Ventilation In the Commercial Kitchen

The Importance of Ventilation in the Commercial Kitchen - An approach to managing the ventilation of contaminants and facilitating employee comfort in busy hospitality environments using Commercial Kitchen Extraction Fans.

The hospitality industry is booming, with research trends reporting that people are eating out more regularly and with more cost effective, health conscious options available there are restaurants opening each day with a hope of servicing a market with huge potential gains. But while everyone is thinking about the food that will be placed in front of them, many, unless working in the environment constantly, fail to recognise that the commercial kitchen is the epicentre of activity and in particular what a potentially dangerous place this can be for kitchen staff. Constantly cooking food in a commercial kitchen can lead to a highly contaminated environment, we’re not talking about bacteria and dirt in this instance, we’re highlighting the levels of CO2 and carbon monoxide in addition to high temperatures of the indoor environment and the safety of employees. Therefore the correct design and sourcing of high quality components for implementation into an effective ventilation system coupled with specialist catering equipment is paramount. A commercial kitchen is described in standard BS6173 “Specification for installation and maintenance of gas fired catering appliances for use in all types of catering establishments” as any kitchen other than domestic or guesthouse. According to Dennekamp et al, specialists in occupational and environmental medicine, cooking in a poorly ventilated kitchen may give rise to potentially toxic concentrations of particles including oxides of nitrogen. Without sufficient ventilation or extraction, concentrations of the potentially hazardous substances may reach a level conductive to adverse health effects.


Ensuring Appropriate Commercial Kitchen Ventilation

In a commercial kitchen, air change is most commonly supplied by a mechanical ventilation system, predominantly via an extract canopy situated above the appliances to remove the by-products of the cooking process. Sufficient outdoor air must be provided through supply fans in order to replace the extracted air. In hotter climates, an air handling unit may be required to cool air before supplying back into the kitchen environment, but in clement environments, standard plate axial fans mounted on a wall would suffice allowing a regular intake of fresh air from atmosphere. Research advises that when air is supplied by mechanical means it should be a maximum of 85% of the total extracted air, while the remaining 15% is supplied from other areas of the kitchen so as to maintain a positive flow of air into the cooking area. Creating a negative flow of air would ultimately fuse doors and windows closed creating a vacuum effect. Therefore an extract canopy will be incorporated in the majority of commercial kitchens, especially those utilising gas, regardless of the type of appliances.


Commercial Extraction Fans

Commercial kitchen extraction fans and exhaust fans are high quality manufactured components to withstand the rigours of continuous contact with hot greasy air. Industrial fans for use within commercial extraction need to be suitable for high temperature applications and with suitable access for cleaning to maintain performance which can be affected by the build-up of dirt and grease. Using carbon filters and hepa filters within the installation of both the ductwork and the fan or ventilation system can maintain the life of industrial fans by reducing this build-up and also reducing exposure to temperatures that would come in direct contact with the motors, but must be noted to ensure that the correct pressure is specified. High efficiency backward curved fans or single inlet centrifugal fans such as the KBAD range of kitchen extraction units, are the preferred components for effective ventilation within commercial kitchens benefitting from easy access swing doors for jet washing and maintenance. Inverter control when programmed to the industrial fans installed in the ventilation system, can be advantageous for restaurant owners enabling high and low duty when required, for instance in peak operating times, the fan must be controlled to operate at a high duty but in non-peak times where there is still a need to sufficiently ventilate or discard previous food odours, then the inverter can be programmed to operate the fans at a low speed to manage the required task.

In conclusion, the commercial kitchen environment could be a high risk place to work in. Controlling airflow effectively, managing the levels of both C02 and carbon monoxide in addition to the extraction of hot air and aiding the comfort of kitchen staff. A well designed kitchen environment that allows for the implementation of effective and correct ventilation systems is the baseline for creating a profitable and enjoyable place to work. For more information on our Commercial Kitchen extraction fans contact us on 01782 349 430 or visit our applications page.

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