AT JMJ, we’re not just about air conditioning and air con repair. We’re also experts in installing, maintaining and repairing commercial walk-in freezers. Cold rooms can significantly benefit your business, providing extra storage, better stock organisation and incredible flexibility. So we’ve put together this handy guide to help you make an informed decision when buying your walk-in freezer.
If you thought a walk-in freezer was just for storing food, think again. Many businesses, including breweries and pharmacies, depend on keeping products at low temperatures. And whether you’re selling ice sculptures or ice cream, a walk-in freezer can help you maximise your profits and improve efficiency.
It’s generally better to have more storage space than too little. But, on the other hand, too much additional space can result in exorbitant running costs. Generally, if you’re running a restaurant, you’ll need 1.5 cubic metres of space for every meal you serve.
The amount of storage space also impacts the refrigeration system you need. An underpowered system will wear out fast and be inefficient, resulting in icing. Depending on the size of the refrigeration unit you need, you could choose to locate it outdoors. An exterior installation reduces ambient heat and noise for an interior walk-in freezer.
Indoor or outdoor?
First, decide whether your freezer will be located indoors or out. Then measure carefully to ensure you have enough space to accommodate the unit. Outdoor walk-in freezers require a drip cap for the door, a rain roof and a refrigeration hood.
Regardless of location, the floor your unit stands on must be load-bearing. For example, you can stand a walk-in freezer directly on a concrete subfloor, whereas a wooden floor requires flooring panels. You should also ensure the floor is insulated before installation.
In addition, you’ll need to think about ventilation. Exterior installations mean you’ll have sufficient space. But if your interior walk-in freezer lacks adequate ventilation space around it, performance can suffer, so ensure your facility has plenty of room.
You’ll need to know the maximum ambient temperature for your walk-in freezer to operate efficiently. If the external temperature exceeds this figure, it will affect the internal temperature of your freezer unit.
Standard walk-in freezers operate at Climate Class 4, up to 32C. However, if you anticipate higher ambient temperatures, look for units rated Climate Class 5 or Polar Class.
Features and accessories
Shelving or racking is where you’ll store items in your walk-in freezer. You’ll need to consider whether a unit offers racking that is easily accessible and maximises storage. In addition, a cold room can be a harsh environment, so ensure that your racking can withstand corrosion and wear and tear.
Other accessories to consider are a temperature alarm to alert you if the refrigeration unit stops functioning correctly and a strip curtain for energy efficiency. You might also need a ramp for ease of access. Make a list of desirable features and bundle as many as possible into your initial purchase to prevent buying costly add-ons.
Look for components rated A++ and above for your walk-in freezer, including lighting and refrigeration. Investing in quality energy-efficient components can actually save you money in the long run.
In addition, high-quality units are far more efficient at trapping cool air and use refrigerants that don’t affect the ozone layer. So your walk-in freezer delivers better performance that’s environmentally aware.