If you own a business that relies on refrigeration (a brewery, a restaurant, a convenience store, etc.), you know how it goes — every year or so, you have to call an HVAC repair person to come in and fiddle with the thermostat, fix a leak, or service the compressor. If you’re lucky, you’ll get away with a bill of only $100 or $200. But if you have to deal with leaking refrigerant or replace the compressor, that bill can easily top $1000. And, chances are, that same repair person will need to come back next year to do you walk-in cooler repair all over again.
Unfortunately, this is a pretty typical situation for traditional refrigeration systems and coolers. It can put a financial strain on small businesses, and that’s not even factoring in the cost of any losses related to cooling system failure.
That’s why All Pro Coolers, a commercial refrigeration company that operates out of South Carolina but serves the entire east coast, now retrofits existing coolers and provides turnkey cooler solutions using the CoolBot. Their goal is to save their customers money and help them get more bang out of their cooling buck.
“With the CoolBot, we make everyone happy,” says All Pro’s owner Austin Joshua Grimm. “It’s a less expensive option, and the unit works great. In certain size ranges, the CoolBot works better than a traditional compressor/operator combo.”
Precise temperature control
Grimm says that the CoolBot offers all of the advantages of a traditional system, plus other features that you don’t always find.
One of the most important features is the ability to control the temperature very precisely. All Pro Coolers works with companies in a variety of industries, including breweries. As anyone in the brewing business knows, temperature is very important. “Some want 35°F, others prefer 37°F, but they always have a very specific temperature they want to achieve,” Grimm says.
With traditional cooling systems, you don’t normally get to set the exact temperature. You just have a control, typically one that ranges from 0 to 7 (like in your refrigerator). You can put it to the maximum setting, but that doesn’t translate to a specific temperature, which is why traditional systems also come with a thermostat. But, Grimm notes, that thermostat is “usually cheap and not a reliable option for measuring temperature.”
This isn’t just Grimm’s opinion. The USDA and Health Department recommend using a third-party thermostat with traditional refrigeration systems to make sure the OEM’s thermostat readings are correct.
With a CoolBot, you don’t have to worry about this problem. You can set the temperature exactly, not just on a 0-7 scale. To verify that the temperature is correct, the All Pro team has tested it using the same third-party thermostats they use for traditional systems. The results? “I’m amazed by how precise the CoolBot thermostat is,” he says. “We’ve never had any problems with it.”
Low installation and maintenance requirements
A major challenge associated with traditional refrigeration is the cost — not just of the initial setup, but also installation and maintenance. “Installing a traditional compressor isn’t an easy task,” Grimm says. “It’s also very expensive, and the building can be difficult to deal with.”
The maintenance is no picnic either, and it’s rarely a one-time-only thing. “Once you have problems with a traditional system, it will keep giving you problems,” says Grimm. “Your unit will never be new again. For example, say you get a freon leak. You’ll have no choice but to call a refrigeration expert (who you’ll pay by the hour), but, though your system can be fixed, it won’t be like new. Eventually, you’ll get another leak.”
Grimm explains that most traditional systems don’t last more than 3 years. This is often because business owners don’t do all of the maintenance required to keep them running any longer. “Our customers aren’t refrigeration experts, and they don’t want to have to pay someone to come in all of the time and perform maintenance. They just want their cooler to work.”
With the CoolBot, that’s exactly what they get. “The CoolBot is a very precise, easy to install, and very reliable unit. You don’t need to go through the nightmare of connecting the compressor on outside of building to the operator inside, calculating how much piping you need, or figuring out if you have to put it on the roof or outside. There’s no maintenance. You just have to clean the fins every 15 days, but that’s very easy and you don’t need a technician.”
All Pro Coolers backs up these claims with a warranty agreement that’s unprecedented in the commercial refrigeration space. “For the big companies that make traditional refrigeration systems, the warranty will be 9, 12, 18 months at best because they know the unit won’t last. We give a 5-year warranty on CoolBot systems. We’ve done many tests and the unit has a very long life — it will last longer than 5 years.”
If you do have a problem, you don’t have to pay an HVAC technician to come out and fix it to not-quite-new condition. Just buy a new unit. “Now you have a new cooler for a couple hundred bucks,” Grimm says.
But problems aren’t likely. While the air conditioner can go out (this can also be solved by buying a new one), the only times Grimm has encountered problems with the CoolBot is when the customer messed with the settings. “But, the great thing is that we can troubleshoot it over the phone,” he says. “These aren’t HVAC people, just regular people who’ve never dealt with refrigeration before, and they can have their cooler up and running again in 5 minutes.”
Walk-in cooler repair – Seeing is believing
The CoolBot is starting to disrupt the refrigeration industry. And, as with any change in the status quo, there are plenty of skeptics. Grimm encounters them all of the time. “With anything new, there’s always skepticism,” he says. “If you’d shown someone an iPhone in the early ‘90s, they would have been skeptical. But if the product speaks for itself, like the CoolBot does, you can overcome that skepticism quickly.”
All Pro Coolers has found that the most effective way to overcome skepticism is to allow people to see the unit run. This helps them understand the advantages, like saving money on the purchase, the maintenance, and the electric bill. For example, a 6’x6’ with an 18,000 BTU AC unit that runs consistently at 36°F costs about ~$75/month in electricity, compared to $120-130/month for a traditional two-part system.
One concern that Grimm hears frequently is about using the system outdoors. But, he says, “not to worry. You just need a weather-proof, NSF-approved cover. The CoolBot system can withstand very low or high temperatures. Whether you’re in Texas or Massachusetts, you don’t have to worry. The cooler will still work great.”
So, how does All Pro Coolers let business owners see for themselves how well the CoolBot works? By offering a rental option at significantly lower rates than is typical for cooler rental.
Many businesses, like farms and meat processors, only need a cooler for a season. Others, like breweries and small grocery stores, may want to try before they buy. “We give customers the opportunity to try a cooler for a few hundred dollars and see how it goes,” says Grimm. “I’m 100% sure they’re going to love it. We’ve never had a customer who was not happy with the CoolBot.”
All Pro Coolers works with many different companies in many different industries. But, Grimm says, they all have one thing in common. “They don’t want to deal with multiple providers, like a cooler company, an HVAC company, an electrician, and so on. They just want a working cooler in their store. The CoolBot is the only solution that provides this.”
Looking for walk-in cooler repair services? If you have an old cooler that you don’t want to spend another dime repairing, or you’re looking for a new turnkey cold storage solution, give All Pro Coolers a call. They’ll be able to provide you with exactly what you need, even if it’s just for a month or two. (And if you talk to Beth in the invoicing department, be sure to tell her how awesome she is. According to Grimm, the business wouldn’t be able to function without her.)