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This Module may contain material reproduced with permission from NFPA 96-2017, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations, Copyright© 2016, National Fire Protection Association. This material is not the complete and official position of the NFPA on the referenced subject, which is represented only by the standard in its entirety which can be viewed for free access or purchased through the NFPA web site at www.nfpa.org (http://www.nfpa.org/).
NOTE: This material has not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by NFPA. NFPA is neither a sponsor of nor affiliated with KEC Concepts and has neither endorsed nor approved of the goods and/or services of KEC Concepts.
It is the position of KEC Concepts LLC and its affiliates that it will not be the leader, trainer or have the perception of implementing an official safety program for an organization, whether the safety material is for technicians, managers or business owners. KEC Concepts LLC and its affiliates can offer and provide educational material and direction to OSHA documents/regulations/hazard assessment material for the participant to improve your safety program. This content is not intended to serve as an organization’s official company safety program
Welcome to the KEC Concepts Kitchen Exhaust Systems 101 education module. The goal of this module is to familiarize kitchen exhaust cleaning professionals with the following important topics:
A review is presented at the end of the module.
A quiz on this material follows the presentation.
The proper operation of an exhaust system in a commercial kitchen relies on the appropriate layout and function of the cooking equipment and appliances. The performance of kitchen staff can be significantly diminished when there is insufficient ventilation in the cooking area. Inadequate ventilation can impact safety, optimal kitchen staff productivity, and overall personnel efficiency. The benefits of adequate ventilation include:
As you continue through this module, it is important to understand terms that are often used in the kitchen exhaust cleaning industry. Most of these terms are outlined in the NFPA 96 Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations. These terms are as follows:
Many different functions take place in a commercial kitchen. Depending on the type of cooking operation and food preparation of the facility, they can range from preparing recipes from scratch and banquet operations preparing 100’s of meals at a time, to fast-food operations turning frozen ingredients into meals in seconds instead of minutes. While it takes quite an array of equipment to perform these operations, most cooking equipment requires a kitchen exhaust system tailored to the need of the operation.
A kitchen exhaust system is made up of several components. A typical configuration includes:
The exhaust hood canopy that is designed to catch and expel contaminated air, or effluent, out of the kitchen. Note: The hood canopy also helps to contain the flames of a fire should one occur.
The exhaust duct system that directs airflow from the hood canopy to the fan unit, and also help contain the flames of a fire should one occur.
The exhaust fan unit that controls air velocity and creates proper airflow within the system
The makeup air supply unit that brings fresh air back into the kitchen area to create a cool. comfortable environment for kitchen occupants
All the components of the kitchen exhaust system are designed to remove heat, particulate matter, grease laden vapors, and other cooking vapors from the kitchen environment, and make the kitchen environment clean, safe and comfortable.
Grease laden vapors are the result of grease being released as a by-product of heating animal fats or vegetable oils during the cooking operation. Animal and vegetable oils, have their own unique characteristics and present unique challenges during the kitchen exhaust cleaning process.
Common vegetable oils are listed below.
For example, before 1994, commercial cooking involved primarily animal fat. In an effort to lower the fat and cholesterol content of food, restaurants began switching to vegetable oils. Vegetable oils burn at higher temperatures, making fires more difficult to suppress.
There is a wide variety of cooking appliances and equipment used to heat and cook food in a commercial kitchen setting. To ensure proper cleaning, you need to identify them and be familiar with their proper cleaning protocol.
Fryolator – a kitchen appliance used for deep frying foods by submerging in cooking oils.
Char-broiler – A cooking device which uses metal slats, or ribs, with an open flame underneath to cook proteins to a state of acceptable consumption.
Double Broiler – The same basic concept as the char broiler, except this cooking device cooks both on the top and the bottom decreasing cooking times for foods
Flat grill – A flattop grill or griddle uses high heat to radiantly heat cooking surfaces and efficiently cook food items.
Stove – A cooking appliance designed to enclose, heat and cook food with efficiency and control. This takes place by heating the area from underneath or above, and cooking or baking items within the enclosed area.
Convection Oven – a cooking device using fans to distribute air evenly around food, creating an even cooking temperature inside the oven resulting in lower cook times and temperatures.
Pizza Oven – An enclosure designed to cook a pizza or other food by open flame, wood, or displaced heat. This appliance efficiently cook crusts and other foods.
As a professional in the kitchen exhaust cleaning industry, you must be safe working in a commercial kitchen, aware of the condition of the cooking equipment, and always perform a thorough inspection of the cooking equipment’s condition before starting your service. Look for items that may be broken, not in proper working condition, and have missing or broken components. If deficiencies are found, do not move, work on or work around equipment that is not in working order.
Deficiencies would include missing legs or wheels for proper movement, equipment propped up or not supported correctly, and equipment missing integral parts such as doors, baffle plates or other required components. Any non-compliance issues should be documented and reported to the system owner in written form as soon as possible.
Remember, safety is critical on every job, and documentation protects everyone in the long run.
The proper cleaning and maintenance of kitchen exhaust systems is the essence of why our entire industry exists. While the NFPA 96 has many important sections concerning the design, installation, and maintenance of commercial cooking ventilation systems, Chapter 11, entitled Procedures for the Use, Inspection Testing and Maintenance of Equipment, is one of the most influential sections to the kitchen exhaust cleaning industry and consists of standards the requirements of NFPA 96 concerning:
The NFPA 96 emphasizes the fact that the proper and thorough “inspection” of a system is where your process must start.
When a kitchen exhaust system is properly inspected, and the technician performing the inspection identifies areas within the system that are grimy and soiled with grease or oil deposits from cooking, the unclean components or dirty portions of the system must be cleaned by a properly trained, qualified and certified person acceptable to the AHJ. Reference NFPA 96 11.6.1 for specific recommendations.
Note – The AHJ, is usually the local fire inspector: however, the designation may include a building inspector, property owner or manager, or an insurance agent in charge of a particular facility or project.
While many kitchen exhaust cleaning contractors tell their customers that a kitchen exhaust system must be CLEANED at specific periods of time, you must understand that there is no requirement within NFPA 96 identifying “scheduled cleaning.” Table 11.4 does, however, illustrate the Schedule for Inspection for Grease Buildup within a commercial ventilation system:
|TYPE OF OPERATION||CLEANING SCHEDULE|
|Solid Fuel Cooking Operations such as Wood or Charcoal||Monthly|
|High-Volume cooking such as: 24-hour, char-broil, oriental||Quarterly|
|Moderate Volume cooking such as Schools, Independent restaurants (Mom & Pop’s)||Semi-Annually|
|Low-Volume cooking such as: Churches, day camps, senior centers||Annually|
*NFPA 96 2017 – Please note that these are recommended minimum standards, and systems can be inspected and cleaned more often than this schedule if the volume of cooking warrants.
According to NFPA 96 Standard, a pre-cleaning inspection is where the job should start on each and every service call. The inspection should always be performed by a kitchen exhaust cleaning professional who is properly trained, qualified and certified, and that is you. Your inspection should include all of the following :
● Check previously posted certificate, label or tag on hood canopy from last cleaning service.
● Inspect grease removal devices or hood grease filters to determine compliance.
● Inspect visible portion of the fan unit to ensure proper operation.
● Inspect any other equipment and systems to be maintained including water wash hoods, specialized blowers, and effluent and pollution control equipment if you are qualified and authorized to do so.
Remember. If the system is off, power the system on and verify proper air flow and if possible, interview the facility manager or system owner and ask if they are experiencing any problems with the operation of the system
Any deficiencies must be recorded in a project service report, and notification is to be provided as soon as possible to the system owner.
The inspection process is vital to identify and document the system condition before service begins. As previously stated, the system owner must be made aware of any system deficiencies, educated in detail about the non-compliance issue, and recorded in your written report.
Along with the service report showing system deficiencies, a certificate of performance (or hood sticker) must be affixed to the hood canopy identifying the name of the company that performed the service, the technician’s name who serviced the system, the service date, and the date for the next scheduled service. This information must be clearly identified, meaning it can be easily recognized by a person with normal vision without causing any uncertainty. If the system owner requests a sticker not be posted on the outside of the hood canopy, it is possible to affix the sticker to the inside of the hood canopy.
Because of the very nature of a kitchen exhaust, or air movement system, it is necessary to periodically clean the grease that can collect in portions of the system to ensure its effectiveness in advancing contaminated air through the system, some of which contains grease particles, or grease laden vapors.
As kitchen exhaust cleaning professionals, using the proper procedures for grease removal is an essential step to achieving a final result deemed acceptable to the NFPA 96 standard. The tools and resources used vary widely depending on the system being serviced. Nursing home facilities and schools, for example, may have substantially less grease residue in their system when compared to a fast-food franchise restaurant or a high-volume steakhouse because of the amount of grease produced.
Safety must be everyone’s top priority at all times, and safety starts with you. Every company should have their own safety program in place that includes personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect employees from exposure to hazardous items to the workplace. This should include:
Remember, these items are the minimum OSHA requirements that your organization should have in place. If you have questions concerning your company safety program, you should ask your supervisor. Visit www.osha.org if you would like more information.
Keep in mind that all cleaning processes should be effective in removing grease deposits of cooking byproduct and potential combustible fuel from the interior surfaces of kitchen exhaust systems.
The requirement of NFPA 96 is that once the system is inspected, if deposits from grease-laden vapors are discovered, the contaminated portions of the system must be cleaned by someone who is properly trained, qualified, and certified and that they are acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction. NFPA 11.5
The contaminated surfaces of a commercial kitchen exhaust system can be cleaned in a variety of ways, including:
Make a full assessment of the entire system layout and design along with the type of “grease” in the system before choosing your cleaning method
Every time you inspect or clean a commercial kitchen exhaust system, you must affix a certificate of performance to the system. The certificate can be either be a label or tag. It must contain all service provider information including the company name of the contractor, address and phone number, and the date of the inspection or cleaning. This same type of tag must be used when an access panel is removed for inspection or ductwork cleaning.
When you leave, the service report with the customer at the end of the service, there are certain items within the scope of work performed that should be documented. Some of these items include the following:
Along with proper documentation of work performed in your service report, you should have before and after photographic documentation of the system condition. For reporting purposes, photographs of the entire interior of the exhaust system and code/standard deficiencies are considered proof of work performed and can provide protection for a contractor should a fire arise in a facility that you service.
Within some jurisdictions, a deficiency report may be required to identify non-compliance issues within a facility accurately. Check with your AHJ to confirm if this is required in your service area.
It is important to remember how crucial proper ventilation is to the staff and the kitchen environment. When the system is working correctly, the kitchen is a comfortable and pleasant working environment. When it’s not, things are miserable.
Your job starts with a thorough and complete inspection of the components of the kitchen exhaust system. Check the proper operation of the hood canopy, grease hood filters, fan units, belts, drives and any other components that you are qualified to inspect. Document your findings and ensure the customer or system owner receives a copy of the report with any deficiencies outlined.
During the cleaning process, you must use any tools and resources possible to scrub, scrape, grind, apply chemical, pressure wash and any combination of these actions to get the job done correctly.
Always make sure that your certificate of performance is affixed to the hood canopy and any access panels removed to inspect or clean.
Just like a professional athlete who practices the basic moves and exercises and develops the skills and mental preparation to become the best possible example of their particular sport, you should refer back to this section time and time again to reinforce your memory of the skills, tasks and knowledge to become an elite kitchen exhaust cleaning professional.