NRA 2010 Introducing the Brew Cave

Cooler Connection

Visit us at NRA – Booth 1834

U.S. Cooler will be exhibiting at the NRA Show in Chicago, May 22-25.

Since last NRA, U.S. Cooler has been busy working with lean and efficiency engineers designing new walk-ins that reduce waste, inventory, time, and costs. All of these factors together equal savings for dealers and consumers. Providing customers with quality, affordable walk-ins in a convenient amount of time has always been U.S. Cooler’s highest priority.

U.S. Cooler, through their discount dealer program, passes savings on to consumers via the internet. Quick delivery, quality product, and competitive prices have drawn customers from across the nation to buy walk-in coolers and freezers from U.S. Cooler’s internet dealers online. Check out, the internet’s best resource for discount walk-in cooler and freezer dealers.

This year at NRA, U.S. Cooler is displaying the new lean Brew Cave.

U.S. Cooler Walk-in Brew CaveThe U.S. Cooler Brew Cave offers an abundance of cold storage space for beer, soda or any cold beverage. It can store over 30 cases of beer and 4 or more kegs, all while keeping them cold and ready to drink. The Brew Cave is perfect for restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, country clubs etc. Everything needed for your Brew Cave is included in one convenient package; refrigeration, shelving and draft beer dispensing system. The Brew Cave can be any standard size and has many add-on features. With shelving that is designed to provide the most cold storage space possible in the footprint of the walk-in, the Brew Cave is sure to provide you with the most efficient storage space available.

Stop by U.S. Cooler’s booth 1834 to learn more about our discount internet program and how U.S. Cooler can save you money.

Brew Cave Logo

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A Matter of Insulation: Acquisition vs. Lifetime Savings

Cooler ConnectionYour cold storage equipment may be one of the most important choices you make. A significant amount of costs are associated with your walk-in. Before you purchase, make sure you consider the entire lifecycle of the walk-in instead of just the acquisition price.

The two main elements that effect energy and cost savings while running a walk-in are the refrigeration and insulation.  To get the optimal results from your refrigeration it must be sized correctly taking in consideration the size of box, if it is a cooler or freezer, and what will be stored inside. (There are many other factors that are considered when sizing refrigeration.) Insulation is the key to energy savings because it is responsible for holding the cool temperature in the box so the refrigeration does not have to work overtime. Insulation quality is measured by R-value; the resistance to heat flow through an object. Since EISA was implemented January 1, 2009, all walk-in manufactures are required to have an R-value of R-25 for coolers and R-32 for freezers. Now that all manufacturers follow the same requirements, the performance of the insulation is what differentiates the walk-in.

The two common types of insulation used are polyurethane and extruded polystyrene.  Each type of insulation brings with it strengths and weaknesses that must be evaluated for each individual application.

Insulation Strength Weakness
Extruded Polystyrene Starts with a high R-value. Smaller cell structure. Resists moisture absorption. Closed cell structure. Out gases some. Over time, R-value decreases minimally.
Polyurethane Starts with a high R-value.  Closed cell structure. Out gases more. Over time, R-value decreases steadily. Is susceptible to moisture infiltration.

U.S. Cooler uses both insulations. Through experience and research, U.S. Cooler believes extruded polystyrene is the best insulation for the walls, ceiling, and floors of coolers and freezers. Polyurethane is better to insulate the doors of their walk-ins. According to a study performed by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, they found that over a five year period extruded polystyrene retains 75% of its R-value while polyurethane retains 25%.¹  This is one reason why U.S. Cooler believes extruded polystyrene provides the most value and the best option for walk-in insulation.

polyurethane, extruded/expanded polystyrene hybrid, polystyrene
polyurethane, extruded/expanded polystyrene hybrid, extruded polystyrene

Retaining a high R-value is important in saving energy costs. The higher the R-value, the less the refrigeration will have to work to hold the required cold temperatures. As a result, the less the refrigeration works the less your energy costs will be.

When considering the actual performance of walk-in coolers and freezers, being informed can pay substantial long-term benefits. You pay for the walk-in once, but if the insulation and refrigeration are inefficient, it will cost you every month for the life of the walk-in. Acquisition price should not be the only consideration when purchasing your walk-in. Initial purchase savings can be quickly eliminated by unnecessary operational costs over the lifetime of the walk-in.

To see how much you could save on an Extruded Polystyrene walk-in, check out our Energy Savings Calculator.

¹ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CRREL) test data. “New Wetting Curves for Common Roof Installations,” by Wayne Toblasson, Alan Greatorex and Doris Van Pelt; Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, New Hampshire 1991.


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Walk-in Freezers Used to Heat Water?

Cooler Connection

At U.S. Cooler, we strive to bring more value to our customers.  One of the ways we accomplish that is by keeping informed on opportunities to improve your bottom line.

Did you know your walk-in coolers and freezers are potentially capable of doing double-duty?  It’s a well kept secret you may wish to consider.  Depending upon your existing (or hopefully new, from U.S.Cooler) equipment, you may be able to save thousands of dollars annually by capturing the heat rejected from air-cooled condensing units and using it to pre-heat hot water.

Consultant, Eugene Kanning, from Milwaukee, WI has been employing this strategy for many years.  Kanning has used this application in restaurants, schools and recently in a larger project for the Salvation Army in southern Wisconsin.  According to Kanning the systems have repeatedly netted thousands in documentable savings in the cost of heating hot water.  As a general rule of thumb, if the combined horsepower of the condensing systems is between three and five horsepower, and the operation requires hot water for ware washing and general use, then it makes sense to explore.

A conservative estimate would net a payback of $5000 per year in energy cost which in an average installation would be a 1 – 2 year payback.  According to Kanning “It’s not a complicated process and it can be retrofit to existing locations in most cases.”

If you would like to explore and evaluate the potential payback here are some questions you will need to be prepared to answer:

  • Operating Hours per day and per week
  • Hours of peak hot water usage
  • Estimated hot water usage per day/week
  • Obtain a copy of your energy bill during one peak month and one slow month
  • Water heater size
  • Water heater energy
  • Recovery rate
  • What temperature are you holding water at
  • What are the ambient conditions for the geographic region

If you would like more information on this process contact Gene Kanning contact Gene via email at

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R-22 Phase out January 1st, 2010

Cooler Connection

January 1st is just around the corner. Now is the time to start preparing for the R-22 refrigeration phase out. Starting in 2010, manufacturers can only produce R-22 refrigerant to service existing equipment. All newly manufactured units will use an alternate refrigerant.

Important Things to know about the R-22 Phase Out

The phase out of the ubiquitous R22 refrigerant gas changes many things for the consumer. If you need to know more about the phase-out, you should read the following pointers.

1) In the United States, there are regulatory bodies like the EPA that have laid down strict guidelines with regards to the regulation and maintenance of refrigerant leaks. The Montreal protocol and the Kyoto protocols have been initiated on an international level to regulate similar parameters. These protocols are being put into place to regulate the repair of refrigerant leaks and the disposal of older machines that use such refrigerants.

2) The refrigerants used in most refrigeration and climate control systems internationally are known as HCFC. Most of them have varying levels of ODPs, better known as ozone depletion potential.

3) R22, also known as HCFC22, was initially introduced as a substitute to CFC 11 and CFC 12. These two gases could cause a very high level of damage to the ozone layer.

4) R22 has an ODP of 0.055, which is significantly lower than both CFC 11 and CFC 12. However R22 is being phased out amongst concerns about the effects that even it can have on the environment.

5) The replacement for systems that use R22 will be other systems using R410A and R409A. These refrigerants are known to have a lower potential for ozone depletion.

Source: Air Options LTD

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