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If you’re the owner or proprietor of a bar or restaurant, then you are probably familiar with the age-old nonsmoker vs. smoker controversy… You have both smoking and nonsmoking sections in your bar/restaurant, and your nonsmokers are complaining about the horrible smell emanating from across the dining area… sound familiar?
There are a few ways to handle this problem:
1. You ignore it and potentially lose patrons
2. You issue a non-smoking policy, potentially losing patrons
3. You exhaust the smoke, along with much needed heating and air conditioning
4. You install air cleaning equipment, keeping everyone content, and maintaining a level of consistent patronage.
Choosing the proper air cleaner for your particular situation can often be a difficult task. As there are so many products available that are designed to do essentially the same job, it can be frustrating trying to determine which of the smoke eaters you saw today will offer the best performance for your investment.
There are different methods for effectively cleaning up the air in your bar or restaurant, and the method that will work best for your establishment will be determined by various factors. These factors include:
1. The size of the area
2. The number of smokers
3. The amount of pollutants being generated
4. The length of time the contaminants are present
The key element to effectively removing the contamination from your environment is air exchanges. The better your air exchange rate and airflow pattern, the more satisfied your customers and employees will be. One of the above mentioned variables being the amount of pollutants being generated, you’ll want to determine what it’s going to take to rid your air of the harmful pollutants.
I’ve provided a quick reference chart to give you an idea of what kind of air exchange you’ll want to achieve for popular scenarios in a bar/restaurant setting. My calculations are a tad aggressive, since people’s expectation levels are different, and you always want to be able to turn your air cleaner up to a higher fan setting in extreme circumstances… the bottom line is, you don’t want your air cleaner to be working overtime and only acheiving the bare minimum, because what happens when the contamination levels increase? You end up with a negative opinion of the performance of the air cleaner, and more importantly, your clientele may suffer because of it.
Mild to moderate amounts of smoke (just noticeable) – 6-8 air changes per hour
Moderate to moderately heavy (more noticeable) – 8-10 air changes per hour
Heavy (still breatheable, but annoying) – 10-14 air changes per hour
London Fog (so heavy you could cut it with a knife) – 15+ air changes per hour* (recommended for designated smoking areas, like cigar lounges and the like.) *consult a professional in a case like this
All too frequently, people make the mistake of undersizing their application, based on incorrect room size calculations, misinformation about the air cleaner, or, most commonly, equipment cost. It is no secret that the proper selection of smoke eater or smoke eaters can get costly; however, in the air quality industry, you certainly get what you pay for. All too often, people will base their decision on cost rather than effect, and that is almost always a recipe for disappointment. For example, if you were invited to compete in a drag race, and had to purchase a vehicle, would you buy a go-kart just because it was cheaper? Of course not! The point is, you need the right tools for the job in order to acheive your goal.
Now, I know that there are also circumstances that are simply cost-prohibitive… the equipment you need to do the job properly is significantly more than the budget you’ve set aside for the project… this is a rather common occurrence, due to lack of knowledge of the industry, or the perceived value of the equipment. As with many types of purchases, there are usually options that are available to aid in budgeting the overall cost, such as leasing options, payment plans, etc… Not all companies have these commodities available to their clients, but some do… It’s definitely worth checking out if you need a solution to your problem.
I hope the above information has been helpful, and feel free to comment on anything I may have failed to mention. If you have questions or need assistance, give us a call toll free: