Need a new walk-in cooler in Austin? Here's what to expect. Part 2

Updated: Apr 15

Part 2:

If you joined us last week we shared some valuable information when shopping for a walk-in cooler or freezer. The options are dizzying. Where do I get a walk-in? Are there different types of walk-ins? What refrigeration equipment do I need? And possibly the most important of all, how much does a walk-in cooler cost?


Below we’ve created a list of what to think about when planning a walk-in. You’ll find more details that you want to think about for your walk-in cooler purchase.


Refrigeration Equipment:

Refrigerant equipment is what makes it cold in the box. It has two main mechanical sections: The condensing unit and the evaporating unit. The condensing unit converts refrigerant from a gas to a liquid and sits outside the walk-in box. The evaporator converts liquid refrigerant to a vapor and sits inside the walk-in. You can read my exhaustive explanation of how refrigeration works here that expresses what happens in the refrigeration circuit in much greater detail.


There are two main types of refrigeration equipment to keep your cooler or freezer cold.

self contained package refrigeration unit on top of walk in
Package refrigeration system on top of a walk-in cooler

1. Package refrigeration:

This type of refrigeration is an all in one package that sits right on top of the walk-in box. The condenser and the evaporator are in one box and the evaporator connects to a hole in the roof of the walk-in to provide cooling. This type of refrigeration is good for smaller walk-ins no larger than 10x10x8 and is used by many smaller restaurants. One of the downsides to this style of refrigeration is that the heat the condensing unit produces ends up staying inside the restaurant/bar which makes the A/C work harder in the summer. The benefit of this type of refrigeration is its ease of install, and compactness. If heat in your work space is a problem there is another option.

Walk in cooler evaporator in restaurant in Austin, Texas
Low profile evaporator at Fonda San Miguel in Austin

2. Split refrigeration:

This type of refrigeration is made up of two separate units connected by copper tubing. The evaporator is placed inside the walk-in and the condensing unit is placed outside the building either on the roof or the ground. To connect these two together installers use copper pipes so the refrigerant can travel between the condenser to the evaporator. This type of installation is more time consuming but instead of filling your workspace with hot air from the condenser it is moved outside. This split system is the first option that we suggest no matter the size of the walk-in but it is essential for walk-ins beyond 10x10x8.

Remote refrigeration condenser on the roof
Rooftop condensing unit at Dominos Pizza in Lubbock

Indoor or outdoor:

If your walk-in is going to be outside in the sun and weather we need to know. Boxes that are outside require a roof to prevent rain from leaking into the walk-in. They also require different refrigeration sizing because the outside temperature is going to be different. In your work space it may be kept at a cool 75° and the door to your walk-in opens into that coolness. If the walk-in is outside it will probably be subject to much higher temperatures and humidity. The refrigeration equipment will be sized differently if the box is going to be in 90-100° heat that Austin, Texas spends 6-7 months of the year at. Humidity matters when opening the door. Every time the door is opened the walk-in exchanges air with the outside. Some cold air gets out and some hot humid air gets in. This isn’t as much of an issue with a cooler as the temperature difference isn’t so radically different but a freezer will turn that moist air into ice on the evaporator which could cause problems with cooling.

Refrigerant:

Lots of things have changed in the world or refrigerants. To protect the environment, the EPA has restricted older refrigerants which use chlorine as an element of its chemical make-up. Currently the accepted environmentally friendly refrigerant we suggest is R448A which is similar in many ways to the well known Freon refrigerant but with less of a negative effect environmentally. It also is more affordable thanks to the government beginning to retire older refrigerants. R22 and R404A refrigerants were the standards for refrigeration but are being phased out starting with R22. R22 now is being sold for $110 a pound because production of new R22 has been considerably slowed. Having R448A in your system ensures that if something goes wrong in the future, the refrigerant you are using will still be available for a reasonable price when you need it.


Walk-in Cost:

Cost is a hard thing to just lay out for someone without knowing more about what they are looking for. With most custom built items cost is relative. If you need a diamond plate floor in your freezer that is going to cost more than a freezer without it. If you need a custom door size it will cost more than the standard door. If you are operating a walk-in at an extremely low temperature the walk-in will cost more than a regular freezer temperature walk-in. That being said, I have included a basic starting point based upon the average prices of many walk-ins that we have installed in the last few years to give people something to work with when considering a walk-in. These price points are just an average and do not reflect what walk-ins are actually quoted at because your situation may be different and require something unique. These prices are also based on numbers that were gathered over 2019-21 and prices have been steadily rising. Be advised that these numbers are just to give you a ballpark so you have some semi concrete information to begin planning with.


Walk-in cooler average pricing per cubic foot: $38.81


Walk-in freezer average pricing per cubic foot: $44.68


Walk-in cooler/freezer combo box per cubic foot: $34.45


That's it!

Now that you are well versed in what to think about for your walk-in, give Tri-Point Refrigeration a call in Austin or Lubbock, Texas and we’ll create a custom quote according to your specifications. We will include:

  • An itemized quote

  • A technical drawing of the walk-in with measurements

  • A spec sheet for the refrigeration equipment

Once you have been provided that info we check in by phone to see if the quote is exactly what you are looking for and to answer any questions that you may have. It's pretty easy, really. Next week we'll cover what is involved with the walk-in process after you have approved the quote.

Ready to get that walk-in that you have been thinking about? Give us a call. Call 512-651-4565 in Austin and (806) 787-4985 in Lubbock, Texas Or Visit our website at www.tripointrefrigeration.com


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