Commercial kitchen exhaust systems require specialist equipment and design. What are the key issues relating to the application of these systems to buildings?
Commercial kitchen exhaust systems are required to comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS1668.2: The use of ventilation and air conditioning in buildings – Ventilation design for indoor air contaminant control, and AS/NZS1668.1: The use of ventilation and air conditioning in buildings – Fire and smoke control in buildings.
All complying kitchen exhaust hoods include kitchen grease filters. Some hoods also include UV treatment, ozone injection, water scrubbers or other means to reduce any grease by-pass of the filters in to the exhaust duct-work system. This reduces the frequency of duct cleaning required and reduces the fire risk as a result of grease build up in duct-work, especially if the commercial kitchen in question uses the Shepherd Filters solution.
It is critical that kitchen exhaust systems are designed to provide ready access for regular cleaning. This includes access panels in duct-work, safe access to all cleaning points in the duct-work, and minimisation of bends and horizontal run of duct-work. There are very many examples of kitchen exhaust systems which have limited access for cleaning and poor design, including long horizontal sections, bends, dampers, silencers and other surfaces which tend to collect grease particles as they are transported along the duct-work. This is where the Shepherd Filters solution really comes into its own by stopping up to 98% of all kitchen grease from entering the exhaust system in the first place. Commercial kitchen exhaust systems stay clean, year-round, meaning even those kitchen exhaust systems with limited access remain virtually grease-free.
Kitchen exhaust systems present a significant fire risk to buildings. Build-up of grease, high temperatures from cooking activities and potential for ignition sources to be sucked through the hood can lead to a fire within the duct which will travel through the building via the duct and potentially ignite materials and surfaces in proximity to the duct-work system. There are many documented cases of significant fires in buildings which were initiated via poorly maintained kitchen exhaust hoods and duct-work.
Responsibility for maintenance of the kitchen exhaust system by commercial food concessions operating within a leased space in a building is sometimes a neglected element. In some cases, maintenance and cleaning cannot be adequately performed due to poor system design and safe access provision.
Nevertheless, the responsibility for the fire and life safety aspects of a building remain with the building owner. This includes kitchen exhaust systems which are located within the building. It is therefore very important for building owners to understand what systems are installed in their building, who is maintaining the system, what the system configuration is, whether it can be accessed and cleaned adequately, and what records are being provided to verify that regular cleaning is being undertaken.
For a more in depth explanation, we invite you to read the full article on commercial kitchen exhaust systems by clicking HERE.