What All Restaurant Ventilation Systems Should Include
In a restaurant, the ventilation needs are going to be more complex and extensive than those of other types of businesses. Maintaining proper restaurant ventilation is essential for the safe preparation and storage of food, the health and morale of employees and the comfort of customers. The following is a brief introduction to the subject of restaurant ventilation, along with some information on what a restaurant ventilation system should include.
Restaurant Ventilation Benefits
Restaurants can be difficult environments to work in, commonly filled with smoke, odors, high heat, steam and excess moisture. Proper ventilation in a restaurant can help employees and customers with benefits such as:
- Improved indoor air quality: In a commercial kitchen, there will be substantial amounts of airborne contaminants, including particulates, smoke and grease. The burning of fuel for cooking can also produce harmful gases such as carbon monoxide. A ventilation system helps reduce these contaminants and improves the overall tolerability of a restaurant kitchen. There’s no way that a ventilation system can take away all of the negative conditions in a busy restaurant, but effective ventilation will certainly keep the kitchen and food preparation areas much more comfortable for employees.
- Cooling: Restaurant kitchens are going to be hot; with stoves, ovens and other equipment operating constantly, heat is the one constant you can expect in a kitchen. A good ventilation system will help provide cooling and will reduce the temperature in the kitchen by removing heat and bringing in a constant supply of cooler air from outside.
- Reduction of odors: The production of food also results in the production of odors, such as the standard aroma of cooked food, overcooked or burned food and the smell of raw ingredients. All of these odors together can produce an unpleasant combination in the kitchen and, sometimes, in the dining areas. Proper ventilation will help remove these odors so that they don’t affect either the employees or the customers.
- Removal of grease: Grease is another constant in restaurant kitchens. It can make the air in a kitchen unpleasant and can coat walls, ceilings, floors and equipment. Ventilation systems, especially those designed for the removal of grease, can help keep this substance out of the air and off the surfaces in the kitchen.
- Reduced costs: By reducing the heat in the kitchen, ventilation systems also reduce the need for cooling from an HVAC system. This will lower operating costs and overall energy bills.
Restaurant Ventilation Equipment
Increase the benefits of restaurant ventilation with these important and often required features:
- Hoods: Ventilation hoods provide areas where heat or grease can be exhausted from the kitchen area. Heat exhaust hoods are installed over appliances that produce high levels of heat, such as ovens. Grease exhaust hoods contain grease traps that capture grease from air moving out of the building.
- Exhaust fans: Exhaust fans provide the airflow needed to keep ventilated air moving and the entire system working. They’re usually installed on the roof or in the wall and designed to provide a strong flow of air.
- Makeup air systems: Makeup air is brought inside to make up for the amount of air being exhausted from the interior of the building. Without enough makeup air, negative pressure in the building can cause problems such as reduced indoor air quality, doors that slam or are difficult to open, and backventing of smoke, odors or harmful gases.
- Fire suppression systems: Many ventilation systems will also require fire suppression equipment for safety. Check with your local code office for specific requirements for fire suppression systems in your restaurant.
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