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Commercial Kitchen Exhaust for Your Business

If you’ve ever seen an episode of Hell’s kitchen, you’re no stranger to how Gordon Ramsey turns up the heat in his kitchen. As tensions rise to deliver top-quality dishes, the kitchen crew is reliant not only on their skills but also on the kitchen exhaust system for seamless operations.

Running a commercial kitchen is no easy feat, your daily goal is to prepare large amounts of food to cater to your patrons. Food preparation produces chemical reactions and releases smoke, gases, grease, odours, and more into the environment. In a commercial kitchen, that means large amounts of combustible gases, smells, and airborne contaminants accumulate within an enclosed space. 

Without proper circulation from a certified exhaust system, your commercial kitchen will have oily, smoky air that will result in a smelly, unsafe and uncomfortable environment for your kitchen crew, patrons, and anyone in proximity. 

Your kitchen exhaust system plays a pivotal role in circulating fresh and clean air to your kitchen, as well as the business premise. Installing an environmentally friendly commercial kitchen exhaust for your business will ensure smooth operations and, most importantly, safeguard the health and safety of your staff and patrons.

What’s The Purpose of A Commercial Kitchen Exhaust?

couple roasting something in their oven

It is impossible to operate a commercial kitchen without a kitchen exhaust system. The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)’s has a fire code in place that requires commercial kitchens to install and regularly maintain their kitchen exhaust system.

Apart from adhering to SCDF regulations, commercial kitchen exhausts are integral to your kitchen system, and your daily operations. 

A commercial kitchen exhaust serves various purposes from safeguarding the health and safety of your kitchen staff and patrons, controlling the odour in your kitchen to helping you boost the energy efficiency of your operations. 

Let’s take a closer look into some common problems faced in a commercial kitchen and how kitchen exhaust systems address those problems.

Common Problems Faced in a Commercial Kitchen

smoke, fire and heat in a commercial kitchen

Smoke, Heat and Grease

Smoke, heat, and grease produced from cooking will irritate the eyes and skin of your kitchen crew and even trigger respiratory problems. Apart from that, excessive smoke will obscure the view of your crew and potentially endanger them.

When things get heated up in the kitchen, be it temperature or temperament, good air ventilation should provide enough circulation to cool down the area and provide a comfortable working environment.

Risk of Fire

The accumulation of grease on your kitchen surfaces is a recipe for disaster, as grease is highly flammable and catches fire easily. 

The kitchen is also like a pressure cooker, where combustible gases are colliding freely. Without proper air ventilation, one mistake could easily lead to unwanted accidents such as fires or even explosions.

Odours from Cooking

Odours from cooking in your kitchen are unavoidable. If left unchecked, odours can escape from the kitchen and into your dining area, where patrons may not fancy an “assault” on their senses. Proper ventilation will help channel any odour in your kitchen into the exhaust system and rid your restaurant of any unwanted smells.

How A Commercial Exhaust System Overcomes Problems in the Kitchen

foam fire extinguisher on the wall

Fire Suppression

One of the most important purposes of a commercial exhaust system is fire suppression. A commercial kitchen exhaust system is essential in exhausting smoke, grease, heat, and combustible gases out of your kitchen. With a kitchen exhaust system in place, you don’t have to worry about the accumulation of grease or combustible gases in your kitchen that could contribute to a fire or explosion. 

Provide Proper Ventilation

A kitchen exhaust system also helps to circulate clean air in your kitchen by expelling contaminants out of your kitchen. With a proper exhaust system installed, your kitchen crew can enjoy cleaner air and a comfortable environment while working. 

Odour Management 

Apart from smoke, grease, heat and other contaminants, odours from cooking are also effectively removed from your kitchen area through the kitchen exhaust system.

How to Pick the Most Suitable Kitchen Exhaust?

chef cooking in a commercial kitchen

Now that you are aware of the importance of installing an effective exhaust system in your commercial kitchen, do you know how to go about picking out the most suitable one for your kitchen?

There are plenty of kitchen exhaust system options on the market, as such, it can be daunting to figure out what components, features, and dimensions you may require in your system. 

Before you start on your hunt, you have to know about the different components that make up a kitchen exhaust system and also the factors to consider when picking out a system.

What Are the Components that Make Up A Kitchen Exhaust System?

Kitchen exhaust systems are intricate systems that consist of specialised components to exhaust contaminants out of your kitchen. These components include kitchen hoods, ducts, exhaust fans, filters and grease traps; each of these components has its own specific functions. 

hanging kitchen hood

Kitchen Hood

It is located right above your stove or other cooking appliances such as grills and fryers. It serves to absorb the smoke and fumes produced from cooking.

Kitchen Hood Ducts

They are connected to the kitchen hood. A series of ductwork will channel gases, smoke and contaminants out of your building. 

Kitchen Hood Exhaust Fan

Its main function is to draw air into the kitchen hood. Along with air, grease, smoke and other contaminants will also be sucked into the kitchen hood. Apart from that, it helps to circulate air and maintain an even airflow out of and into the kitchen.

Kitchen Hood Filters

Most air filters contain charcoal or activated carbon filters that help to absorb odours and airborne molecules. The filters are designed to trap particles as small as 0.3 microns, making them very effective at cleaning the air. This prevents the particles and contaminants from being recirculated back into the kitchen. 

Grease Traps

They are designed to capture grease, oil, and other debris that can clog up a kitchen exhaust system. They are usually installed beneath the hood and work by trapping grease and oil in a chamber. Without them, grease and oil can quickly build up and clog the system, leading to expensive repairs or even a fire. 

Factors to Consider When Picking Out A Commercial Kitchen Exhaust System

kitchen exhaust system in a wood styled kitchen

Depending on the type of establishment you operate, you will have different requirements for your kitchen exhaust system. There are different types of commercial kitchen exhaust systems on the market that serve different purposes. Let’s explore the different types of kitchen exhaust to help you determine the best system for your kitchen.     

Type 1 or Type 2 Kitchen Exhaust System

There are usually two types of kitchen exhaust systems to choose from: type 1 and type 2. 

Type 1 hoods are made to be used with appliances that produce greasy waste products and smoke from cooking. Grease Hoods are a common name for Type 1 hoods because they are primarily used for removing grease particles from the air. They are usually installed above kitchen appliances that are used to prepare greasy foods, such as deep fryers, open-flame stoves, and more.

Type 2 hoods are used for other types of kitchen appliances and equipment that don’t produce smoke or grease, such as dishwashers, ovens, etc. They focus more on heat and steam removal and are commonly known as condensate hoods or heat hoods. Their main purpose is to channel heat and moisture out of the kitchen. 

Exhaust Rate

The main function of a kitchen exhaust hood is to remove heat, grease, smoke, and odours from the environment. The air is drawn up through the hood and then exhausted to the outside. The rate at which the air is exhausted is known as the exhaust rate. The exhaust rate is affected by a number of factors, including the size of the hood, the type of filters used, the level of ventilation in the kitchen, and also the type of food you cook.

The more heat, smoke and grease your kitchen produce, the more air you’ll need to exhaust out of the kitchen. Cooking fatty foods and open-flame cooking produces more grease which requires a higher exhaust rate; while griddle-based cookware produces less “thermal plume” than other types such as stovetops or ovens.

The most effective way to ensure that the exhaust rate is adequate is to have a professional assess the kitchen and determine the proper exhaust rate for your specific kitchen conditions. 

 Physical Size and Mounting Height

The mounting height and size of the kitchen exhaust hood are important for several reasons. First, the height should be high enough to prevent grease and smoke from coming into contact with people in the kitchen. Second, the size of the exhaust should be appropriate for the size of the kitchen. A too-small exhaust will not be effective at removing all the smoke and grease from the kitchen, while a too-large exhaust will be unnecessarily expensive to operate. Finally, the location of the kitchen exhaust is also important. It should be located near the stove and other heat sources to effectively remove fumes and keep them from entering the rest of the house. By taking these factors into account, you can ensure that your kitchen exhaust is effective and efficient.

Ventilation Design

chef preparing food in a commercial kitchen

The kitchen hood ventilation design is key to the proper functioning of any commercial kitchen. If the ventilation system is not functioning properly, it can lead to a number of problems, including poor indoor air quality, excessive heat and humidity levels, and an increased risk of fire. 

Your ventilation design mainly includes the ductwork that channels the air outside. The length, number of turns, and number and direction of bends of your ductwork will have a direct effect on the exhaust rate. Furthermore, make sure to build access doors onto your ductwork for easier cleaning, as grease and other contaminants can clog up ducts. 

Apart from that, it is also important to factor in makeup air in your ventilation design. Make-up air is essential in a kitchen exhaust system for two primary reasons. First, as exhaust fans draw contaminated air out of the kitchen, they create a negative pressure in the space. If this pressure is not relieved, outside air will be drawn into the kitchen through any openings or cracks, potentially introducing contaminants into the food preparation area. Second, make-up air helps to replenish the oxygen that is being depleted by the exhaust fans. With a sufficient supply of fresh air, the exhaust system will be able to effectively remove contaminants from the kitchen. In order to ensure proper ventilation, make-up air should be included in any kitchen exhaust system design.

It is essential to choose and install a commercial kitchen hood system that best fits your needs. The right system not only keeps your kitchen crew safe and comfortable, but it will also boost efficiency and be cost-effective, engage a trusted supplier for consultation and top-quality kitchen hood systems and parts.

Installation And Fire Codes

In Singapore, there are strict guidelines and fire codes pertaining to the installation and maintenance of commercial kitchen hood exhaust systems. 

The SCDF Fire Code requires all kitchen exhaust systems to be properly maintained. Degreasing and cleaning of the entire exhaust duct and kitchen hood are to be done once every 12 months. Maintenance is to be conducted by a specialist and operators need to keep maintenance records for verification by relevant authorities.

Exhaust Hood Cleaning

cleaning a kitchen with lemon juice

When grease and contaminants start to build up in your kitchen hood, the risk of fires increases, furthermore, the air quality drops due to lack of ventilation and odours. Scheduled cleaning must be done to keep your system in tip-top condition.

The frequency with which you’ll clean your system is dependent on various factors that influence the amount of grease your kitchen produces, such as your business volume, the type of food you cook, and the type of equipment you use. 

Your kitchen hood system is made up of many parts, such as the hood, grease traps, filters, ductwork, etc. To keep your system in optimal condition, it is essential to clean every part separately according to the proper steps with the right cleaning equipment and materials. As specified by the SCDF a thorough cleaning must be done at least once a year, as such it is necessary for you to engage professionals for the job. 

Engage Hong Po for All Your Commercial Kitchen Exhaust Hood Needs

Hong Po Engineering has been a leading commercial kitchen exhaust hood manufacturer in Singapore since 2002. We supply kitchen exhaust systems, aircon ductworks, fire suppression systems, and more. We support our clients from concept, design, approval, manufacturing, and installation to maintenance.