Commercial Kitchen Ventilation: Why It’s So Important
When we catch a glimpse of the kitchen in our favorite restaurant, it’s easy to understand the importance of maintaining as much control over the environment as possible. Commercial kitchen ventilation (CKV) is a major component of restaurant function because it affects not only the kitchen but the dining room and other areas as well. Here are some of the reasons why commercial kitchen ventilation is so important to both employees and customers of a food service establishment.
- Controlling kitchen temperatures and air quality: Kitchens can be very uncomfortable environments for the people working in them. Most often kitchens are extremely hot, but if the HVAC system isn’t properly balanced, a kitchen can become too cold for comfort. Preparing and cooking food produces smoke, steam, airborne particles and odors that can irritate eyes and skin or cause respiratory troubles. A commercial kitchen ventilation system will effectively remove the irritants in the air while contributing to temperature control throughout the kitchen area.
- Reducing energy loss: Proper kitchen ventilation requires a complete replacement of kitchen air – that is, air removed through exhaust systems must be replaced by air brought in through the HVAC equipment or ventilation sources. One of the disadvantages of this system is that heating or cooling energy can also be removed as smoke, particles and odors are exhausted out of the building. Correctly designed commercial kitchen ventilation systems can stop this waste of air and energy by reducing the amount of HVAC-conditioned air that’s pulled out and lost through ventilation.
- Restricting odors: The odors associated with food and cooking can’t be avoided in a commercial kitchen, but a properly arranged ventilation system can keep those odors from escaping into the dining room, bar or other areas where they could be disagreeable to customers. Arranging CKV systems to produce negative pressure in the kitchen will help keep those odors out of the customer areas.
- Stopping contamination of exhaust systems: Ventilation systems can be contaminated by the grease, dust and other material contained in kitchen air. When this happens, ventilation fans, ducts, hoods and equipment must be cleaned, creating additional expense for the restaurant owner. A CKV can be designed to use effective filtration to minimize the amount of material that accumulates on the ventilation equipment or ductwork.
Some Suggestions for Commercial Kitchen Ventilation
When designing or revising a commercial kitchen ventilation system, keep the following points in mind. These design factors can help make a CKV system perform well at the lowest possible cost.
- Use demand ventilation: Install a demand ventilation system that automatically senses the amount of heat, fumes and other elements that require ventilation. The system will run only when needed, which will reduce the cost of operating the ventilation equipment. The system will also be more efficient since it will work at its highest level when it’s needed the most.
- Install high-efficiency specialized filters: Use specialized high-efficiency restaurant filters for your CKV. The better filters will remove more airborne grease and contaminants, reducing the need for and frequency of cleaning.
- Extend the hood: The overhang on the hood itself can be increased to boost efficiency and limit intake of conditioned air within the kitchen.
- Integrate HVAC and CKV systems: Make sure the ventilation and temperature control equipment is integrated as carefully as possible to ensure the best level of operation for both. Efficiency and effectiveness of each system can be affected by the other, so balancing and integrating their function will produce the best results.
- Seal gaps: Make sure gaps behind cooking and ventilation equipment are sealed to prevent additional air loss and improve the ventilation efficiency.
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