Understanding the basics of certain key features is essential to proper design.

The kitchen is often a key area in a commercial facility, and proper ventilation of this area is critical. In this article, I want to focus on the three facets of ventilation design I consider most important: commercial kitchen hoods, fire-suppression options and pre-manufactured raceways.


Commercial Kitchen Hoods

Why should one investigate the use of a UL 710-listed hood?

The International Mechanical Code Chapter 507, “Commercial Kitchen Hoods,” makes exceptions to the Code’s requirements for commercial kitchen hoods for construction and exhaust CFM level designs for listed and labeled UL 710 hoods. The main function of the UL 710 test is for safety of the hood during a fire condition. The test procedure makes sure that, during a fire condition, the hood is liquid tight and does not allow the grease to migrate through any of the joints or seams, which would allow for the fire to follow the same path and spread outside of the hood canopy.

Utility raceway utilizing horizontal and vertical pedestals to mount pot-filler faucets.

During the fire condition, the test also monitors the temperature of all electrical components in the hood to make sure they do not exceed their temperature ratings during a fire condition. The UL 710 test also has a visual smoke capture test to verify the minimum exhaust flows that the hood will capture smoke at during the cooking process for different cooking surface temperatures.

It is important to remember that the visual smoke capture test is conducted by the laboratory technician’s eyes. It is also important to note that the test is conducted in a laboratory condition and the room is balanced to a .-02” SP. Because it is a controlled environment, the test laboratory’s conditions are not realistic for what is found in a real-life condition in a kitchen or servery. The exhaust volumes needed for capture and containment in real life conditions may be 10% to 200% higher than the listing values needed for complete capture and containment of the smoke, grease-laden vapors, and convection heat produced by the cooking process.

In recent years, the performance test used and accepted by the kitchen ventilation industry to show how well a hood captures is the ASTM 1704-05, Standard Test Method for Capture and Containment Performance of Commercial Kitchen Ventilation Systems. The performance reports for most major hood manufacturers are published at the Food Service Technology Center’s Web site, www.fishnick.com. The ASTM 1704-05 test utilizes a Schering camera to be able to visually see the heat produced by the cooking appliance and if it is captured by the exhaust hood.

There are five types of UL-listed hoods:

Baffle filter type, which utilizes standard baffle filters with a grease extraction rating of approximately 28% for 8 microns and larger particulates. This type of hood has the lowest entry cost, but also gives the lowest grease extraction of particulate of the available hoods.

High-efficiency extractor type, which utilizes high-efficiency grease extractor filters with a grease extraction rating of approximately 90%+ for 8 microns and larger particulates. This type of hood has a mid-level entry cost, but also gives the highest grease extraction of the available hoods.

Self-cleaning water wash hoods with stationary filtration,  which have a grease extraction rating of approximately 60% for 8 microns and larger particulates. This type of hood has a mid high-level entry cost but is the easiest to maintain.

High-efficiency extractor type, which utilizes high-efficiency grease extractor filters and UVC lights with a grease extraction rating of approximately 90%+ for 8 microns and larger particulates. This type of hood has a high-level entry cost, but with proper maintenance will keep the exhaust ducts beyond the hood virtually grease-free.

Self-cleaning water wash hoods with stationary filtration and UVC lights, which have a grease extraction rating of approximately 90%+ for 8 microns and larger particulates. The hood has a self-cleaning feature that cleans the stationary filtration system and the UVC lights in the exhaust plenum daily. This type of hood has the highest-level entry cost, but is the easiest to maintain; just a little maintenance will keep the exhaust ducts beyond the hood virtually grease-free.

Versatile Utility Distribution System (UDS) and hood with fire protection during an installation. Photos courtesy of Professional Foodservice Design, Inc.


Fire Suppression Options

The kitchen exhaust hood fire suppression system is the first defense against fire in a commercial kitchen. Let’s take a quick look at four options for suppression systems under the hood.

Appliance specific systems. These cost less and target specific equipment in a fixed location. They allow the offending piece of equipment to be doused with a wet chemical, by an appliance-specific nozzle, to extinguish fire and cool down the equipment and reduce the potential for re-ignition.

Full flood/overlapping systems. These are typically more costly than appliance-specific systems and have a much larger reservoir of chemical, which provides a virtual zone of protection under the hood by overlapping wet chemical dispersion coupled with fusible link detection. They allow the flexibility of a full flood system because equipment can be moved in and out for cleaning and exchanged with other equipment as desired. For this reason, it is the system of choice for many food establishments.

Dual agent systems. These typically use a combination of a quick-acting liquid chemical (to extinguish) and water (to cool down the area and diminish the chance of re-ignition). In some cases, the water enhances the characteristics of the liquid chemical used to extinguish the fire.

Water mist. NFPA 96 (1998 edition) Chapter 7, “Fire Extinguishing Equipment,” addresses the use of water mist fire protection. Notes Section 7-2.2.1, “Automatic fire extinguishing systems shall be installed in accordance with the terms of their listings, the manufacturer’s instructions, and the following standards where applicable, (b) NFPA 13 Standard for Installation of Sprinkler System.” The NFPA 13 4-9.8.2 (1999 edition) or 3-9.8.2 (1996 edition) say the same thing: “A sprinkler or automatic spray nozzle used for the protection of a deep fat fryer, shall be listed for that application. The position, arrangement, location, and water supply for each sprinkler or spray nozzle shall be in accordance with its listing.”

The Dualtech nozzle is UL 199E-listed for use over fryers. The UL 199E testing follows the same criteria as UL 300, except it is more stringent since it actually requires a kitchen hood to be mounted over the appliance during the test, whereas UL 300 does not.

Please note that manual activation is not required for an automatic sprinkler system, per NFPA 96 (1998), sections 7-5.1 Manual Activation, Exception #2.

NFPA 13 (1999) 4-9.3 and NFPA 13 (1996) 3-9.3, say the same thing as Exception #2: sprinklers or automatic spray nozzles shall not be required where the entire exhaust duct is connected to a listed exhaust hood incorporating a specific duct collar and sprinkler (or automatic spray nozzle) assembly investigated for protection of unlimited duct length of duct in accordance with UL 300, Standard for Fire Extinguishing System for Protection of Restaurant Cooking Areas. The EA-1-1/4” orifice and 65-degree angle of discharge has been UL tested to standard UL 300 for the protection’s unlimited length of duct and listed for this purpose when used with listed mist systems.

NFPA 96 (1998) accepts listed hoods, per Section 2-4, Listed Hood Assemblies. “Listed hood assemblies shall be installed in accordance with the terms of their listing and the manufacturer’s instructions.” The UV hood is UL 710-listed, therefore it is accepted by NFPA 96 (1998).

UL attachments to the building sprinkler system have faced much adversity since UL 300. Other than very specific open fryers listed for coverage by a Dualtech nozzle, open fryers can no longer be protected by mist systems.

At this time, the chemical systems seem to be more design friendly to this problem.


Pre-Manufactured Raceways

When four or more pieces of equipment are placed under a ventilator, it makes great sense from an engineering and economic point of view to have a factory-built raceway as an accessory to your UL-listed hood. The raceway’s cost will approximate the costs of supplying and installing all necessary components into the building to tie together the power sources and fire protection.

Pre-manufactured raceways are considered to be pieces of equipment with a seven-year depreciation schedule in lieu of a 32-year leasehold improvement building depreciation when utilities are built into a wall. The raceway can be custom designed by a food facility consultant or others with an encompassing perspective on the use and needs of both the equipment and the staff using it.

Flexibility in supplying gas, electric, steam or water is the mantra of a distribution system. Systems vary by manufacturer and patent in how supply and connection are accomplished to each piece of under hood equipment. The end result is minimal expense or effort in moving equipment around under your hood.

The raceway will come complete with a minimum of the following accessories, with others being available by request.

  • Gas hoses w/quick disconnect

  • Water hoses

  • Power cords and plugs

  • Power supply

  • Pressure gauges

  • Ball valves for plumbing lines

  • Main disconnect w/shunt trip

  • Water metering

  • Fire protection tie-in.