FAQ: Kitchen Exhaust Hood Cleaning

This installment in our “FAQ” series answers the most common questions we receive concerning kitchen exhaust hood cleaning.  This service is one that can easily be overlooked but is essential for the safety of your restaurant.  So how often does it need to be done, and when can we do it?  Here are the answers:

How often does my kitchen need a hood cleaning?

NFPA 96 dictates that the majority of commercial hoods should be cleaned on a quarterly basis.  There are exceptions for special cases, however.  For example, wood burning stoves need to be cleaned every month, while some facilities whose kitchens do not build up as much grease, churches, schools, etc., can be cleaned less frequently, even as seldom as once a year.

What does a hood cleaning include?

The standard kitchen exhaust hood cleaning service is “cook top to roof top.”  The basic process goes something like this: starting in the kitchen, the cooking equipment and other surfaces not being cleaned are covered with plastic.  The filters are put in a cleaning solution to soak and the plenum (the area behind the filter bank) is scraped.  Then the crew will start to work from the top down, first the exhaust fan roof or cover will be removed, then the duct shaft manually scraped.  Chemical will be applied to the exhaust fan blades and duct shaft, everything will be rinsed, then the exhaust fan reinstalled.  The crew will then return to the kitchen, apply chemical to the plenum, canopy, and backsplash, rinse everything, reinstall the filters, and polish the canopy and backsplash.  Once finished, they will remove the plastic, tidy any mess created on the floor, check to make sure the exhaust fan turns on, and place a new inspection sticker on the kitchen hood’s canopy.  

Do you all need to get on the roof and do you clean it?

Yes, your hood cleaning company will need access to your roof in order to properly clean the exhaust fan and duct work.  The only instance where roof access is not necessary is if your kitchen exhaust fan is located on the side of the building or elsewhere.  But the majority of kitchens are designed with the duct work leading up through the roof.  Though we will clean all aspects of the duct work that are on the roof, cleaning the roof itself is not part of the standard hood cleaning service.  It can be quoted and completed as a separate service upon request.

What is a hinge kit?

A hinge kit is a set of hinges, normally two, on the exhaust fan that enable the cleaning crew to “open” up the duct shaft from above  and move the fan to the side.  A proper hood cleaning cannot be completed unless the fan has a properly installed hinge kit to allow for things to be moved enough for the cleaning to be done accurately.

What do we need to do to prepare for our hood cleaning service?

Nothing!  Typically arrangements for access to the restaurant and roof are arranged during the scheduling process.  Any other preparations ahead of time are up to the customer’s discretion, but no other preparations are necessary.

How long will the service take?

A standard hood cleaning takes 3-4 hours.  However, there are a variety of factors that determine how long it takes.  The length of time between cleanings, the size of the kitchen, and the number of hoods/fans all factor into how long it will take for the job to be completed.

Why does it take so long?  The other company took half the time!

Unfortunately a thorough hood cleaning that actually cleans all areas, even the ones not readily visible or easily accessible, is a lengthy process that not all companies complete.  Just because the kitchen looks shiny after the company leaves does not mean that everything was properly cleaned.  We offer our best advice for making sure you are getting the most out of your hood cleaning service in this article: Five Ways to Avoid a Bad Hood Cleaning.

Why is my floor still dirty?

Floor cleaning, like roof cleaning, is a separate service that can be requested.  The crew will clean any new messes created on the floor during the hood cleaning, but will not clean any existing mess unless that service was requested and quoted ahead of time.

How do I know the areas I cannot see were cleaned?

We take before and after pictures of the kitchen and all the parts of the exhaust hood as we clean them.  These pictures can be requested at any time.

Can my hood be cleaned on a Saturday?

Kitchen exhaust hood cleaning services are schedule from Sunday-Thursday at any time, day or night.  It is important to be able to access the kitchen when it is cool and will not be needed or used for several hours, so late night-very early morning is the most common time for scheduling this service.

How much does it cost?

The exact cost of each hood cleaning varies as it is tailored to the individual needs of each kitchen.  However, free estimates or cleanings requested at the last minute are quoted by the hour and then a set rate is given depending on the frequency of the cleanings and how often the cleaning is able to be completed within the scheduled amount of time.

Kitchen exhaust hood cleaning is one of the most important services we offer for restaurants and other facilities as grease build-up is a deadly fire hazard.  By making sure your cleanings are completed regularly by a trustworthy company will save you money, protect your business, and keep your customers safe.  If you have any further questions or would like to request a personalized hood cleaning estimate, you can call our office or fill out the Contact form on our website today!