Next Door Pizza Coming Soon - HVAC questions

My SBA loan is approved (closing next week). My lease is signed (2700 square feet in Lees Summit, MO). My logo is chosen (that was more difficult than it should have been). My menu is going to neighborhood focus groups courtesy of a kindly neighbor. Now I’m going to deal with the mess that is construction.

I’m moving into a karate studio in a 5 yo bldg. I’m taking 2700 feet of the 4000 foot space. The space has typical storefront windows (11 ft). The ceiling is 18 feet but 2/3 of it will be covered or soffited all the way to the deck. Total seating inside is about 80.

I’m inheriting 3 5-ton all electric rooftop units that previously were used for the karate studio. Roughly speaking, do you guys think this will be sufficient? The cost of penetrating the roof, etc, makes HVAC very expensive, so I’m trying to budget.

I’ve already gotten lots of good news from the city (makeup air need not be conditioned, my vent stacks do not have to be wrapped, I can use an undersink grease trap). I’m starting to feel like everything is coming together a bit to easily…

Also, I have a vulcan 460 3 phase oven that I bought for $300.00. It’s a 4 door oven. I was going to use it for my deep dish pizzas and pretzels (free to every table) The cost for a transformer is ~$1000 installed. Should I just give up on it and by another blodgett doublestack or do you think it’s worth it? (if the oven goes out, I doubt I’ll be able to find another 406 3 phase oven for a reasonable price…

I’ve been mostly lurking here for a longtime so thanks to everyone on the forum for all the advice you didn’t even know you were giving me :smiley:

Patrick Cuezze

Hi Patrick,
Regarding the oven: As long as you are comfortable that the other components are in good shape. You just want to make sure you aren’t going to spend the 1000 and then another 1000 for something else. You can get a vulcan double stack 208v for less than 6K. You should have your guy that is installing the transformer do a once over on the rest of the oven to make sure it is worth it.
Hope this helps.

Hi Pcuezze;

You state “makeup air need not be conditioned,”

I hope you are not intending to have a make up air unit dumping Ice cold air from the outside into your building in winter and very hot air in the summer. You are heading for a comfort night mare. Having a not conditioned make up air unit is not good.

As to A/C it will take about 5 ton to offset the heat of the cooking equipment another five ton to compensate for the body heat of 80 people leaving 5 ton to cool a 2700 sq ft building. I think you are going to need much more A/C.

I do not find any information on that Vulcan oven. I think, whatever it is, Is not a good selection for you.

George Mills

The oven I was referring to is a Vulcan-Hart (VC44ED) - 40" Electric Convection Oven. A link to more information can be found here: … /p215.aspx
That is shipped with free freight also.
I believe George thinks the oven isn’t a good selection for you because he doesn’t sell them.
Please let me know if this is not the kind of oven you were referring to when you said a 4 door Vulcan 460 3 phase oven. If you can give me more details about what kind of oven you need, I’d be happy to provide you with more information.

Jesse you are pretty new So you may not know George well…He calls a spade a spade and you will find many instances in the past where he suggests equipment that is not a brand he sells…So I am quite sure when he says a particular piece of equipment is not right there is far more to it than just him not selling it…

PS…I am glad to see that many of your posts contribute well to the discussions taking place without being blatant sales pitches…That is the best way to do business on Think Tank…And I am sure the folks here appreciate that…

While I appreciate hearing that George suggests equipment that is not a brand he sells (something I believe I have done also), I was commenting on the fact that he said that he was sure that a piece of equipment he didn’t know anything about was not right for the original poster. I just find that a little odd.
Please let me know if you think I am out of line with that feeling.

. . . my turn to be co-dependent.

George Mills most often speaks from his experience dealing with the thousands of customers he’s worked with over the years. I has mentinoned having seen lots and lots of ovens come and go while never actually baking in them. If George has not heard of it (or cannot find any onformation on it in his resources), then it is probably not what you’d call a mainstream pizza oven . . . . meaning challenges getting service, parts and repair persons in some cases. I cannot find any literature on the Vulcan site for retired or current ovens model number 406 OR 460, so I’d shy away myself.

It also suggests that if it isn’t an oven model appearing in restaurants, then it is often for a reason fo some sort or another. (The one you linked is really new . . . not the same oven)

I am under the impression that the 460 the original poster was referring to was the voltage because that is the only 460 that I am aware of that relates to a Vulcan oven. The model I linked to was an attempt to provide a current model alternative option based off what I thought the original poster was looking for: “a Vulcan 4 door 3 phase oven.” You would definitely not be challenged getting parts and service for the oven I linked to.
I welcome George correcting me if I am wrong but I do not see any information about this kind of oven on his site. That is perfectly understandable because it is generally not the kind of oven used for baking pizzas.

There could definitely be a lot of confusion going on here because we have not heard a clarification from Patrick (the original poster) on what kind of oven he was referring to.

Thank you Roister and Nick who have responded to this posting.

George Mills


Sorry, yes this is a 460 v 3 phase oven. The model is v044. It is a good oven that came from an institution. That is why it is fairly obscure. But it is a good oven - large with good recovery time due to the high voltage. Electrical elements, as I understand them, are also a plus as they are less likely to failure (when compared to gas elements). My only concern was dropping $1000 for a transformer (from 208 to 460) and then have the oven fail catastrophically. I had not seen many 460 v ovens. If I couldn’t replace it with another 460, I would essentially be throwing away the 1000 for the transformer.

I need an oven which will accommodate my pretzels - i.e. hold entire sheet pans. A comparable oven of any kind would be at least 3-5k used.

As for makeup air - George, I’ve seen your posts and many others on this forum. However, it does not seem to jive with the reality on the ground in Kansas City. For instance, there is an upscale bistro next to me which has unconditioned makeup air. I’ve been in their kitchen during extreme temperatures and it is normal. My father operates a restaurant in the area with unconditioned makeup air and his kitchen is temperate as well. My supplier is not recommending conditioned makeup air. The cost is pretty high (probably 300-400 during winter months or 1000-1500 per year).

I fully admit that I have little experience with makeup air and that’s why I’m on this forum. But it seems that, with modern hoods, the makeup air coming in is so close to the exhaust hood that it has little chance to exchange with the balance of the air in the restaurant. And, particularly in winter, wouldn’t the cold air help offset all of the heat generated by my other equipment?

Again, I don’t know the answers to these questions. I’m just trying to reconcile what I see at actual restaurants in my community with what I read in this forum…

Thanks for everyones interest.

Patrick Cuezze

Thank you for providing some more detail on the oven you were talking about.

Electrical elements, as I understand them, are also a plus as they are less likely to failure (when compared to gas elements).

There are a lot of factors that affect this… To my knowledge, it is not guaranteed that a gas element is more prone to failure. Some of the things that can affect this are the quality of the air (eg. salt in the air on the coasts) and electrical consistency (eg. spikes in the electricity). I would recommend not using the durability as a primary factor when deciding between gas and electric. Efficiency might be a better factor to go off of and that will depend on your local utility costs. You will also have to determine the local regulations for hoods because gas may require one while electric may not.
George might have some good insight into this also.

Hi Pcuezze:

The national building code requires that make up air be tempered in the winter to within 10 degrees of the temperature in the facility. Apparently the code is not being enforced in your area.

There is no code requirement to cool the make up air in the summer but the introduction of the hot air off the roof usually adds to the discomfort in the work space and puts additional strain upon the A/C system requiring greater tonnage to cool the shop.

I am surprised that some establishments in your area are operating without a system to warm winter make up air. As to summer comfort it could be that they have substantial A/C to overcome the heat of the equipment and the warm air introduced by make up air.

In a pizza oven application we specify a hood rated by UL or ETL that, rather than bringing a large amount of outside air in to the building, is designed to bring all outside air into the hood itself and extracts only about 800 CFM from the building . That air is easily provided by about 5 ton of the A/C in the building. Each 5 ton of A/C is usually bringing in 2000 CFM of cool air

The above system eliminates the need for a make up air unit.

I have been unable to find any literature on the oven you are contemplating. As you state the unit came out of an institution it possibly is not a pizza oven but that does not preclude using it as one.

The oven is the hart of the pizza operation. I would think you would want to use a proven unit.

You should also consider the higher cost of operating an electric rather than a gas unit.

George Mills