All posts by Safe Guard Commercial Services

President of Safe Guard Commercial Services 7316 Natural Bridge Road St Louis, 63121 USA O: 314.389.9400

Hood Cleaning Facts

Kitchen exhaust hood cleaning is involved with fire, health, regulations, safety.

Commercial kitchens are not properly maintained and serviced on a regular basis, the chance of fire in the grease exhaust duct system is greatly increased.

A fire in the kitchen exhaust hood system can devastate a business through the loss of business, property and life.”

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, approximately 5,900 restaurant building fires occur in the U.S. annually, resulting in an average of 75 injuries and $172 million in property losses.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 96 Code) reports that most restaurant fires begin on kitchen cooking appliances sparks a flare into the kitchen exhaust hood system.

Keeping the kitchen exhaust hood system & appliances clean and free from combustible cooking by products such as oils, grease and fats, can significantly reduce the risk of fire.

The kitchen exhaust hood cleaning industry is virtually invisible, except when the services are not done properly and a fire happens which it will.

So before moving forward into the into hood cleaning market, it’s important to understand that this industry has some unique challenges.

It’s Highly Competitive: “Everyone knows someone in the hood cleaning business that is cheaper. Everyone in the field thinks that they are the only ones who can do a good job.

Many customers think the lowest price entitles them to the highest quality work

The need for hood cleaning is obvious it’s required by restaurant insurance companies health dept also some state Fire Marshall jurisdictions but unfortunately many restaurant owners do not understand the difference between those hood cleaning companies that truly understand the risks involved with cleaning correctly and sufficiently to NFPA 96 CODE REGULATIONS.

It is a challenge to ask the restaurant or facility owner, manager to increase the price then what they been paying, most cases has to be done to perform the work to regulations in order to eliminate fire hazards.

There’s Increased Liability: when not cleaned in accordance to NFPA 96 CLEANING SCHEDULE

Every system you touch and inspect – even if you never get the contract to clean it – becomes your responsibility if there is ever a fire in that facility.

If you look at it or touch it, you need to know what you are looking and be extremely competent in your report. It is a matter of life safety.”

It’s Hard, Late-Night Work: “It’s not as easy as everyone starts off thinking it is.

The long and late working hours. The going home dirty and smelling like burnt food. Dealing with night managers that are more interested in getting you out of their kitchen so they can go home, and the day managers calling you in the morning wanting to know why you only spent three hours on their job last night.”

Finding employees can be challenging as well, not everyone is suited for graveyard shift work.”

And finding at least one employee is technically a must for safety purposes, since ladder work is involved. It’s Constantly Changing: Regulations for the KEC industry are continuously evolving, and cleaning companies must stay on top of these to stay legal.

“Regulations and protocols change. What was acceptable as a procedure yesterday may not be acceptable – or even legal – today.”

Hood exhaust system technology is changing as well. “Right now, hood cleaning is at a turning point where new technology is being brought into the field.

They are turning kitchen exhaust systems into more technologically advanced operations that are not only helping with fire safety, but are also more environmentally friendly with One of the biggest challenges hood cleaning contractors face is learning how to clean kitchen exhaust systems, and how different types of cooking and grease impact the cleaning processes.

For example, the difference between removing vegetable oil and soybean oil are humongous.  They are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Also, the kind of cooking the restaurant does impacts the cleaning. If it’s a very high-heat, flash point cooking operation (e.g., Oriental), then the grease is very hard to remove, as opposed to a burger shop that’s just doing a hamburger on the flat grill.”

Despite the challenges, however hood cleaning is still an appealing market to many, particularly because the restaurants’ insurance companies make it mandatory cleaning, which means repeat customers.

There is good money to be made when done correctly. “Although it has become more competitive, there’s still definitely a huge potential market may eventually spread nationwide.

Although certification does mean more government regulation, the experts interviewed all agree that the positives of certification outweigh the negatives as long as the industry can self regulate.