Avoiding Flare-Ups In The Kitchen Begins With Safety

Avoiding Flare-Ups In The Kitchen Begins With Safety

In this article by Robert Fiorito, he discusses the importance of day to day awareness in the kitchen.  During daily operations, the threat of fire can be a fleeting thought when the restaurant is slammed busy or even in the slower down times.  These lapses in awareness allow for the possibility of kitchen fires.  Minimizing these lapses comes down to proper training, preventative maintenance, and proper inspection/cleaning schedules.  All kitchen fires can be prevented with the proper systems in place. Follow this link to learn more.

A Word About Solid Fuel Cooking – Mitigating Old Hazards in New Kitchens.

A Word About Solid Fuel Cooking – Mitigating Old Hazards in New Kitchens.

Solid fuel cooking is becoming a staple in many kitchens across the nation. Whether it be a wood burning pizza oven, a smoker pit, or even a charcoal fired grill; there are certain hazards that are inherent to this cooking style. In this article by Alex Garrote (a restaurant fire protection specialist at Cleveland-based ABCO Fire Protection), he covers a few factors that are extremely important to reducing the risks involved with solid fuel cooking. Follow this link to learn more.

Importance of Cleaning Kitchen Exhaust System Baffle Filters Between Services

Importance of Cleaning Kitchen Exhaust System Baffle Filters Between Services

Importance of Cleaning Baffle Filters in Between Services

Hood Filters or Baffle Filters in your kitchen exhaust system serve three important functions in your exhaust system. Understanding these functions and setting up a maintenance plan to help assure that they work properly will help to increase the efficiency of your system and reduce the risk of fire. 

  1. They act as a barrier to block flames in the event of a fire or flame up from your cooking surfaces.
  2. They are designed to catch grease laden vapors before entering the duct work of the exhaust system.
  3. They help to insure that the hood pulls air evenly throughout the hood canopy.  

When filters are clogged from infrequent cleaning it can cause many problems and can actually become a fire hazard due to all of the grease that gets built up in them.  The grease is fuel for a fire that may start below the filters and allow the fire to spread to the duct system.  Clogged filters also hamper the exhaust fans ability to pull heat and smoke from the kitchen.  The excess strain on the system can cause fan motors unnecessary wear which will eventually cause them to fail and potentially shut down your kitchen.

NFPA 96 states that grease removal devices need to be maintained on a more frequent basis than the rest of the system, due to these risk factors.


Grease Baffle Filter  Grease Baffle Filter


How to clean your baffle filters

Usually the first people to complain about heat and smoke build up in the kitchen are the line cooks, the very people that are neglecting to clean the cause of the problem.  The first step to maintaining this area of your kitchen is to not let the filters go too long before cleaning them.  I understand having a kitchen staff do extra work is never an easy task, but it will save you time and money in the long run.

As a former restaurant manager, I have tried this maintenance program and it works.  The program is simple and once in place may only add 15 minutes to any line cook’s regular cleaning duties.  Clean one filter per day.  That’s right, one per day.  Start at one end of the hood.  Pull one filter down and clean (see cleaning methods below.)  Simply shift the remaining filters down to replace that spot and put the clean filter in the opposite end.  You will always pull the dirty filter from the same spot and replace with clean filters in the same spot.  This rotation will keep the filters clean without having to spend a lot of extra time to do so.

A couple of easy cleaning methods exist.   

  1. Hand washing is the best way. Hot soapy water will work just fine.  A little degreaser won’t hurt.  Dry off immediately and put back into hood.
  2. Run through dishwasher. Hit them with a little degreaser and let it soak in.  Run through the dishwasher to rinse off grease and chemicals.  Dry off immediately.

Sounds easy enough, right.  It is, as long as it stays a mandatory maintenance program.  I hope this program will get you started on one of your own that will fit your specific needs.


Trouble Shooting Your Kitchen Exhaust Fan

Trouble Shooting Your Kitchen Exhaust Fan

Vent hood cleaning can be a very invasive process.  The process includes using power washers and heavy duty degreasers.  Our work includes working on the roof top, in the sub ceiling, and downstairs in the kitchen.

From time to time, issues arise after a cleaning has occurred.  The most common call we get is that the exhaust fan is not turning on, or it is not working at its full capacity.  Here are a few frequently asked questions and resolutions.


  • Fan is not turning on at all.
    • Check main switch on canopy hood – flip on and off to make sure that it is getting power.
    • If no power is getting to the hood – check the breaker box. Flip switches for fans back and forth, even if they do not looked tripped.
    • If fan is getting power – check switch on roof top fan – these are sometimes accidentally left off after the cleaning process – if you are not comfortable with the location of the fan – call the last service provider.
  • Fan is still not turning on after these trouble shoots were completed.
    • Check for any exposed wiring on or around the exhaust fan. Check switches and ground wires.  Call an electrician to accomplish a thorough inspection.
  • The fan motor makes a humming or clicking sound when turned on, then shuts down.
    • The motor takes twice as much power to start up, than it does to run normally. This may cause motors that are already worn out to fail.  Call an HVAC company to either install a new motor or repair it.
    • The start-up of the motor may also cause worn belts to break. Call your current vendor to replace.
    • There may be a foreign object obstructing the fan blades. Call the last person to service your hood.
  • Fan turned on, but made a loud squeaking noise.
    • Loose or out of align belts will cause slippage on the pulleys when turned on.
    • Worn belt. – Change belt or call your service provider to replace
  • Fan is on, but is making loud rattling sound.
    • Broken belt. Call service provider to replace.
    • Fan could be out of balance due to an improper cleaning of fan blades.

These are just a few issues that can occur after a cleaning.  Most hood cleaning companies can service them on the spot, but other issues will require a licensed professional to remedy the issue.  Please give us a call at 972-704-1812 or visit us at www.thehoodboss.com for any other questions.  

How to Maintain your Kitchen Exhaust System between Cleanings

How to Maintain your Kitchen Exhaust System between Cleanings

As a restaurant manager,  there are a lot of maintenance programs that you monitor on a weekly basis. None should be more important than the maintenance of your exhaust system. Setting up proper maintenance of your exhaust system between services helps reduce the risk of fire in your facility, and it can actually help decrease the frequency of your exhaust system cleanings.

In our published article on the Hood Boss website titled, “Baffle Filter Cleaning,” we discuss the importance of proper maintenance of your baffle filters. The cleaning of your baffle filters is very important due to the fact that a standard baffle filter collects 30-40% of grease that enters your system.

Another portion of your exhaust system that should be maintained on a regular basis is the filter track. The filter track is the bottom portion of the hood that your filters sit in and allows the filters to drain the grease that they collect. As the grease drains out of the filters, it follows the channel over to the grease cup that collects the run off from the filters. The grease that collects in this track and the grease collector become a fire hazard faster than the rest of the system.

If you are unaware of what level of grease accumulation requires cleaning, please read our article, “When to Clean your Kitchen Exhaust Hood.” The lower filter track and grease collector should be cleaned out when the baffle filter cleaning occurs for each exhaust system in your facility. To clean out the filter track you only need a hand towel to drain the grease to the grease collector and another to wipe out the track when finished.

Vent Hood with Filters

Vent Hood with Filters in Place

vent hood without filters showing lower track

Vent Hood without filters showing lower track

Cleaning the lower filter track when you are removing the filters for their scheduled maintenance can help reduce heavy accumulation between cleanings. In some cases, this maintenance can help extend the amount of time between exhaust cleanings of your system and reduce the risk of fire due to heavy accumulation. We recommend putting a maintenance plan in place for your hood system and monitoring the grease accumulation with a grease comb. If you do not have a grease comb, you should reach out to your hood cleaning provider. If they do not have them, please give us a call and we would be more than willing to get you one.

Vent hood Lower filter track showing grease accumulation

Vent hood Lower filter track showing grease accumulation


If you have any questions on how to set up a proper maintenance schedule for your exhaust system, please give us a call at 972-704-1812 or visit us at www.thehoodboss.com.

Baffle Filter Cleaning

Cleaning and inspection of your commercial kitchen exhaust system at regular intervals is required by the International Fire Code and the NFPA 96. The immediate cooking area should be properly maintained on a regular basis by the restaurant owner and staff such as the cleaning of the back splash, the canopy of the range hood, and the required cleaning if the filters.

The cleaning interval of the baffle filters that is sometimes overlooked. Although the kitchen exhaust system beyond the immediate cooking area must be completed by a trained and certified company, baffler filters are something that should be maintained weekly or even daily by the the restaurant.

NFPA 96 Fire Codes for Hood Grease Filters

  • 6.1 Grease Removal Devices
  • 6.1.1 – Listed grease filters, listed baffles, or other listed grease removal devices for use with commercial cooking equipment shall be provided
  • 6.1.2 – Listed grease filters and grease removal devices that are removable but not an integral component of a specific listed exhaust hood shall be listed in accordance with UL 1046
  • 6.1.3 – Mesh filters shall not be used unless evaluated as an integral part of a listed exhaust hood or listed in conjunction with a primary filter in accordance with UL 1046
  • – Grease filters shall be listed and constructed of steel or listed equivalent material.
  • – Grease filters shall be of rigid construction that will not distort or crush under normal operation, handling, and cleaning conditions
  • – Grease filters shall be arranged so that all exhaust air passes through the grease filters.
  • – Grease filters shall be easily accessible and removable for cleaning.
  • – Grease filters shall be installed at an angle not less than 45 degrees from the horizontal