What Lights Can I Use in a Walk-In Freezer?

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Walk-in freezers generally use lamps with a high lumen output.
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Recent technologies have paved the way for illuminating walk-in freezers, appliances that preserve and store large quantities of food products. Walk-in freezers require lamps that are specially designed for freezing temperatures and illumination across large spaces. Generally, high-output and metal halide lamps are the most common and economical lighting used in standard walk-in freezers.


Walk-in freezers often use high-output lamps, or lighting triggered by a higher than normal operating voltage. The voltage is high enough to jump start the lamp, even in low-energy conditions. This makes high-output lamps ideal for operating in cold environments and under freezing temperatures. Because of the high electrical current in instant start lamps, commercial businesses also use these fixtures for displaying food in grocery store freezers and lighting street store fronts and walkways.


High-output lighting used for walk-in freezers includes T5 fluorescent lamps, which produce 5,000 lumens per light bulb. Lumens are light measurement units that indicate the level of brightness in fixtures. Walk-in freezers can also use T8 and T12 fluorescent lamps. However, T8 high-output lighting generally produces 2,500 lumens per light bulb, while T12 lamps only produce up to 2,000 lumens per light bulb. Metal halide lamps are also used in walk-in freezers found in warehouses and industrial plants and produce up to 32,000 lumens.

Vapor proof lighting is also commonly used in walk-in freezers. These lamps are available as standard incandescent fixtures and compact fluorescent fixtures. Compact vapor proof lamps meet government energy-efficiency standards and help reduce operating costs for users. They also generate less heat and are typically lighter in weight than standard incandescent lights.


Walk-in freezer lighting can produce lighting in different spectrums of white, or mimic natural settings such as daylight. For example, special phosphors enable high-output fluorescent lights to exhibit full spectrum or daylight lighting for brighter illumination. The phosphor is a substance that glows when exposed to radiation and is often used in electronics requiring multicolored lighting. Walk-in freezer light bulbs can also be installed in fixtures ranging from 2 feet to as long as 8 feet. Tabs attached to fixtures allow for surface mounting inside the freezer.


In addition to possessing higher voltage than traditional lamps, walk-in freezer lights produce stronger light than normal bulbs of similar size. High-output lamps also utilize plastic, silicon and other material to protect against moisture and other elements. For example, manufacturers offer high-output lamps with fire- and odor-resistant gaskets made with nontoxic materials. The material surrounding high-output lamps also prevents installation in incorrect fixtures.


Bridgette Austin

Bridgette Austin

Bridgette is an aspiring yogini, newbie coder and seasoned marketing writer in the higher ed space. She's written hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including, entrepreneurship, K-12 pedagogy and information technology. Bridgette's work has appeared on Connect: IT at NYU, Noodle Pros, QuickBooks Small Business Center, Trails.com and USA Today.