A commercial kitchen ventilation system has numerous components, each with its own set of needs when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. Caring for this essential system can seem daunting. But, there are numerous positive benefits to carrying out these tasks – some of which can be accomplished by a foodservice operator’s back-of-house staff while others require specially trained professionals.
Efficiency & Safety
Performing the appropriate cadence of maintenance tasks protect the financial investment of the commercial kitchen ventilation system by increasing its lifespan. For example, properly cleaning the exhaust hood filters can extend the life of the exhaust fan because the fan won’t have to overcome increased static pressure from grease build-up within the filters. For the exhaust fan, regularly cleaning out the grease trap can prevent damaging grease spillage or unflattering grease running on to your roof or down your building. Regular maintenance can save thousands in costly equipment or material replacements and cleaning costs.
Day-to-day maintenance also reduces risk in many ways. Accumulated grease in the hood can compromise health by dripping onto food or onto the floor surrounding the cooking appliances. Grease also poses a fire risk if it is not properly cleaned at the hood or duct level and is allowed to accumulate within the ventilation system.
Establishing a Schedule
How often equipment needs to be cleaned and serviced varies according to the cooking load, cooking type and the grease filter that is used in the exhaust hood and should be determined based on the specific site conditions within your facility. However, the following practices for back-of-house staff and maintenance professionals are recommended to keep a commercial kitchen ventilation system running safely and efficiently.
- Remove the exhaust hood filters and clean them in a commercial dishwasher.
- Use more efficient kitchen hood filters to capture more grease particles before they travel through the ventilation system to the exhaust fan. More efficient filters may result in more frequent cleaning of the hood filters but may decrease the duct and fan cleaning frequency or costs, depending on the looking load and type.
- Remove and clean the grease cup to prevent overflow.
- Wipe down the inside and outside of the exhaust hood to ensure grease doesn’t accumulate on temperature sensors or drip onto food and cooking surfaces.
- Be aware of any changes in the system like less effluent being pulled from the kitchen, smoke accumulating in the dining room, missing nozzle caps on the fire suppression system, or any unusual noises emitting from the system, especially the exhaust and supply fans.
- Control panel: ensure control panel is tightly closed and wipe down exterior when necessary.
Restaurant staff is also responsible for establishing a proactive maintenance schedule that calls upon professionals who specialize in cleaning and servicing the following ventilation system components:
- Emptying the grease trap on a monthly basis prevents grease overflow onto the roof deck or down exterior walls. For belt-drive fans, the belt will often need to be changed twice a year, and bearings require regular greasing. Consider a direct drive fan for reduced maintenance.
- Quarterly cleaning prevents grease build up in the ductwork which can create a fire hazard. Requirements will vary based on site specific conditions.
Make-up air unit
- On a quarterly basis, filters and belts will need to be replaced in models that use these components.
Fire suppression system
- Fire piping nozzles should be checked to ensure the nozzles caps are installed and the orifices are not plugged with grease which can prevent fire suppression chemical flow flowing through the nozzle in the event of a fire.
Frequency listed above is typical for most facilities but may increase or decrease based on your cooking operations.
At Accurex, our goal is to engineer equipment with the best quality, efficiency and durability. For complex ventilation systems, regular maintenance and servicing are a necessity to keep each component in peak working order. Our service team is always here to offer the support you and your ventilation needs.