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The Importance Of Effective Kitchen Exhaust Hood Cleaning

Author : Mike Shannon

Restaurant owners and managers have a lot of items on their plate; literally and figuratively. They have to ensure they have sufficient inventories of food while reducing spoilage, maintain adequate kitchen staff, and make sure orders are completed in a timely manner and with the expected quality. At the end of the day they still have to turn a profit. While many restaurant owners and kitchen managers are swamped with the things they see right in front of them, there are some very important responsibilities that are often neglected.

The kitchen exhaust hood system is critical for daily operations, but if it is not properly maintained it can pose a very serious fire hazard. The NFPA reports that eating establishments nationwide incur over $229 million in direct property damage from fire annually. Of those fires, over half started in the cooking equipment including the kitchen exhaust system. The grease that builds up in the filters, plenum, and ductwork can create fires which are extremely hot and difficult to extinguish. Additionally, if the restaurant's insurance carrier discovers the system has been poorly maintained they may deny payment for a claim. The consequences of these fires are not only financially costly to restaurant owners, but they can also have deadly consequences. In 2007 two Boston firefighters lost their lives and 11 others were injured in an exhaust hood fire from a poorly maintained kitchen exhaust system.

While proper maintenance is critical, beware of uncertified operators who offer to clean restaurant exhaust hoods at very low prices. It is difficult to tell if these individuals are thoroughly cleaning the system or just cleaning the filter baffles, polishing the hood to make it look good, and attaching a service sticker. The only way to verify the work was done completely, a restaurant owner or operator would have to:

1. Go into the hood to pull the filter baffles in order to inspect the plenum, filter track, lower duct work and fire suppression cables and linkages for thorough cleaning.
2. Climb on the roof, open the fan, and then inspect the fan and upper ductwork.
3. If there is any horizontal ductwork, they also will need to remove access panels, which may require entering the crawlspace between the ceiling and roof to gain access to those panels.

Because the consequences of a fire are so high, restaurant owners should look for kitchen exhaust hood cleaners that meet NFPA 96 fire code which states: "the entire exhaust system shall be cleaned by a properly trained, qualified, and certified person or company." Additionally, many quality focused companies now provide a comprehensive post service report outlining the work completed, deficiencies in the system, safety and code issues, areas inaccessible and or not cleaned and photos of the exhaust system to assure restaurant owners that nothing has been neglected.

So next time you walk into a commercial kitchen take a few minutes to consider the exhaust hood system and see if it is properly cleaned. Your efforts could save you a lot of time and money, and could prevent unnecessary injury or death from improper maintenance.

Author's Resource Box

Mike Shannon of Shannon Diversified, Inc. helps commercial kitchen & restaurant operators protect their investments through proper maintenance & cleaning of their exhaust hood system. As the West Coast Leader in exhaust system maintenance & repair for over 20 years, Shannon Diversified has helped major brands including Allbertsons & Universal Studios adhere to fire code and avoid danger. Visit for more.

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Tags:   hood cleaning, hood cleaner, exhaust hood cleaning, restaurant hood cleaning, restaurant hood cleaner, kitchen hood cleaner, exhaust system cleaner, commercial kitchen cleaning, exhaust system maintenance

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Submitted : 2011-01-25    Word Count : 1    Times Viewed: 259