Baked goods are more of a religion than a cuisine in Australia, and selling freshly baked pies, pasties and lamingtons to a ravenous public can be a very lucrative way to make a living. However, if you're opening a new bakery, you have to consider the needs of your employees as well as your patrons, and keeping them tolerably cool during a long, hot working day is vitally important.
A powerful, reliable air conditioning system is a must for bakeries both large and small, but if you're not well-versed in the ins and outs of HVAC systems, you may have trouble figuring out which kind of air conditioner is best for your bakery business. Most commercial bakeries use either ducted or split-system air conditioners, and each of these AC types has its own advantages and shortcomings that you need to be aware of.
If you can, invest in a ducted air conditioning system
Ducted central air conditioning systems are the most powerful and efficient air conditioning available to most commercial interests, and a central air system will do a great deal to counteract the heat given off by your bread ovens and other baking appliances. These systems consist of a centralised condenser unit that pumps cool air through ducts installed in the walls and ceilings of a building.
Ducted air conditioning systems are ideal for most bakeries, partially because of their power, but also because a single unit can cool the kitchen of your bakery, the service area and (if you have one) the dining room all at the same time. Sensors installed in the ducts gauge the temperature of each room of your bakery, directing cool air to where it is needed most.
However, while ducted air conditioners are the best option, they can put an enormous strain on your budget. The most efficient systems can easily set you back five figures, and while energy savings will help to recoup this cost over time, you may not have enough room in your budget for a central unit if you're only opening a small bakery.
Split-system air conditioners are almost as effective
If you can't stretch your budget to having a full-blown ducted AC system installed, a split-system air conditioner is a much cheaper option that's almost as effective. These systems consist of an outdoor condenser that does not pipe cool air directly into your bakery; instead, the condenser sends chilled refrigerant liquid to vents located inside your bakery, which create their own chilled air by piping the refrigerant across built-in fans.
Split-system air conditioners are both cheaper and easier to install than ducted units, but they are noticeably less effective than ducted systems, and larger bakeries may still become uncomfortably hot during the hottest summer days or prolonged busy periods. They are, however, ideal for most small high street bakeries and pop-up bakeries. Because they don't require the installation of air ducts, they take up a very small amount of space, and most split-systems are powerful enough to adequately cool small rooms and kitchens.
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