Walk-in Conversions: One is Easy, One is Not
April 3, 2018
Written by Toby Weber, Contributing Editor
If operators move into a space with a walk-in unit, it makes good economic sense for them to take advantage of it. But what if that walk-in is a cooler when a freezer is needed, or vice versa? In that situation, operators should consider changing the box to what they need.
Converting a walk-in freezer to a cooler represents the simpler of the two tasks, says Wayne Stoutner, CEO of Duffy’s – AIS, an upstate New York service agency. In most cases, the operator will simply need to change the refrigeration system — evaporator, condenser, etc. — from the existing low-temperature freezer to a medium-temperature refrigerator. Beyond that, the box should work perfectly post-conversion. This approach, he estimates, should cost just ¼ to ⅓ the price of an entirely new walk-in cooler.
Going from a walk-in cooler to a walk-in freezer is far more complicated, primarily because of freezers’ lower temperatures. Such a project starts with changing the refrigeration system to a freezer. Beyond that, a conversion may require four primary changes, all of which can add to the project’s budget.