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HVAC School - For Techs, By Techs


May 28, 2024

In this short Q&A podcast episode, Bryan answers Gunther's question about kitchen exhaust and makeup air. Gunther asked if there were any studies that showed that makeup air should come very close to the hood to avoid infiltration. He also asked how to educate others who push back against the idea, particularly in kitchen exhaust systems of around 600 CFM.

Commercial facilities, especially restaurants, bring in makeup air to balance out the air being exhausted. There are costs associated with makeup air, but there are plenty of valid reasons to add it to residential structures. Being able to control the makeup air allows us to control where we bring air in from (especially when it comes to drawing in humid air or dirty attic air from gaps and cracks, particularly in vented attics).

Open-combustion appliances in the building envelope are also prone to backdrafting if the structure is under negative pressure. The structure is also more likely to have its dryer vents experience leaks under negative pressure. 

The International Residential Code (IRC) (section M1503.6.2) requires makeup air when you have an exhaust system >400 CFM. The Florida Residential Code (section M1503.4) requires kitchen exhaust systems exceeding 400 CFM to have makeup air at approximately the same rate as the exhaust rate. Furthermore, the Florida Mechanical Code (section 505.2) specifies that kitchen exhaust systems exceeding 400 CFM must have makeup air to balance the air pressure and ensure proper ventilation.

 

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