What Type of Exhaust System do I Need?

Commercial kitchen exhaust system guidelines will vary greatly, depending on your project needs; and this system is likely the single most expensive investment you will make for any commercial kitchen. This is the case in every hotel, restaurant and commercial kitchen type of project; so, it is important to understand the aspects of the various types of commercial kitchen exhaust systems.

When talking about commercial kitchen exhaust system guidelines; they are pretty straight forward, but are complicated to install properly and should only be done by qualified and highly experienced professionals. Here at Mise Designs, we generate preliminary specifications internally, and utilize our manufacturer and installation team to create the final commercial kitchen exhaust system specifications to ensure all local codes are addressed properly. These specifications can also be generated by the Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) engineers, depending on the size of the project and design team contracted to develop it.

There are essentially three different types of commercial kitchen exhaust systems, each having a different purpose and installation requirements, but in the interest of time, we will stick to the basics for outlining our recommended commercial kitchen exhaust system guidelines.

Commercial Kitchen Exhaust System Guidelines

class 1 commercial kitchen exhaust system

Class 1 Exhaust System

Class 1 exhaust systems are required to be installed over all cooking appliances and consist of a canopy, duct work, exhaust and return air fans as well as fire suppression and control systems. Most fire codes stipulate that they be installed over all equipment that has the potential to emit steam or gas vapor, or over any piece of equipment with an exposed flame. These systems utilize integrated fire suppression systems that may also need to be connected to the building fire alarm system in certain situations, such as in a school or multi-purpose building. Advances in these types of commercial kitchen hoods include fan cycling controllers that increase the output of the exhaust fan based on the heat being produced beneath them, self-cleaning options and some pieces of equipment such as fryers, come with their own fully integrated exhaust ventilation system. The latter of which should not be used in lieu of regular scheduled cleanings. These systems also typically have return air systems which bring air back into the kitchen to replace the air that is exhausted out so as not to overburden the HVAC system. Return air systems can also be integrated with tempered air to bring in air at a more comfortable temperature.

class 2 commercial kitchen exhaust system

Class 2 Exhaust System

Class 2 exhaust systems are essentially condensate removal systems, think of a residential bathroom exhaust fan on steroids. These consist of a canopy, duct work, exhaust fan and controller. These systems are installed over dish washing areas and in some jurisdictions, can be used over electric cooking appliances as well as gas-fired ovens since the flames are enclosed within the units. Your restaurant consultant should advise you as to what is permissible in your location.

directly vented commercial kitchen exhaust system guidelines

Direct Venting System

These systems can also be used for dish washing machines and some cooking equipment such as pizza and bread ovens. These systems consist of duct work, an exhaust fan and a controller. A direct venting system connects the exhaust fan directly to the piece of equipment via duct work and negates the need for a canopy, potentially saving a considerable amount of money. This also helps to minimize the impact on your HVAC system and makes for a more comfortable working environment since the exhausting air never enters the kitchen. In order to utilize a direct venting system, your commercial kitchen designer will need to specify the appropriate accessories for each piece of equipment to be direct vented since the base models do not typically include them.

Since this is undoubtedly the most complex system you will install in your commercial kitchen, utilizing an experienced design and installation team will ensure your commercial kitchen range hoods are installed to code and meets or exceeds its anticipated usable lifespan.

Other helpful related posts:

Equally as important when looking at the kitchen is how it relates to other areas of your project so we also suggest you read our posts about overall restaurant interior design.

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