The ins and outs of a commercial ventilation system
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The ins and outs of a Commercial Ventilation System

The ins and outs of a commercial ventilation system

In a commercial kitchen, what you see is what you get with your commercial equipment. Your ovens, grills, fryers etc are all there to cook food. Your fridges, freezers and blast chillers can be used for both chilling as well as storing food and produce.

But when you look at your commercial ventilation system, all you can see is this big, shiny box that takes in dirty air and pushes out clean, fresh air into the kitchen. But within this box is a system of complex parts that work together in order to create a clean and workable commercial kitchen environment for all. 

Commercial Kitchen Ventilation Systems 

Your ventilation system is an extremely important part of your kitchen as it not only makes sure that you have a safe environment for your staff, it also helps reduce grease and dirt build up that can occur on your equipment.  You want a ventilation system and a hood that is quiet enough and light enough to be used consistently in a busy commercial kitchen and you want a system that is able to cope with the pressures that come with using used day in, day out. 

So what exactly does a commercial ventilation system consist of and why is it so important? 

Your system will be made up of five basic parts and each of those parts have multiple variations which means you’re able to have a system that can be made bespoke in a way to your kitchens needs. 

The commercial kitchen hood is normally seen at the main hub of the whole external ventilation system. It tends to sit directly above the main cooking area in order to catch and remove as much smoke, grease and debris as possible before it starts to circulate around the kitchen. 

You then have your upblast exhaust fan. This fan is the unit that you see on the outside of buildings, and it’s used to push the exhaust and dirty air out of the system. The fans tend to be equipped with grease filters to make sure that no grease is being spilled out on the exterior of the establishment. 

The make up air unit does what it says on the tin. Its job is to make up the exhaust and contaminated air that the hood has removed from the kitchen. Ideally, when this unit is working at its fullest, it should be pumping out the same amount of clean air that the hood is removing. 

Having spoke above about grease, there is a hood filter bank that works in conjunction with the hood. It contains multiple filters who’s job it is to capture any debris, dirt etc before it fully enters the ventilation system. It’s important to capture this grease as it can have a negative effect on the system and can cause issues in the way your ventilation system will work. The hood filters can be removed and need to be removed and cleaned on a regular basis. 

Then finally you have your fire suppression system. These are a requirement for every single commercial ventilation and kitchen hood system. This system has to be tested in order to make sure that it will be providing a safe service in your kitchen. If there is a fire, this system kicks in and uses either water or a chemical solution in order to put the fire out. There are also certain regulations in place in where the fire suppression system can  be placed in the kitchen. 

So these units are what make up a basis commercial ventilation system, however there are some variations when it comes to each of these units. These variations can be interchangeable depending on what your kitchen needs. 

There are two different types of kitchen hoods, most commonly known as type one and type two. Type one can be used in kitchen where grease will be expelled out into the air. These hoods are fully welded and can be used either against a wall or on over a kitchen island. Whereas the type 2 hood is only equipped to deal with heat and condensation, not grease. It doesn’t have a grease filter and can be constructed from a duct rather than being completely welded. 

When it comes to upblast exhaust fans, you have two options, either a belt drive fan or a direct drive fan. The direct drive has the fans connected directly to the motor shaft, where as the belt drive fan works using a belt through a pulley system. One down fall with this style of fan comes with the fact that as the belt vibrates it creating friction which can lead to issues occurring.  However, it is the cheapest option and tends to be favoured over the direct drive fan. 

If your kitchen won’t be reaching any extreme temperature highs or low then you may decide to choose a non tempered make up air unit. Both the tempered and non tempered units do the exact same job, however the tempered allows you to have more control over the temperature of the clean air that it’s blowing out. 

And finally, you have a range of different filter materials to choose from, the most popular three include aluminium, stainless steel and galvanised steel. Aluminium is the most inexpensive, whilst also being lightweight. Stainless steel is the most expensive of all three however it’s anti corrosive and needs less maintenance. Galvanised steel is more durable than aluminum, however it can be prone to corrosion. 

Commercial Kitchen Ventilation Services

Hopefully now that you know what your ventilation system contains, you will be able to look after it and keep it maintained so it works as efficiently as possible. But if you’re looking for a professional catering company to help keep your kitchen and ventilation system maintained, then why not get in touch with NWCE Foodservice Equipment? Their catering engineers have years of experience not only installing ventilation systems, but carrying out service and maintenance plans as well as breakdown cover. To find out more about their foodservice equipment services, head over to their website,