First, let’s start with A/C size – we’ve put together a handy chart to help. This chart shows the size (measured in BTUs) of the air conditioner you need based on (1) the dimensions of your cooler and (2) the temperature range you’ll be storing your products at. Please note that these A/C sizing suggestions are based on a cooler insulated to at least an R25 insulation value and opened no more than 6 times per hour.
*Assumes an airtight cooler with an 8′ ceiling, R25 Insulation and less than 6 openings per hour. Please fill out our Cooler Construction Advice Form for questions
A/C Sizing for Particular Uses:
Restaurants using CoolBots need their food to be below 40°F (4.4°C) to be food safe. Most set it on 38°F (3.3°C) to give themselves a buffer. If you prefer to be consistently at 36°F (2.2°C), upsize at least one size. Upsize two sizes if the cooler is opened once every 10 minutes. Another benefit of upsizing is that it will give you faster cool-down times.
Wine Cellars built with CoolBots, Cheese Caves using CoolBots or folks using CoolBots for meat curing, often only need to be at 50°F+ (10°C+) and can use smaller air conditioners. They can also get away with a lighter insulation, R14-16 is fine for coolers kept at those higher temperatures.
Florists using CoolBots or convenience stores with display coolers (glass doors) need to upsize at least two sizes. Glass leaks a lot of cold given its low R value. Florists should consider upsizing one level anyway to allow for a lower fan speed that’s even less airflow to dry out the flowers. CoolBots are highly recommended by industry groups for Florists and flower growers. For more information on flower coolers, see our flower page.
Brewers using CoolBots for Lagering and anyone using CoolBots to keep their coolers below 38F require insulation on all surfaces, walls, ceiling and floor to an R value of R25-R30. Be sure to keep the room air tight, including a tight seal around the door.
Have more questions about your particular use? Just fill out our Cooler Construction Advice Form and we’ll help you with your build.
Working on a bigger application, or one with specific needs? Just call (888-871-5723) or email us (email@example.com) for advice and we’ll work with you to find the right solution for your space!
Type of A/C
First, in order for the CoolBot to function, your A/C must have a digital display.
There are a few different types of air conditioners, and we have found that certain ones work better than others. In order from the best to worst:
- Durable and efficient, the window unit is our preferred type of A/C. Whether it is installed in a walk-in cooler, truck, trailer or boat, the window unit has the best performance. Commonly available in the U.S. and the best priced A/Cs, these units will work even if you’re installing the A/C in an 11 inch thick wall.
- If you lack the space for a window unit, mini-splits work wonderfully with the CoolBot and are a great option. International customers often find these units to be more readily available and affordable. In the U.S., mini-splits can cost twice as much as a window unit, but they’re also more efficient. Consumers may notice energy savings since the mini-splits are more efficient.
- So far, the CoolBot has worked with almost every brand of mini-split. Panasonic, Midea, and Senville mini-splits have been difficult to work with, so we recommend avoiding them. The Mitsubishi “Mr. Slim” model has also given customers trouble, but other Mitsubishi mini-split units work well. Ask the mini-split manufacturer what the minimum outside air temperature for efficient functionality, and compare that with your climate. Even if the CoolBot works perfectly with your air conditioner, if it’s a brand that stops working when the outside temperatures fall below 40°F (4.4°C) and you need the cooler to be running over the winter, you will be unhappy.
Through Wall Unit
- Through-the-wall units tend to be twice the price of window A/Cs and seem to have (slightly) more electrical problems than window units. There are no serious or unworkable problems, but they are unnecessary annoyances. If you already have a through-wall unit, don’t hesitate to use it.
Portable Air Conditioners
- Instead of sticking out the window, these units have a flexible piece of pipe that looks like a dryer and fits out a small window.
- DO NOT PURCHASE A PORTABLE A/C FOR USE WITH THE COOLBOT – these units bring too much warm air into the cooler, only get down to 50°F (10°C), are more expensive, and consume more electricity. Please use one of our recommended options instead!
Now that we have the best type of A/C figured out, we will highlight the best brands.
Top Recommended Window Unit Brands
1,000’s of people use one of these recommended brands’ window units: LG, Danby, and Haier. Among them, LG is our favorite due to easy installation and consistent performance with the CoolBot. These brands are generally available at Amazon.com, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart and Sam’s Club. If you have trouble finding a specific model, call your nearby store and they can usually order it for you, or check Amazon.
|Summary||LG is our top preferred brand! We have thousands of people using LG A/Cs going back all the way to 2006! Most of them are still running strong 8 years later!||Danby (manufactured by Whirlpool) offers great air conditioners. They were previously only available in Canada, but are now in the US too.||Many customers have successfully used Haier units with CoolBots for years. They can be a bit cheaper than LG.|
|Model Years||In 2012-2013, we saw issues of moisture getting on the boards. This is typically easy to remedy, just use a hair dryer to dry them out. Also we found that running the units with its display board popped out or put in a plastic bag reduces it’s likelihood of moisture contact.||Any Danby model (from after 2011), so long as it has a digital display, will work with the CoolBot. Avoid pre-2011 models due to electrical problems.||Starting in 2010, Haier added wording to their instructions saying they don’t work if outside temperatures fall below 60°F. In our experience, this isn’t true - these are great through even Canadian winters and nothing changed in 2010, just the wording in their instructions. Avoid models beginning with HWE.|
|Recommended Models||LG 8K BTU Window A/C
LG 10K BTU Window A/C
LG 12K BTU Window A/C
LG 15K BTU Window A/C
LG 24K BTU Window A/C
We do not carry these LG units at Store It Cold, but you can purchase them through our Amazon Associate links above.
Frigidaire: We are having great experiences with the 2015 and 2016 Frigidaire models, except the 12K BTU models. Be sure to select one with automatic restart. Avoid pre-2015 models and the 12K BTU models.
General Electric (GE): GE is widely available, but its compatibility with the CoolBot is very model specific. Some models have a second sensor that requires extra steps during installation (which we walk through on the Installation page). Since 2013, GE models restart automatically after a power failure and generally work fine in the winter. We are still gathering information on the 2016 models.
GE Model Notes – Compatible models:
- 24K BTU: AEE24DT, AEM25DP, AEW24DS, AEH24DT, and AEM24DQ.
- 18K BTU: AEL18DQ, AEE18DT, and AEW18DS.
- 12K BTU units: AEL12AS, AEM12AS, and AEZ12AS
GE Models to avoid:
- Pre-2010 models
- AEZ12AT, AEM10AT, AEL24DS, AHH10AS, AEL24DQ, AEH12AT, all AHL##AS, and all AEM##DT models – their sensors are difficult to work with during installation
- AEW12AS and AEL12AR – they are too small to cool the air down
Brands with limited window unit experience, but no problems:
We sell CoolBots all over the world, and sometimes our customers have trouble finding one of our top supported brands. While we have less experience with these other brands, so far we have not had any issues with the following brands:
- Samsung (hundreds of users with good feedback; don’t know if they have auto-restart in case of electrical failure)
- Comfort Aire
- Arctic King
Because of our limited experience with these brands, we do not have data on how they perform during the winter. If that is an important feature to you, please use one of our recommended brands (GE, Danby, LG or Haier), or contact us and we can discuss your setup in more detail.
CANADIAN CUSTOMERS: For air conditioners, airconditionercanada.com is a great site which carries many of the brands that we like, so check them out for your A/C needs!
Unsupported Window Unit A/C Brands:
These units have had so much failure rate that we do not offer tech support for them. We recommend avoiding these window unit A/C’s:
- Maytag, Tappan, and Westinghouse (made by Nordyne)
- Sears Kenmore
Top Recommended Mini-Split Unit Brands:
- Friedrich Breeze
Brands with limited CoolBot mini-split experience, but no problems:
Unsupported Mini-Split Unit A/C Brands: