Signs That Your Commercial Kitchen Exhaust System, Canopy, and Duct Need Cleaning

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Published on 2024-06-21

signs your commercial kitchen needs cleaning

Maintaining the cleanliness of your commercial kitchen’s exhaust system, canopy, and ductwork is crucial for a safe and healthy environment. Regular cleaning reduces fire risks, improves air quality, and ensures compliance with Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

Additionally, a clean system improves operational efficiency by enhancing airflow and ventilation. With professional services like those offered by Lotus Commercial, your system can be thoroughly cleaned, keeping your kitchen safe, efficient and compliant.

Knowing when to clean your exhaust, canopy, and ducts is important. This article will highlight the signs indicating it’s time for thorough cleaning.

Understanding the Components of a Commercial Kitchen Exhaust System

Understanding the components of your commercial kitchen’s exhaust system is crucial to spot signs of performance issues caused by inadequate cleanliness.

The Exhaust System

The exhaust system eliminates air contaminants produced during cooking, such as grease, smoke, steam, and odours. Removing these pollutants ensures a cleaner, safer, and more pleasant kitchen environment.

  • Fans pull the contaminated air through the system and expel it outside, keeping the kitchen air fresh and breathable.
  • Filters are essential as they trap grease and particles before they enter the ductwork, maintaining cleaner ducts and reducing fire hazards.
  • Hoods are positioned above the cooking equipment to capture and contain air pollutants, directing the contaminated air into the exhaust system.

The Canopy

The canopy, or hood, is a vital component installed over cooking equipment. It captures and contains airborne contaminants like grease, smoke, steam, and odours.

Types of Canopies in a Commercial Kitchen Exhaust System

  1. Wall-mounted canopies are positioned against walls to maximise space efficiency and ease of installation, making them ideal for kitchens with limited floor space.
  2. Island canopies are designed for kitchens with centrally located cooking equipment or open layouts, ensuring optimal ventilation without wall proximity for effective airborne pollutant management.
  3. Low-profile canopies are ideal for kitchens with height restrictions or limited ceiling space, especially in smaller kitchens with limited vertical space.

The Duct System

Ducts are essential in transporting contaminated air from the canopy to the exhaust fan and outside the building. Properly designed ducts ensure efficient airflow and effective contaminant removal. Regular kitchen duct maintenance prevents grease buildup, enhancing ventilation, air quality, and kitchen safety while ensuring compliance with health regulations.

7 Signs Your Commercial Exhaust System Needs Cleaning

Recognise the unmistakable signs that indicate it’s time to clean your commercial kitchen exhaust system. Here’s what to look out for.

1. Visible Grease and Grime

Cooking activities release greasy vapours that are captured by the exhaust system. Over time, this grease accumulates on filters, hoods, and ducts, impacting system efficiency.

To spot visible signs, check the canopy, filters, and ducts for grease buildup. Look for sticky or discoloured surfaces around the exhaust system, as these are indicators of built-up grease that can compromise ventilation and pose fire risks.

2. Unpleasant Odours

Odours in the exhaust system stem from accumulated grease and food residues, causing unpleasant smells. Poorly maintained systems can also harbour bacteria and mould, worsening the problem. Persistent odours indicate the exhaust system isn’t effectively removing contaminants, highlighting the need for cleaning.

3. Reduced Airflow

You can identify reduced airflow by increased smoke, steam, or heat in the kitchen, indicating poor ventilation. Staff may need help maintaining a comfortable working temperature. Grease and grime buildup can obstruct filters and ducts, reducing the exhaust system’s efficiency and potentially causing kitchen equipment to overheat and use more energy.

4. Increased Utility Bills

When exhaust systems become clogged or dirty, they need more effort to maintain adequate ventilation. This extra workload leads to higher energy consumption and increased utility bills. Therefore, sudden spikes or consistently high utility costs clearly show that your kitchen system needs attention.

5. Smoke and Steam Accumulation

Poor ventilation can significantly impact kitchen visibility, as excessive smoke or steam reduces visibility and creates a hazardous working environment. This can also affect the quality of food preparation and presentation, compromising overall kitchen operations.

Additionally, prolonged exposure to smoke and steam can lead to respiratory issues and discomfort for kitchen staff, highlighting the importance of ensuring proper ventilation for a safe and healthy workplace environment.

6. Noisy Operation

If you notice unusual sounds like rattling, grinding, or whining in your exhaust system, it could signal buildup or mechanical problems. Regular cleaning is crucial to clear obstructions and reduce strain on the system, which can prevent these noises.

Additionally, routine maintenance helps identify and fix potential mechanical issues early on, ensuring quieter and more efficient operation of your commercial kitchen’s exhaust system.

7. Scheduled Maintenance Overdue

Having a regular maintenance schedule is crucial for preventing minor issues from becoming massive problems and complying with health and safety regulations. Keeping track of cleaning and inspection dates using a maintenance log or schedule is essential. Lotus Commercial provides reminders of scheduled services to help maintain your system, ensuring it runs efficiently and safely over time.

DIY Cleaning vs. Professional: Enhancing Exhaust System Performance

DIY cleaning of commercial kitchen exhaust systems carries risks such as incomplete removal of grease and contaminants due to a lack of specialised tools and expertise, potentially leaving behind fire hazards. Moreover, handling cleaning chemicals and accessing high or hard-to-reach areas without proper training can pose safety risks.

On the other hand, professional cleaners have the expertise, experience, specialised tools, and cleaning agents to meticulously clean all parts of the exhaust system according to industry standards. This ensures thorough removal of grease and contaminants for improved performance and safety.

Choosing professional kitchen exhaust cleaning enhances system efficiency and durability and guarantees compliance with health regulations, fostering a safer workplace environment for kitchen staff.

Maintaining a Clean Exhaust System: Regular Inspection Tips

Performing routine inspections ensures the optimal functioning of your exhaust system. Here’s how to conduct thorough checks:

How to Perform Routine Inspections

Visually inspect the canopy, filters, and ducts for signs of grease buildup and any damage. Look out for unusual noises, reduced airflow, or other indications of potential issues.

What to Look for During Inspections

Observe for grease accumulation, discoloration, and sticky surfaces on components. Additionally, inspect for any signs of wear and tear or damage to ensure early detection and prompt maintenance. Regular inspections help maintain a clean and efficient exhaust system, enhancing kitchen safety and performance.

Best Practices for Kitchen Staff

To maintain a clean and efficient kitchen environment, implement these daily and weekly cleaning tasks:

  • Daily Tasks: Wipe down the canopy and accessible surfaces to remove grease buildup effectively.
  • Weekly Tasks: Clean or replace filters weekly to maintain optimal airflow and ensure efficient operation of the exhaust system.
  • Training and Culture: Train all staff members on the importance of regular cleaning and how to perform basic maintenance tasks. Foster a culture of cleanliness and safety in the kitchen to uphold hygiene standards and enhance workplace safety.

Scheduling Professional Cleaning

Schedule professional cleaning every 3 to 6 months for optimal kitchen exhaust system maintenance, depending on cooking volume and cuisine type. High-use kitchens may require more frequent service. Here’s a detailed guide on how kitchen exhaust cleaning service works and how often you should schedule the cleaning.

To book a service, make contact with Lotus Commercial and take advantage of the scheduling reminders to ensure timely and regular maintenance of your exhaust system, ensuring it operates efficiently and complies with safety standards.

Transform Your Kitchen’s Health with Lotus Commercial’s Cleaning Expertise

Regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial for maintaining a safe, efficient, and compliant kitchen environment. Ensuring your kitchen exhaust system is regularly inspected and cleaned, you mitigate fire hazards, improve air quality, and enhance overall operational efficiency.

For expert cleaning services tailored to your needs, contact Lotus Commercial today.

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