Why Regular HVAC Systems Aren’t Optimal For Restaurants

Posted on Jun 15, 2020

HVAC systems are pivotal for any business or building where people are constantly coming and going. Business owners should always be aware of their HVAC system, but even more so in today’s world, where quality air supply and circulation are an important matter for the health of your employees, customers and community. This is especially true for restaurants, where many customers and cooking food produces contaminants throughout the day.

We all agree that a good HVAC system is important. But what makes an HVAC system “good?” The answer to this is different for each building, industry and business. What is “good” for one building may not work as well for another. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to your heating and cooling system, and this is especially true for restaurant HVAC systems

Importance of a quality HVAC system
Having the right HVAC system for your restaurant is important for many reasons. Not only will it improve air quality, but it will help keep your business safe. By having the right HVAC system for your restaurant, you can ensure several things:

Prevent disaster:
Kitchens can produce lots of pollutants and grease. Having a proper kitchen hood and duct system in your restaurant can prevent these contaminants from building up in your HVAC system and potentially causing a fire.

Improve air quality:
Restaurants have lots of people coming and going, as well as busy kitchens. All of this produces contaminants in the air, which a proper HVAC system will be able to filter out. Poor air quality can lower the quality of the food or dining atmosphere, as well as become a health hazard to your employees.

Protect equipment:
If grease and pollutants build up in your kitchen, it can shorten the life of machinery and cause equipment to break down or stop working. This means money out of the business’ pocket and a loss of revenue from customers. A proper HVAC system will filter these contaminants and extend the life of your equipment.

HVAC challenges for restaurants
Restaurants are a unique business. Customers rotate through the building relatively quickly throughout the day. Meals are being prepared on hot stoves and in ovens, and the large numbers of pollutants in the air that could impact air quality. When choosing an HVAC system for a restaurant, you want to ensure you take all these challenges into consideration.

Additional Pollutants:
We are not saying that the food and drink you serve to your customers is polluted. However, cooking and preparing a large variety of food and drink can produce byproducts that contaminate air quality. Think about the hood above your grill – this is a necessary part of your restaurant’s HVAC system to capture and trap the pollutants that are byproducts of cooking on your stovetop.

Temperature Control:
Anyone who has cooked in a commercial kitchen knows that it can get hot! From the need to cool down this kitchen area, to keeping your guests in the dining room comfortable, you need an air heating and cooling system that is flexible enough to heat one room while cooling another, and is able to adjust to subtle changes throughout the day and year.

Moisture (and other climate) Control:
Standard HVAC ventilation systems bring air from the outside to replace the air inside. However, restaurants need strict climate control. For example, air brought in cannot have excessive moisture, as this would disrupt the climate in the kitchen, which already contains a higher level of humidity. This is especially important in Hawaii, where outdoor humidity is very prevalent. An HVAC system designed for use in restaurants accounts for this humidity control.

Maintaining air quality in your restaurant
If you already have the proper HVAC system in your restaurant or commercial kitchen, great! However, this is not the last step. You should regularly maintain your HVAC system to ensure you’re getting the most out of your system and that your system is up to code. There are several pieces of regular maintenance you should do for your heating and cooling system.

Visual inspections:
These inspections should be an on-going practice for you and your staff. Just like you keep an eye on other parts of your restaurant and update when needed, you should regularly complete visual inspections of your HVAC systems and machinery. Check for damage after harsh weather, inspect the integrity of the internal systems and keep an eye on the cleanliness of kitchen hoods and grease traps. 

Change filters:
Another aspect of your system maintenance should include cleaning and changing any air filters. The frequency you change filters will depend on the size of your building, and the size and type air filtration system. Changing and cleaning filters will help improve the efficiency of the HVAC system and extend the life of the machinery.

Regular maintenance and cleaning:
In addition to maintenance you and your staff complete on your HVAC system, you should also hire a professional HVAC system maintenance team to service your system on a regular basis. A professional service will be able to clean your kitchen hood and ductwork, as well as inspect the machinery, finding any potential issues that can be fixed before they develop into costly problems for your business.

Is it time for your regular restaurant HVAC system maintenance? Contact the team at AirPro Hawaii today to schedule your regular maintenance.