“Normal” walk-in cooler compressors sell for $2500 + installation which in our area is another $1000, not including electrical. They use a “brute-force” approach to cooling: using LOTS of coolant (which is bad for the environment), a big motor, lots of surface area and multiple fans (which dry out your vegetables and end up accounting for up to 60% of the cost of operating electricity.).
Here's the crazy thing: that $2500+ walk-in cooler compressor you see on a small 8' x 8' vegetable cooler may only put out 8,500 BTUs of cooling power! That's less than you get from a $300 window air conditioner from Home Depot!
It's not quite that simple, though. Here's the problem with window air conditioner units. First, they are electronically limited so that you can't go below 60 degrees. With some electrical bravery and skill, you could snip, solder and bypass the electrical controls so you COULD go lower. It will work better, but still not very well, because while BTU's are BTU's (it's a strict measure of cooling/heating capacity), your ability to actually ACCESS that cooling power drops drastically as you approach only 60° F. This is because you don't have the fans and extra surface area built into normal walk-in cooler compressor/condenser/evaporator units which dissipate the cold without freezing up.
That's where CoolBot comes in! CoolBot uses new (2006 patent pending) technology to replace the brute force approach of fans and surface area with a micro-controller "brain" that intelligently interfaces with your air conditioner - controlling and co-ordinating its output so that you can access nearly all your cooling power, even as you keep temperatures in your walk-in cooler (or any highly insulated room) in the 30's without re-wiring and without any freeze-ups.
The CoolBot is NOT just a thermostat. The CoolBot uses multiple sensors and a programmed micro-controller to direct your air conditioner's compressor to operate in a such a way that you can run at whatever temperature you want without ever freezing up. And our innovative interface linking the CoolBot controller to your air conditioner allows for 2-minute installations without any training, cutting, soldering or even taping.
The multiple sensors and micro-controller allows the CoolBot to work even during the heat of summer and even when people are opening and closing the door all day long and EVEN if they accidentally leave the door open! (Obviously CoolBot can't get you down to temperature if the door is left open for hours, but it can do the best it can without freezing up the fins of the air conditioner so that when you DO close the door, you'll be able to quickly recover to the right temperature.
CoolBot cannot give you 100% use of the listed BTUs on your air conditioner. You need to buy a 10,000 btu a/c unit even when you could have gotten away with an 8,000 btu walk-in cooler compressor (and we would encourage people to get a 12,000 btu unit. It's not necessary, but it's nice to have the extra power). The price of even a large a/c unit is still a fraction of the cost of a real walk-in cooler compressor.
Most importantly, when it can't access your BTUs of cooling power, CoolBot is programmed to shut off the compressor on your A/C unit, so you do not pay for electricity to make BTUs that you can't use! That saves you money and helps the environment. As long as you sized your air conditioner correctly, you'll have no problem keeping your room as cold as you want it to be.