Commercial hood filters are one of the most important restaurant parts in your kitchen. Designed to filter out grease and other contaminants in the air, hood filters are on the front line when it comes to preventing a kitchen fire. Without a hood filter, flammable debris could enter your exhaust duct and build up in the ventilation system, causing a grease fire that not only puts employees at risk, but also your business.
If preventing a kitchen fire wasn't reason enough to stock up on hood filters, perhaps this is: hood filters are required to meet regulations outlined by the National Fire Code Association (NFPA) and the International Fire Code (IFC). Hood filters are also regularly checked and enforced by fire and health inspectors, so be sure to adhere to a popular maintenance schedule to keep your hood filters running efficiently.
When shopping for a commercial hood filter we suggest first finding one that is UL listed. This ensures that the hood filter passed the proper safety standard testing to keep you compliant with current codes and regulations.
Corrosion resistance is also one of the primary concerns when shopping for hood filters. Commercial kitchens are notorious for being hot, humid environments with plenty of grease and cleaning chemicals in the air. All of these particles in the air will lead to corrosion of your hood filter over time, but some materials will last longer than others.
Stainless steel hood filters are the highest quality, and consequently the most expensive option of hood filters for commercial kitchens. Featuring an attractive finish perfect for open kitchen concepts, stainless steel filters are durable enough to withstand harsh chemicals and frequent cleanings. If the high upfront cost puts you off, consider this: a better hood filter means less replacements over time, and ultimately more money in your pocket.
Galvanized hood filters offer the same long-lasting durability as stainless steel but lacks the shiny, attractive finish. For this reason, galvanized filters work best in closed kitchens that aren't in customer view.
For the best short-term value, aluminum filters are your cost-friendly option. Aluminum filters weigh less and are cheaper than stainless or galvanized steel filters. While aluminum hood filters feature a shiny finish perfect for open kitchens, they lack the long-lasting durability of stainless steel filters. Aluminum filters are also incompatible with harsh degreasers, and some cleaning chemicals could immediately corrode the material.
For more about hood filter material types, check out the video below:
Commercial hood filters are constructed in one of two ways: welded or riveted. Offered in stainless steel, galvanized and aluminum options, both welded and riveted hood filters rely on a series of vertical baffles that filter grease from the air duct system. Riveted hood filters are comprised of a multi-piece frame held together by rivets, making it slightly flexible which could cause the rivets to loosen over time. Alternatively, welded hood filters are made from a single piece of framed metal with the front and back being welded together. As a result, welded hood filters have a rigid and durable design making it a heavy duty, long-lasting option.
We can't stress enough the importance of sizing your hood filter prior to ordering. Fun fact: when it comes to hood filters, the actual size of the hood filter will always be close to ½ inch smaller than the listed size. For example, a hood opening of 20 inches by 20 inches would translate to a 19½ inch tall by 19&frac;12 inch wide hood filter. When sizing your hood filter, also record measurements as height first, width second for the proper filter. If you have questions about ordering the right hood filter, companies like HoodFilters.com features a sizing calculate to make ordering easy.
Need help figuring out what size of hood filter and how many you should order? Check out this video below:
Depending on your kitchen, you might require a special hood filter. Spark arrestor hood filters are essentially steel screens attached to a baffle filter that prevents embers and other airborne sparks from solid fuel (think charcoal, mesquite or briquettes) from entering the hood system. Spark arrestors are required under the NFPA 96 fire code standard for fire safety.
The Franklin hinged hood filters are made of heavy duty stainless steel and feature a unique hinged design that allows you to open it up for easy and thorough cleaning.
Finally, the Captrate hood filter is designed specifically for CaptiveAire hood ventilation systems. This filter is extremely heavy duty and captures up to 4 times the weight of grease compared to standard filters. Its unique design means it can also be utilized as a spark arrestor for use in kitchens that cook with solid fuels.
When installing your hood filter, no matter the type or size, make sure that the baffles are running in a vertical position. This way, grease can be drawn down by gravity straight into the collection system. When inserting the filter into your hood, first lift the top edge up and then lower the filter into place for a snug fit.
When hood filters exhibit signs of wear like holes, warped metal, corrosion and more, it's not filtering out the grease and other contaminants in your cooking smoke properly. Bad filters enable grease and even embers into your ventilation system which puts you at risk for a kitchen fire. Other less serious consequences of a bad hood filter includes a hotter, smokier kitchen that could increase your utility bills. Keep your hood filters functioning at their best by adhering to a regular cleaning schedule (that can be daily, weekly or monthly depending on the amount of use your kitchen gets).
Like most things in the kitchen, warm, soapy water is the best way to keep your hood filters clean. Be sure to avoid bleach and harsh chemicals which may damage the metal of your hood filter. Most hood filters can also be put into the dishwasher for quick and easy cleaning, but make certain that your dishwasher avoids those harsh chemicals that could corrode the filter. When cleaning your hood filters, ensure they are completely dry after washing before installation.