An important part of your regular restaurant exhaust hood system maintenance is the cleaning of your kitchen hood filters. If your filters are not kept clean then two things happen. The first thing is that your filters become laden with grease and this creates a fire hazard. In other words , if you have a fire on the cook line, the filters will likely catch fire and continue to burn sending fire up the ducts.
The second thing that occurs is the filters become clogged with grease build-up. This causes the flow of air to become reduced. When this happens your fan uses more energy costing more money tom operate and degreasing the life expectancy of the motor. Additionally you are likely to have smoke problems in the kitchen because the air flow is reduced.
The way to handle this is to inspect your filters daily and when they begin to build up a film of grease take them out and wash them. There are a few companies still available that will come to your location every few weeks and change them for you but this can get very expensive. Most restaurants have a dishwasher. If you have one then the easiest way to clean them is first spray them with a degreaser, let them soak for a little while then run them through the dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher, just put them in the sink at night with a degreaser and fill the sink with hot water. Then when you come in in the morning, just rinse them off and put them back in the filter housing. How often should this be done?
In some cases daily if your cooking makes a lot of smoke. If not, at least once per week will assure you of having clean filters and no airflow blockage.
Never operate without your filters in place. They are an important part of your fire protection system, and they do remove a lot of the grease that would otherwise be deposited on the duct system and fan blades.
If you are are burning anything solid for fuel (wood, charcoal, etc.) NFPA 96 recommends having spark arrestor filters installed. These filters are designed to stop red hot embers from going in to your kitchen exhaust system and starting a fire. Also check with your insurance company, they may offer discounts if you use spark arrestor filters on your wood burning exhaust systems.
Ed Bryan has been in the restaurant kitchen exhaust hood cleaning business since 1977. His Los Angeles Hood Cleaning Company, Bryan Exhaust Service, is widely know as one of the top restaurant kitchen exhaust hood cleaning companies in the nation. For more information on hood cleaning in Los Angeles you can reach Bryan Exhaust at (213) 915-HOOD (4663) or visit their website at www.bryanexhaust.com