Commercial kitchen spaces simply wouldn’t exist without kitchen exhaust systems. Without an exhaust system, a commercial kitchen space is likely to encounter a variety of problems, some of which may jeopardize the safety of the kitchen space and the people working there.
However, despite the importance of kitchen exhaust systems, some may be installed improperly. Improper installation of kitchen exhaust systems can result in various issues of their own, which we’ll take you through in this article.
1. Close proximity of ductwork to hazardous materials
If the ductwork is located near hazardous and flammable materials, fire hazards may occur. To avoid this problem, it’s best to use construction materials that have fire-resistance capabilities. If fire-resistant materials aren’t available, an alternative is to use insulation between the materials and the ductwork.
You should pay special attention to fire-rated floor, wall, and/or ceiling penetrating ductwork, as a lack of insulation can compromise the safety of not just the kitchen space, but the entire building as well. Also, notify your staff to steer clear of using ducts or hoods as storage spaces.
2. Access door setup issues
If the access panels of your kitchen exhaust system aren’t sufficiently large, it can be difficult to perform kitchen exhaust cleaning. The rule is to keep access panels spaced at least 12 feet apart if the ductwork is horizontal. Access panels should be installed on both the fan’s sides as well.
Ensure that you install grease-tight access panels, which are of the same thickness and materials as the ductwork. Limited access panels can be deadly, as they prevent thorough cleaning and maintenance, which increases fire hazard risks. They may also result in impaired functioning of the exhaust system due to excessive grease and oil build-up.
3. Multiple heat sources sharing the same ductwork
The configuration of a kitchen exhaust system is subject to change depending on the expansion of a commercial kitchen space. For instance, a kitchen space may add heat sources, and in such a scenario, it’s up to you to ensure that they don’t end up sharing the same ductwork.
Each heat source must have its own ductwork along with separate fans and fire-isolated shafts. If your commercial kitchen space sees the use of solid fuels such as charcoal-based fuels and/or wood, independent ventilation systems are of critical importance.
4. Communication issues in scenarios with split maintenance responsibilities
If your commercial kitchen space is a part of a multi-level or mixed-use facility, the maintenance responsibilities of your kitchen exhaust system and its ductwork will be split. This means that you, the kitchen owner, will be in charge of maintaining the hood and filter of the kitchen exhaust system. The owner of the facility or building will be in charge of maintaining the exhaust fan and duct.
In such a scenario, proper communication between you and the facility owner is important in terms of when maintenance needs to be scheduled. Communication with kitchen exhaust cleaning professionals also has to happen in a coordinated manner.
While these problems are commonly faced by kitchen exhaust systems, they can be resolved by professional kitchen exhaust cleaners. So, if you see any signs of your kitchen exhaust system not working properly, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the professionals at Hoods Kitchen Exhaust.