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How to Troubleshoot a Restaurant Exhaust Fan

A restaurant exhaust fan is an essential component in removing smoke, grease, and other kitchen pollutants from the air. If you suspect that your exhaust fan is not working properly, it’s important to diagnose the issue and take steps to fix it as soon as possible. In this article, we will go over the steps you can take to troubleshoot a restaurant exhaust fan that is not running properly.

Check the Breakers

One of the first things you should check if you suspect your exhaust fan is not working is the electrical breaker that powers the fan. Over time, the breaker may trip due to electrical surges or overloading, causing the fan to shut off. To check the breaker, simply locate the electrical panel and look for a tripped breaker. If you find one, simply reset it and see if the fan starts working again.

Tiffin, Iowa, USA – 6/2019: Resetting a tripped breaker in residential house

Check the Fan Belt

Another common issue that can cause a restaurant exhaust fan to stop working is a broken or worn belt. The belt is responsible for transmitting power from the motor to the fan, so if the belt is damaged or worn, the fan won’t be able to spin. To check the belt, you will need to remove the cover of the fan and inspect the belt for any signs of damage. If the belt is damaged, you will need to replace it with a new one or locate a professional such as an HVAC Tech or Kitchen Exhaust company. If you have a handyman, he should be able to perform this for you.

Check the Motor

If the breaker and the belt are both in good condition, you may need to inspect the motor to see if it’s the problem. A faulty motor can cause the fan to stop working, and it will typically show signs of wear or damage. To check the motor, you will need to remove the cover of the fan and inspect the motor for any signs of wear or damage. If the motor is damaged, you will need to replace it with a new one.

Check the Fan Blades

Another possible cause of a restaurant exhaust fan not working properly is the fan blades. Rags or paper towels can easily be sucked into a kitchen exhaust fan and cause the fan to be off balance. If you suspect this is the case, you will need to open the fan and remove the rag or towel.

In some cases the fan blades can also be spinning int the wrong direction. This can be caused by improper wiring or a motor that is on it’s last leg. The easiest way to determine if a fan is spinning in the proper direction is by looking at the sticker on the fan that explains what direction it should be spinning. If your fan is old and the sticker is worn, imagine that the fan is in a sand box. The blades should be moving is such a way that it pushes the sand away.

If your fan is rotating the wrong direction, you should call a professional to diagnose and fix the problem.

Check the Ducts

Finally, you should also check the ducts that carry the smoke and other kitchen pollutants away from the fan. If the ducts are clogged or obstructed, they can prevent the fan from working properly. To check the ducts, you will need to inspect them for any signs of clogging or obstruction. If you find any blockages, you will need to remove them to restore proper air flow. In some cases an access panel is accidentally left off after a cleaning and it will restrict the airflow from the hoods. If the airflow issue happens right after a cleaning, an access panel may have been left off.

In conclusion, if you suspect your restaurant exhaust fan is not working properly, there are several steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue. By checking the breakers, the belt, the motor, the fan blade, and the ducts, you can quickly determine the cause of the problem and take steps to fix it.

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