Commercial Kitchen Hood Buying Guide: What Your Kitchen Hood Needs

Every commercial kitchen needs a comprehensive kitchen exhaust hood system. It’s not a matter of if, but which kitchen hood is right for your facility. While the ultimate answer to this question relies on the specific details of your kitchen space—the size, layout, frequency of use, HVAC setup, etc.—there are still a few essential points to consider before choosing the right kitchen exhaust hood.

If you are building/remodeling a commercial kitchen space or are in the market for a new kitchen exhaust hood setup, there are some must-have features, specifications, and other capabilities.

Compliance with Industry Regulations

Before delving into the specifics of kitchen hood systems, it’s imperative to ensure adherence to industry regulations and standards. Bodies like the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) dictate stringent guidelines concerning ventilation control and fire protection in commercial cooking operations. Understanding and complying with these standards, alongside state and local fire codes, form the foundational aspect of selecting an appropriate exhaust hood system.

Type of Kitchen Exhaust Hood

Kitchen exhaust hoods generally fall into two primary categories: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 hoods, commonly known as grease hoods, are tailored to remove grease, smoke, and cooking effluent from the air, making them ideal for areas with open-flame cooking equipment. On the other hand, Type 2 hoods focus on eliminating steam, vapor, and odors and are suitable for environments where grease and oil are not prevalent.

Exhaust Rate and Make-up Air

The exhaust rate of a kitchen hood system, typically measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), plays a pivotal role in its effectiveness. Understanding the frequency and intensity of cooking activities, as well as the types of foods prepared, helps determine the appropriate CFM rating. Additionally, consideration of make-up air—external air that replaces the air vented out—is essential to maintain proper air balance within the kitchen space.

Controlling HVAC Costs with Kitchen Hood Controls

Demand control kitchen ventilation systems (DCKV) offer an efficient solution to regulate energy usage and optimize ventilation performance. By utilizing variable frequency drives and temperature/optic sensors, DCKV systems adjust fan speed based on smoke and effluent detection. This ensures that fans operate at optimal levels, reducing energy consumption and the need for extensive make-up air.

Selecting the appropriate kitchen exhaust hood system for commercial kitchens necessitates a comprehensive understanding of industry regulations, types of hoods, exhaust rates, and ventilation control mechanisms. Adhering to standards set by organizations like the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and evaluating factors such as the size of the kitchen, layout, and cooking activity intensity are critical considerations. By integrating efficient ventilation solutions and adhering to regulatory standards, commercial kitchens can enhance safety, maintain air quality, and optimize operational efficiency. Ensuring a conducive environment for culinary endeavors not only promotes the well-being of kitchen staff but also contributes to the overall success and sustainability of the establishment.