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Simple steps for cleaning commercial hoods and duct systems



Keeping the kitchen fan and duct system properly maintained and clean is one of the most important things a bar or restaurant can do to mitigate the risk of fire in their commercial kitchen. Commercial kitchens have powerful cooking equipment that runs for hours every day and usually every day of the week. The hoods and ducts above the kitchen equipment are designed to reduce the risk of fire by removing airborne contaminants such as grease particles, heat, smoke and odors. Failure to hold the hood and duct system increases the risk of an uncontrolled fire in the system.

Why is it important to keep the kitchen fan and duct clean?

  • Fire hazards: Properly designed and maintained hoods and ducts are important for removing airborne contaminants such as grease particles, heat, smoke and odors from the kitchen atmosphere. When cooking equipment is not placed under a hood and duct system, these airborne contaminants may spread throughout the kitchen and the entire building. This results in the possible build-up and accumulation of pollutants on almost all surfaces inside the building ̵
    1; including walls, ceilings, floors, tables and chairs, etc. This increases the potential fire load and the spread of fire should a fire occur in the building. The accumulation of these pollutants will also eventually become a sanitation problem and be very ugly and unattractive to your customers.
  • Productivity / efficiency: There is a good chance that your restaurant is run like a well-oiled machine. Any unexpected interruptions or downtime can severely cut to your bottom line. Scheduling preventive maintenance and cleaning by a certified hood and duct cleaning contractor will help you keep your business running and reduce the need for emergency repairs.

Know when you need to inspect and clean your hood and duct systems

All kitchen fans and ducts must be inspected at least every six months by a certified hood and duct cleaning contractor. If the inspection shows the need for cleaning, the system must be cleaned by the certified contractor for hood and duct cleaning. Some cooking operations require more frequent inspections and cleaning.

  • Commercial kitchens that cook with solid fuel, such as well-fired grills or smokers, must have separate cupboard and duct systems and their systems must be inspected monthly and cleaned if the monthly inspection reveals the need. Cooking with solid fuel produces large volumes of creosote in addition to the airborne pollutants listed above, which means a higher fire risk. Read more about rules for cooking solid fuel.
  • Commercial kitchens that produce higher volumes of grease and airborne contaminants will need to inspect their systems quarterly and be cleaned if the quarterly inspection reveals the need. This often includes cooking processes that do a higher volume of fat-based cooking / frying, or are open for long hours or for 24 hours a day. The fat and airborne contaminants accumulate much faster from this type of surgery.

As with all contracted work, it is important to always receive, review and maintain an insurance certificate from your certified hood and duct cleaning contractor. Read, "Business Contracts: Insurance and Liability Limitations."

When your certified hood and duct cleaning contractor completes an inspection or cleaning, a certificate must be submitted to you to be kept on site as a record. The certificate must at least show the name of the service company, the name of the person performing the work and the date of the inspection or cleaning. Many contractors will often do this by attaching a service certificate / sticker to the outside of the hood and duct systems that were serviced. If there were areas in the system that were inaccessible or not cleaned by the contractor, they must provide you with a written report indicating these areas.

Kitchen Fire 101: Clean Commercial Hood & Duct Systems

Society Insurance is here to protect your business

The last thing you want to do is see your livelihood go up in flames – and not clean your commercial kitchen hoods and ducts put your business at increased risk for fire.

Society Insurance is truly committed to the success of your business with proactive security resources and comprehensive restaurant insurance. Find your local community agent today to get started.

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