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Strange Smells, Flies And Other Signs Your Ventilation System Is Putting Your Foodservice Operation At Risk

Poor sanitation isn’t the only thing that can attract flies and other troublesome insects to a foodservice operation. In fact, negative air pressure can act like a magnet, pulling flying insects inside of door openings and cracks, wreaking havoc on unsuspecting restaurant operators and their patrons.

Negative air pressure is a phenomenon that occurs in buildings when the pressure inside is lower than the pressure outside. Have you ever felt some resistance when opening the door to a restaurant? This is an example of negative pressure, which is caused when indoor air is exhausted from a space faster than it can be replaced. Other telltale signs include random drafts of air, whistling, odd noises and unusually hot or cold rooms.

More often than not, the culprit is either a poor or unbalanced HVAC system that’s exhausting more air than can be replaced. This unfiltered air can cause three serious problems for foodservice operators.

Uninvited Guests
Flies, mosquitoes, wasps, moths and other insects can be pulled into a building with negative air pressure when doors are open, putting a restaurant at serious risk of an infestation. For example, house flies can be more than a mere annoyance. At worst, they can carry more than 100 different pathogens, including salmonella and typhoid.

Unpleasant Odors & Air Quality Concerns
Too much exhaust and a lack of fresh air can cause nasty smells and pollution to creep into a building. Chances are likely these unappetizing smells will compel your customers to leave, or worse, post negative reviews online.

Back Drafting
When negative pressure is present, carbon monoxide and other byproducts that would otherwise be released through direct vent flues or chimneys can be reversed and move back into your space. This means your customers and employees could be breathing dangerous substances, and even if they aren’t it could still signal a carbon monoxide detector to go off and cause a major disruption.

Negative air pressure isn’t always bad. In the kitchen area of a restaurant, a little bit of negative air pressure or 4.98 Pa (minimum draft pressure standard) should be maintained to control odors from creeping into other areas of a restaurant.

To correct and control the flow of air in your operation, you should contact a qualified and trusted HVAC expert to properly inspect your system and evaluate your ventilation equipment. Unified Brands offers several options that can help you take greater control of the air quality throughout your foodservice operation with its Avtec line of ventilation systems.

Avtec designs and manufactures a variety of commercial kitchen ventilation hoods that can reduce the amount of exhaust air required by 30%, 40% or even 50% depending on the specific equipment under the hood.

Not only do they create a safer, more pleasant work environment for kitchen staff, but they can also contribute to better communication in the back of the house and an improved customer experience in the front of the house — all while streamlining workflow and saving on energy costs.

Avtec’s commercial ventilation hoods excel in all of these areas and provide a professional appearance that is especially important in open-kitchen designs. Featuring a variety of options for different configurations and budgets, Avtec ventilation systems offer maximum performance while helping you retain your employees and clientele.

Jefferson Kenney
Design & Product Specialist – Ventilation
Unified Brands – Avtec
800-621-8560 EXT 6492

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