If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know how much we love sharing our customers’ stories. We’re always on the lookout for unique cooler builds that showcase our customers’ ingenuity.
Some of our recent favorites include the Sturtevants at Botany Bay Farm, who built their cooler on a pallet so they can put it onto a truck and installed a power inverter so the whole system runs off of the truck battery; Andrew Mefferd, who buried his cooler in the ground, while at the same time creating a winter skating pond; and of course Rob Esau, who transformed the crawl space under his house into a wine cellar.
So, when we saw what Jason Lyman was up to, we knew we were on to something special. I believe VP of Sales and Marketing John Bergher’s exact words were, “It’s the most meticulous build I’ve ever seen.”
Relying on his own two hands and his personal philosophy of always doing everything to the best of his ability, Lyman built a walk-in meat locker the likes of which you usually only see in professional butcher shops. And he did it for just about $3000, which includes $1500 for a custom-built door.
Lyman, a journeyman lineman from Mona, Utah, is an avid outdoorsman. “I love to hunt, love to fish, love the outdoors,” he says.
He always processes his own meat, start to finish. But he’d had problems in the past because he didn’t have a temperature-controlled processing area. “I used to process meat in the garage or the house, but it was too warm. The meat turns to jello, and then you’re trying to slice jello and it wants to walk all over the place. I needed a cool environment.”
He has a 40’x60’ shop on his property that contains a tack room for his horses and a workbench. In the back left corner, there’s a loft, and Lyman had always thought that underneath the loft would be the perfect spot for a walk-in cooler. He knew that to install a traditional walk-in cooler in that area would be a lot of work, “more work than I wanted to deal with,” he says. Plus, he liked the idea of saving $2K-3K by doing it himself.
So, he bought a CoolBot and a 15K BTU LG air conditioner and got to work. For the most part, Lyman followed the instructions on our website. You can see how the project came together in the photos below.
One thing Lyman did differently was the insulation. “Don’t skimp on your insulation,” he says. “Air leaks are your worst enemy when it comes to a cooler.”
The mercury can top 90°F during hunting season in Utah, and he wanted to make sure he could achieve temperatures in the 30s. So, he used 4 ½” of polyisocyanurate (PIR or ISO), covered with ½” of oriented strand board (OSB), and then a layer of fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP). The total insulation is about 5 ½”.
Another area where Lyman went above and beyond most DIY builds is the door. He wanted a four-sided door, meaning one that seals on all four sides (as opposed to just three), with a sweep on the bottom. He contacted SRC Refrigeration, and they built him a custom cooler door like one that would be used for a commercial application.
He even installed a temperature gauge next to the door on the outside.
Inside, he put the CoolBot into an electrical box to keep the wires tidy.
Finally, since this is a meat locker, Lyman ordered stainless steel butcher hooks from Amazon and made his own trolley system.
And here’s the result that impressed our team so much:
In total, Lyman spent just about $3000 on this beauty:
- $1500 for the door
- $500 for the insulation
- $450 for the air conditioner
- $329 for the CoolBot
- $200 for the FRP
He put in a lot of work, but clearly the result is worth it. And that’s just who he is. “It’s a pride thing,” Lyman says. “Anything I work on, I try to do it to the best of my ability. Some people call it OCD. I call it doing the best I can. This approach is essential in my line of work. If I don’t do the best I can, someone could get hurt or killed. So, my philosophy is to do it right the first time, because you might not get a second chance.”
Words to live by.
Do you have a CoolBot story you’d like to share? Submit a testimonial and tell us all about it. As a thank you, we’ll double your warranty.