Preparing Your Restaurant’s HVAC System for the Summer Heat
It’s never too early to start preparing your restaurant’s or other food and beverage facility’s air conditioning unit for the upcoming summer months.
With the arrival of the unseasonably warm spring in many areas of the country this year, early preparation of your restaurant’s or food and beverage facility’s HVAC system is crucial to ensure that it’s working properly. With temperatures reaching the low 80s, many eateries and food and beverage facilities have been forced to turn on their air conditioning systems without having properly prepared them after a long winter of inactivity.
Preparing your HVAC system is important for any season, but the summer months can put additional stress on systems that are not maintained properly. Spring is the best time, as well as the most traditional time to prepare your air conditioning unit for the hot weather.
Getting your restaurant’s or food and beverage facility’s HVAC system up to speed for the summer heat isn’t that much different than preparing your personal unit at home. Here are some quick and easy steps you can take to ensure your facility’s HVAC system is ready for the taxing summer season:
- Clean those coils. Cleaning the coils on both HVAC and refrigeration is a basic maintenance procedure and a specialized coil cleaning system makes your job easier.
- Stop mold in its tracks. As Indoor Air Quality continues to grow in importance, more and more emphasis will be placed on mold control, remediation and removal. You may need to use a variety of cleaners and mold remediation agents for your walls and surfaces, AC systems and ducts.
- Change and frequently monitor the condition of your filters. Dirty and worn filters can force your air conditioning unit to work harder, which increases energy costs and reduces the life of the system. It sounds like a simple task, but you’d be amazed how many owners neglect to do this.
- Ensure that the thermostat controls are working properly. Check that the controls are responding correctly and that the proper temperature is displayed and maintained. Also be sure the batteries are changed.
- Test all components to ensure that they’re in working order, and replace any if needed.
- Lubricate any moving parts inside the unit. Be sure you check this several times over the summer and apply lubricant when needed.
- Be sure the refrigerant is at its proper level and there are no leaks.
- Clean ducts and airways of dust and any debris. The last thing you want is for your guests to get big piles of dirt in their food the first time the A/C is fired up.
- Ensure that the unit’s condensation is draining properly and it’s not pooling inside the unit. You may be interested to know that PanCare is a product for keeping biological matter from growing in the pan, CoilShine-BC stops it on the coils and both stop clogs from bacterial growth.
- Tighten any loose hoses and connectors.
- If you have a roof-based unit, be sure there is no debris (leaves, branches, etc.) blocking the airflow. Blocked units work harder and are less efficient.
- Check the blower and blades at the beginning of the season. If you need to replace the blower or a blade, it’s better to do it at the beginning of the season rather than during a busy lunch or dinner service in the middle of July.
In addition to the steps above, food and beverage facilities can also follow these four steps:
- Have a specialist come in and inspect your facility’s HVAC unit. Many food and beverage facilities have their systems set at less than optimal level. Having a specialist come in to inspect your unit and perform a tune-up can save you up to 50% off your energy costs.
- Inspect the cooling tower and related equipment of your food and beverage facility’s HVAC unit. Ensuring your system is in good shape will maintain its efficiency and ensure production and proper functionality.
- Replace the cooling tower if needed. If a specialist determines that your system’s cooling tower needs to be replaced, do so immediately. An old and over-taxed system will cost you much more to use in the long run than simply replacing the unit.
- Clean your cooling tower regularly. Evaporation of water can cause residue to build up on your tower. This is especially true during the hot summer months. Be sure to inspect and clean the tower regularly to ensure proper performance and efficiency. Goodway’s unique CTV-1501 TowerVac safely removes cooling tower bacteria and other micro-organisms so you don’t have to.
While this may seem like a lot to do, most of these tasks are quick and easy. When it comes to your restaurant or food and beverage facility’s HVAC system, it’s all about prevention. Any problems or breaks will end up costing your business more money than simple maintenance.
And don’t hesitate to call a professional if you aren’t sure how to do any of the above steps. All these steps will help your HVAC system last longer, increase efficiency, and most importantly, save you money.
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