In previous Omni blogs, we have established why installing a hinge kit on rooftop exhaust fans is so important. Hinges prevent fans from crashing down on the heads and hands of hood cleaners and other service providers. They provide support which increases the effectiveness and longevity of the fan. Without hinges, the heavy, unwieldy and greasy fan must be lifted off of the base and set on the roof before cleaning. The fan can easily be dropped, leading to foot injuries and possible severe damage to the fan and the roof. Thanks to the efforts of concerned people and organizations, codes and standards that address the necessity for hinges, and better educated code enforcers and decision makers in the restaurant industry, exhaust fans without hinges are becoming the exception instead of the rule.
That’s a great start. But there is a lot more involved with making sure service people and property are safe than putting any old hinge on a fan and thinking “OK, we’re safe and we’re compliant with codes now. Glad that’s been taken care of.” It would be simple if all exhaust fans were pretty much the same. But they aren’t. They come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, weights and configurations. Many have unique oddities that require a unique hinge. They may be mismatched or tapered or wall mounted, which would necessitate hinge modifications.
Fan bases vary a great deal in length. A good rule of thumb is that a hinge arm should extend two-thirds of the fan base length on smaller or medium sized fan bases (up to 30 inches) and as close to the entire length as possible for longer bases or heavier fans. Piano or door style hinges and other shorter hinges don’t come close to meeting that standard. But they are hinges. Sometimes a restaurant owner or landlord is asked by the fire marshal to have a hinge installed on a fan. They might find the cheapest one available just to comply. It may satisfy the request, but it doesn’t fulfill the intent, which is the safety of service providers and property. A deficient hinge can lead to a false sense of security to the service provider so if the hinge fails, the worker may not be prepared to avoid the falling fan.
Even if a hinge is the right size for a fan, that might not be enough. Almost all hinges that don’t have the Omni name on them use chains or cables to hold the fan open. Chains in particular are subject to breaking (no stronger than the weakest link) and neither prevents fans from suddenly slamming down, especially in windy conditions. This is why the NFPA 96 standard says that hinge kits must have service hold open retainers as the safe device to hold open fans in place. Omni’s standard and Quick Fit Super Hinges all include the service hold open retainer and therefore are the only NFPA 96 compliant hinges on the market. The variety of sizes, the adaptability to unusual fans and a lifetime warranty are other reasons why the Omni Super Hinge is the gold standard in the industry. At Omni we strive to find new solutions to a variety of grease containment issues and we would love the opportunity to work with you. Give us a call at (847) 468-1772!