ednesday, June 3, 2009 —DENVER, COLORADO— 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, said Massoud Farazandeh, general manager of Nationwide Fire Protection Corp., an affiliate of American Professional Services (APS-Hoods).
APS-Hoods has provided commercial hoods sales and cleaning services in its home state of Colorado and throughout the United States since 1989 and Farazandeh has witnessed many changes in the industry. When manufacturers of ultraviolet hood systems started touting environmental friendliness, cost effectiveness and savings on cleaning costs, he decided to research the issue further.
UV hood systems have been used in Europe since 1998 and hood installation companies in the U.S. began installing them in 2000, according to a Feb. 17 Food Equipment News article by Tom Carter, vice president of sales for Caddy Corporation. (http://www.foodequipmentnews.com/2009/02/how-does-uv-light-technology-in-an-exhaust-hood-system-work.html) Caddy Corp. manufactures food service equipment, including UV hood systems.
Caddy Corp. recommends the systems for establishments including hotels, restaurants and hospitals that include lots of grease in their cooking processes, according to its Web site.
UV Systems- How They Work
Oils and greases used in restaurant cooking processes collect over time in kitchen exhaust fans, hoods and ducts, Farazandeh said. 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. Inside the hood is a series of UV “C” lamps. Grease particles and other effluent that is not collected by the extractors passes over these lamps and a chemical reaction converts the grease into water vapor, carbon dioxide and tiny non-grease compounds.
Manufacturers also say UV hoods are comparable in price to water wash hoods, and those who opt for the UV hood also save money by eliminating the need for drains, grease traps and plumbing costs related to those items, according to Carter’s article.
Benefits of UV
UV radiation is an environmentally friendly and economical alternative to chemical techniques, according to the Web site for Heraeus, a company involved in specialty lighting sources, among other products.
Other benefits of the UV hood systems cited in Carter’s article include:
• The system has no special installation costs or requirements.
• It is equipped with self-monitoring capability for fan operation and lamps.
• The system does not require wash down.
• It uses less than 300 watts of light for every seven feet of hood.
• It has identical maintenance requirements to standard baffle filter hoods, and the filters can be cleaned in a dishwasher when needed.
• Grease is prevented from collecting in ductwork, which helps keep the duct system and exhaust fan clean.
The initial information Farazandeh heard about the UV hood systems sounded promising, he said. Manufacturers claimed that the systems had improved fire prevention features, reduced grease collection and resulted in savings for restaurant owners when it came to cleaning costs.
“But for some of these claims, the field realities are different,” Farazandeh said. “Personally, I 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.
“Ultraviolet hood systems require different procedures for cleaning the filter compartments,” Farazandeh said. “If employees of hood cleaning companies aren’t properly trained in this method, it is likely that they will damage the equipment.”
Farazandeh also disagrees with manufacturer claims that maintenance of these systems is more economical.
“I have spoken with manufacturer reps and to the best of my knowledge, the maintenance costs of these systems can be as much as four times the cost of maintaining traditional hood systems,” he said.
And although the manufacturers recommend UV hood systems for widespread applications, Farazandeh said they aren’t for everyone.
“I don’t think I would be recommending the right thing to my customer if I said that they were a viable option for everyone because of the costs involved after installation,” he said. “In my opinion, the product is good, but people should do their homework prior to purchasing the system.”
With that said, there are some applications in which Farazandeh would recommend UV hood systems. Those include certain government facilities that have strict environmental requirements, he said.
Hotels in dense, congested areas might also be good candidates for the system, he said. In locations where there are crowded alleys and buildings are close together, “you don’t want a lot of grease and smoke introduced into the environment.”
Some companies have their own environmental standards that are stricter than government standards. In those cases, Farazandeh would recommend UV hood systems, he said.
“Even the company reps I have spoken to don’t recommend these systems for every application,” Farazandeh said. “They’ve also told me that about 85 percent of their clients are government jobs, where the funding already is in place.”
American Professional Services (APS-Hoods) is a full-service restaurant fire protection business that installs, services, repairs and performs routine inspections and sales for hood and fire suppression systems. Founded by Chief Executive Officer Massoud Farazandeh in 1989, APS-Hoods has grown into a national leader in hood sales and fire protection for restaurants and facilities.
APS-Hoods provides superior service, a quality guarantee and maintains a highly qualified and dependable staff. All crew members are professionally trained to comply with the National Fire Prevention Association Standards and state and local codes. APS-Hoods is fully insured and bonded. They are licensed in the mechanical and electrical fields, as well as fire protection contracting.
APS-Hoods is affiliated with the National Fire Protection Agency and the Colorado Division of Fire Safety Fire Suppression Program.
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