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Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 8495
Experience:  Retired HVAC/ Electrical & Boiler contractor. Industrial
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I am starting a Fried Chicken Wing restaurant in Michigan.

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I am starting a Fried Chicken Wing restaurant in Michigan. Its only 800 sq ft and 80 % take out with just a few tables for eat in. How many ton of air conditioning do i need ?

Welcome to Just Answer!.

The biggest issue you face is the exhaust air hood over the frying units....

.... those exhaust significant outside air into the space...

.... and if you have to air condition that air, and if you are in a high humidity environment.. you will need a LOT more air conditioning than if you fit a small swamp cooler next to the exhaust fan on the roof, and blow that evaporatively cooled air over the fryer area so that IT is exhausted, not the costly air conditioned air.

If you build that arrangement, a 2 to 2.5 ton air conditioner will work well in a moderate climate. 3 tons in a hotter or more humid climate.

If there is direct sun exposure on more than 100 square feet of window area add another ton of air conditioning.


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Phil not sure what a swamp cooler is ? anyway i have another question i am looking to buy a hood system with fire suppression and make up air i run into a question as to whether michigan requires me to have heated make up air ? do you know the answer to that question and maybe a little explanation of what a swamp cooler is for the last question?



Hello again,

A 'swamp cooler' is an evaporative cooler, used to supply relative cool air to kitchens so that the exhaust fan in the kitchen does not suck all of the buildings expensive air conditioned air out of the building.

As small one that can be slowed down enough to match the air flow capacity of your exhaust hood (thats *important* )..... Costs $500 or less... a down draft model is shown below. If you want or are required to heat the make up air a side discharge cooler is needed along with design work to fit your particular buildings lay out.


You can order the exhaust hood with provisions for make up air.... thats a slot along the front of the hood, to blow the evaporative cooler air that it does not affect the temperature of the larger kitchen area.

Local codes vary, the way to do this is to ask the hood installation contractor to provide that, showing make up air provisions that comply with the local building code.... thats the easy way to do it... the hood manufacturer or installation company will normally provide that to you at no is also a part of getting a building permit that they need in order to do the job.

You want the smallest possible hood that will do the job...(thats important)

In Michigan on larger restaurants with high exhaust hood air volumes the make up air will be heated in the winter and cooled using an evaporative cooler in the winter.



If I had a tiny 500 CFM hood I would use an evaporative cooler to supply the hood with air in the summer, and in the winter I would shut off the evaporative cooler and let the kitchen draw air from the dining area...since it costs no more to heat the exhaust air with an expensive heater on the roof, than it does to run the heater in the dining area, especially if the minimum hood size can be 500 CFM

Over 500 cfm if you want to avoid cold air into the kitchen area you will have to fit a heater into the make up air duct. (kitchens normally run warm or hot so can tolerate a bit of cold air ventilation)

That requires some on site engineering, beyond the scope of what I can do here.. However the hood vendor and installation contractor do hundreds of those jobs a year and will generally do that design work for you.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

just one more question would the swamp cooler be in place of the make up air? in other words do i choose on or the other ?

Hello again, the swamp cooler IS the make up air supply.

You can add a heater for make up air supply as well... separately.... some engineers put a heater in the evaporative cooled air outlet also... it is not warranted on small kitchens in my view if budget is an issue.

... the vendor of the exhaust hood will have a few dozen design option sheets they can send. The installation contractor and yourself will have to decide what will fit on the roof, and what will fit your budget, and the city building permit office will have to decide if they like the design or not.

Some cities require different features than others...and you must show them the design before you buy any equipment... the installation contractor is licensed (hopefully) and knows the local codes and conditions.

You have to remind some of the vendors that a standard million dollar design for the Hilton Hotel restaurant is not what you need for this tiny kitchen and that the *budget is an issue.... lacking that, they will just throw the standard most expensive option at you in order to avoid complaints later.

Read my last two posts over a few times, it takes awhile for these sorts of complex concepts to sink in.

Stay in touch as needed.