System Startups

It’s amazing what you find when you get on a jobsite sometimes while troubleshooting a system. Fans running backwards for 15 years, make-up air heaters that have never had the manual gas shut off valve opened to them, fans wired to incorrect starters in the electrical control package.  These are just a handful of the many mistakes that can get overlooked right before a kitchen ventilation system is put into service.  Don’t make the mistake of only going 90% of the way and stopping here.  At this point, owners are often over budget, behind schedule, and excited to finally start operating to start making money.  The urge to ignore this last 10% of the journey should be resisted.  Paying the extra money to have the system commissioned and having a certified test and balance performed on the kitchen ventilation system and rest of the building is definitely worth it.

Here’s why: 

  • Documentation: Having all the information pertaining to the newly installed system is  extremely helpful in the future.  Even if its 10 years down the road.  Everything will be recorded from the RPM of the fans, the airflow, and the amperage draw on all of the motors.  This data is a useful reference point for troubleshooting the system later on if there is a problem.  In addition it also helps to know exactly what components are installed in the system for routine preventative maintenance and emergencies. (Ex: Filter sizes, belt sizes, motor types, etc.)
  • Deficiencies will still be found with the system even if it was installed correctly. Many of these pertain to calibration of the equipment and not install related.
  • Problems found at this stage are easier to fix now than when the kitchen is open. Not to mention, the installer is still around and hasn’t moved on to the next job.
  • No system has ever been operating 100% perfectly even if well designed. Also, no system has ever been 100% installed the way it was designed.  Remember system effect.  Fans are sized off of fan curves and performance data generated in a perfect lab testing environment.  The actual kitchen is not a perfect lab testing environment.  Some form of adjustment will need to be made.
  • It acts as a 3rd party checks and balance system. As the owner, the 3rd party person who checks out your system is your best friend.  Think of them as an extension of yourself.  No offense, but a much more technically educated form of yourself as it relates to the kitchen ventilation equipment.  This extension of yourself is also equipped with extremely expensive, calibrated, highly specialized equipment that you would never have the need to purchase in order to perform the check out on your system.
  • It may be required already by the inspector. If so, there will be no delays and you can simply hand them the test and balance report.
  • The system is clean and everything is new at this point. This is the only and best time when things can be 100% checked out and compared to design.
  • Most Important: It prevents problems down the road and will save money in efficiency loss.
  • If there is something not operating correctly at this point, it will rarely get fixed once the kitchen ventilation system is operational. There is nothing worse as a service technician than working on a system that has something wrong with it every time you go out to perform service on it.

System Startups should be performed by a qualified professional who is familiar with the manufacturer of the equipment installed.  Make sure everything is truly ready to be started up prior to their arrival to get the most bang for your buck and to avoid any charges for return trips.  Call us anytime to schedule a startup for your system, whether it is new equipment or used:  1-800-524-7352.