Cooking produces a number of effluents including grease, moisture, and smoke. A commercial kitchen exhaust system is designed to pull effluents up and out of a restaurant. However, over time grease and other debris builds up on the interior of the hood, throughout the ductwork, and the exhaust fan. If not regularly cleaned according to code, the buildup can turn into a serious fire hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nearly one-third of all restaurant fires are caused by grease buildup in kitchen exhaust systems.
Other Risks of Neglecting Your Exhaust System
While lowering the risk of fire is the main priority, a dirty hood can also lead to a decline in kitchen hygiene. Grease and other debris can accumulate on surfaces and equipment, which can lead to the growth of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. This can create an odor that deters guests, but more importantly, can lead to foodborne illness and other health problems.
Furthermore, dirty hoods, ducts, and fans force kitchen exhaust systems to run harder and less efficiently. An inefficient system traps heat from cooking equipment, creating an uncomfortable work environment for restaurant staff. This can also lead to increased energy bills, lower equipment lifespan, and higher and more frequent maintenance and repair costs.
How to Maintain and Clean Your Kitchen Hood
To maintain your kitchen hood and exhaust system, it is important to have it inspected and cleaned regularly. The frequency of cleaning will depend on the volume of cooking and the type of food that is being cooked. Cleaning operations must comply with the NFPA 96, the industry’s most common and widely-used fire code standard. Because NFPA 96 defines strict regulations for kitchen exhaust system cleaning, it is recommended that you hire a professional to ensure your system is cleaned to the proper regulatory standards and to avoid unsafe operations.
When cleaning a commercial kitchen hood, the proper equipment and cleaning products are essential for a thorough and code-compliant outcome. In addition, preparation and care is necessary inside the kitchen to protect kitchen cooking equipment and to ensure food safety is maintained. A professional cleaning company will have the specialized equipment and expertise to clean your entire kitchen exhaust system safely and effectively.
In addition to regular cleaning, inspecting your hood and exhaust system regularly for signs of concern is vital. If any damage or deficiencies are found, it should be repaired as soon as possible to ensure that the system continues to function properly.
Cleaning your industrial kitchen exhaust system is essential for maintaining a safe and healthy kitchen environment. A dirty system can lead to a variety of problems, including an increased risk of fire, poor air quality and work environment, and a decline in overall kitchen hygiene. By maintaining and cleaning your kitchen hood regularly, you can ensure that your kitchen is safe, efficient, and healthy.