One of the most frequently asked questions we receive from new customers is how often they will need their kitchen exhaust cleaned. This question becomes difficult to answer; the answer comes from a variety of factors, and even then it’s not always straight forward. This can make it hard for our customers to understand their frequency needs.
Since there are several factors in this answer, we wanted to take this time to outline the most basic level of what every commercial cooking operation will need. This is not a concrete answer; some kitchens will need a higher frequency of cleanings and some will need less. Most kitchens will fall into these categories; the professionals at Facilitec West can help you determine your cleaning frequency needs.
Typical Cleaning Frequencies
How often your kitchen exhaust system needs to be cleaned is determined by the volume and frequency of your cooking operations. Higher cooking volumes and kitchens that use greasier foods means more build up in the system (and, therefore, more cleanings). “Greasier foods” are things like: burgers and other meats, or places that use a lot of oil for cooking like fast food establishments or Asian cuisine.
Commercial cooking operations that are open 24 hours a day, or that are continuously cooking, will have an increased frequency for cleanings due to their output. With more use comes more grease. These businesses should go through inspections and cleanings every quarter to help them remain compliant with NFPA 96 Standards.
Commercial cooking operations that use their kitchens more moderately or don’t use a lot of grease in their food, like a restaurant that is only open for breakfast/brunch, will require less cleanings due to their output. Moderate-use kitchens will need to be cleaned or inspected two to three times per year. If your business involves little cooking (like a church, senior center, or youth group), your system will need to be cleaned annually.
Below is Table 11.4 from the NFPA 96 (Exhaust System Inspection Schedule):
How will I know if my kitchen needs more or less cleanings than described?
While most restaurants fit into the mold as outlined by the NFPA above, not all of them do. That is why we determine a cleaning frequency by scheduling your first cleaning, performing that cleaning, and then returning for your second scheduled cleaning and determining the amount of grease buildup between the first and second cleaning. If the grease buildup is severe, we will recommend more frequent cleanings moving forward.
The Importance of Frequent Cleanings
If your commercial kitchen needs more cleanings, do not skip these cleanings to save money or to keep it convenient. No matter how often your kitchen needs to be cleaned, it is imperative to the life, safety, and property of your team and business. Commercial kitchen cleanings help prevent the risk of fire spreading throughout your establishment (especially if that fire starts in your kitchen exhaust system).
Grease is the perfect fire fuel. By scheduling frequent and necessary cleanings, your establishment will remain compliant with local and national codes. Be mindful that your establishment could require more frequent cleanings in the future if the volume of your output goes up. Similarly, if your volume goes down, you may be able to decrease the frequency of your cleanings. Start your preventative maintenance now with Facilitec West to protect your investment. We make it easy! We have a Key Access Program and Maintenance Program.