All commercial exhaust hoods are not created equal. Quality spans a wide range in this arena, and that means this essential piece of your restaurant's kitchen scene needs attention to get the very most from its lifespan. So choosing one must be done carefully, and maintenance undertaken assiduously.
Why stainless steel?
Commercial-grade exhaust hoods are constructed from stainless steel because of the material's proven gifts, a long list that includes durability, corrosion resistance, extreme heat resistance, and ease of care.
Choosing a hood
Fabricated in a range of sizes and shapes, these exhaust hoods need to be custom manufactured according to the characteristics of the facility for which they're destined. Most commercial kitchens that do a reasonable business volume—and that are equipped with regularly humming broilers, grills, and fryers—use a vented exhaust hood. That means it directs the air from the premises through a series of ducts and then outside.
The kitchens in smaller, less equipment-heavy restaurants can get away with ventless hoods. Here, air is drawn through a built-in filter and cleaned before being pushed back into the space.
Cleaning your hood
To make the most of your stainless steel exhaust hood's high-quality longevity, it's imperative that you clean it often (and, ideally, professionally). Indeed, the diligent care and keeping of your hood are important for more pressing reasons, too. If this equipment isn't cleaned frequently enough, it can attract a buildup of bacteria, mould, and fungus, producing respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses in folks in its vicinity. Indeed, some municipalities have regulations dictating how often the interior of a vent must be cleaned.
Take care to read your manufacturer's recommendations regarding the cleaning sessions' regularity and take note of the usage caveats. In other words, if your kitchen is a very busy one that sends regular trails of greasy smoke into the ether, you're going to have to scrub your exhaust hood often.
If you have an unvented exhaust hood, you'll need to apply the same volume-based logic to changing its charcoal filters.
The exteriors of both vented and unvented hoods should be cleaned daily.