Does your Kitchen Exhaust Fan meet code?
Most restaurant managers are so tied up with the day to day operations inside the kitchen that they have no idea of the potential hazards that are occurring on their roof tops. There are a few simple things to look for that can help assure your fan is up to code and that you avoid potential down time for your restaurant or damage to your exhaust fan.
The first thing to inspect is to see if your up-blast fan (or bowl shaped fan) has a hinge kit installed. The Importance of a hinge kit is to allow access to the vertical duct of your exhaust system by allowing the fan to open to a ninety degree angle. This provides proper access to the duct to clean your kitchen exhaust system properly without harming the mechanics or structural integrity of the fan. A typical exhaust fan weighs around 125lbs and is made of spun aluminum. The material can be bent very easily in the cleaning process even when extreme precaution is taken.
The next thing to inspect is the electrical conduit on your exhaust fan. You want to look for two things. The first is that the electrical conduit is run externally from the duct curb into the fan housing of the fan see photo below.
The importance of this is to insure that the wiring for the fan is not exposed to grease build up within the system and keep the wiring from becoming damaged from taking the fan on and off during the cleaning process. The removal of the exhaust fan during cleanings can cause wiring to become exposed and potentially cause a fire or breaker to trip from metal to metal contact. This can cause costly down time for your restaurant.
Once you have insured that the wiring is ran externally, the second item to look for is inspecting the integrity of the wiring. The external wiring should be ran through weather proof conduit it to protect it from exposure to rain and grease from the system. See Photo Below
NFPA 96 – 188.8.131.52 states that Rooftop termination shall be arranged with or provided with the following:(8) A hinged up-blast fan supplied with flexible weatherproof electrical cable and service hold-open retainer to permit inspection and cleaning that is listed for commercial cooking equipment. It is very important to make sure that the wiring on your roof top is not exposed to the weather conditions. Wiring that is exposed can cause fires if introduced to grease on the roof top and/or cause the fan to short out at any given time costing your business time and money.
NFPA 96 – 184.108.40.206 states that – Approved up-blast fans with motors surrounded by the airstream shall be hinged, supplied with flexible weatherproof electrical cable and service hold-open retainers, and listed for this use.