What To Know About Baffle Filters in Your Commercial Kitchen

Did you know that grease-producing kitchen cooking appliances must have UL-listed baffle filters above them to capture grease laden vapors and to prevent flames and other flammable debris from entering the duct work?

These baffle filters can be made of 3 different types of metal: stainless steel, galvanized or aluminum.  Stainless steel is the most commonly seen in restaurants because they are the most durable and easiest to clean.

How Do Baffle Filters Work?

As grease-laden vapors are created during the cooking process, the greasy vapors and air are drawn upwards to the negative pressure the hood fan pulls. As the grease-laden vapors get to the baffle filters, they are pulled inside and forced to quickly and repeatedly change direction. The grease particles weigh more than air and cannot move as quickly, therefore the air escapes into the duct work and the grease is captured in the filter. As the grease condenses, it drips downward and collects in the hood tray.

How Do Baffle Filters Reduce Fire Hazard?

Whenever cooking appliances are being used, the baffle filters must be in place in your hood, fitting snugly together without any gaps. Using cooking appliances without the baffle filters in place, or with gaps in between the filters is a major fire hazard as the grease-laden vapors and flames can then freely enter your duct work.

What is a Spark Arrestor?

If your restaurant cooks with solid fuels such as charcoal, mesquite, hard wood, logs, etc., then your baffle filters will need to have spark arrestors installed on them. Spark arrestors are steel screens that are attached to the baffle filter and prevent embers and sparks from entering the duct work.  

When Should Baffle Filters Be Cleaned?

Baffle filters should be cleaned at a minimum of once per week, and more frequently if grease is accumulating on the filters. This is common for cooking operations that use deep fat fryers, pan fry, cook a lot of proteins such as burgers and steaks, fry or broast chicken, or use solid fuels. In some instances, baffle filters may need to be cleaned multiple times a week, or even daily.

Note: to find out more about cleaning and maintaining baffle filters, read our comprehensive post 5 Steps to Clean Kitchen Grease Filters.

Society Insurance is Here to Help Your Business

We know your business is your livelihood and you work hard to maintain it; so don’t let improper kitchen hood & baffle filter maintenance put it at risk. Proper equipment installation, cleaning and maintenance are key to running a successful kitchen operation and reducing hazards.
To find out more about how Society Insurance can help your business, get in touch with your local agent today.


Brian obtained his bachelors degree in Occupational & Environmental Safety and Health from UW Whitewater. He has been in risk control for six years. Brian is also a lieutenant on his local fire department, where he has been an active member for over 10 years. He currently holds many certifications in firefighting, fire prevention and emergency management.

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