No matter where you live in the United States, running a restaurant requires the installation of a good HVAC system. Unfortunately, energy efficiency and energy costs are some of the biggest budget issues for those who run commercial kitchens. Thankfully, new technologies and equipment are making it possible to be efficient and economical, all at the same time. Curious about your options? Read through these HVAC efficiency tips for restaurant owners to learn more.
Keep Walk-In Freezers And Refrigerators Well-Sealed
If you have a walk-in freezer or cold room, it is crucial that it is well sealed at all times. Poorly sealed cooling areas pack a double-whammy to heating and cooling efficiency in restaurants. Your freezer won't work as well, and the leakage can force your heating system to work even harder when it doesn't need to. If possible, all units should use a sealing strip curtain when the door is closed.
Also, be sure to check the door gaskets--similar to weather stripping--every few weeks. If these begin to fail, you'll likely notice bigger temperature fluctuations. Total failures like cracks or degradation can result in spoiled food and extremely cold workspaces.
Finally, all freezer or cooling units should be insulated for optimal protection from leakage. This is typically done during the building process, so if you aren't sure about your system, ask an independent evaluator to come in and have a look.
Consider Using Heat Pumps To Augment Your System
Heat pumps are extremely efficient. Instead of solely heating or cooling interior air, they collect air from outside and slowly build or reduce the temperature over a longer period of time. This cooled or heated air is then released into whatever space you direct it to. What's even better is that they do so more affordably than traditional boilers or fuel sources.
To be fair, heat pumps won't be a sole HVAC solution for most restaurants; they simply aren't powerful enough to do the job all on their own. What they can do is provide a better baseline for other systems to work with.
Here's an example of why this works:
During frigid winter temperatures in the northern USA, a heat pump can draw extremely cold air in and release it into your freezer. This will effectively reduce the freezer's temperature. Although your freezer will still need to kick in to bring it down to food-safe levels, the amount of electricity or fuel needed to do so will be lessened. You'll be reducing your energy costs and running a greener restaurant, all at the same time.
Heat pumps can also warm seating and serving areas during the spring, summer, and fall. If you live in the far south, you may find that this is enough to keep your restaurant comfortable. If you live in a more northern location, it can provide you with a better baseline temperature to work from.
Always Use Energy Star Appliances
Even though you're likely using commercial appliances, you should still make sure that what you use is Energy Star rated. Using older heating and cooling systems may seem like it's saving you the cost of replacement--which can be a bit expensive--but you may be losing more in efficiency than you would end up spending.
The issue is that older systems aren't efficient and tend to work harder to produce poorer results. Energy Star reports that cooling alone accounts for around 15 percent of all electricity costs in commercial settings when you use older systems. Switching to Energy Star products might cause a bit of budget friction, but it could potentially save you between 7 percent and 10 percent on your energy costs. That's enough savings that it's worth any restaurateur's time to consider.
Your restaurant is your heart and soul. Making the right decisions can help to keep you afloat and comfortable in the workplace for years to come. If you have questions about keeping your HVAC system efficient, telephone a contractor like A Bailey Plumbing to schedule an assessment. He or she can help you to find solutions that help to reduce your costs and provide you with better overall performance.