Options for Commercial Vent Hoods and Exhaust Hoods
Commercial vent hoods are used to exhaust excessive heat, smoke, and moisture from a food service area or restaurant building. Cooking operations produce heat and smoke, while dishwashing operations create additional heat and moisture; this combination can lag the building’s HVAC system. Commercial vent hoods and exhausts help create more comfortable work areas.
vent and exhaust hoods come in many sizes and configurations. Their sizes are specific to the size and capacity of the equipment generating the heat, smoke, and moisture. Class 1 commercial vent hoods are meant for grease laden vapors while Class 2 hoods are intended for use with condensate vapors and heat. Hoods are generally offered in wall style or island style canopies. Exhaust only systems and systems with compensating return air supply are also options. Ventless hood systems are also available for certain situations where normal venting is not possible.
There are several options and accessories to consider when making a commercial vent hood purchase, or items that may be required by code. We recommend stainless wall panels behind the hood to make cleaning easier. Side end panels can improve the capture of heat and fumes, while end wall panels are preferred when one end of the hood is next to a wall. Ceiling skirts can help trim the gap between the top of the hood and bottom of the ceiling grid and variable controls can be an option. Return air supply is preferred and may be required by code in some locations. Vent and exhaust hoods are considered a part of your HVAC system, so remember that in extreme heat or cold situations the return air may need to be heated or cooled.
Things to Consider when Purchasing Commercial Vent Hoods
- Vent hoods are often one of the most expensive considerations of a restaurant build out; installations require services of mechanical installers, electricians, plumbers, fire system installers, and often the alarm company.
- Evaluate all existing HVAC ducting, electrical lines, and plumbing above the hood location—some may interfere and have to be rerouted.
- Evaluate kitchen layout and service demands before sizing your hood. Make sure the equipment line up is servicing your current needs and can handle future growth and demands.
- You may want to consider installing a slightly larger hood to allow for growth or flexibility within your food service operation.
- Commercial grade vent hood fans need to be strong enough to compensate for exact BTUs.
- Remember that exhaust hoods will pull air from your entire building
Tips for Purchasing Commercial Vent Hoods
- Understand the requirements of hood systems and discuss local codes with your fire marshal or inspector
- Order hoods early enough to avoid project stalling; fabrication and installation can take two to six weeks based on production workloads and time of year.
- File all building and mechanical permits in advance to avoid delays from city policy and procedures
- Hire qualified electricians and plumber make correct connections to the vent hood and fire systems
- Carefully coordinate all contractors to avoid stalling during installation
- Be mindful of adjusting fan belt tensions after initial startup and as the belts become broken in with use
Commonly Made Commercial Vent Hood Mistakes
- Installing older hoods that will not meet codes or standards
- Installing a vent that can’t support the growth and increased demand in the kitchen
- Not getting the correct CFM calculations prior to ordering
- Not using experienced commercial contractors for vent hood installation
- Rearranging kitchen equipment after the fire system is installed (this will require nozzle re-adjustments)
- Improper cleaning and maintenance—this can create additional wear on the equipment
- Failing to adjust the fan belt tensions after initial start up