If you get kitchen hood cleaning done on a regular basis, you don’t just reduce the risks of hazards but you also save money.
Call APS-Hoods for a free estimate on your Commercial Kitchen Hood Cleaning & Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning needs.
NFPA Standards for Kitchen Exhaust CleaningThe National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has multiple codes and standards to minimize the risks of fire hazards. As a restaurant owner, you are required to abide by their guidelines and make sure you give your kitchen exhaust system a routine professional cleaning. As per the NFPA standards, you should get the kitchen exhaust cleaning done by trained and qualified professionals. Today’s kitchen hood systems use such advanced technologies that restaurant owners don’t understand how the system actually functions and how exactly it needs to be cleaned. Commercial kitchen cleaning is an expert’s job. It’s the job of someone who is quite well-versed with the inner workings of modern hood systems. If you get the cleaning done by someone who isn’t trained and certified, you’ll be only putting the life of the kitchen staff at risk. In the occurrence of a fire, you may have to face potential litigation. Therefore, always ensure that you hire a professional hood cleaning company. Qualified and experienced professionals understand the exhaust system of a kitchen like the back of their hand. They use a variety of techniques to clean the different components of the hood system in an effective manner.
Methods for Cleaning Kitchen ExhaustBroadly speaking, there are two fundamental methods that hood cleaning companies use – scraping and pressure washing. Pressure washing is also termed as steam cleaning. Both the cleaning methods are known for their effectiveness in different cleaning situations. Depending on the specific needs of a commercial restaurant, the cleaning company can either use scraping or pressure washing or both. Provided it is done well, scraping will give remarkable results. At the same time, scraping of duct systems is a low-cost cleaning method. On the other hand, pressure washing or steam cleaning takes a lot of time and it is an expensive method. Since this is an elaborate cleaning method, cleaning companies need to do some advance planning and preparation for the same. Moreover, this cleaning method involves the use of some expensive equipment and tools. The biggest plus point or benefit of this method is that it can clean the hood exhaust system of the kitchen to bare metal. In most cases, cleaners use a combination of both scraping and steam cleaning to do an excellent job of exhaust cleaning. In this way, the kitchen hood system is cleaned thoroughly and the overall environment gets enhanced protection from different kinds of fire and safety hazards.
Step-by-Step Cleaning of the Hood SystemThe kitchen exhaust system consists of multiple parts, which work together to pull out grease, smoke, heat, and fumes from the kitchen. The hood cleaning process involves paying adequate attention to each comprising part of the kitchen exhaust so that proper and thorough cleaning can be done.
Disconnect Movable Elements:A kitchen exhaust system has some parts which are portable. This means you can detach them from the main unit while leaving only the static components. Next, hood cleaners remove the grease filters and use the plastic sheeting to create the shape of the chute along the outer edge of the exhaust system for the cleaning process to begin. Exhaust Rooftop Cleaning: Usually, most professionals begin cleaning from the roof of the hood system. The exhaust fan housing is a potential area that collects a lot of grease over time. Hood cleaners will either remove the grease from this element or replace the grease pads with new ones. This component needs more attention from hood cleaners. Wherever there is grease buildup, the cleaning company will clean all the pads and filters.
Exhaust Fan Cleaning:The cleaning of exhaust fans is a task in itself. Kitchen exhaust cleaning professionals inspect this area and start cleaning as per what is required. They will clean the fan blades. They’ll review the motor and find out if it is in good condition and working properly. They will inspect the bearings. If the fan belt is loose, the cleaner will fix it as well.
Ductwork Cleaning:Cleaning the ducts is one of the most essential parts of the overall exhaust system cleaning. Professionals use the method of steam washing to clean the ductwork of the exhaust. For cleaning convenience, the NFPA recommends restaurant owners use large access panels. If your ductwork has large access panels, it will be easy for the staff to perform the cleaning task. If the access panels are not wide enough, the cleaning company will ask you to replace them and use wider access panels. Cleaning contractors can also use scrapping as part of ductwork cleaning for thorough and proper cleaning.
Hood Cleaning:The plenum and the inside of the kitchen hood have grease buildup that isn’t always easy to clean. If the buildup is stubborn, the cleaning professional will use the scraping method for cleaning. Otherwise, they will clean these areas through the pressure washer system. Pressure washing is often needed for cleaning the hoods of the exhaust system. After the cleaning of the hood system is complete, the contractor will dispose of all the grease and wastewater from the kitchen. They’ll efficiently reconnect all the detachable elements of the kitchen exhaust. Then, an inspection of the exhaust will follow to make sure all components are well-connected and the entire system is working properly. If there are leakage issues with the ductwork, they will fix it and finally submit a report of the completed cleaning assignment.
How Often Exhaust Cleaning Should be DoneThe frequency of exhaust cleaning varies from one kitchen to another. It depends on the volume of cooking in the kitchen. Another important factor is whether the stove used is wood-burning or gas. If you use a wood stove or charcoal stove, exhaust hood cleaning will be required more frequently. In fact, you’ll need a hood cleaning service at the interval of every two weeks. There are different cleaning frequencies for 24 hours of restaurants, cafeteria, hamburger restaurants, snack bars, etc. Regardless of what type of restaurant you operate, you should get in touch with a reputed, commercial kitchen cleaning company and have a consultation about your specific cleaning needs. Kitchen exhaust cleaning can never be ignored by any food establishment or restaurant. Routine exhaust cleaning helps you abide by the NFPA and local fire codes as well as enhance the safety of the cooking staff and the guests that come to your restaurant. Regular cleaning also increases the lifespan of kitchen equipment. If you are looking for a kitchen hood cleaning service, feel free to give APS-Hoods a quick call or shoot them an email. They operate in areas like Colorado, Lakewood, Aurora, etc.
Call APS-Hoods for a free estimate on your pressure washing, ventilation, sanitizing, or vent/duct/hood needs.
How to Choose a Commercial Kitchen Cleaning ServiceKitchen exhaust cleaning is a job that comes with a lot of responsibility. If you end up working with a fly-by-night cleaning company, you can get yourself in serious trouble. Worse still, you may have to completely shut down your restaurant business. Therefore, always make sure the cleaning company you work with is well-known, reputed, qualified, and trained for doing the job. Before you hire a company that provides hood cleaning, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask them a couple of questions in regard to:
- Certification, affiliation
- Overall experience
- Areas of expertise
- Training program for employees
Call APS-Hoods for a free estimate on your pressure washing, ventilation, sanitizing, or vent/duct/hood needs.
The Importance of Clean Vent HoodsHaving 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 SystemA 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 & DuctsYour 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 FansWhen 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 TrapA 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 separate 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 InspectionIf 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 & CeilingFOG 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.
Maintain Your Equipment to Keep Your Restaurant Clean & SafeIn 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 the deep fryer is 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.
- 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