Components of Kitchen Exhaust Systems: Hoods, Ducts, and Exhaust Fans

CrystalAir Food Court Exhaust Hood System2

In commercial kitchens, like those in restaurants, ensuring a safe working environment is paramount. This includes installing kitchen exhaust systems to eliminate smoke and grease, preventing potential fires. Understanding the main components of these ventilation systems—kitchen hoods, ducts installment, and exhaust fans—is essential for maintaining safety. 

This introduction highlights the importance of familiarizing oneself with these components to safeguard businesses, staff, and customers from the risks associated with commercial kitchen operations.

Kitchen Hoods

In large-scale kitchens, the exhaust hood is crucial for maintaining a clean and safe environment. It efficiently removes smoke, fumes, grease-laden vapors, and odors from the cooking area, ensuring the kitchen remains a tolerable and pleasant workspace. There are primarily two types of hoods used in commercial settings: grease hoods, designed for equipment generating grease or smoke, and condensate hoods, for appliances producing heat, steam, or combustion products. 

The kitchen exhaust hood, positioned directly above the cooking equipment, plays a vital role in maintaining a clean and safe kitchen environment. By capturing heat and grease vapors at the source, it prevents the spread of contaminants and odors, ensuring the workspace remains pleasant and hazard-free.

Within the hood, baffle filters are crucial for trapping grease particles before they can enter the ductwork, minimizing the amount of grease expelled into the air outside. This system not only enhances air quality but also significantly reduces fire risks, highlighting the exhaust hood’s importance in commercial kitchen operations.

Grease Filters

Grease filters in kitchen exhaust systems are designed to capture grease and oil particles from the air extracted during cooking. These filters are essential for reducing fire risks and maintaining air quality by preventing grease from accumulating in the ductwork and exhaust fan. 

Typically made of metal, such as stainless steel or aluminum, grease filters can be baffle or mesh type, each with its specific efficiency in trapping grease while allowing air to pass through. Regular cleaning and maintenance of these filters are crucial for optimal performance and kitchen safety.

Access Panels

Access panels in kitchen exhaust systems are crucial for providing entry points to the ductwork for cleaning and inspection. These panels ensure that every part of the exhaust system, including hard-to-reach areas, can be accessed for thorough grease removal, preventing fire hazards and maintaining system efficiency. Regular maintenance facilitated by these panels is essential for keeping the kitchen exhaust system in optimal condition.

Duct Installation

The kitchen exhaust duct plays a crucial role in maintaining air quality and kitchen safety, connecting the ventilation hood to the exhaust fan, typically located on the roof. The configuration of the ductwork varies significantly depending on the building’s architecture, ranging from straightforward vertical setups to more complex systems with multiple twists and turns. These intricate designs, tailored to each facility, highlight the importance of custom solutions for effective ventilation. 

Moreover, within the hood, baffle filters play a key role in trapping grease vapors, reducing the amount entering the ductwork and minimizing external air pollution. This dual approach of strategic duct layout and internal filtration underscores the nuanced considerations necessary for efficient kitchen exhaust system installation.

Exhaust Fans

Exhaust fans play a pivotal role in maintaining the air quality of commercial kitchens by effectively removing grease vapor and exhaust from the cooking area. Located primarily on the rooftop, these fans ensure that contaminated air is expelled outside the building, contributing to a safer and cleaner kitchen environment. 

In urban settings, Pollution Control Units (PCUs) are employed alongside exhaust fans to further purify the exhaust air of grease and odors, addressing concerns related to the proximity of passersby and neighboring establishments. This dual approach underscores the importance of selecting the right exhaust fan system to meet specific kitchen ventilation needs, highlighting the technological advancements in managing kitchen emissions.

The Common Issues in Kitchen Exhaust Systems

Not all kitchen exhaust systems meet best practices, posing risks to staff and clients. Here are key issues to watch out for:

  1. Proximity of Heat Source to Grease Removal Device: Accidental flare-ups near the stove can lead to fires if too close to the grease removal device. Maintain a minimum 45cm distance to mitigate this risk.

  2. Inadequate Access Panel Setup: Ensure access panels are large enough for duct maintenance, placed at every change of direction, and every 12 feet for horizontal ducts. Panels should be grease-tight and match ductwork material.

  3. Insufficient Number of Panels: A lack of access panels hinders proper cleaning and maintenance, increasing fire hazards.

  4. Proximity of Ductwork to Hazardous Materials: Maintain distance from flammable materials, use fire-resistant construction, and install fire insulation between ducts and surrounding materials. Avoid using ducts or hoods for storage.

  5. Multiple Ducts from Different Compartments: Separate systems are essential for kitchens with multiple heat sources or compartments to prevent fire spread. Each compartment requires its own fire-isolated shafts, fans, and ducts.


Looking to keep your commercial kitchen safe and the air clean? Dive into the essentials of kitchen exhaust systems with us. From savvy kitchen hoods catching all the grease to smart duct setups and powerful exhaust fans, we’ve got the lowdown on keeping things cool and safe. Plus, we’ll clue you in on common slip-ups to avoid. 

For all the nitty-gritty details and to ensure your kitchen stays up to snuff, swing by Crystal Air and get your ventilation game on point.