Exhaust Hoods For Residential Kitchens In Commercial Buildings

Purchasing an exhaust hood system for a restaurant or specifically for a residential home is pretty straight forward - most manufacturers design the hoods and systems specifically for either commercial or residential. But what about odd situation where you may have a residential kitchen inside of a commercial building? These types of scenarios are more common then you may think and becoming more and more common. Examples include multifamily dwellings, assisted living facilities, fire stations, and even college dorms. In most of these cases there is a kitchen set up in the building, however it may not necessarily require commercial grade kitchen equipment. Example - a large kitchen space used to prepare large amounts of food but that isn’t for sale or for profit, where the occupants and / or employees living and working in said building are the ones who consume the food.

In these types of situations it could be confusing what codes you need to abide by. Building codes give a general framework for contractors to work off of when determining which hood to use for which application. Primary building codes for commercial buildings are the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code (NFPA 101), the International Building Code (IBC), and the International Mechanic Code (IMC). Type I and Type II kitchen exhaust hoods are required regardless of the appliance type provided the kitchen uses the appliance to sell foods for profit according to IMC Section 507. You find yourself in a gray area in situations like fire stations and college dorms though when the food being prepared is not for profit. Another example - IMC Section 505 requires that domestic appliances being used for domestic purposes in a commercial setting include an exhaust system equipped with a UL 507 listed exhaust fan that discharges outdoors through a sheet metal duct AND utilizes a make-up air fan when exhausting more than 400 CFM. IBC states that residential kitchens that are set up in commercial buildings where the kitchen is not the primary purpose of the building - for example an assisted living facility - prohibits the use of recirculating fan systems within the hood, and requires an automatic fire suppression system.

The point in all of this is that residential kitchens in a commercial building can be confusing. Unlike restaurants and standard commercial kitchens, residential style kitchens have different available options. Here are some options:

1) Traditional Residential Hood - these light-duty hood systems can be found in common big box stores and other home improvement stores. These types of hood systems are very basic, and lack most safety features such as fire suppression and fuel line disconnects, therefore they may not pass local code.

2) Commercial Kitchen Hood - Type I and Type II hoods in a residential style kitchen will likely pass local code requirements, however these set ups tend to land on the more expensive side and are often overkill for the application.

3) Custom Exhaust Hoods - there are custom options on the market that are best suited for residential kitchens in commercial buildings, designed specifically with the features and power of a commercial exhaust hood without the size and cost that is often associated with those types of systems.

Before you make a decision it is best to contact your local building code offices and discuss with them your kitchen specs. The codes for residential kitchens in a commercial building are not clear, however they will help guide you in the right direction for what type of exhaust hood system will work and pass code in your establishment. HoodMart provides our customers with a wide range of exhaust hood systems - from Compensating (Short Cycle) to Perforated Supply Plenum (PSP) - as well as all exhaust hood accessories such as no-weld grease duct, hood filters, canopy hood lights, and curbs. We also offer a wide range of walk-in refrigeration systems to meet your needs.   If you still have questions regarding the purchase of your hood system, please feel free to contact one of our experts today by calling us at 1.800.715.1014 or contacting us through our live chat system.