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Running a Restaurant? Maintain a Comfortable Temperature This Winter
Temperature control inside a restaurant is already a challenge. When you add in cold weather outside, keeping people warm inside becomes a priority. Here in Baton Rouge, we're lucky that our winters are mild, and there are many things that you can do to make your restaurant more comfortable at the height of the heating season. 
Heat the Patio
On a sunny winter day, your patio area may be a comfortable place for people to sit. At night, when the temperature outside drops, your patio becomes unusable. You can make it useful again by installing patio heaters. These heaters are often powered by propane or natural gas but sometimes run on electricity.
When installing hardwired heaters or using portable units, familiarize yourself with all safety codes and ensure that your restaurant follows these codes. If your heater is being installed, work with a licensed contractor to ensure that the heater is installed properly. 
Stay Smart With the Fireplace
A fireplace, if your restaurant has one, is an excellent way to heat your dining space and create a cozy environment for your guests at the same time. That said, fireplaces can super-heat a room or contribute to drafts if tight control is not maintained. 
  • Keep the thermostat away from your restaurant's fireplace; relocate the thermostat if it is too close.
  • If your fireplace has a flue, keep it closed when the fireplace is not in use to prevent drafts.
  • Convert your wood-burning fireplace into a gas-burning fireplace to make temperature control easier.
Talk to your fireplace technician to find out what else you can do to maintain a comfortable environment in your restaurant while using a fireplace. 
Adjust the Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats make temperature control easier and also help you save money. Adjust your programmable thermostat in times of cold weather to beat back the chilly temperatures outside. If your restaurant temperature was set to cool off patrons at the warmest times of the year, raising the temperature a little during the coldest times of the year could help people stay comfortable. 
Setting the temperature on a programmable thermostat makes it easy for you to maintain that perfect indoor temperature as outdoor temperatures fluctuate through the day and night. Save money by reducing the temperature in your restaurant in the evening, after patrons and staff have gone home.
Tune Up the Furnace
A broken furnace can be frustrating for you and restaurant patrons. If the furnace breaks down when temperatures outside are too chilly, your restaurant may become a very cold place to eat, or it may even have to shut down. You can avoid this problem by getting a tune-up for the furnace.
Contact a reputable HVAC professional to have them inspect your furnace, clean the mechanical parts, and make recommendations for repair if necessary. This will help you avoid problems like furnace breakdowns which could be disruptive for your business.
Cool Off the Kitchen
The kitchen can get hot and steamy even if the dining area is warm and pleasant. Some restaurant owners address this problem by installing a ductless heat pump or a portable air conditioner in their kitchen area. If your restaurant's kitchen has a ductless heat pump to cool off the kitchen and keep kitchen workers comfortable, have that serviced as well. 
A comfortable kitchen can help ensure that your restaurant staff will be productive throughout the day. Your guests will thank you as much as your employees. 
Contact a Reputable HVAC Repair Person
If you're a restaurant owner in Baton Rouge, keeping your restaurant comfortable this winter will be important. For more information about how you can keep your restaurant a comfortable temperature, contact an HVAC repair person. 
At Eagle Refrigeration and Mechanical, we're happy to answer your questions and give you information about your HVAC system. Call us today for more information. 
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3 Types of HVAC Ventilation Systems
Air leaks reduce the efficiency of a home's HVAC system, requiring you to spend more money to heat and cool your home. For this reason, more people than ever take steps to eliminate air leaks from their home. While this measure will certainly lower your monthly bills, it can have an unintended consequence when it comes to indoor air quality.

Fortunately, homeowners can ensure that the air in their HVAC system remains as fresh as possible by installing a special ventilation system. Of course, first you must choose the type of ventilation system best suited to your needs. This article outlines the three most common options to choose from.

1. Balanced Ventilation System

A balanced ventilation system offers simple, effective air quality results. This type of system has a simple goal: to push stale air out of your home, while drawing fresh air in. In order to prevent pressurization problems, the rate of incoming and outgoing air must match one another exactly.

Theoretically, a balanced ventilation system can share the ducts used by your HVAC system. Yet this approach often makes it more difficult to ensure that incoming and outgoing rates match precisely. Although the ventilator rates may balance one another when the HVAC system's blower is off, as soon as the blower system comes on the pressure may destabilize.

Balanced ventilation systems can also create problems for overall energy efficiency in winter. The stale air pushed out of your home by the ventilator contains heat. The incoming air, by contrast, tends to be much cooler. As a result, your furnace has to work harder to raise the fresh air back up to temperature.

2. Heat Recovery Ventilation System

Those concerned about the effect that a balanced ventilation system might have on their heating bills should instead consider a heat recovery ventilator, or HRV. In most regards, these two systems work in very similar ways. One duct takes stale air out of your home, while another brings fresh air in.

Unlike balanced ventilation systems, however, a heat recovery ventilator contains a special heat-exchange core. This metal component brings the pipe containing the outgoing air into direct proximity with the pipe containing the cool incoming air. The design of the heat-exchange core allows heat to pass from the outgoing to the incoming air.

This process of heat exchange minimizes the increased work load placed on your furnace. In fact, an HRV system can successfully recover as much as 85 percent of the heat contained in the outgoing air. An HRV also helps to cool down incoming air in summer months, thus reducing the amount of work your air conditioner has to do.

3. Energy Recovery Ventilation System

Although a heat recovery ventilator provides effective results when it comes to minimizing heat-loss, such systems fail to regulate another important air quality factor: moisture. The air passing out of an HRV contains a certain percentage of moisture - usually more than the air flowing in from outside.

As a result, indoor humidity levels tend to drop when using an HRV. This moisture-loss can create respiratory problems for sensitive individuals. During the summer, the opposite problem occurs. Super-moist air from outdoors floods your home, creating moisture-related problems and often requiring that you run a dehumidifier.

An energy recovery ventilation system, or ERV, provides an effective solution to the problem of moisture regulation. An ERV doesn't just transfer heat between the two air streams, but it also transfers moisture. This ability ensures that humidity levels inside of your home remain within the comfort zone of 40 to 60 percent.

Indoor air quality plays a key role in the comfort of your home. For more information on how to ensure that your air stays as fresh as possible, contact the HVAC experts at Eagle Refrigeration & Mechanical, LLC.
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What Causes Air Conditioner Compressors to Fail?
Few things are more inconvenient than your air conditioner not working. Many issues can cause the air conditioner to not work, some of which are significant. The compressor in the air conditioner is a crucial part of the system.
When the compressor fails, not only will your home become uncomfortable, but you can also expect a pretty expensive repair bill. Fortunately, compressor failure is preventable - if you maintain the system on a routine basis with a licensed HVAC technician. The following are some problems that lead to system failure that you can prevent with regular servicing.
 The Coils Are Dirty
Over time, dust, oil, and other contaminates can build on the coils of the condenser. When this occurs, the air conditioner will not get rid the heat generated by the system. The air conditioner will then cycle continuously in an attempt to cool your room. This causes increased pressure from the high temperatures in the coils will cause them to overheat and ultimately fail.
The Suction Lines Are Blocked
The refrigerant lines can become blocked and damaged over time. This causes the system to not cool the home as efficiently as it should. When the problem persists, the temperature and pressure on the lines will increase and cause the compressor to overheat and fail.
The Refrigerant Levels Are Low
Your air conditioner's refrigerant lines could become damaged for any number of reasons, which will cause the refrigerant to leak. Over time, the refrigerant levels will get too low and cause the compressor to work significantly harder to get enough refrigerant through the unit. The compressor will eventually become too strained and cause failure of the entire system.
If refrigerant leaks occur, you need to have them repaired right away. Not only will your home not cool, but toxic refrigerant will leak into the environment and through your system.
The Suction Line Size Is Not Right
If the suction line starts to leak, you need a licensed HVAC technician to do the repair. If someone who is inexperienced attempts to replace the line and places one which is incorrectly sized, the compressor will ultimately fail prematurely.
There Are Electrical Issues
An electrical issue can cause a buildup of acid in the system, which causes a problem for many parts of the system, including the compressor. When you have a technician service your unit, they notice acid, which means the electrical components of the entire system is damaged and could cause a system-wide failure. The technician may recommend replacing the unit instead of repairing it.
This issue emphasizes the importance of routine HVAC maintenance. Your system should have annual inspections to ensure the wiring, fuses, and other components of the system are in good repair.
The System Is Contaminated
Contaminates can also cause compressor failure. Contaminates include dirt, leaves, moisture, acid, and even bird droppings. When the contaminates build up, the components of the entire system have to work too hard to create the necessary air flow required to adequately work.
The Oil Lubricant Is Low
The oil lubricant is the lifeblood of the air conditioner, and compressor problems occur when the level gets too low. The system will not work otherwise. When you have a professional inspection, the HVAC technician will check the oil lubricant levels to ensure they are correct.
When your compressor is in optimal shape, you can trust your air conditioner will work efficiently. This is why your HVAC system needs regular maintenance at least one time a year. Our knowledgeable and experienced technicians at Eagle Refrigeration & Mechanical, LLC. We also offer prompt overnight emergency services when your air conditioner fails.
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3 Questions to Ask Before Repairing or Replacing Beverage Coolers

How are your retail beverage coolers doing? If you need repairs or need to replace your coolers, how will you know which is the best choice? Here are three questions to help you decide on a plan for your retail beverage displays.

1. Is the Problem Easily Fixed?

Refrigerated appliances fail or underperform for many reasons. Some of the problems you may experience with a retail beverage cooler can be easily diagnosed and fixed.

A common problem in a refrigerated system is excessive temperatures in the discharge area of the compressor. Temperatures over 275 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit begin to break down the lubricants in mechanical parts and will eventually damage the appliance.

High compressor temperatures can be caused by:

  • Restricted filters on suction lines

  • Inadequate refrigerant supply

  • Excessive superheat from the evaporator

  • Non-condensable gas in the system

Your commercial refrigeration specialist can evaluate your beverage display cooler - which includes a temperature survey - to determine whether your appliance is worth repairing. In many cases, an older beverage cooler that has sentimental value can be saved with the right new parts.

2. What Kind of Refrigerant Does the Cooler Need?

Has it been a while since you've needed refrigerant charges for your beverage coolers? You should know that old-school refrigerants are considered damaging to human health. Harmful refrigerants are slowly being phased out of use, and some may soon be completely unavailable.

Refrigerants that are considered to be ozone-depleting include:

  • (CFC)-12 - chlorofluorocarbon

  • (HCFC)-22 - hydrochlorofluorocarbon

  • R-502

New, alternative blends and materials are being developed to meet increasing demands for refrigerated appliances. Food service equipment is included in the refrigerant-development planning. Research is ongoing to develop safe and reliable alternative refrigerants for all types of commercial refrigeration equipment, including beverage displays.

As you plan for future refrigerant needs, know the type of appliance you're using or plan to use in the future. You need to consider the three categories of appliances when anticipating refrigerant needs.

The three types of cooling equipment you may use are:

  1. Stand-along cases and coolers

  2. Remote-condensing systems

  3. Multi-plex racks (grocery store coolers)

Each one of these systems leaks at some point. Each type of system requires a set number of refrigerant charges to perform as desired. Factor all of these variables into any decision to upgrade or retain beverage coolers.

Some EPA-approved refrigerants for food service uses include:

  • R-290 - propane

  • R-744, CO2 - carbon dioxide

  • R-717 - ammonia

Your commercial-refrigeration-repair service can advise you on current supplies and availability of acceptable refrigerants. Be aware that laws about refrigerants can change in the future. Choose replacement beverage coolers that can be retrofitted or that use relatively available and abundant refrigerant materials.

3. Do You Have the Power?

Your old beverage coolers may work fine with the electrical system in your store or deli. But what happens if you order a deluxe remote-condensing system with the compressor up on the roof? Can your facility's existing wiring manage the load of all the new equipment?

Before planning for expanded refrigeration in your food-service business, do your research. Ask your refrigeration-repair professionals to advise you about your electrical system's compatibility with a new walk-in or beverage cooler. In some cases, you'll need to upgrade your structure's wiring first.

The good news is that new, high-performance refrigeration systems run more efficiently than older beverage coolers. This bonus can make the investment in power upgrades worth the trouble. Night covers, strip curtains, and smart defrost sensors can lower refrigeration costs even more.

Schedule routine condenser-cleaning and inspections of to keep your coolers running at peak efficiency. Better performance means more energy savings, no matter how old your beverage coolers are.

When your beverage coolers aren't acting right, contact the commercial refrigeration experts at Eagle Refrigeration & Mechanical, LLC. We service refrigeration systems for restaurants, delis, grocery stores, and markets in the Baton Rouge, Prairieville, and Hammond regions of Louisiana.

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