The primary purpose of grease hood and grease exhaust system cleaning is to prevent fires by removing the fuel (built up grease) from your exhaust system. This includes the hoods, grease removal devices, fans, ducts, filters and other appurtenances (the Exhaust System).
|How often do I need to clean my Vent-A-Hood?
o There is some confusion about how often commercial kitchen exhaust systems cleaning is required. The answer is determined by the code or laws adopted by your city, county, or state (municipality). The municipality often assigns a Fire Marshall or Fire Inspector to inspect and enforce those codes.
NFPA 96 2011 Standard – Table 11.3
Typically; there are several agencies or institutions that will require that the kitchen exhaust system be cleaned.
The Fire Marshall
Typically, the city or the county ordinances appoint a fire Marshall or fire inspector to inspect and insure that the exhaust system is maintained and cleaned free of grease laden deposits that may present a fire safety hazard. Typically, the NFPA Standard 96 is adopted as code by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ).
The Food or Health Inspector
The city or the county ordinances appoint a food or health inspector to inspect and insure that the exhaust system is maintained and cleaned free of grease laden deposits that may present a food or health safety hazard. Typically, the NFPA Standard 96 is adopted as code by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ).
The Insurance Company
Many insurance companies will require that the building owner of the food service operator provide proof of the exhaust system cleaning prior to insuring the building or the operations.
The Building Owner / Property Manager
Most building owners / property managers will require that the food service operator provide proof of insurance for the building. This will typically require proof of regular exhaust system cleanings prior to obtaining insurance and as a condition of maintaining building insurance.
The Food Service Operator
Experienced food service operators understand the down side and extreme expense related to a kitchen grease fire. In addition to eliminating interruptions to business and the restoration expenses after a fire, regular grease exhaust system cleaning contribute positive benefits of maintaining a good working environment for their kitchen staff. Hydro-Clean has found that the most large chains and very successful food service establishments are very conscientious about regular kitchen exhuast system cleanings.
Hydro-Clean recommends that you request that the following services be performed at a minimum of two (2) times per year (high volume, solid fuel, char broiling, and wok require more frequent cleanings):
Optional services may include:
The short answer is,“Yes; but it will be more expensive then if you had performed regular thorough cleaning.”
At Hydro-Clean, we compare neglected kitchen exhaust system cleaning to neglecting trips to the dentist for teeth cleanings. If trips to the dentist are neglected the consequences can be severe and full recovery impossible. The same is true in Vent-A-Hood cleaning.
Unfortunately, more often than not, some permanent damage is done by cleaning up after neglect. The chemicals used is harsher and the pressure washer setting is high. Scrubbing and scraping leaves scratches.
We advise all owner/operators to inspect their kitchen exhaust system the day after cleaning:
Trouble shooting hot and smoky commercial kitchens when fans seem to be running:
1. A worn and cracked belt will slip on the pulleys causing poor suction of the grease exhaust system resulting in a hot kitchen. We recommend changing the belts AFTER each kitchen exhaust system cleaning.
2. Loose or broken fan belts are the number one cause of hot and smoky kitchens.
3. Fans in the kitchen will disrupt the natural rising hot air plume of the cooking equipment and disrupt the draw of the kitchen exhaust system fan. These fans make the kitchen hotter by blowing the heat generated by the cooking operations away from the exhaust fan and back into the kitchen.
4. Dirty ducts are more of a source of fuel for a fire than a problem for exhausting grease laden air, but grease has accumulated in the bend of the duct restricting air flow. Dirty ducts restrict air flow and cause hot and smoky kitchens.
5. When pulleys are out of align, belts wear and loosen and the hood does not exhaust grease laden air properly thus making the kitchen hot and smoky.
Other causes for hot kitchens in Commercial Cooking Environments:
1. INADEQUATE MAKE UP AIR. Apart from a broken fan belt, problems with the make up air is probably the 2nd biggest cause of hot kitchens.
Things to check include:
There are simple ways to test if makeup air is inadequate. If there is a rush of air into the restaurant each time the door is opened it means more air is being sucked out that is being brought back into the building. This means the kitchen exhaust fan is creating negative pressure in the building. In some instances, only a company that specializes in testing and balancing commercial kitchens can resolve the problem. If you are exhausting 400 cfm of air you must be bringing in 400 cfm or you will be exhausting your heated air or air conditioning.
2. MOTORS RUNNING BACKWARDS. This typically happens with new grease exhaust fans or when a motor has been recently changed. Two hundred twenty volt (220v) motors operate clockwise and counter-clockwise. If the two hot wires are switched the motor will reverse directions. On a grease exhaust fan it will still seem like the fan is blowing air but this is just actually from back pressure and the fan is not properly exhausting air. Generally this is characterized by very weak suction at the hood.
3. Each piece of cooking equipment has varying hot air exhaust plumes. The hot air plume of a fryer increases significantly when frozen foods are added. The plume of a grill increases when fresh hamburger is added but less significantly than the fryer. Be sure your cooking equipment with the greatest plume is placed in the center of the hood or directly under ducts. Also, be sure that the equipment sits at least 4 inches from the front edge of the hood.
4. Be sure the air passage between the filters is clear of grease. Improper or infrequent grease filter cleaning may lead to baked on grease and carbon deposits in this area. Hot air must be able to pass through the grease baffle filters. These deposits can be impossible to clean. Built up grease between the grease filter baffles can severely restrict the airflow through these grease filters. This restriction can severely impede the grease and hot air exhaust capabilities of the kitchen exhaust system.
5. Be sure the pulley is not slipping on the shaft. Check that the allan head screw is tight and that square key bar is in place.
Trouble shooting kichen exhaust systems in commercial kitchens:
Electrical electrical wiring should NEVER be ran inside the duct. This grease fan also has a hidden electrical hazard waiting to happen. When the fan is removed from the duct, this conduit can cut the electrical wires, short out, and cause a fire in the grease duct. Be sure you see electrical wiring on the exterior of the fan before tipping or removing the fan from the duct.
Other reasons why a Vent-A-Hood is not working properly:
Trouble shooting kitchen exhaust system fan makeing a squeaking noise in commercial kitchens:
Hydro-Clean recommends changing fan belts at each cleaning. The reason we recommend this is that steam, water, soap (chemical), and grease from cleaning the fan can contaminate the belt causing it to slip after cleaning. If the belt is already hardened by the heat and grease from the cooking operations there is a very good possibility the belt will break within the next week or two. Always wait until after the kitchen exhaust system fan is completely cleaned before installing a new belt. This will prevent contamination of the new belt from the fan cleaning operations.
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