Not all buildings are created equal and so not all buildings need the same type of commercial HVAC system. Some buildings have greater ventilation needs, while other’s main concern is keeping its occupants comfortable. And, so it is with restaurants and the type of HVAC system that they need. If you have been following along with our blog, you will have read about how commercial HVAC systems and home HVAC systems are similar, but have a different configuration and with added elements. One part of the commercial HVAC system that is not found in the same capacity as its residential counterparts is a makeup air unit.

What is a Makeup Air Unit?

So, what is a makeup air unit and why is it essential for proper HVAC function in a commercial kitchen? A makeup air unit replaces the indoor air that your kitchen exhaust is pulling out by supplying your kitchen exhaust system with temperature-conditioned outer air. Poor temperature control, negative air pressure, and air quality problems are all possible results if you do not invest in a makeup air unit.

Why Is It Important?

Though the average person wouldn’t assume that the effects of the kitchen exhaust system would be much, it is actually quite significant and if the air is not replaced can lead to dangerous conditions. The construction of newer air-tight buildings has lead to a greater need for optimized ventilation systems. Air flow within the restaurant is not strong enough to accommodate the needs of the kitchen and should not be relied upon as a means of proper ventilation.

9 Problems That are Solved With a Makeup Air Unit

A makeup air unit is essential for your restaurant to function and be comfortable for all, kitchen staff and patrons, alike. Here are specific problems that a makeup air unit can solve for your kitchen’s commercial HVAC system.

Unpleasant Odors

If you are one who has run a kitchen, you know that in a kitchen there many good odors, as well as those that can be unpleasant or overwhelming. Though for the sake of the kitchen staff you must keep the air circulating, you also want to avoid having patrons smelling the odors of the kitchen no matter how pleasant they are. Having a makeup air unit ensures that odors stay where they need to be.

Negative Air Pressure

Negative air pressure can create a lot of problems for not only your staff, but also customers as well. You will know that you have negative air pressure when doors become hard to open or slam shut suddenly, and you may notice high-velocity cross drafts. Air will seep through windows and other building cracks and can create whistling, rattles, and other disturbing noises. Cross drafts can cause dust to fly into your patron’s food, which is never a good thing. Appropriate air pressure is established, eliminating these problems, when you use a proper HVAC system.

Back Drafting

Back drafting can be extremely dangerous and can be caused when you don’t have a makeup air unit. Back drafts can cause dangerous gases like carbon monoxide and other byproducts to find their way into heating systems and cooking appliances. Also, staff and customers could be susceptible to breathing in these dangerous gases, causing serious injury or even death. If this problem persists, the carbon monoxide could also cause your alarms to go off and for your business to have a black mark on its reputation.  

HVAC Problems

When you do not install a makeup air unit, the function of your HVAC system may be impaired as well. Heating may be ineffective, pilot lights could be extinguished, and your HVAC could also suffer damage. A makeup air unit can eliminate the possibility of damage to your commercial HVAC system and expensive repairs.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our blog series to learn more about how having a proper HVAC system can help your restaurant operate under safe and comfortable conditions.

Tradesmen of New England

If you are a restaurant in the Hartford area and are in need of a makeup air unit for your HVAC system, or are unsure if yours is functioning properly, contact the technicians of Tradesmen of New England. Our technicians are highly-trained and experienced and would love to help your restaurant have success. Visit our website to learn more!

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