How is Restaurant Ducting Different Than Residential Ducting

Posted on Feb 15, 2021

Whether you are watching television at home or dining out at a fancy restaurant, there is something silently working in the background to keep you comfortable and safe – the ductwork. From maintaining a comfortable temperature to removing unwanted smells or pollutants, there is an HVAC system hard at work to keep your environment secure. However, even though both your home and a restaurant have an HVAC system, the two locations probably have quite different duct work and systems.

Basic Differences Between Residential and Commercial Restaurant Ductwork

Residential homes and commercial kitchens have vastly different functions, and as such, the HVAC systems need to be able to complete different jobs. The system in your residential home is most likely smaller, to clean and regulate air for a family, while the system in a commercial kitchen needs to be able to handle a lot more in a short amount of time.

Air Quality

Commercial kitchens often come with a lot of smells that need to be removed, as kitchens are constantly cooking a variety of meals. You might like the smell of chocolate cake and the scent of a baked seafood dish but smelling these two items together would not be pleasant. The HVAC system in restaurants is built to efficiently remove smells.

In addition, the pollutants and debris in the air in your home are different from those in a commercial kitchen. The HVAC system in your home is made to remove pet dander and allergens from the air, while the HVAC systems at work in commercial restaurants remove grease, scents, heat and steam.


Restaurants are usually covering large areas full of a variety of people, so temperature regulation is important. People in the dining area want to be comfortable while they enjoy their food, while people in the kitchen might need to be cooler while working with a hot stove. Additionally, storage areas where food and supplies are kept might need to be kept at specific temperatures to prevent premature spoiling.

In your home, the stakes are a little lower. Sure, you and your family need to be kept at a comfortable temperature, but generally, your home is all regulated at about the same temperature. The heating and cooling system is usually all connected through the ductwork to a single unit inside or just outside your home that takes care of the job.


Because the HVAC system in a commercial restaurant is doing so much extra work, these systems are generally larger than the system in your home. Residential systems may vary based on the size of the home, the number of people or pets living there, and the climate, but commercial HVAC systems are usually much larger and able to handle a higher load.


You may know that you should have your residential HVAC system maintained annually, and change the filters every few months, to keep the system running well and increase its longevity. However, HVAC systems in commercial kitchens are more heavily regulated by local codes, including fire codes, that regulate how often the system must be cleaned and by whom.

Specifics of Commercial Restaurant HVAC Systems

In general, HVAC systems are made up of heating and cooling units connected by ductwork, which transfers air two and from the rooms in a building. However, commercial restaurants have some extra parts on their HVAC system that makes it easier for the system to effectively and efficiently do its job.

Exhaust Hood

You may have a small version of this in your kitchen at home. The exhaust hood is the first line of capture in a commercial kitchen and is located directly over the stoves. These hoods are designed to funnel contaminated air into the hood and through the exhaust system to be cleaned and recycled into the building. Exhaust hoods are usually made between stainless steel, welded together to prevent contaminated air from escaping. There are several types of hoods, including those made to be installed over appliances that produce grease, as well as those that only produce heat or moisture.

Exhaust grease duct

Behind or above the exhaust hood is a specifically designed vent that pulls out smoke, grease and other harmful contaminants to vent these to the outside of a building. Grease and other contaminants might rise as vapors when they are hot, but as the vapors cool, the grease can settle. Therefore, it is important for health and safety to vent these exhausts away from the kitchen, so grease is not staying in the kitchen.

Are you ready to have your ductwork cleaned and maintained? Whether you are operating a commercial restaurant or just want to keep your family healthy at home, the team at Airpro Indoor Air Solutions can help. Contact our team today to schedule your appointment.

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