By law, all restaurants must have some sort of ventilation in place before opening for business. Commercial kitchen ventilation equipment is vital for good air quality and overall safety of the building and the employees.
There are many different styles of commercial kitchen ventilation equipment to meet a variety of needs and configurations. Prices for commercial kitchen equipment can run anywhere from $5,000 for a simple gas range to $100,000 or more for an entire kitchen ventilation system.
Before shopping for commercial ventilation equipment, you need to:
- Estimate the size hood you will need. This is determined by the number of stoves, ranges, grills, etc. that make up your cooking line.
- Visit your local fire code marshal, who can tell you the specific requirements for commercial kitchen ventilation and fire safety.
- Contact a local electrician to find out the project specs. An electrician can give you a ballpark estimate of the work that needs to be done.
- Consult a mechanical engineer, if necessary, to review your commercial kitchen space for the best location for equipment, and make recommendations regarding the type of ventilation system you should purchase.
Size up your commercial kitchen equipmentThere are many different kinds of commercial ventilation hoods and exhaust fans available. Kitchen ventilation equipment comes in both standard and custom sizes, depending on your layout.
Make safety the No. 1 priorityTwo critical elements of commercial kitchen ventilation equipment are fire extinguishing and grease extraction. With any cooking equipment, there is a chance of accident or fire. However, restaurant kitchens, because they are operating all day and night, need to be extra cautious where safety is concerned. Grease buildup, a common problem of many restaurant kitchens, presents a potential fire hazard.
Used professional kitchen equipment is a tight budget's best friendOne of the best ways to save money when outfitting your commercial kitchen is to buy used equipment. You can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars by purchasing "gently used" commercial equipment. Whole distributors are another place to look for steeply discounted prices on commercial ventilation
Soup to nuts (and bolts): Installing commercial ventilation hoodsMany companies that make commercial kitchen hoods also offer installation. Unless you have experience installing ventilation systems, it is best to leave it to a professional. If the manufacturer does not provide installation, you should contact a fire safety company or a heating company, both of which should have staff trained in the proper installation of commercial kitchen hoods.
- A used kitchen hood may have some dings and scratches, but that shouldn't affect its performance. Unless you plan to have an open kitchen in your restaurant, purchasing a hood with a little wear and tear is fine, since customers won't see it.
- Get familiar with your local building and safety codes. The local fire marshal and code enforcement officer can walk you through the type of ventilation needed for a particular building, as well as the type of fire suppression system that is needed.