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Cooking produces vapour and heat in your church kitchen – so when you’re making up to 100 roast dinners, it’s vital that your system provides the adequate extraction and ventilation…

Effective ventilation and extraction in your semi-commercial kitchen not only removes fumes from baking and cooking, but also redirects them safely elsewhere. Keeping your church hygienic while also creating a safe working environment for everyone who uses the space – from staff to volunteers and members of your congregation. But the type of extraction you need will depend on what appliances you plan to install and relevant to the kitchen’s main purpose.

First, regulations
Legally, every semi-commercial and commercial kitchen must have effective extraction for gas appliances (not legally the case for electric appliances) – while domestic appliances don’t need to be covered by the Gas Safe Register, commercial gas equipment must abide by these mandatory gas safety standards. The main reason for this is to prevent the potentially dangerous build-up of gas, which could result in an explosion.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 also require suitable ventilation in every enclosed workspace – including kitchens, most of which need mechanical extraction via a canopy hood installed over the cooking appliances.

Additionally, a Gas Safety Interlock System must be installed to control the solenoid valve that’s positioned in the gas supply to the cookline. This control system is linked to the extraction fan, which won’t allow gas to flow is the fan isn’t running, providing a safe working environment for everyone in the kitchen and property.

Second, fresh air
Extracted air in commercial kitchens must be 85% replaced under mandatory rules, so we suggest that you consider fresh air replenishment by means of active or passive ventilation. In smaller kitchens, ventilation may be as simple as air supplied via ventilation grilles in windows, walls and doors, which also draw in a natural replacement of extracted air. But with commercial gas cooking equipment and extract canopies, kitchens require a mechanical ventilation system with a fan and filter.

In commercial and semi-commercial kitchens with gas appliances, extraction must go to the outside world, so it’s important to consider whether you can fit a duct on your building. For example, if your church is a listed building, you might not be allowed to make a hole in the ceiling. Also think about where your extract duct will vent to atmosphere, as planning permission may enforce that you have carbon odour filters to protect residents from the cooking going on in the kitchen.

Ceiling diffusers and wall or island hoods then deliver fresh, replacement air to your kitchen, which must be drawn from outside. Doing this not only improves the comfort of your kitchen, but prevents odours finding their way around the rest of the church! In large kitchens with gas appliances, the fresh air supply can also be heated, but this isn’t mandatory, just preferential on those cold winter days outside. In line duct heating systems can be introduced too.

Steelplan Kitchens Top Tip: It’s worth noting that these complex rules only apply for commercial gas cooking appliances – not domestic – and a church can choose commercial electrical appliances instead, where only humidity, acceptable temperatures and a comfortable environment need to be considered. Do bear in mind that these draw considerable current, so we will have to check if the fuse board and supply can handle the additional electric consumption.

Why do I need it?
Without the removal of unspent gas and hot air, staff or users in your kitchen might suffer from lethargy and heat stress, creating an unsafe and undesirable environment. Effective ventilation will ensure the air movement around the setting doesn’t cause discomfort (such as draughts); prevents the risk of carbon monoxide accumulating; keeps people at a comfortable temperature and stops grease from building up, while remaining quiet and vibration free. It should also be easy to clean, avoiding build up of fat residues and blocked air inlets that can lead to lower efficiency, an unhygienic environment and increased risk of fire.

However, not every kitchen is the same, so your ventilation and extraction system is as individual as your church.

What type do I need?
Each ventilation and extraction system design from Steelplan Kitchens takes into account the:

  • Appliances in the cookline
  • Maximum demand and whether it can cope with peaks of activity
  • Amount of cooking equipment you use and the food on offer
  • Layout and shape of your kitchen
  • Number of people using the space at one time
  • Need for easy cleaning and maintenance
  • The type of cookline your property or infrastructure can handle

Ultimately, with the right ventilation and extraction systems in place, you can keep everyone in your kitchen safe and happy, while maintaining a clean and efficient space.

Working with the space you have and the requirements of your church, Steelplan Kitchens can create a semi-commercial kitchen tailored for you. Call us on 0844 809 9186 to find out about your options.

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