Most restaurants are so focused on the day-to-day operations inside their kitchen that they are unaware of the potential hazards on their rooftops – including not properly maintaining or keeping the kitchen exhaust fan up to code. Failure to stay in compliance could result in violations, insurance problems, and possible fires and loss of life.

According to NFPA 96, a set of codes and standards for ventilation control and fire protection of commercial cooking operations by the National Fire Protection Association and followed by most city fire marshals, “approved up-blast fans with motors surrounded by the air stream shall be hinged, supplied with flexible weather-proof electrical cable and service hold-open retainers, and listed for this use.”

Steps to ensure your kitchen exhaust is in compliance include:

  • Have a professional install an exhaust fan hinge kit. As we discussed in a previous blog post, hinge kits make it easy to safely clean the exhaust fan and eliminate the risk of damage to fan components like bending the base plate or duct work, over-stretching the wire or causing loose connections, and causing major roof damage. In fact, many insurance companies are now requiring hinge kits on fans because it decreases liability.
  • Inspect the electrical conduit on the exhaust fan. It should run externally from the duct curb into the housing of the fan and not be exposed to grease build up within the system or damaged from taking the fan on and off during cleaning. Additionally, the external wiring should run through weatherproof conduit to protect it from exposure to rain and grease from the system.

Taking these important steps can help ensure you are up to code and that you avoid potential downtime for your restaurant or damage to your exhaust fan or its components.

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