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.
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. 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.
Salt Lake City, UT – The majority of restaurateurs understand the importance of fire safety in a commercial kitchen. A single fire outbreak has the potential to cost tens of thousands of dollars in damage to a commercial kitchen. There is also the risk of causing injury or loss of life if the fire is not quickly and effectively controlled. Fire systems require much more attention than simply installing a fire extinguisher beside the deep fryer or cooktop. Fires can be sparked by a number of different sources within a kitchen, some of which may require specialized fire systems to extinguish properly. There are several different classifications of fire extinguishers, each suited to fighting fires sparked by different sources.
Labels on the front of each fire extinguisher display letters that outline the type of fire each system is suited to fight. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) defines three classes of common fires and another two specialty classes. These are:
Class A –
Used to combat fires sparked by common combustible sources such as paper, cardboard boxes, or wood.
Class B –
Used to fight high-heat fires fueled by flammable liquids, including gasoline, paint, oil, and other solvents.
Class C –
Used to extinguish electrical fires that may have been caused by appliances or motors.
Class D –
Used specifically for fighting fires that involve combustible metals, such as titanium, sodium, magnesium, or potassium that have the potential to react violently if doused with water or other chemicals.
Class K –
Used specifically for combating fires sparked in cooking appliances or that involve cooking fats or vegetable oils. Standard dry chemicals found in common fire extinguishers are ineffective when trying to extinguish fires in modern cooking appliances, so using specialized fire extinguishers is crucial for improving kitchen safety. Aside from having the correct fire extinguishers and other fire suppression systems in place, commercial kitchen owners can reduce the risk of fire by regularly cleaning and inspecting hood installations, changing grease filters often, and checking that any flammable liquids or chemical solutions are stored properly away from stoves or cooking equipment. All commercial kitchens are required to adhere to national fire testing standard UL-300, which was designed to ensure fires are safely controlled and maintained. A professional fire system service can provide peace of mind that your kitchen’s fire system installation is up to code and that you have the correct classifications of fire extinguishers to suit your kitchen’s needs.
Commercial kitchen facilities are required to uphold fire testing standard UL-300, a policy that has been in place since 1994. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, the organization that created the rules to help commercial kitchens deal with and control property and life-threatening fires.
To earn UL 300 certification, which is necessary to secure a Property Insurance policy, Underwriters Laboratories must test and certify each piece of fire suppression equipment independently. The goal is to help restaurants reduce the risk of fires by ensuring that all cooking equipment and the kitchen setup minimizes the collection of grease in the duct-work and the air. Fire extinguishing equipment must also be adequate in handling the severely hot temperatures that can be found in most commercial kitchen equipment.
Before 1994, most commercial cooking operations used animal fat and deep fryers that were poorly insulated, resulting in inconsistent and inefficient cooking temperatures. In those days, kitchens used dry chemical systems that would smother a fire if one were to break out.
Modern Fire Suppression Systems
These days, kitchens have done away with animal fat and have instead turned to vegetable oils, which tend to heat to cooking temperatures more quickly. The deep fryers used in today’s kitchens retain heat more efficiently and are well-insulated. However, dry chemical systems are no longer used, as they are incapable of extinguishing fires and keeping them extinguished.
UL-300 calls for the use of wet chemical fire suppression systems, which serve two primary purposes. First, UL-300 systems still smother fires similar to the way dry chemical extinguishers did. Second, they are designed to cool the liquids so that the fire doesn’t re-ignite, something dry systems were unequipped to do.
If you hope for your commercial kitchen to pass inspection, the following requirements will need to be put into place.
Fire extinguishing nozzles should be located in all hoods and ducts, as well as above each cooking appliance.
All gas and electrical power sources should have automatic fuel shutoff capabilities.
A manual shutoff pull station should be available for all power sources.
You should have at least one wet chemical fire extinguishing system that adheres to UL-300 (and that is checked semi-annually by a certified professional).
Grease filters should be cleaned on a weekly basis.
NFPA stands for National Fire Prevention Association, an organization that works to prevent fires in commercial kitchens, and other cooking facilities. The NFPA 96 is a publication that outlines the safety guidelines that restaurant owners can put in place to reduce fire risk.
The guidelines include the proper distance and angles for installing exhaust hoods and cooking surfaces, as well as what types of exhaust filters are acceptable for cooking equipment.
The publication also delves into the proper construction for ducts, including how large they should be, and what materials they should be comprised of. The angles at which they produce exhaust outside of the building are also covered.
While these guidelines may seem daunting, they’re actually good for you, the restaurant owner, as it takes much of the guesswork out of how to properly set up a commercial kitchen. They are also designed to keep your property, staff, and customers safe by preventing grease and other fires. To learn more about being UL-300 compliant and to ensure your fire suppression systems are maintained and cleaned properly, contact Aps-Hoods for a free estimate at (800) 750-7313 in Colorado and around the country. 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
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 fire protection from occurring in your restaurant or foodservice business.
What many do not realize is that fires can be caused by multiple sources, so it is best to be aware of all the bad situations in this area and prevent them, minimizing the risk of fire to your staff and kitchen. Always be safe.
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 extinguishers, 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.
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 protection 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.
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 a 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 Fires Protection
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.
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 protection 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 foodservice businesses with Fire Protection 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.
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.