In order to understand what HVAC professionals mean when they mention “air balance” it is important to get a very general understanding of building pressure and how your Myrtle Beach restaurant or business cycles “dirty” and “clean” air through an HVAC system’s exhaust and makeup or air intake components.

Stay Positive: What Building Pressure?

Building pressure is the relationship between the amount of makeup air coming into a building through the HVAC system and the amount of air exiting a system through ventilation or exhaust. As the heading suggests, it’s important to ensure that the volume of “clean” makeup air coming in to the building is higher than the volume of “dirty” exhaust air leaving the building. This creates a slight positive pressure, which is ideal. 

Building pressure is especially important in Myrtle Beach restaurants where a combination of high heat and humidity outside, and large volumes of exhaust from hot kitchens can quickly create instances of negative building pressure. When negative pressure occurs, your building is “unbalanced” and you may notice a variety of negative signs and symptoms.

Consequences of Negative Building Pressure

When the volume of makeup air coming in to your restaurant or building is less than the air leaving through exhaust and ventilation, this is negative building pressure. Common problems associated with negative building pressure include the following:

  • Draft or Suction at Entryways / Stuck Doors
  • Indoor Condensation
  • Leakage from Units / Dripping Diffusers
  • Restaurant Hood Smoke Loss / Hot Kitchen
  • Hot and Cold Spots in Building

Most importantly, an unbalanced building from negative air pressure creates an environment that is uncomfortable for customers and employees. 

Common Causes of Unbalanced Air Pressure

How did my building change from positive pressure to negative pressure? The causes of unbalanced air are varied, but it signals that parts of your HVAC system is inefficient and ineffective. Common problems that create negative building pressure include problems with one or more of the following components of your HVAC system:

  • Exhaust fans
  • Supply ducts (leaks)
  • Dirty coils
  • Dirty filters / wrong sized filters
  • Worn or broken belts
  • And other issues related to your ventilation and makeup air components

Scheduling an Air Balance

Finally, we’re back to air balance. The solution to negative building pressure is an air balance, sometimes referred to as “test and balance.” Cooper Mechanical Services uses diagnostic tools to measure building pressure and test system components to identify areas that may affect pressure. Identifying the source of the problem and replacing, cleaning, or repairing the issue restores a building to the ideal slightly positive building pressure. 

If you have questions or would like to learn more about our services, get it touch. Remember: stay positive and Call Cooper!