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Walk-in Location Requirements & Tips

Walk-in coolers and freezers are indispensable units for a wide breadth of businesses ranging from hotels and restaurants to healthcare and vaccine clinics. Walk-in location requirements are a subject regarding the placement of these vital units within the facility. To improve their efficiency and longevity, you will need to pay attention to a few details, and location is one of them. You can refer to our main article on walk-in units to learn more about the other aspects. The walk-in location requirements listed below will help you design your space in line with the codes and in an optimal way for efficient operation.

Walk-In Location Requirements and Considerations: Indoors vs. Outdoors?

Walk-in location requirements and considerations mainly revolve around the general placement of the unit. While shopping, you will see that the units are categorized as indoor or outdoor models. Both versions have their unique advantages and some disadvantages depending on your situation. 

Indoor Walk-In Unit Pros

Indoor Walk-In Cooler without Floor, Self-Contained
  • Ease of access is the main benefit of these models. Installed within your kitchen, your staff will easily walk in and out of the unit. Plus, you will transfer incoming products faster too.
  • Cleaning is easier for indoor units thanks to their accessibility and the fact that they aren’t prone to be affected by external conditions as much as their outdoor counterparts. 
  • Since it is already within your establishment, no additional security is needed to protect your machinery. 

Indoor Walk-In Unit Cons

  • Raised temperatures within the kitchen area can be an issue with indoor units. Walk-ins are usually heavy-duty machines that are never turned off. Having such a big machine constantly working in your space will inevitably raise the temperatures. A sound ventilation system is a must with this option.
  • Walk-in location requirements of many states require you to place your unit 2 inches from the surrounding walls and at least 6 inches from the ceiling. These codes might be a big ask for small spaces. Make sure you have enough room to purchase an indoor unit. 

Outdoor Walk-In Unit Pros

Self-Contained Modular Walk In Cooler
  • The ventilation is significantly easier for outdoor units. The air can be blown out directly, eliminating the complex ventilation systems partially and high temperatures entirely. 
  • Outdoor units bypass the walk-in location requirements for indoor units and save you much-needed space within the working area. 

Outdoor Walk-In Unit Cons 

  • Additional precautions and security will be needed to protect your unit from natural hazards and theft. 
  • Access might be an issue with outdoor units. Walk-in location requirements and codes allow butted-in units to improve this issue, but you will still need to take extra measures to maintain easy access.  

Walk-in Location Requirements & General Tips

There are different codes regarding walk-in location requirements. These codes might vary from state to state, but there are a few standard guidelines and numbers, as well as some useful tips you can use as a basis for your preparations. Check in with your local regulations before making any final decisions. 

  • For proper airflow, indoor walk-in units should be placed 2 inches from the walls and at least 6 inches from the ceiling. 
  • Ensure the door is not blocked and there is an easy path to access the unit. Walk-in location requirements also encompass the accessibility of the walk-ins, and many guidelines state that you need to provide good access for the staff. 
  • Condensers are an important aspect of walk-in location requirements. Whether they are placed indoors or outdoors, they have specific ventilation needs. You can check our article dedicated to condensers to get more information about what your establishment might need. Make sure to check in with the seller to find out the specific requirements of the condenser, as they may vary. 
  • Evaporators are other significant pieces of walk-in units. Their placement influences the temperature and health of your machinery. Ensure not to place them above the door or in places products might block them. While the former might cause frosting with constant changes in humidity and heat, the latter might entirely block the airflow and cause your evaporator to malfunction. 
  • Place the unit away from any other machinery giving off heat and grease. The particles and heat emanated from stoves and fryers can impact the longevity of your other pieces of equipment. While this is not an official walk-in location requirement, it would be smart to locate such units away from each other. 
  • Consider the climate factors when choosing where to place your walk-in unit. Walk-in location requirements tend to focus on keeping the machinery sound and healthy. If you are operating from a cold region, you could invest in an outdoor unit and use the weather in your favor. However, if you are in a hot area, you should be wary of fluctuating temperatures and long-term heat waves. These might poorly affect your machinery, especially if they are placed outside. Make sure to take measures to counter these issues or avoid them by setting your unit inside. 


Walk-in location requirements encompass many details ranging from the placement of the overall unit to the placement of its components, such as the condenser and the evaporator. By paying attention to the basic guidelines and adhering to the local regulations your area might have, you can make sure you place your unit in the best place possible.

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