EXHAUST AND VENTILATION SYSTEMS FOR COMMERCIAL KITCHENS
Mechanical ventilation and exhaust systems are one of the most important features and must have items in a commercial kitchen. The Australian standard makes it imperative to install such a system according to AS 1668. The primary reason for good ventilation and mechanical exhausts is to ensure that airborne particles cannot contaminate food and fumes, smoke, steam and vapours are removed from the premises. Ventilation includes both providing fresh air and removing of cooking vapours and fumes.
Air-conditioning to provide cool air to staff, in this regard, is not compulsory and unless a fresh air system (make up air) is installed as well, is not very efficient.
Common ventilation problems resulting from poor exhaust systems include mould growth on walls and ceilings especially in bakeries where there is a high number of mould spores in the air. In commercial kitchens, an inefficient exhaust system can lead to grease build up on walls and ceilings and generally make it quite hot and could lead to issues with staff. Natural or mechanical systems can be used to minimise vapours however when using natural ventilation, none or very little cooking is allowed. An example of natural ventilation is an open shop front and a window in the kitchen, or a back door. A business, which is planning to cook foods, especially with gas, must have a mechanical exhaust system and if in doubt, request a site consultation with one of our specialists since an installation of a new system once the shop has opened, will be far more costly and inconvenient.
All parts of a mechanical ventilation system, such as fans, kitchen exhaust hoods and ductwork are ‘fixtures, fittings and equipment’ and must comply with the requirements of the Australian standard AS 1668.2 -2012. Existing systems in premises which have been installed prior to 2012 don’t have to be upgraded, only if the system is inadequate and absolutely doesn’t meet the standard then a health inspector or certifier can void it as inadequate and it must then be upgraded. Evidence of this includes grease on walls and ceilings, and flaking paint on walls and ceilings in dish wash areas which stems from condensation. Sometimes a new fan can make a huge difference or an extension of the canopy will suffice.
In general, if it works, then no upgrade is required!
All councils in Australia require Charcoal exhaust hoods and wood fired systems to have a ‘zero emisson’ policy which effectively means all smell, vapour and smoke have to be eliminated by an electrostatic filter (ESP), ozone generators or UV filtration, or any other method or device which is approved in Australia. We work with specialist suppliers who design their own canopies and use specialised filters systems to suit the right purpose. At PCK our goal is to make your business succeed and assisting in choosing the right ventilation solutions is most important!