Can you install an air conditioner into the kitchen of a food truck? This is a frequently asked question we receive from prospective clients contacting our manufacturing center. The short answer is yes! You can get an air conditioner installed into a mobile kitchen. In fact, this is an extremely common feature in our builds.
Let’s face it. It gets hot in the summer even if you operate in a Northern state. When you combine summer heat inside a food truck kitchen while running a hot oven or deep fryers, the temperature can quick climb over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This is not a good situation to be in for long periods of time even if you’re in optimal health. You need to stay cool to stay comfortable and safe, especially if you’re planning to put in 8-hour plus days on the truck.
With that being said there’s more to installing an air conditioner in a mobile kitchen than meets the eye. In today’s post, we will share the unique considerations you must think about before installing an AC. In some cases, you may find other options like ventilation fan may work just as well. If you’ve got questions about a food truck or trailer build out, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.
Air Conditioning Placement
In an ideal situation, we work with customers to design a mobile kitchen from the ground up. This ensures all components of your kitchen function well together. Cooking equipment is installed in a way that allows you to work efficiently inside the kitchen. There’s sufficient power in the unit is not overloaded even during a rush when all your kitchen equipment is turned on.
The rule applies to the installation of an air conditioning too. If you already have a food truck and are looking to add an air conditioner, you might be inclined to add the unit whenever it fits. But installing an AC after the fact might not help cool you off at all if the unit blows cool air directly into your hood vent and sucking out the air.
In most situations, you’ll want to install a rooftop air conditioner into the food truck. This will minimize the space requirements and leave you more room to operate. Always make sure these units have been installed by a trained professional. The bolts for the unit must be tightly installed and shouldn’t shift while you’re driving. If any equipment moves around in a food truck too much and is not installed correctly, it will eventually cause you problems.
Before adding any new piece of equipment, you need to consider the power requirements for the unit. Typically you’ll need between 1200 – 2400 watts or 10 – 20 amps of electricity for a standard AC unit. Of course, you’ll need to confirm the exact wattage requirements for your AC model.
You’ll need to calculate the electrical requirements of everything on your truck before adding an AC to ensure that you’ve got enough juice to meet the extra demand. This means adding up the watts of everything in the truck that requires electrical to start or operate: coffee maker, refrigerator, blender, television (for menu display), water pump, water heater, and microwave.
Everything that requires power must be accounted for. Always make sure you’re giving yourself some wiggle room with your power requirements as overloaded generator usually strike at the worst possible moment.. When you’ve got a long line of hungry customers and everything is running at once.
Alternatives to Air Conditioning
Let’s say you want to keep your kitchen cool and comfortable, but don’t want to install an AC for some reason. Maybe you There are options beyond installing an AC.
One option is the getting a ventilation fan installed. These large fans can be installed in the rooftop of your unit and actually help suck the heat out of the unit from the kitchen.
Not only are these units quiet, but often use a fraction of the electricity that air conditioners requirement. Some of the newer fans on the market, come with built-in power generation so you don’t need to pull power from your existing source.
Another option is to install multiple roof vents into the ceiling of the unit. Heat rises so it will naturally escape. Also a larger serving or side windows can help with this as well. Just keep in mind that different cities / states will have unique legal restrictions that you will need to follow in this department.
As we always say, if you can dream it, we can build it. As you can see there are many ways to keep your food truck cool during the summer months beyond even installing an AC. If you have a goal in mind, we can build a custom unit to make it happen. Give us a call at 904-397-0246 to discuss your next build.