Each year, all around Australia commercial kitchen fires cause millions of dollars’ worth of damage to restaurants, businesses and the community. Worse still, they put at risk the lives of customers, workers and fire fighters.
Fortunately, commercial kitchen fires are very much preventable. With a regular cleaning schedule carried out by a professional kitchen cleaning company, you can stop commercial kitchen fires by preventing them where they commonly start – in your kitchen’s ducts and exhaust system.
The Common Cause of Commercial Kitchen Fires
Where Fires Start
The three most common pieces of cooking equipment involved in commercial kitchen fires are: the deep-fryer, the grill and the cooking range.
Yet these cooking tools are only half of the problem. It’s the exhaust canopy and ductwork above them which, unmaintained, can have devastating consequences for business owners.
For it is inside of unmaintained exhaust systems that stores of oil and grease can build up.
These build-ups ignited by flames or even sparks from the fryers, grills or cooking range can quickly cause fire to spread throughout the entire network of ducts.
How Build Ups of Grease & Oil Occur
During everyday kitchen use, vapours are given off by almost all kinds of foods.
As this vapour rises and cools, it leaves a residue of oil and grease in and around the kitchen exhaust system.
Over time this residue builds up, resulting in large deposits of highly-flammable oil and grease.
Why It’s What You Can’t See That’s Dangerous
Whereas grease build-ups on the outside of cooktops and exhaust systems can be readily identified and cleaned off, it’s what you can’t see that is the biggest danger.
Build-ups don’t only occur on your exhaust system, they also develop inside of your duct network, where you cannot see them.
Left unchecked these build-ups can become large and extremely combustible.
How to Maintain Your Kitchen’s Exhaust System
The only way to prevent the buildup of grease and oil, and by extension the risk of an exhaust system fire, is with regular exhaust system cleaning and maintenance.
Comprehensive cleaning and maintenance of your kitchen’s exhaust system includes: scrubbing clean of the canopy, wiping down of the duct walls, as well as replacement of used filters.
Maintenance should be undertaken on a regular basis. How often depends on a number of factors including the type of cooking, the hours of operation each day and your system.
We will recommend a frequency based on the above and then monitor over time if it needs to be adjusted.
Why Hire a Professional Exhaust System Cleaning Company
Exhaust system cleaning is a difficult procedure. It involves cleaning of confined, high-up places, removal of dangerous substances and use of specialised equipment.
Doing it yourself is unwise. Because of the complexity and numerous dangers of exhaust system cleaning, attempting to do it yourself can lead to serious injury or illness.
Some insurance companies actually dictate in their policies that exhaust systems be cleaned by a qualified cleaning company.
By not adhering to this requirement, your insurance claim can be denied.
What to Know When Hiring a Commercial Kitchen Cleaner
Employing the right commercial kitchen cleaning company is vital for the effective and safe operation of any business with a kitchen.
Fortunately once chosen, a good commercial cleaner will provide you with peace of mind.
Your exhaust system cleaner should be well versed in all relevant Australian standards, surrounding the cleaning of commercial kitchens.
They should too, when asked, offer written testimonials from previous clients.
And they will preferably be registered members of the International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association (IKECA).
On completion of cleaning they should offer you a written report detailing the commercial cleaning service provided. Keep this documentation for inspections and/or insurance claims.
Ensure that Your Cleaning Company Cleans the Exhaust Fans
Often overlooked but none-the-less still important is the cleaning of your kitchen’s exhaust fans. These fans, which are normally placed at the top of your exhaust system, remove grease and fat fumes from your kitchen and expel them into the air outside.
If these fans are not regularly cleaned and maintained, then fat and grease can build up. Left for long enough unmaintained, this buildup can lead to the fans overheating leading to expensive repairs or a fire.
Preventing commercial kitchen fires need not be difficult or time consuming. With the right knowledge and exhaust system cleaning company, you can stop fires in their tracks. Thereby making your business safer for your customers, your staff and your business so you can breathe easy.