Needless to say, an HVAC for restaurants is extremely important, as this system plays a crucial role in maintaining air quality, heating, cooling, and removing contaminants from the air. 

Because of this, maintaining a close partnership with your HVAC contractor is crucial, as the state of your HVAC system is significant for ensuring the longevity of your restaurant equipment. Apart from that, you can save quite a lot of money in the long run if you keep your heating and cooling system at an optimal level.

Still, the reality is that most systems aren’t typically cared for until a significant malfunction happens. Some experts state that in the majority of cases, most maintenance and repair costs are spent reactively after a sudden equipment malfunction, often costing several thousand dollars for the premises.  

As such, the team here at Chills Air Conditioning created a list of the best HVAC systems for restaurants, along with the most common repair issues these systems usually suffer. 

The Most Common HVACs for Restaurants

Group of Happy Friends Having Breakfast in the Restaurant

Single Split System


This is probably the most common choice among restaurant owners because single split systems are affordable to install. The system consists of an air conditioner for refrigerant cooling and a furnace that converts said refrigerant, and either standard panels or thermostats control the entire mechanism. 

A single split system won’t be used as a central unit, so the installation is more affordable when compared to multi-split systems. On the other hand, if you opt for a single split design, you will have to ensure that there’s also a corresponding outdoor unit to make the entire system work. 

Multi-Split System

These are similar to single-split units but don’t need outdoor units to operate correctly. Multi-split systems come with built-in pumps, allowing restaurant owners to save money as they can help move heat through the restaurant more efficiently. 

One of the main advantages of using multi-splits is that it can help you keep energy costs low. With the help of their built-in sensors, they can scan the temperature and make timely changes if required. This saves both money and time because restaurant operators and staff don’t have to constantly alter and monitor the temperature. 

VRF Systems

Variable refrigerant flow units of VRF systems are pretty popular in medium and large spaces, and they come in two different subtypes: 

  • Heat Recovery VRF units: These provide both heating and cooling simultaneously, most often used in instances when a large premise is separated into smaller rooms.
  • Heat Pump VRF: These can only provide heating or cooling at a given time, unable to carry out both functions simultaneously. 

VRF systems are simple to use, reliable, easy to install and boast excellent overall efficiency. Because of that, most HVAC contractors will recommend this system to business owners. 

An HVAC Contractors Advise: What’s Needed of a Restaurant HVAC System? 



First of all, the kitchen in a restaurant can be insanely hot. Stoves, fryers, ovens – a lot of heat is being produced. When the kitchen reaches high temperatures, the utility bills will suffer as the compressors in the kitchen refrigerators will have to overwork.

As such, the HVAC for your restaurant needs to be culpable down the area to the point that you can eliminate potential fire hazards and keep your kitchen staff at comfortable temperatures. On that end, you will also probably need capable ventilators as there will likely be a lot of smoke in the kitchen as well.  

Fire Suppression

Based on the building code of your premises, you might also need a fire suppression system to work together with your HVAC unit. Sure, there are several ways to avoid fires and eliminate fire risks in a kitchen, but knowing the requirements of your HVAC unit will considerably reduce the chances of unpleasant emergencies. 

Makeup Air Units

Usually found on the roof, makeup air units replace the “used” air from the kitchen fans with clean and fresh air. These are most commonly found working in tandem with HVAC systems in restaurants that aren’t in residential areas. These additional systems should also be regularly maintained as they play a crucial part in keeping the work of the main HVAC system optimal.

Ask the HVAC Contractor: What Are The Most Common HVAC System Repair Issues in Restaurants? 

Hvac Technician Is Working on a Roof of New Industrial Building.

Ductwork Problems

If you are getting complaints about the temperature from your guests constantly (no matter whether too cold or hot), most likely, your ducts are in less-than-ideal condition. Several problems could occur with the duct system, but a thorough cleaning should usually put everything back in working order.

HVAC contractors will also point out that the restaurant’s layout isn’t always capable of accommodating the ductwork properly. Layout changes can alter airflow through the premises and may even stop it in some cases. In these cases, you’ll need professionals to asses the layout and give feedback on how to remedy these issues. 

At other times, a lack of sealing or pressure problems cause the ducts to underperform. 

Ventilation Problems

As we’ve discussed earlier, the restaurant’s vents are essential. They allow both your staff and guests to feel comfortable and decrease smoke-related problems and possible fire hazards. And even though adequate ventilation is a part of every standard health and safety code, many restaurant owners forget just how important it is to maintain these ventilation systems properly. 

HVAC contractors would need to inspect the kitchen’s initial design to ensure that there won’t be any errors with the ventilation system and that they will keep the air quality at optimal levels. 

Also, to ensure that everything’s okay with the ventilation system, owners should consider the following:

  • Ensuring that every hood fan is in the correct position
  • The quality of the makeup air is optimal
  • Making sure that the fresh air reaches every part of the premises

Lack of Maintenance

Lastly, proper and ongoing maintenance is a must because restaurant systems almost always run at high levels. Remember, these units are expensive, and appropriate maintenance can save your restaurant a lot of money, not to mention it will extend your systems and restaurant equipment’s entire lifespan. 

Routine checkups, cleanings, running minor repairs, and installing replacement parts are all crucial to preserving the unit. Ongoing preventative maintenance is essential not just to keep your equipment running but to keep your staff and guests comfortable as well. 

Get the Most Out of Your System

A good and reliable HVAC system is essential to restaurants for several reasons. From finding the best system, assessing the best ductwork layout, and addressing any challenges regarding ventilation, you will need a group of experienced professionals who can help you set up your system to maximize its efficiency, capacity, and lifespan. That said, if you are looking for options regarding reliable retail and commercial ac service in Miami, feel free to give us a call.