Code Requirements for Commercial Stove Hood Installation

cooking chowder image by Mat Hayward from

When you operate a restaurant or catering service, your kitchen includes one or more stoves for cooking food. Local fire codes usually require that certain kitchen equipment be covered by a commercial stove hood. This device catches rising vapors from cooking surfaces and sucks the heat, grease vapors and odors through a vent powered by a fan. It is important to follow the code's requirements or you risk fines and closure of your restaurant.

Liquid Tight Seal

All welding done on a commercial hood's steel construction must be water-tight, according to most local codes. Sealed seams on the stove hood prevent built-up condensation or grease from dripping from the ducts into food or onto employees.

Proper Width

Codes are strict concerning what must be covered on your cooking line and how wide the hood system must be for safety.

The hood in a commercial kitchen must cover all equipment that emits vapors while operating. Any piece of equipment with an open flame, such as gas stoves, must be covered. Equipment that cooks with hot grease, such as a deep fryer, griddle or grill, also falls under this requirement.

The equipment determines the necessary width of the hood. The typical minimum size for a hood is a few inches wider than the total width of the equipment it will cover. It's necessary to determine the total width and placement of all appliances before hood installation. If the equipment is 8 feet wide, it would be appropriate to have a hood space that is 10 feet wide.


Baffles are the filters that slide into the opening in the bottom of the hood. These removable filters catch the majority of grease emitted from the cooking surface and help direct it out of the main ventilation shaft.

Codes require that baffles be at least 18 inches from the cooking surface and should be at a 45 degree angle, at minimum, for proper functioning. The baffles must be easily accessible and easily removed for cleaning purposes.

Grease Trap

Exhaust hoods trap grease vapors and direct them into a holding area. The grease filtered out of the air by the baffles drips into a small grease trap that is manually emptied. Codes require that this grease receptacle be in place and working properly.

Fire Suppression

Fire codes involving ventilation hoods usually require a fire suppression system. Many codes require that the system spray a chemical extinguishing agent on the cooking surface in an emergency. This system must be in proper working condition and have an automatic heat trigger and a manual activation.


About the Author

Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.

Photo Credits

  • cooking chowder image by Mat Hayward from