Keeping Your Hood Exhaust System Clean

Once you’ve finally chosen the right Commercial Exhaust Hood to keep the air moving in your restaurant kitchen, a whole host of questions arise concerning the maintenance of what will prove to be an absolutely critical machine for your business. Not only will the hood remove odors and improve air quality, it will also help to reduce mold, bacteria growth and mildew – any or all of which could result in health code violations that could halt operations in their tracks.

The National Fire Protection Agency has created guidelines for cleaning your hood exhaust system. Many insurance companies use these criteria for determining liability in the event of a fire. All insurance companies and health inspectors require regular cleanings of these devices. While you should make it a top priority to contact your insurance company as well as the local authorities to get their specific recommendations/requirements for your local area, here’s what to expect in general:

Hoods over non-grease appliances typically have a 1-year cleaning requirement; pizza hoods and oven hoods must usually be cleaned every 180 days; hoods in average cafeterias, restaurants, hospital or hotel kitchens will need to be cleaned every 90 days; and, hoods in fast-food establishments, 24-hour restaurants or facilities with wood- or charcoal-burning stoves have a 30-day cleaning standard.

The benefits of keeping your exhaust hood clean include fire prevention, general cleanliness, added efficiency (which helps your hood last longer) and possible rate reductions from insurance companies.

It’s often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And nowhere is that more true than in maintaining the appliances that keep your cooking equipment running at peak capability. Not to mention free of accidents that could spell disaster.

Create a schedule for when each of your kitchen’s hoods will need cleaning, post it in a place where you and your employees are sure to regularly check it. Then, follow through with cleanings, taking care to schedule them well ahead of time to avoid conflicts during busy times. At the very least, you won’t be surprised by a report from your local health inspector.