As the operator of a commercial kitchen, restaurant or food preparation facility, you know that certain tasks like scrubbing down counters or properly handling food products create a safe and healthy kitchen space – not only for your employees but for your customers as well.
However, keeping your commercial vent hood clean should be the first step in maintaining the overall health of your kitchen exhaust system. As you know, having a dirty hood, filters and grease trap in a commercial kitchen is fuel for an intense fire. Such build up of grease and oils can quickly overcome the fire protection system and lead to disaster. A clean vent hood and exhaust system can drastically reduce the chance of a fire in your kitchen.

The question is, how do you know when your system needs to be cleaned?

  • Consider your operation hours and your kitchen’s overall workload. The harder your system works, the more often it should be cleaned. Long hours and workload ultimately equals more grease buildup and debris hiding in your exhaust system.
  • Take into account what you’re cooking. Operating hours alone won’t determine your kitchen’s cleaning frequency. Be sure to consider what you’re making and how you’re making it. If you’re running a 24-hour operation with a charbroiler, quarterly cleaning will probably suffice. However, if you’re cooking with solid fuel like a wood-burning pizza oven, monthly inspection and cleaning could be required.
  • Review your system’s overall health. Your exhaust system runs best when it is properly maintained and serviced on a regular basis. Grease from a commercial cooking operation is intended to be captured by the hood and exhausted through the baffle filters, into the plenum, up the grease duct, then through the exhaust fan and directly into the air or captured by a grease tray beneath the fan. Routine system cleaning will keep all these areas free of dangerous grease build-up, preventing fire hazards while prolonging the life of the components in the exhaust system.

Still unsure how often your kitchen should be cleaned? Check out the exhaust system inspection schedule developed by the International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association (IKECA) to determine if your kitchen falls under a monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or yearly cleaning schedule.

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