Butch Welsch, owner of Welsch Heating & Cooling Co., St. Louis, andNEWS'columnist, recently outlined a set of guidelines for the new kitchen make-up air requirements in St. Louis County.

"There are several important points that the home builders will need to take into account as we implement this new requirement," said Welsch.

These points include:

1. The requirement becomes effective anytime the kitchen exhaust is 600 cfm or greater. The builders and homeowners must understand that if the size of the hood exhaust is increased following the rough-in of the home - especially if it is increased from less than 600 cfm to over 600 cfm - there may be extensive costs and time loss involved in the change. Part of the reason is that a new permit will have to be taken out to show the exhaust and make-up air associated with the new exhaust system. This will result in both additional permitting costs as well as potential delays while the permit is obtained.

2. The exhaust fan size in conjunction with the ductwork available in which to introduce the make-up may be insufficient to the point where a separate make-up air system is required. This unit may require a great deal of space as well as locations for the ductwork to be run from the unit to the space or the hood.

3. In essence, it is more important than ever that the exhaust system that will be used is specified on the plans and not changed during construction. A change to a significantly larger exhaust system could result in literally thousands of dollars of additional costs. Plus additional space will be required for the necessary equipment.

"I want to emphasize that this new county requirement is not just a minor addition to the code," Welsch said. "We as an industry must properly plan for the effects of this change or the end results could prove very, very costly."

Publication date: 09/18/2006