We were fairly confident that our 452CFM Vortex VTX600 exhaust fan was powerful enough for our needs, but before committing to having a custom condensate hood built for us we wanted to test the whole system. We had the following concerns:

  • Are the fan and duct large enough to evacuate the moisture properly?
  • Is the condensate hood size and shape adequate?
  • Will condensation form on the flat ceiling of the hood and drip back down? 

To perform our tests, we used two sheets of pink extruded polystyrene foam insulation to fabricate a prototype condensate hood. It was held together with foam insulation glue.

We then boiled 10 gallons of water for 2+ hours with the Vortex fan running full speed and watched for humidity/condensation/dripping throughout the system.

Temporary prototype condensate hood made out of pink foam insulation:


Our testing showed that our ventilation system worked as expected. There were no issues with excess moisture in the room (the fan was able to exhaust the steam adequately). There was no condensation or dripping from the ceiling of the hood at all, proving that we did not need a condensate hood with an advanced baffle system. In fact, it's questionable whether we even needed a gutter or trough on the inside but we chose to have one added anyway (just in case) as it did not add to the cost.

The prototype hood actually worked very well. Well enough that (other than the fact that it's very fragile) something similar could have possibly been used permanently. The fact that a brewery only exhausts non-grease heat and steam opens up other possibilities: A condensate hood of similar size and shape could have been built from other (possibly more resilient) materials such as cedar, plastic, etc.

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