Commercial kitchen grease and odour build up

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Commercial kitchen grease and odour build up is a problem for many restaurants and fast food outlets. Luckily there is a range of grease, odour and smoke control solutions available including activated carbon filters, electrostatic precipitators and advanced oxidation technologies such as ozone injection and UV-C. However it is important to choose the correct equipment after all a pizza takeaway will not have the same grease issues as a Chinese.

Activated carbon is probably the best known form of odour control as it has been around for the longest. This acts like a sponge to absorb gaseous odours, but its performance drops over time and so requires changing every 3-6 months when the odours begin to break through. A common misconception is that activated carbon stops grease, but in fact grease in the kitchen exhaust air significantly reduces the performance of activated carbon. This is because it coats the surface and stops the gaseous odours being absorbed – imagine dipping a sponge into oil and then using the same sponge to soak up water, it just won’t be as effective as a clean sponge, and what a mess! So it is important to pre-filter air to thoroughly remove grease if using activated carbon.

As well as requiring regular maintenance, activated carbon is heavy and bulky, and has significant ‘back pressure’ because it sits inside the ductwork and so needs more fan power to push the air through it – you will have to use more energy to power the fan or fit a bigger fan. Again, imagine blowing through a straw, and then stuffing the straw with some tissue. This will require more ‘puff’ to blow through…try it for yourself!

From our experience, and in line with DEFRA best practice guidance, it is vital to remove kitchen grease and odour build up. Firstly grease particles followed by gaseous odours, and by far the most effective way of doing this in a fish and chip shop is by combining an ElectroStatic Precipitator (ESP) with UV-C light. ESPs have a low back pressure and work by ionising and trapping 95% of the grease and smoke particles onto washable collector cells; the air then passes through a set of ozonating UV lamps which attack any residual grease particles and the odours by a combination of UV-C light and ozone.

Not only will this combination clean the air, but by removing the grease it will reduce the grease build up in the ductwork after the equipment and so reduce duct cleaning costs.

The correct equipment choice is vital for the smooth running of your fish and chip shop, from the choice of frying range to odour control equipment. The correct choice on day one will help to keep your business in line with DEFRA guidance and will keep your neighbours, the EHO and your customers happy, leaving you to get on with cooking the best tasting fish and chips.

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