What Size Air-Conditioner do I need for my Walk-In Cooler?
Spring 2013 Update on AC Brand recommendations: For years we have pushed LG Air Conditioners as the best brand to use with CoolBots, but I would like to highlight that we have THOUSANDS of people using HAIER branded air conditioners and almost as many people using GE air conditioners. Folks buying HAIER actually have the LOWEST call-in rate. We like all 3 of these brands equally! Buy any one of them [that has a digital display]!
This is a chart showing the size air conditioning unit we recommend to cool a well-insulated room.
The "industry standard" insulation for a walk-in cooler is at least 4" of styrofoam in walls, ceiling and floor (minimum insulation value of R-24).
These figures are for a 38 F room, with 8' ceilings, opened no more than 4 times per hour.
Restaurants need to be below 40F to be food safe. Most set it on 38F to give themselves a buffer. If you'd prefer to be consistently at 36F, upsize at least one size. Upsize TWO sizes if cooler is opened once every 10 minutes.
Florists/convenience stores with display coolers (glass doors) need to upsize at least TWO sizes. Glass leaks a lot of cold. Florists should consider upsizing one level anyway to allow for a lower FAN speed. CoolBots are HIGHLY recommended by industry groups for Florists and flower growers. Less wind on the flowers, less drying, higher quality product in the end.
Wine coolers, cheese cave or cured meat folks that only need to be at 50+F can use smaller air conditioners. Email if we can answer any questions!
|Dimensions of the Walk-In Cooler||Size of Air-Conditioner|
|6' x 8'||10,000 BTU|
|8' x 8'||12,000 BTU|
|8' x 10'||15,000 BTU|
|8' x 12'||18,000 BTU|
|10' x 12'||21,000 BTU|
|10' x 14'||24,000 BTU|
What BRAND of Air Conditioner should I buy?
You don't need to buy a "Thru-The-Wall" Air conditioner. Just buy a WINDOW air conditioner. They work fine with the Coolbot (even though you are putting them through the wall)
CoolBots ONLY work with Air Conditioners that have a DIGITAL DISPLAY. The notes below only apply to models of that specific brand that have a digital display.
Top Three Brands -- 1000's of people use one of these three brands. Buy one of these 3 brands and we'll never have to talk to you!!
- LG Brand: Great choice! Sold at Home Depot the cheapest but also online. Only small models available in Canada. They run even during the fall and winter when outside temperatures fall below 30. (This is not true of all brands!). They have auto-restart if your power goes out. They had 5 year warranties. In 2012, they released some new models with only 1 year warranties. Even the 1 year warranty-models work great with the CoolBot, but... why did they do that? It makes me nervous. They aren't breaking (but it's only been a year!). I tell people to check their box, and try to buy one with a multi-year warranty instead of 1 year.
- HAIER: At WalMart, Costco, Sam's Club. We have thousands of people using these now since 2009 when WalMart started pushing them. NO problems with these *IF* they work out of the box. Some seem to have been dropped or something. I love these!! Starting June 2010, their instructions say the air conditioner will TURN OFF if outside temperatures fall below 61 degrees. Obviously that's not our experience (people in Canada are running them through the winter!). Bad reviews for these on walmart.com -- but our experience with thousands of people is that, if they work for a week, 99% of them work for years (since 2009 and counting) with NO trouble.
- GE Brand: A third brand that even works through the winter! Careful about buying used. Ones manufactured after 2010 are a different design. These are terrific. A small fraction of 1% failure rate. Sold at Home Depot. some models (we can't predict) have a 2nd "hidden" temperature sensor that makes installation take about 5 minutes longer (our instructions cover this). They have auto-restart in case of a power failure as of 2013. We love this brand.
- Danby: Popular Canadian model. Seems to be working fine, now since 2011. We do NOT like pre-2011 Danby's, so don't buy used. The compressor was great but tons of electrical problems. Now... there's no problems. We have hundreds of people using these in Canada with under a 1% failure rate since 2011
- Samsung: Sold on the internet and at some of the Lowes stores. Also a great choice. I only have hundreds of people using these rather than "thousands" for the top 3 brands, but... no one has trouble with these either. I don't know if they have "auto-restart" in case of an electrical failure.
- Frigidaire: Argh.... They don't work when it's cold OUTSIDE (like even in the 40's!). They also don't work if your inner room gets below 38F even when it's hot outside! They have a nice solid compressor. They don't break down... but people that buy these report more drastic temperature swings and... don't even think about using them in the fall or winter -- this would just be a choice for people that only use their cooler in the summer. My second small cooler ran on a Frigidaire for years. In the fall, after a cold night, I had to go out, unplug it... wait 30 seconds... replug it in.... then it would start up again. I desperately wished it would die, but... nope... it's a quality build... 5-6 years went by, and FINALLY during a construction project it was traumatically smashed in the front fins. (seriously, it was an accident, and I didn't do it!). We switched to GE for that cooler. What a relief in the fall. No thinking about it anymore!
- Sharp:Not a good choice. Finnicky. Sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I don't know why. I wish no one would buy these. People get them to work with us, but I can't predict their success rate.
- FRIEDRICH: We think this is in the same class as Frigidaire and can't get too cold, *and* can't run when outside temperatures are even in the 40's.
- Sears KENMORE: This is a hard one. Kenmore doesn't make their own stuff. Frigidaire used to make Kenmore, so we didn't like them. Then they switched to Toshiba, and we LIKED them again. Then LG was the real manufacturer behind Kenmore... For 2012 I heard that Frigidaire was back to making them... yuck. I don't know about 2013. Find out before buying one!
- Soleus Not many people have used these with CoolBots, but some of the few people that have sent us emails that they are working fine so far. No word on how they work in the winter, so they might shut off when outside temperatures get cold. It's only a FEW people that have tried tried these, so I don't have a big sample size to share.
- Comfort Aire VERY few people have tried these, so we don't know a lot about them. The few people that HAVE used them called to tell us that they do work. No word on how they work in the winter, so they might shut off when outside temperatures get cold.
- SPT Another brand we had never heard of. Two people have tried them. BOTH report they work so far. The smallest sample size so far. We don't know how they work through a winter (no winter users using them)
- Emerson: (all the models tested so far have metal temperature sensors).
- Whirlpool: Such a terrific old American brand, but these do NOT work with CoolBots due to electrical problems so far. The compressor seems solid, but just can't make them work. Haven't tried recently.
- Goldstar: Cheap LG-owned Brand. These are a bad choice for multiple reasons.
- WESTPOINT: A bad choice. We can only get them to cool down to about 47 degrees.
- Any and all brands of "portable" A/C units - There are single and double hose models. Single hose models do not work AT ALL with the CoolBot. Double hose models work, but they are extremely inefficient and you won't be able to get the room very cold (only okay for 45F or above). People making cheese caves are the only people that seem happy enough with them, but even if you are doing a cheese cave, for efficiency sake we still don't love these!
More brands that we have learned do NOT work well with Coolbots
Portable A/C units
Mini-Split Air Conditioners
Mini-Split Air conditioners work great with the CoolBot. Most of our EU and Asian customers use them. They are very expensive in the US, I don't know why. They are more efficient, but CoolBot systems use very little electricity anyway. So far the CoolBots have worked with every brand of mini-split, including multiple off-brand chinese units that no one has heard of. We had trouble with a Fedder's unit but only because the sensor is hidden and just 1 inch long. Annoying. Everyone else has 6-12 inch sensor cables. Ask the mini-split manufacturer what is the lowest OUTSIDE air temperature the unit will function in and compare that with your climate. Obivously even if the CoolBot works perfectly with your air conditioner, if it's a brand that stops working when outside temperatures fall below 40 and you live in Canada and need the cooler to be running over the winter, you will be unhappy! Brand recommendations below do NOT apply to Mini-Splits since so far every mini-split we've tried has worked.
Across all brands of air conditioners, compressor failures or coolant leaks are extremely rare in our experience (with almost 12,000 units in use as of Spring 2013!). If the unit runs for 1 week or isn't bad out of the box, it will run for years (20 years is our estimate based on compressor run-times). Air conditioners in CoolBot systems run LESS HARD than they do in a home living room! (See the FAQ for details). The most common problem we hear about is sensor failures ($3.70 plug in replacement part, not worth a warranty call, and it's like a 2% chance after a couple years).