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The Importance of Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning (KEC), Frequency and Deficiency Reporting
by Chris Eyre

This article is one of eleven I’ve read over the past month. http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article10511888.htmlFirst and foremost no one was hurt in the blaze, the only good news in the story.  Most the fires I read about take root on the roof, in the attic or somewhere in the exhaust ductwork. So the story is really about preventable loss all stemming from a lack of preventative maintenance in the restaurant’s kitchen exhaust system and cooking equipment.  And often fault lies with kitchen exhaust cleaning providers not doing their job, leaving restaurant managers and owners with a false sense of security.

Averus provides free, no obligation, inspections of the kitchen exhaust system. During the inspection an Averus team member will review your system, take photos throughout the inspection, including often unseen areas, at conclusion we will review our findings and provide a quote. We’re also there to answer any questions about service, explain your deficiencies and the benefits of correction over the risks.  Averus will provide a customized quote based on your layout, volume and system, because we have seen it many times, a system cleaned only where it is visible, a bright and shiny hood, but ductwork with stalactites of flammable grease.

Deficiencies range from frayed electrical wire, excess grease on the roof to the need for duct access panels or fan access panels and more. We hear to often “my current provider never advised me I need duct access panels” or “My system has been cleaned for years without a fan access panel”.  NFPA requires that service companies notify their customers in writing of any deficiencies pertaining to NFPA standards.  The good news is Averus has been notifying customers of their deficiencies for years, we take the time to notify you of both things we can correct and things we can’t.  That is the difference we promise in being your vendor partner.  At Averus our priority is to make our customers Fire Safe!

NFPA (national fire protection association) is a standard, it becomes code through International Mechanical Code and Life Safety Code and is often adopted into code directly by the AHJ or authority having jurisdiction.  NFPA is the bar and sets the minimum standards.  Many providers don’t provide the minimum when they don’t share deficiencies with customers or they don’t clean in areas that you don’t see.  Below are some of the more common deficiency items we find, the code reference and an explanation.

Duct Access Panel – NFPA 96: 7.4.3.4

Listed grease duct access door assemblies (access panels) shall be installed in accordance with the terms of the listing and the manufacturer’s instructions.  An access door is needed because current ductwork is inaccessible, this is the highest risk for a serious fire event.  An access panel is basically a metal window into the duct that gives us access to enter the area and remove the buildup directly.  Removing buildup can also assist with increasing airflow, reducing smoke at the kitchen level, reducing heat buildup in the kitchen and decrease the wear on the fan. Common areas where access is needed are in horizontal ductwork, ductwork that changes directions or long vertical runs, all as determined by NFPA codeFan Access Panel – NFPA 96:  8.1.5.3.1

“Upblast fans shall be supplied with an access opening of a minimum 76 mm by 127 mm (3 in. by 5 in.) or a circular diameter of 101 mm (4 in.) on the curvature of the outer fan housing to allow for cleaning and inspection of the fan blades.”Inspection & Cleaning Frequency

NFPA 96:  11.4, 11.6.1, 11.6.2

“The entire exhaust system shall be inspected for grease buildup by a properly trained, qualified, and certified company or person(s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and in accordance with Table 11.4  Upon inspection, if the exhaust system is found to be contaminated with deposits from grease-laden vapors, the contaminated portions of the exhaust system shall be cleaned by a properly trained, qualified, and certified company or person(s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction.”“Hoods, grease removal devices, fans, ducts, and other appurtenances shall be cleaned to remove combustible contaminants prior to surfaces becoming heavily contaminated with grease or oily sludge.”

Table 11.4  Schedule of Inspection for Grease Buildup: MINIMUM Requirements

Type or Volume of Cooking Inspection Frequency
Systems serving solid fuel cooking operations Monthly
Systems serving high-volume cooking operations,such as 24-hour cooking, charbroiling, or wokcooking Quarterly
Systems serving low-volume cooking operations Semiannually
Systems serving low-volume cooking operations,such as churches, day camps, seasonal businesses,or senior centers Annually

Call Averus today for your free inspection 800.393.8287.

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