Access doors, or access panels, are a vital component of the restaurant hood and duct exhaust system. They provide access to the entire system so that hood and duct cleaners can do a thorough cleaning job. When access doors are installed at proper intervals and have changes in the duct direction, even the hard to reach areas become accessible and much easier to clean. Without them, or not enough of them, parts of the hood and duct system cannot be cleaned. Dangerous grease will continue to build up; this grease build-up obstructs air flow and puts undue strain on the rooftop exhaust fan. Worse, grease accumulation provides fuel in the event of a fire. Access doors installed in the proper duct locations are a necessity, not just an option.
Omni’s first contributions to the restaurant protection industry included grease containment products like the Grease Gutter and Sidekick along with their absorbent filters. We soon added the Super Hinge line of hinge kits to the lineup. Then, we were often asked if we offered access doors. Access doors were an obvious fit to the niche we were trying to fill so we first became distributors for already established access door manufacturers. This worked fairly well for a while. However, many of our customers who were very impressed with the engineering that went into the creation of our Super Hinge thought we should consider introducing our own brand of Omni access doors. Their main problem with the access doors that were on the market at the time were the wing nuts used to tighten the door to provide an airtight seal to the duct. Wing nuts are small and difficult to hold and grasp, especially for hood cleaners who often had grease on their hands and fingers. They would often fall into the ductwork and other places where they were difficult and sometimes impossible to find. That left the doors unsecured which made them non-airtight. Another problem mentioned was strength and durability. Many doors were made of galvanized steel rather than stainless steel and some consisted of even flimsier material. Our customers looked to Omni to provide an improved alternative access door just like we did with grease containment and hinges.