Hood Boss has put together this introduction to your Kitchen Exhaust System. This video walks you through the different components that make up your Kitchen Exhaust System. It also walks you through the cleaning process and maintenance involved between services. As a courtesy we have thrown in a few trouble shooting tips for your exhaust fan if it stops working. We feel its important to educate yourself and your staff on how you vent hood works, how to trouble shoot issues with your system, and what to maintain between services. Please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns. Hood Boss would be happy to help provide information and/or give an in person orientation to your staff. Follow this link to learn more.
For most of us, the rooftops of our restaurants are not a normal part of our preopening or closing walk through. In fact, a trip to the roof often means something is wrong: i.e. a leak in the roof, an A/C unit not working, or the exhaust fan making a funny noise. It isn’t that any of us are neglectful of the condition, it’s just something fresh on our minds. Any of us that have replaced a roof top in the recent past know first-hand, that it can be one of the largest investment we will make, and maintaining a new roof top quickly becomes top priority.
Your kitchen exhaust cleaning provider’s job is to clean your kitchen exhaust system to bare metal. Most of us only see the KEC Company every three months, so it is important to keep grease off of your rooftop in between these cleaning. In fact, if grease is left on your rooftop, it will void the warranty that comes from the roof manufacture.
Most exhaust fans come with a metal box attached to the side often referred to as a “grease box.” The bottom of the fan bowl has a drip spout coming out which flows into the grease box. The grease box is fire, wind, and water resistant and is a good solution for many lower volume applications. Sometimes, however, you will find small puddles of grease underneath the grease box. This happens for several reasons like the spout not dripping directly into the box which is an easy fix. The box is possibly overflowing which means you should look at your cleaning frequency or get a bigger box. A more common issue is that as it rains, the box fills with water. Grease and oil will float, and as the rain fills up the box, it will push the water out and onto the roof.
In the case you find your grease build up is larger than the receptacle, you can look into what is called a “Sidekick.” A good feature with the sidekick is not only the larger capacity, but it comes with grease absorbing filter. This filter is specially designed to absorb only grease and allow water to filter out. This video gives a little idea of how the absorbent materials work (fast forward to 7:30):
Many times we find that the grease absorbent filter reaches its life faster than the scheduled frequency or that grease is seeping out of the fan in more places than just the drip spout. Instead of box or gutter style container, many companies are utilizing an entire roof top protection system. This entire system rests on the roof top itself and surrounds the entire fan with multiple layers of grease absorbing material, grease dispersing material (so the oils do not pool into on place), and fire retardant material in case of combustion to contain the flammable material. Often times, these are significantly higher price points, but are quite cost effective compared to the replacement of the entire roof top.
Whatever your grease containment needs regarding the rooftop, get with your trusted Kitchen exhaust cleaning vendor to discuss an individualized solution.
This time of year, a lot of us are evaluating our service contracts with our current vendors. Whether its perishables, dry goods, or R&M, we all have criteria that are important to us. Most of our decisions to stay with our current provider, or go with a new vendor, are based mainly on the level of customer service, the quality of the product, and price. The best decisions are made when you trust that the vendor you have chosen is able to deliver on all three characteristics. I am assuming the customer in the example above got a smokin’ deal on his tattoo; I’m not too sure he’ll be happy with the quality.
Here are a few suggestions in determining the value of service providers:
Understand the market.
There are always numerous companies out there that provide similar services. In such, the price of the service is driven a lot by what your competitor is willing to do it for. Do some research. What you will find is that there has been a market value set for the product or service. Get a few bids from different companies. Understand why one company’s price may be higher than another. Understand how it is that another company can offer a much lower price.
If a company is promising the moon, make sure they can deliver. Who better to ask than some current customers of this company? If what they are saying is true, there should be no hesitation in them providing the name and phone number of one, or several, of their current satisfied customers. Next, give them a call. It’s not a job application where they are limited on the response they can give; they can be a candid as they want. Tell them what the vendor is promising and ask them if they deliver. Ask them how long they have been with the vendor. Be blunt and ask if you would be happy in choosing them as a vendor. Their response will tell you everything you will need to know.
I can speak directly for the kitchen exhaust cleaning industry. We have to carry and maintain a high level of liability insurance for property damage and workers compensation. In such, this carries a considerable amount of overhead. Make sure your provider carries sufficient insurance for your individual needs. We also make sure our technicians pass a background check and are drug screened. Make sure the service provider you choose understands the codes that dictate their industry. You want to feel comfortable in your decision and the vendor you choose has the knowledge and know how to get the job done right.
I’m not sure who to feel worse for, the guy getting the tattoo, or the tattoo artist himself. I hope the artist has a good place to hide after this guy finds a mirror. Bottom line is, always be warry of the lowest price bid. Arm yourself with as much information as you can to make an informed decision. Once you have decided what characteristics are important to you and you have found a vendor that can deliver on your needs, rest assured that you have found the best value.
Does your Kitchen Exhaust Fan meet code?
Most restaurant managers are so tied up with the day to day operations inside the kitchen that they have no idea of the potential hazards that are occurring on their roof tops. There are a few simple things to look for that can help assure your fan is up to code and that you avoid potential down time for your restaurant or damage to your exhaust fan.
The first thing to inspect is to see if your up-blast fan (or bowl shaped fan) has a hinge kit installed. The Importance of a hinge kit is to allow access to the vertical duct of your exhaust system by allowing the fan to open to a ninety degree angle. This provides proper access to the duct to clean your kitchen exhaust system properly without harming the mechanics or structural integrity of the fan. A typical exhaust fan weighs around 125lbs and is made of spun aluminum. The material can be bent very easily in the cleaning process even when extreme precaution is taken.
The next thing to inspect is the electrical conduit on your exhaust fan. You want to look for two things. The first is that the electrical conduit is run externally from the duct curb into the fan housing of the fan see photo below.
The importance of this is to insure that the wiring for the fan is not exposed to grease build up within the system and keep the wiring from becoming damaged from taking the fan on and off during the cleaning process. The removal of the exhaust fan during cleanings can cause wiring to become exposed and potentially cause a fire or breaker to trip from metal to metal contact. This can cause costly down time for your restaurant.
Once you have insured that the wiring is ran externally, the second item to look for is inspecting the integrity of the wiring. The external wiring should be ran through weather proof conduit it to protect it from exposure to rain and grease from the system. See Photo Below
NFPA 96 – 184.108.40.206 states that Rooftop termination shall be arranged with or provided with the following:(8) A hinged up-blast fan supplied with flexible weatherproof electrical cable and service hold-open retainer to permit inspection and cleaning that is listed for commercial cooking equipment. It is very important to make sure that the wiring on your roof top is not exposed to the weather conditions. Wiring that is exposed can cause fires if introduced to grease on the roof top and/or cause the fan to short out at any given time costing your business time and money.
NFPA 96 – 220.127.116.11 states that – Approved up-blast fans with motors surrounded by the airstream shall be hinged, supplied with flexible weatherproof electrical cable and service hold-open retainers, and listed for this use.
With the turnover rate in most restaurants today, having a kitchen exhaust system diagram on site is a must for restaurant owners. The diagram will allow the Kitchen Manager, General Manager, Maintenance Company, Fire Marshall, and Health Inspectors to have a clear cut understanding of the design of the system in order to be sure that the system is being maintained properly. A proper understanding of your kitchen exhaust system could prevent a fire in your facility and prevent potential risk of danger to your staff and guest. Below are a few questions that you can’t afford not to ask yourself.
- Do you know every bend and turn in your kitchen exhaust system?
- Does your managing staff have the same understanding as you?
- If not, how can you be sure that you are not at risk of fire?
- What is the current condition of the exhaust duct between the hood canopy and the roof top?
- How can you hold your current kitchen exhaust cleaning company accountable?
- How can you be sure that your managers are properly performing a post cleaning inspection of service?
If you answered no or do not have procedures in place for the proper understanding of your exhaust system, I would urge you to put one in place before it costs you thousands.
Most Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Companies will provide you with a professional drawing of your system upon request. The diagram should consist of a drawing of the system with the number and location of the access panels. The diagram should be on display so that your managing staff can refer back to it each time the cleaning service is performed at your facility.
If Hood Boss can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate call 972-704-1812 or visit us online at www.thehoodboss.com . One of our team members would be happy to help direct you in how to get a diagram on display at your facility.