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Is Your Restaurant Balanced?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Updated: Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hello RFMA members,

Do you know if your restaurants are air balanced properly? Negative or positive? My experience has shown the majority of restaurants are overwhelmingly negative. With all the air handling equipment and controls, they must be operating properly to have a balanced store. It very easy to check on a store's balance. Ensure all the HVAC's are on and running along with the hood(s) exhaust fans. From the inside of the restaurant go to an exterior door and crack it open a few inches. With a lighter, put the flame up against the opening and see which way it flickers. If it flickers towards the inside, the store is under a negative airflow. If it is pulled towards the outside, the building is positive. The ideal situation is a slightly positive balanced building. Negative airflow will waste energy dollars and could cause not so ideal conditions inside the store such as, hot & cold spots, odors, and smoke rollback. Some simple items to look at can generally help the building balance. They are:

- Check t-stat settings. Make sure they are properly programmed with the fan in the "on" position.

- Check to ensure all equipment is running. May need to check the breakers.

- Ensure all air filters are clean. Clogged filters will restrict airflow.

- All coils need to be clean. Dirty coils restrict airflow.

- MUA (make up air) filter clean.

- Outside air dampers on a/c units open and set properly.

- Curbs are properly sealed on all rooftop HVAC equipment.

- Hood filter in place and sized correctly with no gaps.

- All motors running at FLA (full load amps).

Make sure the HVAC PM contract has these items to review each time the periodic service is completed. Your local contractor should understand air balancing and be your eyes in the field. It will save substantial energy dollars and keep your customers and employees comfortable.

Dover and out.

Tags:  air balance  air dampers  clean coils  dirty filters  negative pressure 

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