The Importance of a Restaurant Hood System

restaurant hood system is an essential piece of equipment for a safe commercial kitchen. These ventilation systems are the first line of defense to preventing fires in the kitchen. Restaurant Hood Systems are designed to remove heat, smoke and grease laden vapors that are generated while cooking to keep your commercial kitchen running safely and efficiently. With proper airflow established, these systems also reduce odors, improve air quality, and lower energy consumption in your commercial kitchen. In addition to all of these crucial benefits, kitchen ventilation systems are required by fire and health inspectors as well as insurance providers.

Components of a Hood System

Vent Hood 

Placed over cooking equipment. Designed to remove excess steam, water vapor, heat, grease, smoke, odor, and flue gas from the kitchen environment. Available in two types – type I or type II 

Hoods require hood filters. Filters are available in stainless steel, galvanized, or aluminum; Welded or riveted in construction. 

Make-Up Air Unit 

Brings in clean air to circulate through the kitchen to “make up” for the grease laden air being suction out by the fan. Installed on the outside of the building. 

Baffle Filter 

Series of vertical baffles that live within the hood. The filter captures grease and drains it away into a container. Designed for easy removal for cleaning.

Exhaust Fan 

Gets the air moving within the system – taking the “poor” air out of the kitchen. Installed on the outside of the building. 

  • Belt Drive Fans 
    • Driven by belt and motor pulley 
    • Friction caused by the belt can decrease efficiencies and cause more repairs 
  • Direct Drive Fans 
    • Blade fan wheel directly attached to the axle 
    • A more efficient system with less moving parts and maintenance

Variety of Hood Types

Hood systems are made in a variety of types, styles, sizes, and shapes to best-fit restaurant kitchens around the world. There are two primary types of hoods, as well as 6 styles. 


Type I           
  • Used for the collection and removal of grease and smoke 
  • Always include listed grease filters or baffles for removal of grease 
  • Required over restaurant equipment that produces smoke or grease-laden vapors. This includes fryers, ranges, griddles, broilers, ovens, tilt skillets, etc. 
Type II            
  • Considered general hoods for the collection and removal of steam, vapor, heat and odors, where grease is NOT present 
  • May or may not have grease filters or baffles 
  • Typically used over dishwashers, steam tables, and the like 
  • Can sometimes be used over ovens, steamers, or kettles if determined that they do not produce smoke or grease-laden vapors 


Wall-Mounted Canopy  Mounted flush with a wall and used for all types of cooking equipment located against a wall 
Single Island Canopy  Ceiling mounted over a single line cooking island and used for all types of cooking equipment 
Double Island Canopy  Ceiling mounted over a back to back cooking island and used for all types of cooking equipment 
Backshelf Hood  Used for counter height equipment. Normally located against a wall, but are also used as freestanding units 
Eyebrow Hood  Used for direct mounting to ovens, as well as some dishwashers 
Pass-Over Style Hood  Used over counter-height equipment when a plate pass-over configuration is required 

When Are Hood Systems Required? 

Hood systems are required in commercial kitchens where heating elements are used. Over stoves, fryers, grills, tilt skillets, etc. The size and type of system required depends on the type of equipment being used and the number of cooking units. Note that manufacturers now offer some ventless hood options where the units are self-contained with powerful fans. These units open up opportunities for kitchen design and use of the unit. 

The size and style of the restaurant hood system needed for a kitchen vary greatly depending on the equipment used and local codes. It is best to work through your specific kitchen layout with an industry expert for assistance purchasing the correct system. Our team of knowledgeable and friendly product consultants is always ready to help at 800.215.9293 

What Hood Filter Does My Kitchen Need? 

Two things to consider when selecting the right hood filter for your commercial kitchen are the volume of product being cooked and the visibility of the kitchen to customers. A high volume kitchen requires a heavy-duty filter to withstand the abuse it will be receiving, so a stainless steel or galvanized filter would best. Additionally, if the kitchen is visible to customers, a shiny filter such as stainless steel would be most attractive. Of these two considerations, the durability of the filter should be the primary concern. 


  • Stainless Steel 
  • Most durable and easiest to clean 
  • Best for high-volume operations 
  • Attractive, shiny finish 
  • Most expensive material option 
  • Galvanized 
  • Strong and long lasting 
  • High performance at an affordable price 
  • Stands up to degreasers and cleaning chemicals 
  • Metal may become discolored after using cleaning chemicals 
  • Aluminum 
  • Lightweight and affordable 
  • Prone to corrosion and damage 
  • Attractive, shiny finish 
  • Cannot use harsh degreasers and cleaning chemicals 



  • Welded 
  • Baffles are made from the same single piece of metal as the frame 
  • Back and front are welded together 
  • Rigid and durable design – won’t easily bend 
  • Heavy duty and long lasting 
  • Riveted 
  • Made of multiple pieces held together by rivets 
  • Series of individual baffles inside the filter 
  • Somewhat flexible allowing rivets to loosen over time 
  • A less expensive, but less durable option 


When Should Hood Filters Be Replaced? 

There is no standard time frame of when hood filters should be replaced. While the filter could last a couple of years in some kitchens, it could last only 6 to 8 months in another. Factors to consider: 

  • Type of filter 
  • Type of operation 
  • Level of maintenance 

It is important to inspect hood filters on a regular basis for wear or damage. When a filter is damaged, it cannot effectively do its job and becomes a fire hazard. If a filter is worn, clogged, damaged, or has excessive grease build up, it should be replaced right away. 

When purchasing a new hood filter, it is important to know that the actual size of the filter is about half an inch less than the size listed. There is no standard sizing for hood filters. Keep baffles vertical to measure your filter and know that the vertical dimension is followed by the horizontal dimension. 


  • Actual size: 9-5/8″ x 15-3/4″ x 1-3/4″ 
  • Filter size: 10″x16″ 

Hood Filter Cleaning 

Regular upkeep of your hood filter keeps your kitchen safe. If the filters are ignored, grease can build up and cause a number of problems including poor air quality, excess heat, increased utility costs, and fire hazard. A regular cleaning schedule will prolong the life of your filter and the overall system, but keeping a safe and clean kitchen. 

  • Dishwasher 
    • Run the commercial dishwasher on the highest temperature 
    • Avoid harsh cleaners 
    • Inspect that all reside was removed before drying 
  • Soak Tank 
    • An investment that saves time and labor 
    • Fill soak tank with water and add safe cleaner 
    • Soak filter overnight and rinse in the morning before reinstalling 
  • Hand Wash 
    • Use hot, soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge 
    • Avoid using harsh chemicals 
    • Dry immediately after washing 

Read also: Restaurant Hood Cleaning Made Easy

Time to Shop! 

Have more questions? Or ready to design your restaurant hood system? Call us at 800.215.9293 for one on one assistance! You can also browse online at our full line of hood systems and components!