The current industry standard for insulation is a minimum of R25 waterproof insulation. Different insulation products have varying "r-values" per inch; this will be printed on the insulation you purchase. Instead of thinking about insulation in terms of inches, think about insulation in terms of r-value. The higher the r-value the better. When purchasing insulation, remember that the insulation you choose will impact your electricity bill; you only purchase insulation once, while electricity is an ongoing expense.
Check out our Insulation Information section for details on the best insulation options for your cooler.
NOTE: We do not recommend using fiberglass insulation for your cooler. This particular insulation can get soggy, sag, and mold within 1 year of full time use of your cooler.
Making sure your cooler is air-tight is just as important as the amount of insulation you put in it! Keeping your cooler air tight will allow your product to cool down faster to lower temperatures and keep your monthly bill lower by preventing the cold air from escaping your cooler.
Use several cans of spray foam and caulk to seal the following:
- Seams between insulation sheets
- Under the door (use a door sweep as well for extra seal)
- Around the air conditioner
- Every corner
Around the air conditioner is a common place where hot air can sneak in. Instead of spray foam, you can use pipe insulation, readily available at hardware stores. It comes in 6 foot long strips and you can cut it to the size you need before stuffing it in the gap between the wall and the air conditioner. It is soft and pliable but still "closed cell" in structure, so water doesn't get into it and air can't pass through. This way if you ever need to replace your A/C, you don't have to carve away your spray foam.
Sealing your cooler properly is essential for your cooler to function efficiently. This includes sealing joints between walls, floor, and ceiling. In addition, it is important that you regularly check the gaskets on your door as well. A spray foam insulation such as Great Stuff works great in the gaps and cracks. Weather stripping or a rubber gasket is helpful if the door doesn't have a nice tight seal as well.
Choose the right A/C
What size of A/C you need depends on:
- The size of your cooler
- Your desired temperature range
- What temperature your product is coming in at and how quickly you need to get it down to your target temperature
Please see our Air Conditioner Selection Guide for our recommendations on choosing the proper A/C.
For the majority of our customers who are keeping their cooler 38°F - 41°F (3.3°C - 4.3°C) and opening their coolers less than six times per hour, the below table is a general outline of A/C sizing needs.
Dimensions of Walk-In Cooler Size of Air Conditioner 6' x 8' x 8' 10,000 BTU 8' x 8' x 8' 12,000 BTU 8' x 10' x 8' 15,000 BTU 8' x 12' x 8' 18,000 BTU 10' x 14' x 8' 24,000 BTU
Not all brands of air conditioners work equally well with the CoolBot - again, please consult our Air Conditioner Selection Guide for our preferred compatible models.
If you build a rectangular cooler, you need to make sure your A/C is blowing air down the longest portion of the room. For example, if you have a 6' x10' foot cooler, you would want to blow down the 10 foot direction.
Have you reviewed the Air Conditioner Selection Guide and are still not sure about your set up? Fill out our Cooler Construction Advice Form, and we'll help you out with the details.
Keep your cooler out of direct sun.
Coolers in direct sun can require almost double the amount of electricity to power them. Put your cooler under a tree, on the north side of a garage or barn (or inside), or just built under an openly vented roof that keeps the sun off the insulated ceiling of the cooler.
Allow Enough Room For Your A/C to Breathe
Air conditioners need at least 2 feet of clearance overhead on the back side to vent properly. If there is not enough room, they will overheat and die a sad premature death never fully realizing their potential.