Keeping Commercial Kitchen Hood & Duct Systems Clean

Keeping the kitchen hood and duct system properly maintained and clean is one of the most important things that a bar or restaurant can do to mitigate fire risks in their commercial kitchen. Commercial kitchens have heavy duty cooking equipment that runs for hours each day and usually every day of the week. The hoods and ducts above the kitchen equipment are designed to reduce the risk of fire by removing airborne contaminants such as grease particles, heat, smoke and odors. Failing to property maintain the hood and duct system will increase the risk of an uncontrolled fire within the system. 

Why is it important to keep the kitchen hood and duct clean?

  • Fire hazards: Properly designed and maintained hoods and ducts are important to remove airborne contaminants such as grease particles, heat, smoke and odors from the kitchen atmosphere. When cooking equipment is not located under a hood and duct system, these airborne contaminants are allowed to spread throughout the kitchen and the entire building. This results in the eventual buildup and accumulation of the contaminants on nearly all of the surfaces inside the building – including walls, ceilings, floors, tables and chairs etc. This will increase the potential fire loading and fire spread, if a fire were to occur in the building. The accumulation of these contaminants will also eventually become a sanitation concern and be very unsightly and unattractive to your customers.
  • Productivity/efficiency: Chances are your restaurant is run like a well-oiled machine. Any unexpected interruptions or downtime can seriously cut into your bottom line. Scheduling preventive maintenance and cleaning by a certified hood and duct cleaning contractor will help to keep your operation running and reduce the need for emergency repairs.

Know when you’ll need to have your hood and duct systems inspected and cleaned

All kitchen hood and ducts must be inspected at least every six months by a certified hood and duct cleaning contractor. If the inspection reveals the need for cleaning, then the system must be cleaned by the certified hood and duct cleaning contractor. Some cooking operations will require more frequent inspections and cleaning.  

  • Commercial kitchens that cook with solid fuel, such as good fired grills or smokers will need to have separate hood and duct systems and their systems will need to be inspected on a monthly basis and cleaned if the monthly inspection reveals the need. Solid fuel cooking produces high volumes of creosote in addition to the airborne contaminants listed above, which presents a higher level of fire risk. Read more about solid fuel cooking regulations.
  • Commercial kitchens that produce higher volumes of grease and airborne contaminants will need to have their systems inspected on a quarterly basis and cleaned if the quarterly inspection reveals the need. This often includes cooking operations that do a higher volume of grease-based cooking/frying, or are open for long hours or for 24 hours a day. The grease and airborne contaminants accumulate much faster from these types of operations.  

As with any contracted work, it is important to always receive, review and keep a certificate of insurance from your certified hood and duct cleaning contractor. Read, “Business Contracts: Certificates of Insurance and Liability Limits.”

When your certified hood and duct cleaning contractor completes an inspection or cleaning, a certificate needs to be provided to you to keep on premises as a record. The certificate needs to show, at a minimum, the name of the servicing company, the name of the person performing the work and the date that the inspection or cleaning was performed. Many contractors will commonly do this by affixing a service certificate/sticker to the outside of the hood and duct systems that were serviced. If there were areas in the system that were inaccessible or not cleaned by the contractor, they will need to provide you with a written report specifying those areas. 

Kitchen Fire 101: Clean Commercial Hood & Duct Systems

Society Insurance is Here to Protect Your Business

The last thing you want to do is watch your livelihood go up in flames – and failing to clean your commercial kitchen hoods and ducts does put your business at increased risk of fire hazards

Society Insurance is truly committed to the success of your business with proactive safety resources and comprehensive restaurant insurance policies. Find your local Society agent today to get started.

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As a mutual insurance company, we operate and exist for the benefit of our policyholders. For more than 100 years, Society has been helping businesses overcome the unexpected with comprehensive coverage packages and outstanding claims handling, underwriting and risk management.

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