How to Optimize Makeup Air

For a Commercial Kitchen Ventilation (CKV) system to work well there has to be an effective air balance. Otherwise, the all-important exhaust hood may not work correctly, resulting in problems that could have been avoided with proper planning.

Unlike commercial kitchen appliances, which can be isolated for troubleshooting purposes, CKV systems have multiple components, which can make it all the more difficult to pinpoint a problem when the hood appears to have malfunctioned. Add to that the fact that CKVs are part of a building’s larger HVAC system and the task of helping a hood to ventilate air properly can be magnified all the more.

The good news: There’s one hard and fast rule when it comes to figuring out how much replacement air needs to be generated by Makeup Air Hoods and Makeup Air Fans. Air that leaves the building through exhaust hoods must be replaced with a like amount of air from outside the building – which is what the term “makeup air” refers to in the first place.

If the air isn’t kept in balance, then the CKV may not capture and contain effluents created as a result of the cooking process. The result? A situation where, much like a door that is held shut by negative air pressure (think an elementary school door that just can’t be pushed open because of the air pressure differences between inside and outside), air that needs to be extracted from the kitchen simply stays put because the pressure of the replacement air is too weak to keep the airflow moving.

Another factor: makeup air that is too hot or too cold can also result in a less-than-optimal working environment.

Fortunately, there are many design guides (including this one from that can offer help and advice when it comes to optimizing your makeup air.

Still stumped? Contact one of the experts at Hood Mart today to discuss the requirements for your particular space.