standard). With an entry area for the walk-in door, and 30" - 36" shelving for the glass doors, at least a walkway 24" wide along the 10' lenth, you are talking about 10 - 12" of storage along the opposite wall from the doors.
    This is INSANE! You have a walk-in behind the reach-in cooler to stock the shelves, and no storage.

    In MHO, never build a walk-in smaller than 8' wide. Remember cooler dimensions are OD, not ID. Get some paper and draw it out. Try transfering it to kraft paper, on the floor, full scale. Walk around it, and see what I mean.



    I agree.

    You will be counting on this cold box a whole lot for the needs of your business. DO NOT SCRIMP here!!! You will live only a short time BEFORE you regret it!!! Guaranteed!!!


    Your Hobart blender will only take up six square feet of floor space. And if you dont like it ... you can simply buy another one and work around the old one. Not so with a cold box.

    Here's you priority list;

    God's first!
    Your employee's are second.
    Your telephone/ location come in third.

    Guess what's next? That's right.... your walk in cooler.

    Everythig else is just extemporaenious fluff in comparison to your cold box.



    Ease of access to your stored foods is critical!
    Not creating a traffic jam is another issue too.
    Cleanability is a huge factor. Spills take place in coolers too, build this one for the clean up, not for the set up!


    Condier the floor under your box. If it's old wood floors, make sure your contractor is given his choices to protect and seal your box.
    And this might just mean having an insulated floor with a sloping ramp for rolling in a dolly.



    A walk in cold box is like a pair of trousers when you go out to die in a fine establishment.
    "Bigger is better!" Less you are cramped for space and find you cannot hold another tasty morcel. And are forsed to decline the offer to take in any more foods. No matter how short a time they may end up staying .....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Long Branch, NJ
    Posts
    7

    Smile

    Hey Gang - Thanks for the responses. Just want to clear up that the only door being installed on the 10' side is the entry door. We may also go 12' since there is a wall at end and there is about 2-3 feet of wasted space there, makes sense right? The box will be flush into a corner of the room, this is why the entry door has to be on the 10' or 12' left side of the box (looking at it from the front of the 6' side. The Glass display doors are going on the 6' side of the box that will be facing the retail part of the store. The box will serve as part of a separation from the front to the back of the store.

    THe contractor will be starting renovations soon, which requires some wall removing but so far it makes sense to have the walk-in in that spot. We also went in and drew the dimensions of the box on the floor to get an idea of storage space inside (and the valuable working space we're losing - YUK). Unfortunately I am having a real hard time with losing space, but I don't want to be sorry later and not have sufficient refrigeration and I can see that you all recommend the same.

    About the floor...........if we order the box with the floor, is it necessary to have the floor drain located directly next to the box? Right now the floor drain, which is mandatory via the Health dept in the kitchen area, is planned for approximately 8 or 9 feet from the box and there will be a wall separating the box from the drain. I'm thinking this is not going to work if one is needed by box.

    The compressor placed outside.............Will we need some sort of encasement or built surface for the unit to be placed? or can the unit be placed directly on the concrete and flush against the outside of the building?

    What type of shelving is recommended for the interior of the box for storage?

    SOrry for all the questions..........I do appreciate the help. Thanks.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    12,230
    About the floor...........if we order the box with the floor, is it necessary to have the floor drain located directly next to the box? Right now the floor drain, which is mandatory via the Health dept in the kitchen area, is planned for approximately 8 or 9 feet from the box and there will be a wall separating the box from the drain. I'm thinking this is not going to work if one is needed by box.

    The compressor placed outside.............Will we need some sort of encasement or built surface for the unit to be placed? or can the unit be placed directly on the concrete and flush against the outside of the building?

    What type of shelving is recommended for the interior of the box for storage?
    You have a basement? Adding a floor drain where the Health Department requires should be easy. Again just costs a little more. Don’t forget that your cooler evaporator coil will need a drain too.

    The compressor really should go outside. Your contractor can give you a list of recommended units that are "Outdoor Rated". They come with weather enclosures and a condenser pad is not expensive. Keep the grass clippings away from it!

    You can purchase stainless steel shelving from your local provider. Your local used equipment store would be a good place to start. New can be very expensive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Western New York
    Posts
    1,063
    Originally posted by needadvice
    Right now we're looking at a 6'w x 10'L x 7'-8'h with 2 30" display doors and a standard entry door on the 10' side with a floor.
    Happy to help, but please check to see that your info is correct when posting, so none of us are wasting time.

    So now you are thinking a 6' x 12' cooler. I still think you are making a huge mistake. Evaporator(s) placement is going to be difficult, and still you will need, at least, a 2' x 10'-12' walkway thru the cooler. Do you want to spend $ cooling unuseable space?

    Next point. You have 900 ft2 of floor space. The cooler will take up 72 ft2, plus a door swing/entry area of 12 ft2.
    I quote, "We are limited in space, approximately 900 sq ft (first floor)." So an indoor cooler will take up almost 10% of your already undersized floor space. 810 ft2, for prep work, kitchen, sales area, dry goods storage, 1 or 2 bathrooms.

    Put the cooler outside. Again I quote you, "Outdoor cooler was an option, but it seems like too much of a hassle since we are leasing the space." Why? You will have to pour a pad, but you will have short refrig. lines outside with the condensing unit, safe on top. 8" x 12" or 8" x 14", entry door side attached to the building, if possible.

    28 yrs servicing small restaurants, and I know you start-ups know better than us. But remember, we have seen, and learned from all the mistakes.

    Best of luck, here is a picture of an 8 X 16 cooler I installed last fall...



    Again, best of luck. A money making customer is good for us contractors too!
    Experience is what you have an hour after you need it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Long Branch, NJ
    Posts
    7


    Thanks Baub. Sorry for the confusion earlier.

    Perhaps I will further look into the outdoor box. Well, I was trying to attach pics of the back of the building so you could get an idea of the outdoor space, but can't figure out how to post them. I don't think we will be able to have an entry door from inside the building.....this is one of the areas I thought to be complicated of an outdoor box. First I don't think the Landlord will allow us to cut an opening to the building (I will ask him however); and I'm wondering if we don't have that option, what is the alternative? I'll have to discuss it with the renovation Contrator to see if he can build some type of overhead shielding from the building to the box, by way of the back building door. We'll see what happens.......

    Anyway, thanks again for your expertise and advice....lusker and R12rules too!!! I am certainly more informed.

    I'll be back to provide an update ............

    Signed:....the needy one !!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Western New York
    Posts
    1,063

    Pictures would help...

    Read the picture posting instructions from Boss @ http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?threadid=22507
    Experience is what you have an hour after you need it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Long Branch, NJ
    Posts
    7
    Ok.....let me see if this works.....









  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Long Branch, NJ
    Posts
    7

    Hmm

    Yes.....it works....didn't realize they would pop up so huge...sorry !! Well there it is anyway.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Western New York
    Posts
    1,063

    needadvice

    Looked at your pictures, and all I can do is wish you the very best of luck in your new business.
    Experience is what you have an hour after you need it.

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