In the Omni blog from March 9, 2017, we cited reasons why our patented Service Hold Open Retainer is what makes the Omni Super Hinge the only hinge that is compliant with NFPA 96 standard 18.104.22.168. In a nutshell, the standard states that exhaust fans are to be fitted with hinges that include a service hold open retainer as the device to lock the hinge open so that the fan may be safely cleaned and serviced.
Some non-compliant hinges are fitted with chains or cables to serve that function. Other hinges are as simple as a door-type hinge you can purchase at any hardware store and are completely unfit and unsafe for a heavy exhaust fan. Hinges that aren’t meant for that kind of a load create a hazard. Service personnel are at risk for major injury. The fan is susceptible to damage as is the roof itself. If the roof is sloped, the fan could tumble all the way off and land on whatever is below. (The parking lot? A car in the parking lot? Someone walking in the parking lot?) Chain stops are not acceptable. They are a potential disaster waiting to happen. Here is some visual proof.
These two pictures were taken by a hood and duct cleaner in May of 2017. In the first picture, you can see the fan opened to a 90-degree angle. It is being held open by two chains, one which is taut and the other slack. The slack chain isn’t helping to hold the fan open, leaving all the stress on the taut chain.
A few minutes after the first picture was taken, the chain broke and the fan crashed to the roof. Thankfully, the service person wasn’t injured. It got his attention though. He said he almost jumped out of his boots! No one was hurt – this time – but the fan and roof suffered damage. This dangerous situation could have been avoided if a proper sized hinge with a hold open retainer was in place instead of the non-compliant chain. This restaurant tried other cost cutting measures that didn’t pay off. You can see grease and sludge surrounding the fan and eroding the roof, with an ineffective pickle bucket as a so-called grease containment system.
Here you see a very large and heavy fan with a flimsy hinge that has broken. You can see how badly the curb has been battered. That is because the fan has to be lifted off of the curb by the fan service personnel since the hinge is no longer functional. It has suffered damage either from being dropped or from being banged around during the process of lifting it up and placing it down in the proper position. Olympic weightlifters would have difficulty maneuvering this fan! The possibility of injury is obvious.
The damaged curb isn’t just a matter of aesthetics. When a curb is warped like this one is, the exhaust fan will not function properly. A warped fan can cause an air leak. The air leak will cause the fan to work harder to draw the air and smoke out of the cooking area in the kitchen. This will lead to premature fan failure and added electrical exspenses. The fan will need to be replaced well before it would if a proper hinge had been installed in the first place.
These aren’t two isolated incidents. The NFPA 96 Standard was written for good reasons. It was written to help ensure the safety of people and property. Omni’s Super Hinges are the safest and strongest hinges on the market, and the only ones with the essential and standard compliant Service Hold Open Retainer. Don’t take a risk with an inferior product.