Taking steps to be more environmentally friendly has become important to more Americans in recent years, and the green movement has reached nearly every industry.
But when it comes to commercial kitchen exhaust hoods, more environmentally friendly options aren’t ideal for every commercial kitchen, and in some cases they aren’t yet cost effective.
When manufacturers of ultraviolet hood systems touted environmental friendliness, cost effectiveness and reduced cleaning costs, he decided to research the issue further.
UV hood systems have been used in Europe since 1998 and in the U.S. since 2000.
UV Systems- How They Work
Oils and greases used in restaurant cooking processes collect over time in traditional kitchen exhaust fans, hoods and ducts. When these parts of the hood system aren’t cleaned on a regular basis, these cooking materials pose a fire hazard.
UV hood system manufacturers claim that their systems provide a cost-effective, environmentally friendly alternative to traditional cleaning methods because they are equipped with a series of removable grease-particulate extractors, Carter stated in his article.
Other benefits of the UV hood systems:
o No special installation costs or requirements.
o Equipped with self-monitoring capability for fan operation and lamps.
o Does not require wash down.
o Uses less than 300 watts of light for every seven feet of hood.
o Identical maintenance requirements to standard baffle filter hoods, and the filters can be cleaned in a dishwasher when needed.
o Grease is prevented from collecting in ductwork, which helps keep the duct system and exhaust fan clean.
But for some of these claims, the field realities are different. Commercial hood comapnies believe that routine maintenance costs are more expensive.
UV hood systems require less maintenance than traditional hood systems, according to manufacturers. Where traditional hood systems may need cleaning four times each year, UV systems can be cleaned twice a year. However, the cleaning and maintenance they require is more involved and technical than that of its traditional counterparts. UV systems require servicing by technicians who have been specially trained by the UV hood manufacturers. These technicians must possess specific knowledge on how to arm and disarm the system and how to dismantle and clean the extractors filtering system.
They also disagrees with manufacturer claims that maintenance of these systems is more economical.
They have spoken with manufacturer reps and to the best of their knowledge, the maintenance costs of these systems can be as much as four times the cost of maintaining traditional hood systems.
And although the manufacturers recommend UV hood systems for widespread applications, they aren’t for everyone.
Hood cleaning companies don’t think they would be recommending the right thing to their customer if they said that they were a viable option for everyone because of the costs involved after installation. In my opinion, the product is good, but people should do their homework prior to purchasing the system.