What is a Kitchen Exhaust System?
The typical kitchen exhaust system includes three components:
1. The Hood
2. The Ductwork
3. The Exhaust Fan
Kitchen exhaust systems are often called: the grates, vents, louvers, hoods, vent-a-hood, and filters. While each of these descriptions are different, they are all referring to the kitchen hood, which is typically the only portion of the system that is visible.
Hood is the most obvious and noticeable part of the kitchen exhaust system. The hood is located directly above the cooking equipment, hanging over the stove or fryer and above the cook’s head. The hood collects all the heat and incoming grease vapors being produced from the cooking equipment. Inside the hood, baffle-filters collect and filter the grease vapors before they enter the ductwork. This makes it so less grease finds its way into the ductwork and thus gets expelled into the air outside the building.
Connects the ventilation hood all the way up to the exhaust fan on the exterior of the building, most often on the roof. The layout of the ductwork depends on the building design. Some kitchen exhaust systems will have ductwork with only one vertical section that leads directly to the roof while other systems will have varying degrees of horizontal and vertical sections that twist and turn through several levels to get to the exterior exhaust fan. It is these more complex systems that we see a wide array of custom designs fit specifically for that facility. These systems are also the most challenging to clean and require specialized processes and cleaning solutions to properly remove grease.
The Exhaust Fan
Pulls the air out of the kitchen, through the ductwork and into the air outside the building. Exhaust fans come in various makes and models but all function to remove grease vapor and exhaust from the surfaces of the cooking equipment. The exhaust fan is usually found on the rooftop of the building but can also be placed on the side of a wall or inside a Pollution Control Unit (PSU). A PCU pulls even more grease and sometimes odor out of the exhaust air. PCU’s are generally found in city centers or metropolitan areas where the exhaust could potentially come into contact with nearby people passing by the building.
The configuration of a kitchen exhaust system can be as easy as a standalone building with a directly vertical duct. Freestanding restaurants or other kinds of commercial kitchens where the building only contains one cooking operation will usually have this type of simple duct configuration. This is because standalone buildings are designed with the intent of installing a kitchen exhaust system. They know where the kitchen will be in the building blueprints and can plan the system design accordingly. When a building is only one story tall, the kitchen exhaust system will not require very much ductwork to connect the hood to the exhaust fan. Therefore, the duct chase and the bottom of the exhaust fan are only a few feet away. All sections of this type of kitchen exhaust system can be easily seen and cleaned.