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March 14, 2019 Staff

Important Considerations When Installing Food Truck Exhaust Hoods

When outfitting a food truck, a lot of the same commercial equipment you would use in a coffee shop or restaurant can be installed in a mobile unit. But there are some pieces of equipment you should never be taken from a restaurant and installed onto your food truck. One example of this is with the exhaust hood.

An exhaust hood, sometimes called a range hood, is the device that’s positioned directly above your oven and cooking area to provide ventilation. This piece of equipment removes smoke, airborne grease, and other fumes from the food truck. Exhaust hoods also have fans installed to pull fumes out of your cooking area. The most popular exhaust hoods that we install are stainless steel. You can view an example of an exhaust hood below that’s been installed into a BBQ food truck.

Food Truck Exhaust Hood

Exhaust hood built into a BBQ food truck.

Things You Need to Consider Before Installing a Food Truck Exhaust Hood

If this is your first time visiting our website, we’ve been manufacturing concession trailers / trucks for over 15 years. During this time period we’ve seen it all in terms of food truck build outs and can tell you that there are many parts that people don’t understand or simply aren’t aware of when installing exhaust fans into a mobile unit. Here are some of the common mistakes we’ve seen happen when installing this important piece of equipment.

Mounting Curbs: A mounting curb is this is what sits on top of the roof and secures the exhaust hood to fan itself. This can look like nothing more than a simple metal box. In addition to providing a path for unwanted smoke and fumes to exit the vehicle, the mounting curb also seals the food truck so moisture doesn’t leak inside of the kitchen. If not completely sealed, rain water and other external weather elements outside of your vehicle will get inside creating a laundry list of potential hazards.

Roof Penetrations: You should never have penetrations or tiny holes in roof itself. This is yet another opportunity for grease and moisture to collect. Also, all screws must be on outside of the exhaust hood for safety and code purposes. We’ve regularly seen this issue when customers bring their food trucks to us this specific repair. This is unfortunate because it’s the type of issue that can be easily overlooked for weeks or months by a food truck operator.

Exhaust Tubes: There should not be any holes or space in the exhaust tubes or the connection. These need to be fully sealed from tube to fan. If the tubes are not fully sealed, grease can get in and it will be a fire hazard. We weld exhaust tubes so there is no way for grease to get in. We see this issue frequently on food trucks that are brought to us for repair, unfortunately. This problem is often found during the safety inspection.

The Flying Pie Guy. Built by M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks.

The Approach We Use and Recommend When Installing Exhaust Hoods

To avoid the issues above, this is the process we use for each of our custom build outs. The most important step is that we have custom size exhaust fans made for each concession truck or trailer. These exhaust hoods are designed and manufactured for each food truck or trailer we build. Our hoods also come with installed fans that are positioned at the edge of the vehicle. Exhaust hoods designed for restaurants are in the wrong place for a mobile unit.

The size of the exhaust hood is also custom manufactured based on your cooking equipment you want installed. National requirements state that your exhaust hood must be 12-inches than all your equipment put together, six inches on each side. During the design stage of your food truck, we ensure your concession trailer meets these essential requirements. As you might imagine, the installation of the wrong size of exhaust hood can be a costly and time consuming mistake for these reasons.

We also install a non-flammable back splash standard on all our food units. Stainless steel sheets is what we use on back of the equipment to ensure a long-lasting and durable product.

As you can see there’s a lot more to buying an exhaust hood for a food truck than finding something online and installing. There are numerous custom modifications that must to be completed for this piece of equipment to pass safety inspections and keep you up and running longterm.

If you would like to learn more about our methodology for manufacturing custom food units, give us a call at 904-397-0246 for a no obligation consultation. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you.

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