Myrtle Beach is beginning to heat up. In the coming months, the Grand Strand will see an average of roughly 15 million visitors and some packed restaurants with long lines of waiting diners. The back of the house of any restaurant can get hot and sticky with high temperatures coming off of dishwashers, stove tops and open flame grills. But excessive humidity in the kitchen is not just a comfort problem, it can be a health hazard as well.
Humidity is the amount of moisture or water vapor in the air. We tend to feel humidity during higher temperatures when water molecules more easily move into a vapor state. Modern HVAC systems are designed to not only cool indoor air, but to also remove excessive moisture. Although there are some simple fixes for reducing humidity in a small residential space, a restaurant is more complex.
First, let's look at some of the problems caused by high humidity in a commercial kitchen.
Employee Discomfort: This is an obvious one, but if restaurant workers are uncomfortable, productivity and quality of work are at stake.
Condensation and Wet Floors: The excess moisture in your restaurant will find a home on windows and kitchen floors creating an unsafe and unattractive workplace. Condensation on windows aren't inviting to potential diners, and slippery floors are a hazard and liability. There are some things you can do to prevent slips, trips, and falls, including requiring non-slip footwear and mats, but getting to the source of the problem may include a Cooper professional inspecting your HVAC system.
Mold and Mildew: High humidity creates a prime breeding ground for mold and mildew, especially in hidden areas around appliances or in ducts and vents. Mold growth poses a danger to the health and safety of your business, so attention to this problem is critical.
There are a number of causes for excessive humidity. Common problems that result in high humidity could be anything from leaking ducts to a dirty evaporator coil. If the humidity problem has been an issue from the beginning, it may have more to due with the design of your heating and cooling system in general. Because commercial kitchens can be places of high temperatures, it's important that your HVAC unit meets the demands of your space.
It's important that the HVAC system be properly sized and is capable of sensible cooling (lowering the air temperature) as well as latent cooling (removing humidity from the air). Additionally, an HVAC system set up with zones that allow for different settings for dining and cooking areas allows you to adjust temperatures separately.
Don't let humidity problems affect your business. Cooper Mechanical Services has been serving the Myrtle Beach restaurant industry since 1989. Our knowledgeable team of professionals is happy to inspect your kitchen's HVAC system before the summer rush begins.