How Does a Commercial Hood System Work?

A commercial kitchen needs powerful equipment to vent smoke, heat, grease, and food particles away from food and personnel so that they are out of harm’s way. Too much smoke can make the air unbreathable and can lead to poor food quality. Your customers also won’t want to stick around if there is too much soot in the air. Likewise, too much grease and oil can lead to a breakout of fire. This makes a ventilation hood a wise investment for commercial kitchen owners.

Not only is a commercial hood system necessary for safety and health, but you need the proper ventilation equipment to comply with National Fire Protection Association Standard #96, otherwise known as NFPA #96). That’s because commercial vent hood systems are one of your first lines of defense against deadly fire.  

Here is all you have to know about how commercial hood systems work so you can remain up-to-code and protected from fire and poor air quality.

Ventilation Hoods Balance the Air

The primary use of a commercial kitchen vent hood is to remove the foul air and replace it with good, breathable air. The hood itself is located above the cooking appliance. As the appliance does its thing cooking the food, powerful fans will waft all that smoke and debris up through the hood and into the shaft. That is where the magic happens.

From Hood to Fan and Back Again

Every commercial hood system has a powerful exhaust fan that helps to remove the bad air and effluent, which is a fancy word for smoke, grease, heat, and cooking by-products.

The type of fan you have will depend on the appliance you are using, the type of food you cook, and the position of your cooking appliance. Most hoods are positioned overhead, but they can also be wall-mounted.  Ask your ventilation system installation team for details on the type of hood system that is ideal for your commercial kitchen layout.

When the exhaust fan removes the air away from the building, a return air fan will be used to supply make-up air. This is the air that replaces all the cooking effluent so that the air stays breathable, balanced, and safe for customers and staff alike.

As you can imagine, the fans you use have to be powerful enough to remove and replace the air at the proper volumes. Not only that, but your commercial hood system, fans, and ducts help your HVAC system work more easily. After all, can you imagine how much power would be required to force your heating and air conditioning system to fight against grease and smoke to keep your restaurant cool or warm?

All these fans and ducts and your commercial vent hood must work together to keep grease and harmful vapors at bay. As you can imagine, these systems can become soiled and overloaded with grease over time. Most hoods contain grease traps on either side of the hood, and these filters must be cleaned regularly.

You must also ensure that your commercial hood and the vents connected to your hoods and fans are cleaned regularly. Not cleaning your commercial vent hood components can lead to buildup and, eventually, malfunction.

Do you leave the cleaning up to your commercial kitchen staff and possibly your wait staff, as well? You can and many restaurant owners do. However, it is recommended that you combine your staff’s cleaning with professional commercial hood cleaning services. Only then can you be assured that the proper degreasing solutions and equipment will be used to keep your equipment clean and working as it should for years to come.

The Necessity of Commercial Hood Cleaning

You will know that your commercial vent hood system is backed up or not functioning normally when you see more smoke in the air than normal. You may smell foul odors from outside the building, and your HVAC system may seem to be on the fritz.

If you are keeping your restaurant’s grease trap clean, that can help against backups. But make sure you are also keeping your vent hood traps clean. Clean all fan components and use a powerful degreaser on the equipment and in all the interconnecting ducts.

If the front door of your vent hood opens easily without a suction feeling, that is an indication that your commercial hood system is clogged with grease or other debris. Or that your fans aren’t working properly. Either way, it may be time to contact a commercial kitchen vent hood service, who can repair your components and provide you with a full cleaning job, whichever you prefer.

Benefits of Professional Vent Hood Cleaning

Not only will cleaning your commercial hood system keep your kitchen safe and air breathable-clean, but you will save money. An efficient vent hood system uses less energy than one that is clogged and forced to work overtime.

Therefore, to save time, money, and future frustration, contact APS-Hoods, now serving commercial kitchen owners throughout Denver, Colorado and Los Angeles, California. Using the proper equipment and years of experience, we can keep your vent hood system working optimally and cleaned professionally.

Your customers will thank you and you will remain health code and fire code compliant. When your air is pure, the food is untainted and tastes terrific, and you are able to show code inspectors that you have been keeping up with all the necessary ventilation protocols, you’ll be doing yourself a great service for your restaurant’s success.

Are you ready to keep your kitchen safe and the health inspector at bay? Contact us today to receive a free quote in Denver or LA.

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Commercial Kitchen Appearances Matter – The Importance of a Pristine Exhaust Hood Finish

Most commercial kitchens resemble a shimmering chrome wonderland on opening day. All that equipment like your vent hoods gleaming in the fluorescent lighting invoke mouth-watering images of all the delicious meals set to be prepared for years to come. 

However, it only takes a single busy shift for all your commercial kitchen equipment to become covered in grease, grime, soot, and debris. In some cases, scrubbing your kitchen equipment, and especially your ventilation hoods might seem like a useless act. The chrome will only get tarnished with every new lunch or dinner rush. 

You might want to make the appearance of your commercial kitchen a priority, however, and particularly with regard to keeping a pristine exhaust hood finish. The finish of your vent hood matters, and not only for cleanliness. 

Here are ten reasons why the finish of your vent hoods is of the utmost importance, and how to keep your commercial kitchen spotless and constantly performing for your loyal customers.

1. A Clean Exhaust Hood Looks Good As New

As a rule, you should strive to keep your exhaust hood finish and all associated equipment looking as clean as the day it was initially installed. The alternative is to allow your equipment to become caked with grease and other flammable materials, which could cause dangerous and expensive problems later. 

The lesson is that, after every shift, instruct your staff to keep your exhaust hoods, stoves, and other equipment free from all contaminants. This may require some elbow grease, but your equipment will last longer and perform more optimally as a result.

2. The Proper Chemicals & Cleaning Equipment

Ensure your staff is using the proper grease-cutting equipment that is safe to use on your equipment. Harsh chemicals and even abrasive equipment could cause scratches in your exhaust hood finish. While that sounds like more of an aesthetic issue, marring the finish can strip your hoods of any protective layers they were issued during the fabrication process. Speak to your vent hood manufacturers to determine which cleaners and equipment you should be using to keep your commercial kitchen clean.

3. Keep Your Exhaust Hoods Grease-Free

The finish on your commercial exhaust hood may look great, but looks can be deceiving. Ensure your staff consistently checks the grease filters and trap to keep your restaurant protected from back-ups and deadly fire. While keeping your exhaust hood finish gleaming is a priority, always check “under the hood” and keep the grease to a minimum. 

4. Check the Drip Tray

While you are checking filters and your grease trap, make sure the drip tray isn’t overflowing. That drip, drip, drip could end up on the floor and in the unlikeliest of nooks and crannies. Errant grease can cause slips, falls, and fires. This is another vent hood cleaning component you must be mindful of when keeping your chrome equipment always looking its best. 

5. Check the Exhaust Fans

Commercial kitchens need clean air in addition to grease and soot removal. Exhaust fans carry out both and need to work optimally in order to keep your staff safe and all prepared meals tasting delicious. While you are keeping the exhaust hood finish so clean you can see yourself in it, ensure your fans are working properly. Test the fans and call in a kitchen fan maintenance crew at the first sign of slow down, strange noises, or other issues. These are all indicators that your fans are not working properly, much to the detriment of your air quality.

6. Pressure Wash Vent Hood Exteriors

Your staff does not have to scrub the ventilation hoods to keep the grease at bay. High-pressure hoses can be used to wash away all the food, oils and grease (FOG) to keep your system scrubbed and looking great for inspectors. Many cleaning services offer vent hood pressure washing, as nothing is more effective for keeping your equipment contaminant-free. 

7. Your Exhaust Hood Finish Matters to Inspectors

Speaking of inspectors, both the fire and health department professionals will be very interested in just how clean your exhaust hood finish happens to be. Of course, inspectors will also check the grease traps, ducts, and the cleanliness of your grease filters. This should serve as another reminder to keep your hood finish clean along with all components attached and underneath. 

8. Test the Lighting & Wiring

Commercial vent hood cleaning should always involve a check of the associated electrical components. We mentioned checking your exhaust fans, but what about the wiring that keeps those fans operational? What about the lighting? Lighting that is out or bad lighting can also contribute to staff members missing grease or debris in out-of-reach places. Inspect the lights and wires while keeping your exhaust hood finish spotless to ensure optimal function, even during the busiest of times.

9. When the Finish Goes, Consider Replacement

In some cases, no matter how hard you scrub your ventilation hoods, nothing will get them clean. When that happens, it might be a good sign that you are due to a complete commercial ventilation hood replacement. Venting out the bad air is critical, as is keeping your kitchen free of grease and other flammable materials. A vent hood installation service can give your kitchen equipment the immense gleam you remember from opening day.

10. Maintaining Your Fire Protection System

Fire will tarnish your exhaust hood finish more than anything else. That is why you should always test your fire suppression equipment while you are engaged in kitchen exhaust cleaning. Whether you have an Ansul fire protection system, wet or chemical fire suppression equipment, you want to ensure that the slightest spark will be extinguished. With your fire suppression in good working order, you will keep your staff and customers safe and your business under constant protection.

 
How is the finish on your exhaust hood? If it could use some cleaning, trust Aps-Hoods, where you will always receive exhaust hood cleaning, installation, and hood fan services you can trust throughout Denver, Colorado and Los Angeles, California. Call to receive a free quote.

Hood Cleaning

Exhaust Hood System Cleaning & Kitchen Maintenance Best Practices for Busy Restaurants

Every restaurant owner strives to maintain a clean restaurant, but this task becomes ever more difficult the busier your eatery gets. Keeping your HVAC system clean is a significant aspect of restaurant cleanliness, and this holds especially true for your commercial kitchen exhaust hood system.

The Importance of Clean Vent Hoods

Having proper ventilation in your restaurant’s kitchen is critical for employee and customer health, but also food sanitation. When grease, soot, and debris are ventilated safely from the kitchen and out of harm’s way, the results are myriad: Lower utility bills, increased employee productivity, and even calmer employees and customers. Food quality will also be improved, leading to a restaurant that is always highly reviewed and visited.

The Dangers Posed by a Dirty Vent Hood System

A poorly ventilated kitchen, on the other hand, poses numerous risks to personnel and customer health, and it can hinder foot traffic. After all, who wants to spend time in a restaurant where the air is arid, unhealthy, and stinky? Few, if anyone, will want to spend time in a bistro, café, or another type of restaurant with that type of air quality.

Let your HVAC and vent hood exhaust system go uncleaned and unmaintained for too long, and your local health inspector might just penalize you or shut-down your restaurant entirely.

How to Clean & Maintain Your Exhaust Hood System to Improve Restaurant Quality

Scrub Your Vent Hoods & Ducts

Your vent hoods and ducts are responsible for whisking away all the impurities produced by the heavy cooking your kitchen is accustomed to engaging in daily. To properly clean the vent hoods and all the ductwork they’re attached to, it helps to disassemble the system as much as you can. This lets you get to the minuscule parts for a thorough and detailed cleaning.

Whatever you do, make sure you unplug all equipment before cleaning. This helps you prevent any surprises, such as a dangerous electric shock, during the cleaning process. Once the power source is disconnected, remove the grease receptacles on either side of each hood, as well as the filters. Soak the receptacles and filters in hot water that has been treated with a degreasing agent and leave them to soak while the cleaning process is ongoing.

Apply the same degreasing agent to a soft cloth and give the vent hoods themselves a good scrubbing. You may have to spend some time getting the vent hoods and ducts free of all grease and debris. However, this meticulous job is necessary if you want a clean vent hood system that’s free of grease and safe from the outbreak of fire.

Degrease the Exhaust Fans

When we refer to exhaust fans, we’re talking about any fans that are responsible for directing grease and debris away from your kitchen, which includes all fans on the rooftop. The fan blades and motors that power those blades must be treated with the same attention-to-detail that you used on the ventilation hoods. Any grease that’s left behind on the fan blades themselves or within the motor casing can cause a potential shutdown in the future. At the very least, your system can run inefficiently with caked up grease on the blades and motors, leading to more expensive energy costs and the deadly risk of fire.

Don’t take the risk. Instead, spend lots of time ensuring the fan blades and motors are spotless before continuing on to the next stage of proper vent hood cleaning and maintenance.

Clean Your Grease Trap

A busy kitchen is never without a full grease trap. For optimal results and to prevent the outbreak of fire, it’s best to clean your grease trap every four to six weeks. If you let your grease trap go too long between cleanings, not only can grease and food particles clog the sewer or septic system, causing an inconvenient and very expensive shut-down, but the grease trap can overflow, leading to sewer backup and a very messy commercial kitchen cleanup job.

Proper grease trap cleaning requires the necessary equipment. All personnel should wear a gas mask, coveralls or at least clothing that covers the skin, and rubber gloves.

In order to clean a grease trap, it helps to understand how they work. The baffles inside the trap effectively separates the flow of wastewater from fats, oils, and grease (otherwise referred to as FOG). The FOG rises to the top of the tank, which allows the cleaner water to pass through the trap before it enters the sewer system.

Now that you know how the grease trap works, you’re ready to begin cleaning. First, empty the water from the 3-compartment sink or automatic dishwasher and wait for the water inside the grease trap to cool, which usually takes around ten minutes.

Next, remove the lid, which in most cases involves a crowbar. In some cases, a wrench will be necessary to remove the bolts in order to open the grease trap so that the inside can be emptied and cleaned.

Using a scraper, begin removing the grease sludge from the top of the tank. This layer can grow to be up to two-inches thick in some cases. Once all the sludge has been removed, the remaining contents of the grease trap must be bailed out.

A shop-vac can be used to clean out the remaining sludge in the bottom of the trap, then do your best to clean all grease and debris from the pipes within the trap. Once cleaned, the lid can be replaced, and normal activity can resume. The sludge will need to be thrown away properly. In some cases, this requires a double garbage bag and kitty litter to solidify the material before disposal.

Perform a Deep Fat Fryer Inspection

If your restaurant uses a deep fat fryer, a thorough inspection should be made to ensure your unit is performing optimally. As a general rule, you should inspect and deep clean your fryer every three to six months.

The cleaning of a deep fryer is referred to as a “Boil out,” which is the term for emptying out and replacing the old oil with fresh, new oil. To begin, drain the deep fryer and discard all the oil, grease and fat into an oil caddy or pre-approved oil discharge container. A fryer cleaning rod can then be used to remove any remaining debris from the drain line.

Before refilling the fryer, rinse the fryer with hot water to remove the excess undrained oil and fat. Fill the fryer with cool water to ¾” from the top. Next, add a deep fryer cleaning agent, which will work to scrub the rest of the fat away. Boil the solution for twenty minutes, then drain the fryer slowly. Once the water has completely drained, use a long-handled brush to clean the sides, top, and each of the heating elements.

Rinse the fryer thoroughly to remove any oil residue, then add your new oil. While you’re at it, add fry powder or oil stabilizer to the fresh oil, which will help the solution last longer between cleanings.

Clean the Floors, Walls & Ceiling

FOG can also land on the floor, where it can hide in all the nooks and crannies. It can splatter on the walls and even get onto the ceiling tiles. Most restaurants have specific cleaning protocols for staff to follow at night. The same establishments may have cleaning crews that come and do a regular and more thorough job. Still, it pays to be vigilant to keep your restaurant and personnel safe, as well as to keep the health and fire inspectors at bay.

It is important to instruct staff and your cleaning crews to use a degreasing agent on the floors, walls & ceiling, along with their usual cleaning solutions. Any emulsified grease that results from this cleaning should be squeegeed down the drain. A professional commercial kitchen cleaning team may repeat this process five to seven times, depending on how much grease is produced by the degreasing process

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Maintain Your Equipment to Keep Your Restaurant Clean & Safe

In addition to making sure your kitchen is debris and grease-free, it helps to check and maintain your commercial kitchen equipment. Inspecting your exhaust hoods, fans, grease trap, and deep fryer are necessary to prevent malfunctions and downright shutdowns. If parts or entire appliances need to be replaced, you’ll want to discover the fact during one of these checks and not during a lunch or dinner rush. You have been forewarned.

When it comes to the installation, maintenance and cleaning of your exhaust hoods and all associated equipment, you should only trust Aps-Hoods, now serving clients throughout Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, and Centennial. Contact us now for a free estimate and keep your restaurant clean, safe and busy all year round.

Commercial Grease Trap Cleaning Services

What Do Commercial Grease Trap Cleaning Services Entail?

Like most restaurant owners, you probably have an equipment maintenance checklist that includes checking equipment for failure and ensuring appliances are working efficiently for maximum energy savings. However, if you don’t have a proper cleaning checklist, you should get one fast.

Cleaning a commercial kitchen involves a ton of elbow grease and the knowledge to know which areas to clean for proper food and environmental safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cite commercial kitchens as the source for more than 50% of all foodborne outbreaks. This means that thoroughly cleaning your commercial kitchen can actually help to spread airborne illness.

Proper cleaning of a commercial kitchen must involve the countertops and other hard surfaces, all the appliances and other equipment, your exhaust hoods and vents, as well as the floors, walls, and ceilings.

Before you finish your list, there is a critical component to commercial kitchen cleaning that we failed to mention: Grease traps.

If your kitchen’s grease traps aren’t cleaned on a regular basis, you could find yourself with a mess on your hands, not to mention a major fire hazard.

The Importance of Cleaning Your Commercial Grease Traps

A grease trap that is regularly cleaned is vital to the health of your restaurant business. Grease traps that aren’t cleaned thoroughly can produce foul odors, which can offend even the most laid back of restaurant patrons.

Dirty grease traps can also cause you to commit expensive state and federal code violations.

For those reasons, you will want to ensure that you put into place a regular grease cleaning schedule that will keep your patrons happy and your restaurant profitable.

What is a Grease Trap?

A grease trap is a plumbing device that is designed to intercept grease and other solids before they have a chance to enter the wastewater disposal system. While some wastewater does contain a small amount of oil, grease traps keeps large amounts of oil, fat, and grease from clogging the septic tank and sewer lines.

Commercial kitchens produce a ton of oil, fat, and grease, sometimes on a daily basis. When these particles enter the grease trap from the commercial kitchen’s outflow, the solid food particles sink to the bottom while the grease, oils, and fat float to the top. The grease-free water is fed into the septic system, leaving the grease trap accumulating more of the gunk all the time.

Since these substances can solidify when cooled, the mixture of them can cause blocked drain pipes. A grease trap also manages to keep the septic and sewer lines cool while preventing a dangerous fire from occurring.

However, grease traps can only work effectively when they are cleaned regularly. That’s because a buildup of grease is one of the most dangerous problems you can encounter in a commercial kitchen. When you combine the grease buildup with sparks and flames that regularly occur in a high-pressure kitchen, dangerous and deadly fire can result.

The good news is that you will likely be reminded to regularly clean your commercial grease traps, as state and local codes, and even some insurance companies, along with the local fire department, will often have schedule requirements for proper grease exhaust cleaning.

How Frequently Does Your Grease Trap Need to be Cleaned?

The schedule you adhere to for proper grease trap cleaning varies, depending on your restaurant type, size, and other factors, such as your hours of operation.

Generally speaking, you should plan to have your commercial grease trap cleaned every thirty-days if your establishment uses wood or charcoal grills, char-broilers, and if your doors are open 24/7. Many hamburger restaurants need a schedule like this due to the high rate of table turnover and cooking production. All those burgers produce a ton of grease, which needs to be cleaned out every month.

Every sixty-days is the required commercial grease trap schedule for the average restaurant. This includes cafeterias, hotel kitchens, hospital kitchens, and your local family restaurant. Since the grease traps aren’t overflowing on a monthly basis, every two months might be an acceptable schedule for your needs. Check with the local code authorities to determine if this schedule is right for your restaurant or other commercial kitchen business.

Many fast food locations have become very efficient with their grease trapping and cleaning, which means that these types of establishments can often get away with ninety-day grease cleaning schedules. A thorough scrubbing every three months should keep the grease traps clean and the cleaning process affordable for restaurant owners.

For pizza restaurants, convalescent hospitals, snack bars, and oven hoods, every 120 days or once every four months should suffice for proper grease trap cleaning.

How is a Grease Trap Cleaned?

For best results, you should always hire a professional commercial kitchen cleaning service to thoroughly clean your grease traps. Only a reputable company will have the training, tools, and abilities to clean your grease traps so they are always up to code.

If your grease traps aren’t cleaned as well as they could be, you could face a load of problems. For one, your insurance company might revoke your insurance. You also face serious liability and litigation from fires that were caused by you not ensuring that your grease traps were properly cleaned. Hefty fines or a personal injury court case could put you out of the commercial kitchen business entirely.

The National Fire Protection Association or NFPA states that the majority of restaurant fires start when cooking appliances flare into the kitchen exhaust system. When you consider that grease fires burn as hot as 1400 degrees Fahrenheit, a grease fire can spread quickly through neglected exhaust systems that are laden with grease. Fire could then travel to the roof, where more business-killing damage can be done, not to mention the threat of injury and loss of life.

Nearly 11,000 commercial kitchens are damaged by fire every year, resulting in over $160 million in damages. Make sure yours is not one of them with proper commercial grease trap cleaning and maintenance.

Depending on the company you hire, your grease traps will be cleaned with a variety of high-pressure tools and precision techniques. Each team that is hired to clean your kitchen knows there are pipes and ventilation shafts that can become traps for grease, oil, and debris. These areas need to be cleaned just as thoroughly as your grease trap to prevent future problems.

Unless your time schedule was specified by fire and other coding authorities, your grease traps should be professionally cleaned at least every four to six weeks. Failure to clean your grease trap can cause all those solids to enter the wastewater, causing blockages that could then flood your restaurant with foul smelling sewer water. If that does happen, it will take at least two days to sanitize your commercial kitchen establishment, leading to an expensive and unnecessary shutdown.

When the professionals show up to clean your commercial grease trap, the first thing they’ll do is assess the type of grease trap you operate.

There are four essential types of the commercial grease trap.

Hydromechanical Grease Interceptor (HGI)

A hydromechanical grease interceptor is a small grease trap that is usually located in cabinet space underneath a sink. This type of grease trap provides passive oil trapping and is the least expensive to install. The drawback to the HGI grease trap is that it requires frequent cleaning, which might end up costing you more in cleaning and maintenance costs in the long run.

Automatic Grease Removal System

This type of grease trap features an automatic mechanism for removing grease from the tank, where it’s kept in a separate container. While these systems can be a good alternative for the HGI, they make it a little harder to prove that your commercial kitchen skims FOG (Fat, Oil, and Grease) regularly.

Gravity Grease Interceptors (GGI)

These grease traps separate water, solid waste, along with fat, oil, and grease using the force of gravity. The tanks are constructed of metal, concrete or a strong plastic and are designed to collect wastewater while separating FOG. When the FOG is collected, it floats to the surface while the solids sink to the bottom. The wastewater flows into the sewer network or the water treatment plant, and the grease is kept in the trap.

If your establishment has a GGI, the grease will need to be pumped out regularly, or at least at the point where solids and grease become 25% of the overall tank’s contents. These grease traps are more expensive to install but require less maintenance than HGIs or their automatic system counterparts.

Maximum Retention HGIs

For restaurants that don’t have space for larger, more conventional grease traps, maximum retention HGIs are becoming increasingly popular. These grease traps are on the smaller side, and yet tend to trap more FOG per volume. Some units manage to trap up to 85% of their liquid capacity. The best part is that these systems require far less maintenance than your standard grease trap systems.

Depending on the type of grease trap your establishment uses, here are some common ways a commercial cleaning company will keep your restaurant spotless and safe with proper grease trap cleaning.

Proper Cleaning Protocols for Commercial Grease Traps

The company will begin by removing the grease trap lid, typically with a crowbar or a wrench, as some traps are sealed with bolts.

The cleaning professionals will need to ensure that the grease trap is completely cool before working on it. Allowing the liquids inside to reach room temperature will also cause the fats, oils, and grease to float to the top, which makes them easier to scoop out.

The cleaning crew will first inspect the baffles, which are the parts of the grease trap that separate the flow of wastewater in the grease trap tank.

If yours is an outdoor trap, there will be a PVC pipe fitting known as an outlet T. Without this device, the grease trap wouldn’t be able to do its job properly. The outlet T will ensure that the water leaving the grease trap is coming from the middle of the grease trap and that none of the solids are entering the sewer system.

Cleaning a grease trap begins with removing the solid FOG that has floated to the top. This usually consists of a two-inch layer of thick sludge. The cleaners will use a scoop for this job until all the fats, oils, and grease have been lifted out of the tank. Only water and leftover food solids will remain after this part of the job is completed.

Now comes time to use the heavy-duty grease trap cleaning tools. A powerful shop vac will be used to remove the residual solids and leftover water. During this process, the cleaning crew will need to ensure that the automatic dishwasher is turned off and that the sinks are not in use. Doing so will prevent the grease trap from filling up while the cleaning process is ongoing.

Next, the commercial grease trap cleaners will scrape off the baffles, sides of the grease trap, and the lid. All excess grease will need to be removed before the cleaning crew can call it a job well done.

Your grease trap will then be flushed-out with soap and a degreasing solution, in most cases, then clean water. By the time the crew is finished, you will be left with a clean and sparkling commercial grease trap.

One of the primary reasons that a professional crew is often selected for grease trap cleaning is because these services have the means to safely remove any FOG collected.

These services will typically offer grease trap cleaning in addition to vent hood, fans, ductwork, and HVAC cleaning, making sure your restaurant is free of fire-starting grease and other debris.

Want a Free Quote for Professional Grease Trap Cleaning?

If you want your grease trap to remain clean at regular intervals throughout the year, keeping you code compliant and your restaurant safe, you’ll want to call on the commercial kitchen cleaning professionals.

Aps-Hoods proudly serves clients throughout Denver, Aurora, Centennial, Lakewood, Colorado and Los Angeles, California. For safe and reliable commercial kitchen cleaning that will save you time and money, contact our grease trap cleaning professionals for a free quote.

HVAC Summer Issues Denver

Summer is a Perfect Time for Adjusting your HVAC System by APS Hoods

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Denver, CA – While commercial kitchens always run hotter than dining areas, in the summertime–restaurant kitchens become can become hazardously hot. Furthermore, restaurant owners find that their energy bills–from cooling, fan use, and unbalanced air, etc.–increase dramatically. This ends up leeching resources from their profits.
It also makes summer an ideal time to fine-tune and check your commercial kitchen HVAC system professionally. Here are some common problems that may be plaguing your restaurant in the warmer months:

Cool Air Is Pulled Out Through Exhaust Fan

Is your air conditioning bill incredibly high, while your establishment always seems inadequately cool? What may be happening is that your cold, conditioned air is being circulated out of your exhaust hood due to lack of make-up air. Instead of just doing its job of pulling gasses and hot air from above the stove, the exhaust hood can sometimes suck out the desirable air from inside your building. This often creates a vacuum effect in your entire restaurant, where it become difficult to open doors without them slamming you upon closing. The solution to this problem is as simple as installing a makeup-air unit.
This kind of unit in your kitchen will generate much needed negative air pressure that will disallow unpleasant smells from flowing out into your general building, while also not letting your air conditioned air to so easily escaping through the vents.

Grease Filters Making Your Ventilation Ineffective

Spring, and especially summer, tend to be the busiest and most profitable months for any restaurant. People are out and about on the town, looking for new eateries to discover.  This brings many more people to your establishment than during the harsher seasons of the year. However, the increased amount of cooking also results in clogged grease traps, which may need to be changed out more often than recommended.
Clogged grease filters can cause your kitchen to overheat. Then, your air will become unclean, as a dirty filter cannot function at top capacity. This will cause both kitchen and dining area to become smoky or otherwise unpleasant in odor. Moreover, your air conditioning bill will rise ever higher, while your exhaust fan will need to work harder to compensate for all these issues. This makes for employee health dangers, customer discomfort/dissatisfaction, and higher bills for you!
It is easy for even the most disciplined restaurant crew to forget to monitor their grease filters, but it is necessary to keep tabs on the situation to maintain optimal function of your HVAC system. It is smart to schedule routine filter changes throughout the Spring and Summer, when business really picks up.

For an air balancing test to determine whether your cold air is being cycled out of your establishment–or, for grease filter service, call APS Hoods. We will help your restaurant to remain safe and help you to save money on energy bills.

© 2018 Millionairium and Farazandeh. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Farazandeh are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.
Make-up Air Service Commercial Kitchens Denver

The Importance of Makeup Air in Commercial Kitchens

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Denver, CO – The same exhaust fans that are keeping your commercial kitchen comfortable and protecting the area from overheating may also be creating air imbalance problems throughout your establishment. Because the size, design, door and window placement of every building varies, the mechanism by which the atmosphere of your restaurant can best be corrected is most accurately established by an HVAC professional. They can provide what is called an air make-up service, which essentially replaces the air lost through hood fans with a special unit, which avoids some of the problems which present themselves when air from other areas of the home or building replace that lost air.

Negative Air Pressure

If the exhaust fan was not installed/incorrectly installed, or simply, if the makeup air from the fans is not enough to replace the air exiting from the stove area, negative air pressure can occur. Negative air pressure creates a sort of vacuum in your space, where windows and doors can shut suddenly, dust particles can settle fast onto surfaces or food, and whistle-like noises can also persist when air is let out or into the space. These are very undesirable conditions for a dining or cooking area because of hygiene reasons as well as the disruption of ambiance this can create.

Draft-back

With negative air pressure sucking everything back into your space, the gasses that are supposed to be going out from your chimney will actually come back in, creating a health hazard. This can set off carbon monoxide detectors and threaten the safety of your patrons and employees.

Inefficiencies in Hoods

The exhaust hood, unaided by the sufficient amount of make-up air, will–in turn–not be able to process the amount of air it was designed to handle. Over time, you will notice a buildup of grease and grime on your kitchen surfaces. Also, unpleasant cooking and other smells will seep into all the space pockets of your building, including the dining areas, where patrons are trying to enjoy their food!

Higher Energy Expenditures

Insufficient replacement air in your kitchen will encourage the air from outside to be absorbed inside. This ends up throwing the heating and cooling conditions out of balance, when your heater or air conditioner tries to counteract the problem. Your establishment will probably run too hot or too cold at all times, causing freezing or condensation and never really achieving a comfortable state.

You, as the restaurant owner will only get a higher energy bill and a big headache trying to figure a way to finally stop this air imbalance problem. However, the problem is one for the professionals with a good diagnostic system that needs to be applied in a customized manner to every restaurant space with the care each one deserves.

For help with replacement air in your Denver-area commercial kitchen, contact APS Hoods today.

© 2018 Millionairium and Farazandeh. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Farazandeh are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.
Vent Systems Replacement in Colorado

How Often Do Each of Your Vent Systems Need to be Replaced?

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Orange County, CA – The ventilation system in your commercial kitchen or food prep facility can prevent the air from becoming polluted and can also prevent fires. If you have recently installed your vent hoods or it’s been a couple years, replacement isn’t likely. Even in the busiest of kitchens, these components are designed to last years into the future, and many come with warranties that protect against the risk of fan breakdowns and other anomalies.
Yet if you have had your vent hood system for fifteen years or more, you may want to consider a replacement. Here are the signs to look for when you’re wondering if a new vent system may be worthy of your investment.

Signs to Replace Your Vent Hoods


Tons of Grease Buildup

If anything will catch on fire quickly, it’s a grease-laden vent system. When grease gets caked into your fans and vents and throughout the various components that comprise your system, the slightest spark can create a dangerous situation you won’t want to encounter.
To save your employees, equipment, building, and customers, keep your ventilation system free of grease at every turn. While some buildup is normal during the average shift, too much is a hazard. Use a heavy duty cleaner nightly and schedule regular vent hood cleaning and maintenance to keep your equipment grease-free.
If the grease builds up over a long period of time, it can turn into an uncleanable mess, and replacement might be your best and least-costly option in the long run.

Working Too Hard

If your vent system is huffing and puffing and yet seems to be pushing even less air through than before, that’s a good sign that your vent system needs to be overhauled or replaced. In some cases, a simple fan replacement can do wonders, but only a professional ventilation hood expert should make that call.
Scheduling regular maintenance can keep the problem of not enough airflow in check, but outdated systems may be helpless and replacement may be your only recourse.

Changes in Production

If you have recently changed your menu or if you are suddenly producing more volume in your kitchen, your old vent hood system may not be able to keep up. This isn’t something you want to find out weeks into the new way of doing business.
It’s far better to schedule a maintenance and cleaning call if you do suspect that your equipment isn’t in the best working order before things get out of hand. New and energy-efficient vent hoods by top manufacturers will keep production ramping up without sacrificing quality, and you’ll even save on energy costs.

Changing Your Vent Hood Filter

Of course, some ventilation systems can seem to be malfunctional when changing your filter is all the situation calls for. Make sure you are changing or at least cleaning your hood filters regularly to prevent grease buildup and other problems. And, of course, to keep your ventilation system operating like new.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that you should never make the decision to replace your vent hoods all on your own. Get an expert’s opinion by scheduling regular vent hood cleaning and maintenance or by calling for a free estimate on a complete replacement. Only a professional will be able to give you an honest assessment on whether your equipment needs to be maintained, fixed, or replaced altogether.

For more information on vent hood maintenance, cleaning, and replacement, visit Aps-Hoods, your choice for commercial kitchen ventilation systems, food truck construction, and more.

© 2018 Millionairium and Farazandeh. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Farazandeh are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.
Lowering Kitchen Energy Costs, Colorado

7 Energy Cost “Busters” for Today’s Busy Commercial Kitchens

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Orange County, CA – The cost of food, equipment, and overhead is enough to cripple many food establishments unless precautions are taken. Restaurant managers should prioritize the lowering of energy costs if the business hopes to remain solvent long into the future. Here are the steps to follow when you want to minimize your energy bills to maximize the success of your commercial kitchen.
  1. Operational Changes: Keep track of business day-to-day and look for any lulls where you can turn off equipment, such as keeping one oven operational as opposed to all three, for example. The smallest actions can lead to major savings when it comes time to receive the energy bill.
  2. Low-Cost Retrofits: Vent hood professionals can examine your ventilation system to determine if any parts can be retrofitted for major savings. Going off-brand or refurbished can produce the same efficiency as a brand-new name-brand but get a professional’s opinion before any parts are switched out. This isn’t something you want to “wing,” after all.
  3. HVAC Maintenance: Your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system accounts for nearly 30% of your overall energy expenses. For that reason, you will want to ensure that all of your system’s components are operating as they should. Regular ventilation cleaning and maintenance can keep your energy costs down and the risk of fire at bay.
  4. Short Pre-Heats: Many kitchen managers feel that it’s better to pre-heat early, but this can lead to exorbitant natural gas expenditures. Steam tables, grills, and broilers shouldn’t need to be pre-heated much or at all, and ovens should only need 15 minutes tops, depending on the appliance make, model, and age.
  5. Newer Equipment: While the thought of purchasing all new equipment can fill frugal restaurant managers with dread, those appliances will soon pay for themselves. When you consider that most major commercial food equipment is designed to be Energy Star rated, you can save loads by giving those energy-hog components the old heave-ho. The ventilation and commercial kitchen professionals can help you choose the ideal components for the lowest energy fees possible.
  6. Precook Foods: Potatoes, chicken, for example, can be cooked in a steamer before they are fried. Steamers are more efficient than fryers, and soon you’ll see the difference on your electric bill.
  7. Proper Kitchen Layout: Believe it or not, the way you arrange your kitchen can lead to more significant energy costs. If your ovens are places directly next to your refrigerators, your fridges may have to work twice as hard. For best results and lower energy fees, place all your cooking equipment under a single vent hood and away from all cooling equipment.

Regular Maintenance Can Keep Costs Low

There is one more point that must be made. A clean kitchen in a more efficient and cheaper kitchen. When you consider that grease buildup and grime can jam up your vent hood fans and other ventilation system components, you could be paying more than you should to keep your kitchen operational. Regular cleaning by the ventilation and commercial kitchen system experts can keep your energy costs as low as you need to ensure your commercial kitchen – and overall business – succeeds.

To learn more about reducing energy costs for commercial kitchens, contact Aps-Hoods, the commercial kitchen and food truck expert in Orange County, CA and Denver, CO. Get a free quote today!

© 2018 Millionairium and Farazandeh. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Farazandeh are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.
Signs Your Vent Hood Fans Need Cleaning

Signs Your Vent Hood Fans Need Cleaning and/or Replacement

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Denver, CO – Most restaurant owners understand the importance of engaging in a regular commercial kitchen cleaning schedule. Keeping cooktops and food preparation areas spotless is crucial for hygiene reasons, but it’s equally as important to ensure that kitchen hood fans and filters remain just as clean. Here’s why.

Grease and dust can build up in range hood fans and filters quickly, posing a potential fire hazard. Grease is highly combustible, so the risk of it catching alight and sparking a kitchen fire are increased if the residue build-up isn’t removed regularly.

The kitchen’s hood and ventilation system provide a layer of protection in eliminating air contaminants and odors caused by cooking. So it’s essential the filters and fans are not just cleaned and maintained regularly so they operate effectively; they also need to be cleaned properly, ideally by a professional hood services company, to minimize health and safety risks.

However, even with regular maintenance, there are times when a hood fan or filter will need to be replaced completely. Some signs to look for that could indicate a hood fan or filter may need to be replaced include:
  • You notice damage on the filter during a routine cleaning
  • The vent fan no longer draws smoke or cooking smells out of the kitchen as effectively
  • The exhaust fan makes unusual sounds or stops turning completely
The risk of an exhaust fan failing during operating hours could be devastating to any commercial kitchen operation. The risk of fire is dramatically increased, but there is also the problem of filling the kitchen and dining area with smoke.

The specialists at APS-Hoods recommend creating a scheduled routine for cleaning, maintaining and replacing hood filters in every commercial kitchen. The actual length of time between each deep clean, service and replacement will vary, depending on the condition of the individual range hood.

A ventilation hood over a busy restaurant kitchen may have filters that need to be replaced every six to eight months. However, that timeframe may shorten if the range hood, duct work and fan are not cleaned and maintained regularly.

The majority of commercial kitchen owners simply don’t have the available staff or resources to undertake such a detailed task. In fact, most eateries need their staff to focus on what they do best – cooking great meals and serving satisfied customers.

The easiest and most effective way to ensure that any kitchen’s hood, exhaust and ventilation system is operating at its best is to book a complete hood service and duct cleaning. Appointing a professional company to take care of the cleaning allows you to keep your staff focused on their jobs. You also have the peace of mind that the job is done properly and any faulty or damaged parts can be repaired or replaced quickly.

To learn more about cleaning the filters in a commercial kitchen, contact Aps-Hoods for a free estimate by calling (800) 750-7313.

About Aps-Hoods: Aps-Hoods specializes in services such as complete kitchen cleaning, hood installation, and fire protection services in Denver, Cheyenne, as well as across Colorado, Arizona, California, and Wyoming.

© 2017 Millionairium and Farazandeh. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Farazandeh are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.
fire system service

The Types of Fires That Plague Commercial Kitchens & How to Prevent Them


Denver, CO – Fire is always a threat to commercial kitchens. In fact, a single fire outbreak can cost thousands of dollars in damages, not to mention lead to injury and loss of life. As a restaurant manager, owner, or operator, you should know how to prevent fires from occurring in your restaurant or foodservice business.

What many don’t realize is that fires can spark from several sources, so it is best to be aware of all the worst-case-scenarios to keep the risk of fire to a minimum to keep your employees and kitchen safe at all times.

Fire Prevention Tips

Install a Fire Suppression System: You should always be prepared for a fire breakout. Having a fire-suppression system installed in your kitchen is your first line of defense. There are many systems to choose from, but a professional installer will be able to tell you which system will be best for your kitchen size and level of activity. Remember to have your fire suppression system inspected at least twice yearly to keep response times at optimum levels.

Portable Fire Extinguishers: You should have a few hand-held fire extinguishers easily accessible from several strategic access points around your kitchen, as well as in the dining area. Be mindful that there are various classes of fire extinguisher, one for each type of fire. ABC fire extinguishers are used for fires involving wood, paper, textiles, and plastic. Class K extinguishers are intended for grease fires only.

Routine Maintenance: Frequent cleaning and service of your exhaust system and electrical equipment will keep any negative surprises from popping up unexpectedly. Without this, your equipment can become dirty or even malfunction, which happens to be two of the most common reasons for kitchen fires. A certified commercial kitchen cleaning company can help.

Regular Testing of Alarms and Sprinklers: A professional should inspect your sprinkler and alarm system at least twice yearly to ensure everything is in fine working order. And, just in case, make sure you have backup batteries for your smoke detectors and change them regularly.

Don’t Put Off Repairs: If a piece of equipment breaks or malfunctions, or there are other changes to your fire prevention system, call a professional to fix any issues immediately.

Conduct Regular Fire Safety Checks: Management and the owners should make frequent passes through the kitchen and dining room areas to maintain adequate fire safety. Paper and cardboard should be kept away from heat-making equipment, and flame-retardant material should replace as many cloth items as possible.

How to Prevent Grease Fires

Change Grease Filters Often: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that grease filters must be constructed of steel or another material approved by the NFPA. To be acceptable, the alternate material must not bend or crush under normal operation and cleaning procedures. The material also cannot be made of mesh. When installing filters, they should be arranged at an angle not less than 45 degrees so that the exhaust air passes through the filter material. The filters you use should be easily accessible and removable for cleaning purposes.

Clean Grease Thoroughly: Any grease left behind on ducts, walls or other surfaces is a potential fire hazard. Make sure staff cleans grease from all equipment, walls, floors, and anywhere else that isn’t a designated grease container. Grease traps should also be cleaned regularly to prevent an overflow or potential fire.

Inspect and Clean Your Exhaust System: An exhaust system that hasn’t been cleaned in some time can lose its efficiency. The clean air you come to expect in your kitchen could become contaminated, creating greater danger to your staff. A regular cleaning schedule will keep fans and the rest of your HVAC system operating at optimum levels, maintaining a kitchen environment free of debris, smoke, and of course grease.

Preventing Chemical and Electrical Fires

Regular Maintenance of Electrical Equipment: When checking the electrical equipment around your kitchen, look for frayed cords or wires, as well as cracked or broken switch plates. Some of these may be difficult to spot with an untrained eye, so it pays to have a professional conduct a thorough secondary check. Even if your electrical equipment is working properly, take care that combustible materials are kept away from all power sources.

Store Flammable Liquids Properly: Flammable liquids should be kept in their proper containers in a well-ventilated space. The space you choose should be far away from stoves or other heat producing equipment.

Safely Store and Use Chemical Solutions: Never mix chemicals unless the directions say so, and make sure the directions come from a reputable source. All spills should be cleaned immediately, and a clean-up space should be provided for employees in case of skin exposure.

How Your Staff Can Prevent Fires

Have an Emergency Plan: Train your employees to head for the nearest exits in case a fire does break out. Regular fire drills never hurt, and at least one employee should be designated to call 911 and lead the evacuation protocol.

Teach Employees How to React to Fires: All staff should be trained to use a fire extinguisher. Teaching employees the PAST acronym – 1. Pull the pin 2. Aim at the base of the fire 3. Make a sweeping motion 4. Ten feet from the fire. – will prevent them from panicking when it comes time to fight a fire. All employees should know where the fire extinguishers are located in the kitchen and dining areas, and all emergency exits should be clearly marked for safe evacuation.

No Smoking! All commercial kitchens produce some sort of smoke, but cigarette smoke is never acceptable. Even if your employees smoke outside, ensure the cigarette butts are disposed of well away from grease or storage areas.

These fire prevention guidelines can help to protect commercial equipment, staff, and patrons from the risk of fire. To learn more about commercial kitchen fire prevention and the cleaning of all hoods, vents, fans, and exhaust systems, call (800) 750-7313 or email Apps-Hoods today.

About Apps-Hoods: For over 20 years, Aps-Hoods has been providing commercial kitchens and food service businesses with fire prevention installation and cleaning. Based in Denver, Colorado, the dependable employees at Aps-Hoods are prepared to service clients across the state, as well as in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Los Angeles, California.

© 2017 Millionairium and Farazandeh.  Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Farazandeh are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.
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