You can reap significant benefits if you manage your food-service exhaust system properly. Schedule routine cleaning, inspection, maintenance, and repair of your kitchen's hood and other exhaust components to reduce energy costs and prolong the life of your restaurant's ventilation system.
You can also enjoy other benefits when you practice vigilant maintenance of your hood and exhaust systems. Here are three of those positive bonuses.
1. You Get Better Health Inspection Scores
Each local sanitation or health inspector has a few key areas they personally like to examine when judging the cleanliness of your commercial kitchen. As soon as they walk in the door, they may head straight over to your electric can opener or large stand mixer. Then, they bend over to check underneath the mechanisms for layers of crusted food.
These little inspections give the health-department official an idea of the overall cleanliness of your operation.
One of those places where the health or sanitation inspector will definitely focus attention is your stove or grill hood. A brown-and-orange-covered stainless-steel island hood is a dead giveaway that you don't take your kitchen safety or cleanliness seriously.
You should routinely wipe your hood and venting system down at the end of the shift so the grease and other effluents don't build up on the frame and oil screens. You should also have professionals service your ventilation system so it works efficiently to clear contaminants from the air. By cleaning the venting system, the entire kitchen stays cleaner and you get better health inspection scores.
2. Your Kitchen Staff Is Happier
A clean kitchen is important to most dedicated chefs and cooks — and so are comfortable, safe working conditions.
Kitchen ventilation systems are designed to remove harmful airborne particles and vapors that are created in the cooking process. Intense heat vapors are removed from the cooking area along with the following:
- Grease particles
- Volatile organic compounds
These airborne particles affect air quality and may cause itching eyes, shortness-of-breath, and other health problems if not pulled up from the exhaust through the hood suction. Poor kitchen ventilation can also lead to a workplace that is too hot or cold for staff comfort.
The hood-exhaust system traps the larger grease particles and releases fumes and vapors out through the vents. If your exhaust system is not designed or situated properly, there may not be enough return air to make up for the air pulled out of the kitchen.
On the other hand, too much return airflow in the form of cross-drafts or frequent trips to a nearby walk-in can alter the pressure in the kitchen and reduce your venting system's effectiveness.
A kitchen ventilation professional can help correct air imbalances in the kitchen using:
- Diverted dining-room air
- Ceiling diffusers
- Floor diffusers
- Hood plenums
If your kitchen has weird pressure and air-quality issues, your staff is not happy, and your equipment is not working properly. Solve your problems with a call for proper exhaust-system service.
3. Your Fire Risk Is Reduced
Built-up grease is a fire risk. An improperly working kitchen exhaust system causes airborne grease and other materials to coat walls, appliances, and shelves. With enough time to build up and the right ignition source, your kitchen can go up in flames.
The hood system and exhaust can also become clogged with greasy, flammable deposits and cause one of the thousands of kitchen fires that occur each year. All it takes is systematic neglect and a spark.
Did you know that Saturday and Sunday are the days when most commercial kitchen fires are reported? It's no coincidence that these days are the busiest money-making days of the week for some restaurants. Neglecting your hood and exhaust may seem cost-effective, but are the savings worth risking your profits for an entire weekend (or longer)?
To protect your assets and your bottom line, follow National Fire Protection Association fire code rules about professional hood and ventilation inspections. Monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual inspections are required depending on your cooking type and capacity.
Contact the kitchen ventilation professionals at KLEEN AIR today and schedule your required hood and duct inspections. We clean ductwork and steam-clean hoods and exhaust components for restaurants and food-service companies throughout the Greater Sacramento region.