Notes on Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

Most of this was copied from another wiki in April 2011

Short-term solution

  • Repair existing reach-in
    • Source Refrigeration in Medford 541-210-6655 Jeff
    • Recommended by Rod at Curtis Restaurant Equipment
    • Makes sense if repair cost is less than another used reach-in
    • Call to find out about service call vs. transporting it to them
  • Buy another used reach-in
    • Ideally less than two years old
    • Valley Restaurant Equipmentin Eugene, 541-689-4855, JJ (Owner)
    • Sells used glass door reach-ins for $800-1000 used
    • None is stock right now, will call Stella when one comes in
    • Has True solid door reach-ins available now
    • Checks everything he sells and offers a 30-day warranty
  • Use ice and coolers
    • Buy/borrow five or more 80-qt coolers
    • Get ice every day in WC
    • Need good lists on covers to avoid excessive rummaging
    • Get large plastic storage containers to optimize space
  • Rent a refrigerator trailer
    • Need to research source and costs

Long-term solution

  • New reach-in
    • Approx. $3K for double glass door
    • Upside: No installation, just plug and go
    • Downside: Shortened lifespan — reach-ins are not designed for spaces over 85 or under 50 degrees
  • Walk-in cooler
    • Designed for use in unheated/uncooled environment
    • Requires flat surface (concrete slab is best), drip line/drain for condensation, 240 or 208 electrical
    • Smallest is 6×8′, 8×8′ would be easier to move around in and allow for growth
    • Probably need professional advice and help to install
    • Consider warranty/local maintenance contract
    • Glass reach-in door could be included in design (like supermarkets have)
    • Ballpark cost of new system $7-8K installed according to Scott at Curtis Restaurant Equipment, 541-779-8335, Medford
    • Also requested quote from C&D Equipment out of Texas
    • See “Walk-In Issues,” below
    • Typically use pre-fab standard wall panels, which have Code interior finish; we could add wall outside this for more insulation. Probably we would build a roof shelter to protect cooler and mechanicals from the hot sun.
    • Badger has offered to help build this.
  • CoolBot
    • Electronic controller box that lets you use a 10,000 BTU home air conditioner to cool a small walk-in
    • Still have to source and build the walk-in, but no need for expensive compressor
    • Air conditioner plus CoolBot approx. $700
    • Looks like a robust solution, used in Third World settings
    • See Ask Metafilter question posted by Stella for possible issues with this solution
      (Window a/c are made to operate at much higher temperatures than a cooler, so the available BTU fall dramatically with temperature; may not be able to deliver enough chilling power in an environment where the door gets much use.)
    • Call and talk to them about our situation

Walk-in issues

  • Used vs. new
    • Both structural components and refrigeration unit are available used
    • According to the guy at C&D, used structure costs not that much less than new — need to verify
    • Cam locks that hold it together at edges get munged up and may no longer seal, though you can caulk seams
    • Used cooling unit has same issues as used reach-in, i.e. hard to tell what you’re getting
  • Indoor vs. outdoor
    • Indoor is cheaper to buy and install
    • Could be located in SE corner of back room where junk currently accumulates
    • Not conveniently located for cooks
    • Outdoor requires flat level surface, ideally concrete slab, plus roof to keep sun off
    • Best location is right outside barn on east side, cut doorway into kitchen
    • Land falls away there, hard to build up surface and pour slab?
  • Split cooling unit vs. self-contained
    • Split unit has separate compressor (outside the box) and coils/fans (inside)
    • Cheaper to buy but more expensive to install
    • Self-contained sits on top of box
    • Just drop it in and turn it on
    • Requires at least a 10-ft ceiling
    • More expensive to buy but with installation turns out to be a better deal
  • Air-cooled vs. water-cooled
    • Mentioned by JJ at Valley Restaurant Equipment but not other sources
    • Water-cooled requires plumbing, lines can freeze in low ambient temperatures

Window Air Conditioning

Suppose we were to use a standard window a/c in the back of the Barn: to reduce temp’s in the overflow produce area (until there’s a long-term solution), and to cool the entire back for people in hot weather. With our most-sensitive food in the big refrigerators, a drop of even 20° would make a huge difference for produce.
BTU’s required: 15 people is about 9k BTU/hr. The entire back is about 12×50′ = 600 sq ft; Energy Star estimates 14k BTU for that. So we would need 22k BTU/hr; less if we don’t need it fully cooled, more if we expect lots of people (600 BTU per person).
Retail prices: Lowe’s: 15k $420, 25K Frigidaire $600; Home Depot is similar. This seems to be about as big a window unit as is commonly available.
Problem: The right-hand back Barn window is a vertical-sliding sash, the type we need. But dimensions of the opening are 15″ high x 31″ wide — a few inches shorter than required (typically 19-20″).

Alternatives: There are freestanding a/c that exhaust hot air by a flexible hose; Consumer Reports says these have poor performance.
– Mugwort, Aug 2015

Stella’s Notes (summarized above)

Scott Curtis Restaurant Equipment in Medford Stay away from used unless it’s less than 2 years old
Conditions are not ideal Hot in the summer, off in the winter Given that, go with new for the two-door
Residential chest freezer Low cost Not a regular rotation
Walk-in: equipment is specified for outdoor use Designed to operate during hot summers and cold winters OK to shut down for a few months Reach-in summer heat makes equipment work extremely hard Designed for no more than 85 ambient Walk-in compressor and motor designed to work in 100 degree weather Based on cubic feet inside Spec for 100-105 ambient air temperature
Reach-ins where you don’t want to add heat to a room Heat exchange Remote refrigeration
6×8 ft walkin
Double-door: 40-45 cubic feet 6x6x8 walkin 200 cuft 100 cuft
Two double-door units: $6K Walkin: 4-5K box plus refrigeration, plus 2K installation $7-8K total on the high side Get one unit initially Apply for a grant
Walkin boxes need a flat surface Whatever size of the box plus a couple of inches Condensation from the evaporator: water drip line If it’s in the building, it should go to a drain Outdoor let it drip 208 or 240 electrical Can order an insulated floor Put the box partly in the building Two-inch rule Frame out 6’4″ opening Assemble onsite from panels: 8×4′
Questions from bc: Glass doors? Used walkins?
Rod Manning Walkins held together with camlocks Claw and pin Smashes the insulation rubber together to make a seal Can lose the integrity of the seal Better for cooler than freezer Can use Installer can do it, kind of a jigsaw puzzle Walkins are all custom Online kits are prefab, but no glass doors
Used dealer Valley Restaurant Equipment in Eugene JJ Glass door reach-ins $800-1000 used None is stock right now, left info, will call True solid doors available now Problems with walkins under 40 degrees Air-cooled vs. Water-cooled compressor Remote compressor Don’t want to run the water line, freeze

just opened Rogue Restaurant Equipment
C&D Equipment out of Texas 8×8′ outdoors needs a slab so it doesn’t sag cut down the cost
cooling unit options most economical split system two-piece refrigeration: coil unit inside, cooler outside has to be installed by a refrigeration tech one-year warranty Better split system: five-year, more efficient High-end split system
Self-contained: drops into top ceiling Nothing hanging down inside the cooler Pre-charged Does not require tech to install Electrician Most expensive, save on installation Generally balances out Come out a little ahead Requires a 10-ft ceiling

Edited by mugwort on Aug 20, 2015 5:38 pm

Fire danger has passed. Variable smoke. Pendulum: 3 days, on Zoom.
This is default text for notification bar