01 Feb The Importance of Kitchen Duct Cleaning
Over time, cooking in a commercial kitchen causes deposits of airborne grease, dust, grime and steam to gather on the inner walls of kitchen extraction ducting. When regular professional cleaning of these ventilation systems is not carried out, this build-up can cause health and safety risks such as reduced airflow, fire hazards and unwanted odours.
Whether you own or run a café, restaurant, care home, or any other business serving food, it is essential to routinely clean and maintain your kitchen extraction system.
Below, we look at what kitchen ducting cleaning involves, why kitchen extractor cleaning is important and some key benefits to keeping kitchen exhaust systems well maintained.
What is Kitchen Duct Cleaning?
Kitchen duct cleaning sometimes referred to as kitchen extraction cleaning removes the build-up of grease and grime from the inner walls of ducts, fans, vents and hoods in commercial kitchens. The process typically consists of removing the contaminants through a combination of brushing, vacuuming, caustic chemicals and hot water pressure washing. In addition, water damaged or bio-contaminated materials can be treated or removed during the cleaning process and broken parts replaced.
There is also the opportunity to upgrade the system’s grease filters during cleaning. Higher quality filters trap grease particles more efficiently than lower grades, meaning it takes longer for the grease build-up to negatively affect the rest of the extraction system.
Ductwork found in light use commercial kitchens should be professionally cleaned at least once every 12 months and more regularly for kitchens with moderate to heavy usage.
Why is Kitchen Duct Cleaning Important?
The most significant cause of commercial kitchen fires is unmaintained exhaust systems, accounting for over 70% of reported fires.
By law, businesses must comply with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to assess fire risks and implement a fire management plan. Companies must also observe the Management and Health and Safety at Work Regulations, which stipulate that grease and fume systems must be assessed for hazards and appropriate steps taken to rectify and eliminate potential fire risks. The person responsible for the business premises must ensure that kitchen extractor ducting is regularly maintained and cleaned to minimise potential risks and fire hazards. In addition, a premises kitchen exhaust system will be checked as part of a routine fire code inspection to observe optimal fire safety.
Premises with commercial kitchens must work towards specific duct cleaning standards to obtain a TR19 certificate. Businesses unable to provide relevant certification following a kitchen fire may find their insurance is void and will be left with a hefty repair bill.
Extractor cleaning is also an invaluable way of creating better airflow and improving air quality in a working environment. Poorly maintained equipment cannot work to its full potential leaving dangerous and harmful levels of smoke, cooking odour and even carbon monoxide in the working environment.
Benefits of a Kitchen Exhaust System Cleaning
As previously mentioned, fire prevention is the main benefit of regularly cleaning kitchen exhaust systems. With high temperatures, grease deposits can cause a fire to quickly spread through the ventilation system, endangering life and forcing businesses to close. The surfaces affected by grease residue are not accessible as part of a standard kitchen clean down, so call in the professionals to get to those hard to reach places. Removing the grease build-up in these areas eliminates the source of the fire hazard.
Better Air Flow
When a kitchen ventilation system is not well maintained and cleaned, the equipment needs to work harder to function correctly.
Regular fan, vent, duct and extractor cleaning removes the build-up of grease and other contaminants and allows the equipment to function at its optimal capacity. As a result, the working environment benefits from better airflow, which is essential when considering the high temperatures in which commercial kitchen employees work.
Compliance with TR19 Standards
All commercial kitchens should strive towards the recognised duct cleaning standards outlined in the TR19 advice. First introduced by BESA in 2005, it provides a comprehensive guide to commercial businesses on how best to clean and maintain their extraction systems. It was implemented to improve health and safety standards in the UK, focusing on fire safety and food contamination.
Busy commercial kitchens usually require TR19 compliant cleaning every three months.
Failure to adhere to TR19 cleaning standards can have severe consequences. For example, following a fire in a commercial kitchen or premises, an insurance provider will require evidence that regular TR19 standards of cleaning have been completed. Failure to produce a valid TR19 certificate could lead to an insurer refusing to pay for damages, leaving business owners liable for repairs. Businesses failing to provide relevant TR19 certification can also be issued heavy fines for failing to take the necessary precautions to ensure their duct system is fire safe.
Improved Air Quality
Kitchen exhaust systems that do not receive proper care and maintenance disrupt the airflow in an environment. In turn, contaminants such as heat, smoke and odours are prevented from dispersing adequately. The build-up of these pollutants can negatively affect employees’ health, leading to staff absences and even contaminating food served to customers or service users.
By ensuring that regular ventilation system cleaning occurs, businesses can significantly improve airflow and air quality.
A Long-Lasting Fan Motor
Incorrectly maintaining your kitchen exhaust system runs the risk of requiring costly repairs, expensive replacement parts or a whole new ventilation system.
A correctly cleaned and maintained ventilation system will ensure the equipment doesn’t need to overwork and increases the longevity of otherwise pricey parts such as a new fan motor.
Businesses can benefit from long term savings of up to 30% on these repairs with regular professional kitchen exhaust cleaning.
Saves Your Business Money
Businesses that prioritise the maintenance of their kitchen extraction system benefit from long term savings on replacement parts, energy bills and staff sickness pay.
Having a kitchen exhaust system maintained to the correct TR19 Standards ensures that, in the unfortunate event of a fire, all damages and repair costs should be covered by the insurance provider.