Don’t Fan the Flames: Cleaning Your Kitchen Exhaust Unit

When you operate a commercial building, you’re daunted with constant tasks and responsibilities. While an owner is susceptible to the whims of Mother Nature, proper equipment maintenance can reduce the likelihood of a fire loss. According to a Fire Estimate Summary by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), non-residential building fires increased five percent from 2007 to 2016, resulting in 65 deaths and more than $2 billion in damage.

Kitchen Exhaust units are frequent culprits of fire losses. It’s paramount for an owner or property manager to maintain a cleaning schedule for kitchen exhaust fan system. Below are crucial steps in ensuring a thorough maintenance process:

Step 1: Review Policy Holder Requirements With Your Insurance Provider 

Commercial property policies often involve maintenance clauses that require the owner’s due diligence on federal regulations. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 96) the owner is required to have “the entire exhaust system cleaned by a properly trained, qualified and certified company or persons.” 

The Hanover Insurance Group now provides a public checklist for policy holders nationwide to review and assess potential kitchen fire hazards. Items of review include equipment specifications, fire protection and operations. (Click here to view full checklist).


Step 2: Hire A NADCA or IKECA Certified Cleaning Company

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) is a standard bearer for certified HVAC services. Each NADCA certified company employs a minimum of one accredited Air Systems Cleaning Specialist (ASCS). This technician is validated to perform a number of services including Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning.

The International Exhaust Cleaning Association (IKECA) was founded in 1989 by a small group of exhaust cleaning specialists. Twenty years later IKECA joined the American National Standards Institute “to help develop definitive standards for cleaning, inspecting and maintenance of commercial kitchen exhaust fans.”

Step 3: Maintain A Routine Cleaning Schedule 

According to the Washington Hospitality Association, proper kitchen exhaust cleaning is regimented into two segments. The first consists of a grease cleaning every four- to six-weeks. The second segment consists of steam cleaning the ductwork on either a bi-annual or quarterly basis. In terms of fire prevention, erring on the side of caution is always the best option for any property owner.

 For additional questions regarding best standards and practices for commercial property maintenance, contact GC3  Monday Through Friday: (515)-267-2470 —