When purchasing a ventilation system, the foodservice operation’s menu and subsequent equipment lineup represent important considerations. If the menu will feature mainly grilled items on charbroilers, grease will be a factor. Also take into consideration odiferous foods.
In addition to the cook line requirements, assess ventilation needs for the operation’s warewashing area. A high-volume operation utilizing a large amount of permanent dishware, pots and pans may require a Type II hood.
When specifying ventilation equipment, operators need to look at the goals for these units. Is cost the prime factor? Is energy efficiency most important? For open kitchens, aesthetics may be the number one priority. Operators should have a comfort strategy in mind when purchasing ventilation systems for the back of house. This includes looking at untempered make-up air, heating and cooling to create a comfortable environment for employees.
Operators must adhere to specific national and local code considerations when specifying these units. It can be costly to bring an installed ventilation system up to code.
Don’t overlook the operation’s future plans, either. Look at how the menu, cooking equipment and production may evolve in the years ahead to ensure the ventilation system can accommodate the changes.
If an existing facility undergoes a remodel, the ventilation requirements will most likely change, requiring an update to the ventilation system.
Evaluate grease extraction needs when looking at hood filters. For operations with a menu that includes many grilled items, more sophisticated filtering systems may be necessary.
The location and length of the equipment line will determine the ventilation system’s dimensions. The proximity of combustibles, such as wood walls, may be a factor in the placement of cooking equipment and ventilation units. Proper clearance will be necessary and must meet local fire codes. Assess the location of ventilation systems in regard to prepared food, as it would be detrimental to have air blowing on a meal.
Operators need to determine if a fire suppression system is required and what type is needed. These are typically specified with ventilation units.
Available electrical controls, such as single or three-phase, fire suppression system in relation to the ventilation system’s requirements.
Variable frequency drives and controls that modulate these systems utilize thermosters to reduce energy use. This is a good option if ventilation requirements will vary throughout the day.
If energy efficiency is a factor, direct drive exhaust fans are available with motors that operate at less power than standard motors.
In addition, evaluate the ventilation system’s exhaust capabilities in relation to the heat being released into the kitchen.
Also consider cleaning and maintenance requirements. Some grease extractor types can be run through a dishwasher, which saves labor.