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Vent Hood Cleaning: Why You Need to Clean Restaurant Vent Hoods on a Regular Basis

Complying with sanitary guidelines is a must for restaurant owners. Most people in the business know the basics of cleaning a restaurant, but sometimes a few things slip through the cracks. Vent hoods are one of them! No one ever seems to think to clean their vent hoods out every once in a while, but doing so is extremely important.

If you'd like to learn more about why kitchen vent hoods should be cleaned regularly, follow along. We'll also give you a quick guide on how to get a spotless exhaust fan.

Vent Hoods: Do I Really Need to Clean Them?

Yes! Cleaning your exhaust systems should be a high priority. The National Fire Protection Agency makes it a requirement to clean exhaust systems since they are often implicated in fires. Insurance companies will investigate whether vent hoods were properly cleaned if a fire occurs, so it’s best to cover your tracks than risk losing coverage. 

Keep in mind that hoods over different types of appliances may need to be cleaned more regularly than others. Below, we'll explore where vent hoods are often situated and when each should be cleaned.

  1. Non-Grease Appliance Hoods

    If your hood is extracting air over non-grease appliances, then you only need to give it a clean once a year. This also applies for hoods over appliances that are not used often, such as appliances in churches or campsites. 
  1. Pizza Restaurants and Oven Hoods

    If you own a pizza restaurant or use your oven regularly for business, your hood should be cleaned every 180 days. 
  1. Average Restaurants, Cafeterias, and Hotels

    If you experience a high volume of customers throughout the year and are often using the kitchen close to its maximum capacity, regulations require you to clean your hoods every 90 days. 
  1. Fast Food, 24hr Restaurants, and Specialty Stoves

    If you're the owner of any of these restaurants, including those with wood-burning or charcoal-burning stoves, the cleaning requirement is 30 days. These experience the highest risk of fires due to their high volume of air and particle extraction. 

How Do I Clean a Vent Hood?

Restaurant owners should demand a certified cleaning company. The Code of Federal Regulations (NFPA 96) states, “The entire exhaust system shall be cleaned by a properly trained, qualified and certified company or persons.” Please look out for small fly by night companies, because they usually lack the proper tools and experience to thoroughly and properly clean the entire vent hood/ exhaust system. The basic steps a certified cleaning company should be doing are as follows: first, the hood must be disassembled and degreased, including the filter tracts, grease troughs, and the grease cups. 

Next, the fans should be removed, cleaned, and inspected for worn out fan belts. Then, the hood filter and all other hood accessories should be thoroughly cleaned and degreased. Lastly, all accessible areas of the exhaust fans and hood should be wiped down. A detailed report of the cleaning performed should be written out every time this procedure is completed. Some companies even provide photos of the hood and exhaust system to ensure proper cleaning.

Wrapping Up

Fire prevention is essential for any property, but especially for a restaurant that is continuously packed with customers. In order to ensure their safety by preventing fires, vent hoods should be cleaned regularly and thoroughly by employees. If exhaust fans are overlooked, the consequences could be dim for both you and your customers. 

If you're a restaurant owner and would like to learn more about fire prevention and fire safety, don't hesitate to check out our other content or contact us with questions!