We have sold thousands of CoolBots since 2006. Universities around the country (and now the world!) encourage it's use. Our Testimonials page is filled with pictures from farmers, florists, hunters, mortuaries, caterers, restaurants, grocery stores, wineries and pubs! All sounds great, right?
But the CoolBot is NOT for everyone!. Less than 0.5% of our customers return their CoolBots. But that's because we work hard to be honest about what it can and can't do right here on this page!!
Please read the BAD THINGS about the CoolBot before you convince yourself it's the right product for you. The bottom line is that CoolBot DOES NOT perform as well as a conventional cooler!
It's a niche product that is perfect for a segment of users because it's cheaper to purchase, free to install and can save you hundreds of dollars EACH YEAR in electricity. The air conditioner you purchased to use with the CoolBot should last for TWO DECADES in this application (See our FAQ page for why). But that's the good news. Now read about the bad news.
Weaknesses of the CoolBot System
The CoolBot is cheaper than a conventional walk-in cooler system and uses far less electricity. It's easy to install, repairs are almost non-existent, and many air conditioners come with a 5 year warranty.
That all sounds great, but there are some SERIOUS sacrifices compared to a conventional walk-in cooler system. These are deal breakers for some people, and don't matter to others.
Air-conditioners have less surface area that the air blows over and a much lower VOLUME of air that is moved around. What does this mean to you if you buy a CoolBot system?
Turn on the CoolBot/Air-conditioner in an 85F (30C) cooler and it will sprint down to 45F (7C) in about 20 minutes. You'll be very happy!! But wait! Every degree you go down below that takes exponentially longer!
It can take another 30 minutes before you hit 40F (4.4C), even though that's only 5 degrees less! And another 30 minutes on top of that before you hit 38F (3.3C). That doesn't matter to many people, but if it does to your operation, then don't buy a CoolBot!
CoolBot systems are used by many caterers and some small restauranteurs. We were even featured on a television show in the UK about "starting a restaurant on a budget." But in tests conducted by two large US restaurant chains the CoolBot was REJECTED! Why? They told us it was great at night or at slow times, but during busy times of day they have people going in and out ever few minutes. Temperatures in the coolers were averaging 41+ degrees during that time. Not food safe!
CoolBots are used in large restaurants as Secondary Coolers with glowing reports. We are also used in smaller restaurants where the door is open and closed no more than 6 times per hour. In those applications the CoolBot did great at holding things down at 38 degrees. We do still recommend small restauranteurs size up from our recommendation chart.
This is related to the above. Same reasons. We DO have hundreds (NOT thousands!) of people running below 36F, but they (a) don't open the door often, and (b) they don't mind that it took hours to reach that temperature.
It helps a lot if they have smaller rooms and larger air conditioners (like an 8x8 room and an 24,000 BTU air conditioner would sure have no trouble reaching 36F very quickly!)
CoolBots are also very popular in bars for keg coolers. Some folks are running them super cold. Kegs are tapped in the coolers, and doors are only opened a couple times a day, so they can get as cold as they want to. We're also used in a number of restaurant (and home) wine-cellars.
We get this question many times a day. It's just impossible. We have over 22,000 CoolBot customers now and I think less than five of them have managed to barely get below 32 F. Most people can't below 33 F (1 C). Those people used very small rooms and 24,000 BTU air conditioners. But remember that being at 32F (0C) is NOT the same as freezing something! If you want to freeze chickens (that's the most common questioner) you need to be down in the single digits, NOT right at 30 F. We're a horrible solution for you. Run away! Save yourself!
This is actually not a CoolBot problem, and it is avoidable, but I'm putting it in this section so you will be careful if you need to keep things cold when it's cold OUTSIDE your room.
Some air conditioners run fine in the winter. LG, HAIER and SAMSUNG are good examples that seem to run all winter long with no trouble. But other brands might not. We know Frigidaire stops running even when temperatures get into the lower forties! This might not be a problem for mixed vegetable crop growers, but it would be horrible for a small restauranteur or our meat processors. Be careful about what brand of air conditioner you buy if you need to run through the winter.
This is also not a CoolBot problem. CoolBots start up automatically, and they remember their settings forever.
If the electricity blinks on and off NOT all brands of air conditioners will automatically restart!
LG and HAIER definitely do. We don't know about GE or Toshiba. We know Frigidaire does NOT automatically restart. You have to manually turn it on and off to get it running again. The auto-restart feature is usually advertised on the outside of the box, so, this isn't a weakness of the CoolBot system, but I wanted to mention it so you can look for this feature if you have blinky electricity in your area.
More things that don't work well with CoolBots
Instead of sticking out the window, these units have a flexible piece of pipe (looks like Dryer vent) that fits out even the smallest window.
The ones with a single vent don't work at all (They are constantly sucking fresh, warm air into the room!)
The ones that use 2 vent-pipes work better, but still not great. If you don't need to be below 45F (7C) this solution can work for you, but don't expect to get much lower than that. Also, remember that these units tend to be more expensive to purchase initially AND they use more electricity to operate, so... we don't really recommend them even when they do work! Home wine-cellar folks use them, cheese makers use them... some florists use them (but we wish they wouldn't).
You don't need to buy a CoolBot. The CoolBot doesn't even kick in until the air conditioner gets down to 65F. Many air conditioners can be set to cool down to 62 F.
Sadly, CoolBots can't change the laws of physics. You can't expect a 5,000 BTU air conditioner to cool a 10' x 15' room very much, even if it says it can on the box of the air conditioner. They are talking about cooling down to 65F (18 C). It takes more BTU's for every degree you go down!
Follow our sizing recommendations and you'll be pleasantly surprised to see that your air conditioner runs less than 25% of the time if you've insulated the room well, saving wear and tear on the A/C unit and you'll have enough cooling power to more quickly cool products that are field hot and need to be cooled quickly
The industry standard for walk-in coolers is 4 inches of rigid foam insulation. There is a great link in our Cooler Construction section from Kentucky State University for a hybrid cooler with a combination of fiberglass and much less rigid foam. That works great, too. The point is, that less than R24 in a room that needs to be below 40 F (4.5 C) is a bad idea./p>
People that put us in their back storage closet will be frustrated until they add at least 1-2 layers of solid foam insulation on top of the drywall and tape, caulk or spray foam the seams. You don't even have to screw them down, but you've got to insulate those walls.
People with home wine-cellars that only need to be in the 50's can get away with much less insulation.
Even under the door. The smallest gaps (.5inches by 10inches!) loses a TON of cold. And CoolBots have slow refresh rates. If you have a leaky old cooler, either seal it up, or buy a conventional cooling system. And whatever you do, you SHOULD seal it up, because you are wasting a TON of electricity!
As you make the room colder and colder, even very small gaps start to matter - it's like turning up the pressure on a garden hose with every degree you go down! Caulk or spray foam your seams and corners and you should be fine.
If you have an old air conditioner without a Digital display, the CoolBot won't work for you. Almost all "Name brand" manufacturers have moved to digital controls by now. Frigidaire still has a couple knob-type models out there, but so far as we know, LG, Samsung and Toshiba and Kenmore have all upgraded by now
We're happy to speak to you in more detail about what we've learned from all the people now using the CoolBot. We embrace the fact that CoolBots don't work for everyone!
Here's a good way to look at it:
- If you want to be at 37F or above (2.8C) and you open the door less than 5 times/hour you will absolutely love us. We will save you thousands in up-front costs, but we'll save you MORE than that in electricity savings and repair bills!
- If you need to keep things at 36F (2.2 C)(, and you open the door less often and you don't mind that it takes a few hours to get down to 36, you'll be really happy, too, but you won't save nearly as much electricity over a conventional system (yes, I know it's just a ONE degree F drop, but it's true!).
- If you need to be under 34F (1.5 C) you aren't going to be happy with us unless you oversize the air conditioner and NEVER open the door. And you wont' save any money in electricity.
A surprising amount of our business comes from people upgrading their conventional cooling systems with CoolBots. Unless you have a cooler that's 20 years old, we are NOT going to save you money in electricity if you keep your cooler at 36F or below. You can buy us as a "back-up" for redundancy, but don't do it to save electricity (unless you store at 37F or above).
Please don't hesitate to call or email us if you aren't sure about your application and we will tell you honestly if it will work. Google around about CoolBots! There are no negative reviews on the CoolBot so far in over 18,000 applications. It's not because we are a miracle company, it's just because we're really honest about where the CoolBots will and won't work.