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The Home Smithy
The Home Smithy, Home Builder
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Experience:  #1 Home Improvement Expert 30+ years experience
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Good day, I own a building and one of the tenants have a restaurant.

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Good day,
I own a building and one of the tenants have a restaurant. This is a new tenant, as the retaurant has been in existence for 30 Years.
My problem is that the client is complaining of condensation on the walls due to lack of ventilation. We as the landords have put ventilation louvers in two doors and a aditional extractor on a wall pulling air out.
The problem is that the restaurant is trying to save on electricity and refuses to put the two exctractors on. He also has a main huge extractor above the grills, but refrains from putting this on until the last minute. He also refrains from opening windows. We live in Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa and the humidity is very high. We are right next to the sea. I need an experts explanation to this customer making him understand that NO more natural ventilation is going to solve his problem if he does not connect his extractors. He connects them for very short periods of time and then says he has. But the situation has now got to the stage where I feel without an expert telling him that mechanical ventilation is required to be connected for a longer period, not only when cooking as the humidity in this area is excessive. He will continue to be a thorn in my side.!

Hi. Welcome to Just Answer.

Having worked in restaraunts for many years myself I can say that you are absolutly correct. If the building is equipped with ventillation fans, extractors, or hood vents they must be used to eliminate the excess moisture in the building. Moisture is not like hot air. It will not vent itself via convection methods like hot air will (So installing more vents will not do any good). If the building was only a meeting hall it would be different. Meeting halls do not produce steam from boiling foods, high huimidity from the dish washing machines, or grease vapors, and moisture, from cooking foods.

All of the moisture from these things will not vent without the assistance of fans, vent hoods, or other means of mechanical extraction. They will condense on the walls, ceilings, and range hoods.

In the case of range hoods it is mandatory that the hood be on whenever the stoves or grills are. If they are not on the grease will collect and is a very real fire hazard in less than a few weeks of everyday cooking.

Every kitchen I have worked in the very first thing we did after lighting the grills and broilers was turn on all of the fans. The last thing we did after turning off the grills and broilers was turn off the fans.

Extraction fans are used for two main reasons

1) to extract and filter grease laden air away from ignition sources.

2) to prevent excessive moisture in the air that can cause mold development, and to prevent the formation of bacteria in the food preparation and eating areas due to condensed moisture.

Consider the cost of a salmonella outbreak caused by this in the restaraunt. What customers you have will no longer be customers. At least not those that survive. Those that dont, ....Well I think you get the picture.

Best, Smitty


Please let me know if you have any other immediate concerns.
If not please select a positive rating at this time. Doing so will not close your question, and after you rate my service you may ask any followup questions you like. All at no additional charge.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.
Best, Smitty
**How to rate your expert**

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Smitty,

But dont close the conversation as yet.


Not a problem, Louise. The conversation will not close until you close it, or it times out in a few days from now. You can relist it after that if you like.

Rating my service will not close the question either.


The Home Smithy and other Home Improvement Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello Home Smithy,

I wrote to you on Tuesday regarding a tenant and the condensation problem. What has happened now, is that the relay which operates the fan motor to the walk in freezer had to be replaced due to a short. The restaurant owner phoned this morning to say that the reason for this is that humidy got into the relay switch.

I phoned the electrician that did the repair and he assures me that the relay did not burn out due to humidy because it is a sealed unit and it was due to the fan motor shorting switching the relay on and off.

Please can you verify this for me, as I am in the process of putting together the letter to this tenant regarding the condensation and would like to include expert advice regarding this.

This tenant switches the walkin freezer off everynight, and switches it back on in the morning. Im not sure if he is trying to save on electricity.

Thanking you


Louise, this is actually a separate question but Ill answer it just this once.

They are both wrong. The relay will not burn out from condensation, but then the fan shorting out wont either. If the fan shorts out it stops working. That would have nothing to do with the relay.

Relays only do one thing. They make a high voltage connection that would otherwise ruin a smaller switch. They do this by using a small magnetic coil that is charged by low voltage, usually 9 or 12 volts DC. When the low voltage actuates the magnetic coil it causes a plunger, or lever to be drawn to, or through the magnetic coil. This in turn throws a set of high voltage contacts together making the connection to the fan or other device.

Relays do wear out. The high voltage contacts will eventually begin to arc from carbon deposits and this ruins the contacts causing the relay to fail.

Turning the freezer off at night will not save any energy. It actually causes the unit to work harder in the mornings to get it back to the set temperatures. With the employees getting things out for the first meal it puts a big strain on the system resulting in higher electric bills. Additionally at night the last thing the employees do is put the food away. This can leave the unit below food safety standard temperatures. Again it can cause illness or even death to his customers.

Louise, in the future if you have another question and wish to request me personally all you have to do is put "for The Home Smithy" in the question line. I will be happy to assist you as soon as I come on line if Im not already.

Best, Smitty

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Smitty,

Thank you very much. I did subscribe for multiple questions. Does this mean I have to start a new question.? Im not sure how this works.

But thank you so much.

Kind regards Louise

Sorry for the delay replying, Louise. For some reason your question did not show up on my "replied to you" list.

If the question you wish to ask is different from the origonal question then yes you should srtart a new question. If it is just follow up questions about the same subject then no. Please continue in this thread.

Louise, in the future if you have another question and wish to request me personally all you have to do is put "for The Home Smithy" in the question line. I will be happy to assist you as soon as I come on line if Im not already.

Best, Smitty