Being energy conscious can make a tremendous impact on your bottom dollar, especially when operating a restaurant or commercial kitchen. Energy efficiency make a difference in today’s world. When we look at commercial kitchen exhaust, the # 1 energy consumption device is the exhaust fan.
Pro Tip for Saving Energy = Saving $$$ – When to Turn OFF your Exhaust Fan
In a kitchen exhaust system, the fan is the # 1 energy consumption device.
NFPA 96, code 11.1.1 – Exhaust system shall be operated whenever cooking equipment is turned on.
When cooking equipment is not being operated and there is no food being cooked, the exhaust fan can be turned off. Since there is no heat, exhaust and grease are not being produced so there is no reason to have the fan on. For establishments that have regular shutdown times, this can result in considerable cost savings.
Notice Issues with your Exhaust Fan?
When operating your kitchen exhaust system, if you happen to notice that its performance is not what it used to be, run down the following common fail points to see if these solution can help increase the performance and also provide cost savings by reducing how hard your exhaust fan is working.
- Filters Too Dirty
- Faulty Fan Belt
- Too Much Grease on Exhaust Fan Blades
- Old Equipment
A few quick ways to identify if your fan is under preforming is grease residue on ceiling tiles or kitchen surfaces and an overly hot kitchen. Each of these signifies that not enough heat and grease vapor is being pull out of the exhaust system and is rather staying in the kitchen. This can cause sanitation issue and health issues for your staff, not to mention wasting energy. Use these following recommendations to help solve your issue.
Clean your Filters on a Regular Basis (Daily)
Grease filters are placed inside every commercial kitchen exhaust system to capture a majority of the grease vapors prior to entering the ductwork. This is to reduce the fire risk in the system and extend cooking operations between commercial cleaning frequencies (wink wink, that’s what we are here to do). These filters, slats, groves, grates, inserts… whatever you may call them, they are designed to capture grease, thus need to be cleaned properly and very frequently to operate properly. The frequency of cleaning will depend on how much cooking and grease vapors your commercial kitchen produces, however, a minimum of a weekly filter cleaning should be protocol for almost any location.
Inspect the Fan Belt
One of the most common fail points in a kitchen exhaust system is the belt drive from the fan motor to the fan pulley.
If you are noticing a lack of performance or even a complete failure of your exhaust system, the fan belt is our first culprit to inspect. The nice thing about a fan belt wearing out or breaking is that is it a relatively simple fix.
Inspect and Clean Fan Wheel of the Exhaust Fan
If the kitchen exhaust system has too much grease buildup in the duct and fan, this may have adverse effects on the performance of the fan itself.
Odd vibrations or and under-preforming exhaust fan (system not moving enough air) can be result of too much grease on the fan wheel. This grease should be removed by the commercial kitchen exhaust cleaning company that services your system on a regular basis. If the issue continues after service has been performed, inspect the system to ensure the cleaning was completed to NFAP 96 codes and your agreed upon expectations.
As technology has advanced so has the energy efficiency of the machinery that is produced. If you are having issues with and exhaust fan, it may make economic sense to replace not just the part that failed, but the entire exhaust fan. Investing in a new exhaust fan is a 20 + year investment and the new and improved equipment will save you dollars every day.