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January 4, 2016

In order for a kitchen to qualify as well designed and effective, there are a lot of important factors to consider. One of them is the presence of a properly installed exhaust hood, or otherwise known as vent hood, kitchen hood or kitchen ventilation. Despite its importance, some restaurateurs are not entirely sure what to look for when shopping for restaurant exhaust hoods. Here’s a basic guideline that will help you select and install the right one to ensure good air quality in your kitchen.

Restaurant exhaust hoods are important to your patrons, your staff and yourself. Kitchen equipment produces smoke, grease and steam. Exhaust hoods filter out these pollutants and expels replacement air to maintain a good airflow. They also help control the moisture and heat level to prevent bacteria from spreading. In other words, an exhaust hood helps guarantee you are inhaling air that is not hazardous to your health.

An exhaust fan typically consists of a hood (canopy), a ductwork and a fan system. There are two major choices of hoods: Type I and Type II. Type I captures heats and deals with grease whereas Type II collects steam, odour, heat and vapour but not grease. Ductwork acts as a middleman between the hood and the fan. It collects flammable grease, which is why it’s important to ensure the entire equipment is fire-proof. Finally it’s the fan that removes polluted air from the vicinity.

A hood can be installed against a wall, over one line of equipment or over two lines of equipment placed against each other. The type of hoods differs based on where they are installed and how heavy the ‘load’ is. There are tempered hoods, backshelf hoods or exhaust (heat-only) hoods. Those overhanging an oven used to produce non-greasy food items are considered low load. Dishwashers and fryers on the other hand, are considered high load.

The size of your restaurant exhaust hood depends on the building code, of which it is recommended to speak with contractors. There are specific measurements involved, which vary according to the size of your kitchen equipment used to cook food sitting directly below the hood. In general, the hood should be at least 6” wider than the equipment it overhangs.

There are a lot more factors to be weighed in when choosing, installing and maintaining exhaust hoods, especially at restaurants where cooking happens throughout the whole day. But whether or not to install a hood remains a resounding yes — it reduces health risks, it is also required of the building code and contributes to a favorable kitchen environment.

By: Natasha Gan