A makeup air system pulls air into your restaurant from outdoors and conditions it to the indoor temperature. The makeup air replaces the air that the restaurant loses via the exhaust system. Below are some critical reasons to install a makeup air system in your restaurant.
A typical restaurant kitchen produces multiple odors. The odors can overwhelm your customers. Even though your exhaust system takes care of the odors, some of them can still reach the dining area due to poor airflow. A makeup air system improves airflow and minimizes air moving from the kitchen to the dining area. The improved airflow reduces kitchen odors.
Negative air pressure can build up in the restaurant if you don’t have a makeup air system. The negative air pressure will trigger back drafting. Back drafting will cause the byproducts of heating and cooking processes (carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases) to flow back into the restaurant.
The reverse flow of gasses can make your employees and customers sick. The poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can also disrupt your business if it causes government inspectors to shut you down.
Improve HVAC Efficiency
Inadequate makeup air also affects HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) efficiency. During the cold season, the resultant backdraft will keep blowing out your furnace’s pilot light. During the hot season, back-drafting air (that is at a higher temperature than the indoor air) can tax your cooling system.
An overworked HVAC system is likely to experience frequent breakdowns, wear out fast, and lose its efficiency. You might even have to contend with cold and hot spots in the restaurant, which is terrible for your customer’s comfort.
Improve Energy Efficiency
Inadequate makeup air can affect your energy efficiency in two main ways. First, an inefficient HVAC system works harder and draws more energy than usual to maintain comfortable temperatures. Secondly, the HVAC inefficiency might force you to install fans to maintain comfortable temperatures. These additional installations also consume energy.
Improve Kitchen Hood Efficiency
Inadequate air supply increases static pressure, which lowers the volume of gases the exhaust hoods can get out of the kitchen. The kitchen fumes contain traces of heating and cooking byproducts, including grease. Thus, an inefficient kitchen hood will lead to excess grease, which wastes your kitchen staff’s time because they have to clean more than usual.
Get Rid of Distractive Noise
Bothersome noise is another effect of back drafting. If negative air pressure builds up in your restaurant, a draft from outside can slam your windows and doors whenever someone leaves them open. The draft will also force its way through every crack and hole in your walls. The draft, as well as slamming doors and windows, can interfere with your customers’ dining experience.
Reduce the Risk of Fire
Lastly, a makeup air system also reduces the risk of fire in the kitchen. As you know, a typical kitchen faces a high risk of fire due to heating appliances and combustible materials, such as oil or grease.
The risk increases if you have poor airflow that can blow flames into vent hoods, ductwork, nearby appliances, or even nearby food. Other measures, such as the installation of spark arrestors, can help. However, a makeup air system that controls airflow also helps.
Don’t operate your restaurant without a proper makeup air system. Consult an experienced HVAC technician to design and install a makeup air system so that you can enjoy the above benefits. Apollo Heating & Air Conditioning has been in the HVAC industry since 1980 — we have the skills, experience, and resources you need. Contact us for any HVAC service you need.