Five Questions About Kitchen Exhaust Hood Cleaning, Phoenix AZ

Five Questions About Kitchen Exhaust Hood Cleaning, Phoenix AZ

Cleaning Resource Center is a kitchen exhaust cleaning (KEC) contractor; a lot of our time is spent educating restaurant owners on the specific requirements in cleaning kitchen exhaust hood systems. We have found many restaurant owners, building management companies and yes some facility and maintenance directors just don't know what is required.  Most do not know minimum acceptable levels of grease in exhaust systems. Most often, owners and managers are misled by unqualified contractors and untrained personal to believe that cleaning the hood and attaching a certificate of cleaning is sufficient enough to keep them in compliance with authorities. Unfortunately this lack of knowledge could potentially haunt an owner when a fire occurs. A proper cleaning of the entire kitchen exhaust system includes the hood, filters (if there is an acceptable cleaning area), the fan and all connecting horizontal and vertical ductwork. I refer customers to the NFPA-Code 96 -National Fire Protection Association - Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations 2017 edition). Cleaning Resource Center can provide you with a complimentary copy. This book covers the minimum fire safety requirements (preventative and operative) related to the design, installation, operation, inspection, and maintenance of all public and private cooking operations.

Typical Questions in our Industry (KEC):

#1: As a manager/ owner what are my obligations and responsibility in regards to cleaning the kitchen hood exhaust system?


According to NFPA-96 section 4.1.5: "the responsibility for inspection, testing, maintenance, and cleanliness of the ventilation control and fire protection of the commercial cooking operations shall ultimately be that of the owner of the system, provided that this responsibility has not been transferred in written form to a management company or other party."

In summary; it is the owner's responsibility to keep that system clean of grease and particulate buildup, and reduce the risk of a fire hazard. An incomplete cleaning performed by a low priced contractor will not protect the owner from the cost and litigation of a fire. 

#2: How often should my kitchen exhaust hood system be cleaned?


According to NFPA-96 Standard section 11.4 the "entire exhaust system shall be inspected for grease buildup by a properly trained, qualified, and certified person(s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and in accordance with Table 11.4." 

Table 11.4 Schedule of Inspection for Grease Buildup


Type or Volume of Cooking Frequency


Systems serving solid fuel cooking operations


Systems serving high-volume cooking operations such as 24-hour cooking, charbroiling, or wok cooking


Systems serving moderate-volume cooking operations


Systems serving low-volume cooking operations, such as churches, day camps, seasonal businesses, or senior centers.


#3 How do I know if my exhaust system is considered clean?


If a system has not been cleaned properly for any length of time, sometimes it may take multiple cleanings before getting to bare metal. According to NFPA-96 section 11.6.2: "Hoods, grease removal devices, fans, ducts, and other appurtenances shall be cleaned to remove combustible contaminants prior to surfaces becoming heavily contaminated with grease or oily sludge." 

The best way to determine if a system is within acceptable grease build up is to have a trained and qualified person inspect it. If it looks like there is an accumulation of grease on a surface, then it probably needs cleaning. If you need a more precise measurement, CRC has a Grease Gauge that will accurately measure grease accumulation in the ductwork


# 4: Why do I need access doors, what’s wrong with the original ones already installed in the system?


The most effective and efficient way to clean kitchen exhaust systems is by accessing as much of the system as possible. In order to reach parts of the system including horizontal and vertical ductwork, openings must be installed to clean these areas. Sometimes at the construction of the exhaust system, the proper amount of access panels needed to maintain the cleanliness of the system may not have been installed. In many systems, doors or panels were installed, but were inadequately sized to provide adequate cleaning. For example, it is extremely difficult to clean an 18" x 18" duct through a much smaller access door.  


Section “on horizontal ducts at least one (20” x 20”) opening shall be provided for personal entry

Section “where an opening of the sized specified in is not possible openings large enough to permit thorough cleaning shall be provided at 12’ intervals”recommend installation of openings large enough to permit thorough cleaning at a minimum of every 12 feet of horizontal ductwork and on every floor of vertical ductwork.


# 5: What documentation is required, what do I need?


The following documentation required by NFPA-96

Section 11.6.13 "When an exhaust system is inspected or cleaned, a certificate showing the name of the servicing company, the name of the person performing the work, and the date of inspection or cleaning shall be maintained on the premises.”

Section 11.6.14 "After cleaning or inspection is completed, the exhaust cleaning company and the person performing the work at the location shall provide the owner of the system with a written report that also specifies areas that were inaccessible or not cleaned"

Section 11.6.15 "Where required, certificates of inspection and cleaning and reports of areas not cleaned shall be submitted to the authority having jurisdiction."

Cleaning Resource Center will provide a Service Deficiency Report (SDR). We will also submit before and after cleaning photographs of the entire system. Our SDR is a very detailed description of the kitchen exhaust system. This report is compliant with insurance representatives, Fire Marshals, and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). 

For the best Kitchen Exhaust Hood Cleaning in Phoenix, AZ  - Call us today!


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