Fix Exhaust Hood: $6

Recently I came in to work and realized my exhaust fan/hood was not properly working. There was no suction in order to ventilate the kitchen. Flipping the hood switch on and off I discovered there was a "power" sound and that the air induction part was still operating but not the exhaust fan.

I have run into this problem before in the past and sometimes its just as simple as replacing a belt. Now I understand larger kitchens, franchises, and corporate america usually call in maintenance or a company that comes in and fixes these kind of problems, BUT I run a small commercial kitchen. And yes, if I were to ask they would bring someone in right away to fix the problem...But come on, we know there is probably going to be at least a $200 service charge right? And that's before they even start to assess the situation or do any labor.  (Please do comment and let me know how much these things cost you! I would love to know how expensive its going to be in the future if its not an easy fix!).

Not being scared of heights I borrowed a ladder from maintenance and got up on the roof and removed 4 easy clips from the dome on top of my exhaust. Before climbing up I turned the master switch off in the kitchen. After turning off a secondary switch close to the actual motor I then turned the master switch back on. That way you can sit on top of the roof and use that switch to check and see what wrong or how things work when you get the exhaust fan back together.

As you can see from the pictures its a pretty small unit. It was indeed a worn out, broke belt that kept the exhaust fan from working. Here I already replaced the belt. The motor itself was attached to another metal plate that attached to the base unit. There were four bolts in the plate (you can see part of plate in picture) you can loosen and then slide the motor and plate back and forth in order to quickly and easily change the belt. The belt for this unit costs $6 at Grainger

While I was up there I decided to check the air intake system as well. Both the motor and belt on that unit looked great! It also had a separate switch close to the motor that makes it much easier to work on and check without running up and down the ladder. But while I was up there I removed the 2 filter plates and gave them a good cleaning before putting the top back on the unit. Which by the way, was 2 screws.

Problems like these can sometimes be diagnosed and fixed yourself for very little money. And EVERYONE is trying to save money (or at least keep what they have) these days! Oh yeah, while your at it BUY a few backup belts for the next time. (or just in case you tighten the belt up to much, or leave it to loose and it shreds off again!) And remember if its cold or hot outside so you can adjust the tension on the belt accordingly, it will affect the performance of the belt when the temperature changes.

If you have any Do It Yourself equipment tips, techniques, and/or fixes in the HOME or COMMERCIAL/PROFESSIONAL kitchen, I would love to hear them!