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How Important Are Duct Access Doors?

duct access doors commercial kitchen

Duct access doors are an essential part any commercial kitchen’s exhaust system yet many restaurant owners don’t know as much about them as they should. It’s easy to see why they’re important – after all, they make it possible to clean, maintain, and inspect your exhaust system, which in turn prevents fats, grease, and oil from clogging up the ductwork.

Grease is going to get into your ductwork

No matter what type of food you’re preparing in your commercial kitchen, or how exceptional your grease exhaust system is, you’re going to get grease in your ductwork. When you use solid fuel for high volume fryer operations, you know you’re creating a lot of grease exhaust, but even if you’re only doing low volume cooking, there will eventually be a buildup of traces of fats, oils, and dirt over time.

Of course, hood filters are an important part of preventing grease from getting into your ductwork, but they help prevent it from being a constant problem – they are not designed to prevent it altogether. If grease is allowed to accumulate in your ducts then you could be looking at a pretty significant fire risk. In fact, according to one study, if your ducts are cleaned as much as three inches of grease can accumulate. Even the best fire suppression system may not be a match for that much grease.

You’re required to install duct access doors

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if each store owner understands how important these duct access doors are, because they’re required via the NFPA 96 Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations. They must meet the minimum requirements of said standard, and they must be installed with the fire codes set out in the same standard.

For example, every horizontal and vertical duct needs to be accessible. Horizontal ducts need at least one opening and it must be at least 20 inches x 20 inches, though there are exceptions if it’s not possible to make an opening of that size. Other requirements include that the doors must be made as the same material and must be as thick as the ducts themselves, and the must be rated at 1500 degrees F or higher and be grease tight.

If you have questions about your commercial kitchen’s exhaust system, then you have a single company to reach out to: Hoodmart. We can help make sure you have all the equipment you need.

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