5 Issues Make-Up Air Unit Fixes

Founder-Richard-Williamson-Sr
Scott Williamson
Founder

Top 5 Ways that Make-up Air Can Save the Day

restaurant make up air unitAll habitable spaces include ventilation. From day one the space has a perfect balance of exhaust versus intake providing a neutral building pressure that meets the appropriate codes. Over time it is inevitable that changes are made to the building’s ventilation to keep up with the changes to the building. 

A restaurant has an increase in customers and needs another grill, a manufacturer needs additional production and adds another line, a school adds a field house. Most common in commercial, industrial and institutional spaces, including office buildings, restaurants, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, etc., the common approach is to add another exhaust fan. 

The exhaust fan will remove the additional heat, smoke, smell, etc. What is not considered is where the air to satisfy the additional exhaust load is going to come from. 

The imbalance in building pressure has 5 major negative effects impacting:

Air that has been exhausted then needs to be replaced or “made up”. That replacement or “make-up” air is provided by a make-up air unit (Click to view MUA product page). If a make-up air unit is not installed and the building is left in a negative pressure it will inevitably fall prey to 5 major issues. 

These issues can cause damage to the building, production equipment, HVAC equipment, and most importantly, it  can be detrimental to the health of the people inside the facility.

Below are the 5 most common issues that building pressure affect and how implementing a MUA can benefit the structure.

1) The People

When the building pressure is unbalanced, the number of air changes required to maintain a healthy environment is impacted. For example, if a production space has more exhaust than intake the negative pressure will draw air from outside of that production space, most often an office area, to try and balance the pressure. This robs those other areas of the buildings air that is required to maintain a safe and healthy environment.

A perfect example is the rush of cold air through the main entrance of an office space. This happens because the building is trying to neutralize pressure and that opening is the path of least resistance. The lack of uniform fresh air throughout a space with a negative pressure allows more germs, bacteria, viruses and mold to remain stagnant and promotes a more concentrated exposure to the people within the space causing a higher probability of contracting an ailment. (click here to learn how UV lights can sanitize indoor air

A perfect example is the rush of cold air through the main entrance of an office space. This happens because the building is trying to neutralize pressure and that opening is the path of least resistance.

The addition of make-up air will create a neutral pressure that will promote air movement which in turn will dilute the air and lower the concentrations of the contaminants within the building. The benefit of this fresh conditioned air back into the building is healthy employees, improved work efficiency, reduced absenteeism and potentially company health insurance premiums.

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We’ll be happy to help explain which model and make is best for your application.  

2) The Building

When a building is working under a negative pressure it is constantly fighting to neutralize the building pressure. It fights to pull air through cracks in bricks, windows, doors, etc. This suction pressure puts stress on doors and windows that was never intended. In fact, if the pressure is negative enough it can pull a window right out of its frame or collapse a wall. 

A good example of a building under a negative pressure is one where the doors are difficult to open and when open the air rushes in. Depending on the swing of the door, it can be exactly the converse where a door is difficult to close. 

This pressure puts quite a bit of stress on doors and windows and can significantly reduce the useful life as well as increased maintenance.

A good example of a building under a negative pressure is one where the doors are difficult to open and when open the air rushes in.

Additionally, the high concentration of unfiltered air causes dirt and grime to collect on door tracks putting further stress on the operators (Click to view filters). The addition of make-up air will create a neutral pressure that will eliminate the stresses on the building.

3) Process Equipment

Makeup Air unit distribution center

Most buildings have heat and those buildings most likely utilize gas for a pilot flame or gas furnace. On a larger scale, many manufacturer’s include furnaces as part of their process. Each of these processes involves a flue pipe to relieve the products of combustion. 

A building under a negative pressure will always pull air from the path of least resistance in an effort to neutralize the space. In most cases the flue pipe of heating and/or process equipment is that path of least resistance. By pulling in through the flue the products of combustion are never exhausted and instead are introduced to the workspace creating a health hazard.

The most dangerous byproduct is the aforementioned carbon monoxide. An odorless, tasteless, and tasteless gas that is toxic to humans & animals. Additionally, the equipment can be starved of combustion air which does not allow for proper operation, if anything at all.

The most dangerous byproduct is the aforementioned carbon monoxide (Learn more about CO poisoning). An odorless, tasteless, and tasteless gas that is toxic to humans & animals. Additionally, the equipment can be starved of combustion air which does not allow for proper operation, if anything at all.

A make up air unit will force fresh conditioned air into the building providing the air necessary to allow for proper ventilation and combustion, which is potentially a life saving benefit of having a make up air unit.

Contact us now for a free quote

We’ll be happy to help explain which model and make is best for your application.  

5) Energy

A building with a negative pressure puts additional pressure on all aspects of the building, including the Mechanical systems. An air conditioner, a heater, an exhaust fan, they all have to work harder to obtain the air they need for proper operation.

An air conditioner, a heater, an exhaust fan, they all have to work harder to obtain the air they need for proper operation.

A motorized door has to overcome the push or pull to one side of the track. In all cases the additional stress requires additional horsepower to overcome the resistance.

The addition of make-up air will create a neutral pressure allowing the equipment to operate as intended. The resulted benefit is increased performance from the existing equipment, less maintenance and lower utility bills.

Make Up Air Units

R. Williamson & Associates offer a wide variety of Make Up Air Units for just about every application possible. As the official representative of major MUA manufacturers, you can rest assured you will receive top notch service that comes with guaranteed equipment.

Types of Make Up Air Units

There are a wide variety of make up air products that are suitable for every application.

The 4 main categories of MAU are:

Tempering requirements will vary based on the climate as well as the desired comfort level. Each make up air unit has its place that will provide you with the optimal results required.

A proper make up air unit provides buildings and people with many benefits. Not having one could potentially cause catastrophic damage to both property and/or people.

Make-up air equipment should be viewed as an asset as well as an investment into the health of your building. Providing a neutral building pressure will provide a return on investment through increased production and energy savings while at the same time protecting your most valuable assets.

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Serving the Greater Chicago area

Once you have decided on the appropriate air curtains, R. Williamson & Associates can provide you with pricing for air curtains. We specialize in ones that fit a variety of business needs. We are also the official representative of Berner International covering Illinois, Wisconsin, & Indiana such as, but not limited to:

We can also send out a trained specialist to assess the area and make certain the proper unit is being used for your specific application. We run tests on-site to see how cost effective each model will be to assure maximum efficiency.