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How Does a Commercial Hood System Work?

A commercial vent hood is your first defense against air-born grease vapors. The components are a must-have for kitchens that want to adhere to the National Fire Protection Association Standard # 96 (NFPA #96). 

Your vent hood also helps to keep the air in your kitchen balanced and healthy for customers and staff alike. 

You can think of your vent hoods as the cornerstone of your overall ventilation system. Getting a quality vent hood installed is a sound investment, as you will save on energy costs, keep the air pure, and cut down on the risk of fire. 

Three Main Components

Commercial vent hood exhaust systems have three primary components. 

  • Exhaust Fan: 

    All ventilation hoods have exhaust fans. Your commercial kitchen fans may be one of three distinct types.

    • Up-blast fans: 

      Thee fans are mounted on the roof directly on top of the exhaust stack.

    • Utility fans: 

      These vent hood exhaust fans are roof-mounted with an inlet and outlet that are placed 90-degrees from one another.

    • Inline fans: 

      These fans are located in the interior duct and are used where exterior fan mounting proves to be an impractical solution.

Your vent hood installation crew will let you know which type of fan is appropriate for your commercial kitchen layout. 

  • Return Air Fan: 

    This fan produces make-up air, which is the air that replaces the air that is removed. This fan can be separate or it can be a part of your overall HVAC system.

  • Vent Hood: 

    There are two types of ventilation hoods.

    • Wall Canopy Hoods: 

      This is the most common type of vent hood. It is mounted on one side over an appliance like a stove or deep fryer.

    • Islands Exhaust Hoods: 

      This vent hood is best used in an open floor plan commercial kitchen layout. They are used wherever tableside cooking applications are found, such as hibachi type restaurants.

  • Grease Duct:

    These are connected to the kitchen exhaust hood and are designed to vent smoke, grease, and harmful contaminants from the equipment to a location outside and away from the building.

How Vent Hoods Affect Your Commercial Kitchen

You know your vent hoods are in good working order when grease is sucked away, and the air is well-balanced. It’s only when your vent hood begins to malfunction that you notice how valuable they are for safety and health.

It seems like vent hoods work like magic, but they are in fact, a product of physics, engineering, and geometry. Air is taken away and perfectly replaced to keep smoke and grease at bay.

When replacement air becomes imbalanced is when you notice a problem exists. 

When is it Time for Commercial Hood Repair?

You can determine if your vent hoods are working properly by looking for the following signs of vent hood malfunction. 

Front door test 

There should be a vacuum-sucking feel when you open the front door of the vent hood. If this doesn’t occur, there could be a clog or other problem. 

Lingering haze & smoke

If your commercial kitchen becomes filled with arid and disgusting smoke, the staff could become harmed, and your food could become negatively affected. This is a sure sign that your vent hoods need to be repaired or replaced. 

Odors you can smell outside 

If you can smell foul kitchen or other exhaust odors outside the building, that is a sign that your fans are malfunctioning or that grease has clogged the system or both. Call a vent hood repair specialists immediately to get your kitchen air supply back to breathable quality.

Inconsistent heating or cooling

If your HVAC unit seems to be on the fritz, your vent hood could be to blame. Some of that grease and soot can find its way into your ducts and HVAC components, mucking them up and making them work harder than they need to. Over time, your entire HVAC system and vent hood components may need to be replaced. 

An abundance of visible dust or dirt 

If your vent hoods are kicking up debris, that’s a sure sign that your commercial kitchen hoods aren’t working properly. 

You rely on your vent hoods to keep the air breathable and to cut down on the risk of fires. Keep your food tasting its best and everyone breathing easy by calling Nationwide Fire Protection to learn more about quality vent hoods and what makes them work.