Kitchen Exhaust System

Kitchen Exhaust System Explained

Breathe Easy with Lotus Filters

Commercial kitchen exhaust systems are engineered to generate clean air flow, while extracting cooking vapour, steam and particulates.

The exhaust fan draws contaminated air through the grease filters in the canopy, into the duct work, before expelling it from the building.

With regular maintenance and cleaning from Lotus Filters, your exhaust system will perform at its best, delivering clean, fresh air to your business, your staff and customers. That’s why we say, with Lotus Filters, you really can breathe easy!

 

Guide to Kitchen Exhaust Service

Exactly how often the elements of your kitchen’s exhaust system require cleaning, will depend on your kitchen and the type of food preparation being conducted.

Use the below details as a guide for how often you should have your filters, canopy rangehood and exhaust systems cleaned.

FILTERS

Clean all filters in these hoodsOffsite Cleaning (Lotus Filters)
Filters in hoods over wood or charcoal grills, fast food grills or fryers, 24-hour grills or flat tops, rotisseries, char broilers, or woks Multiday or weekly exchange of all filters in hoods of this type
Filters in hoods over deep fryers, flat top grills, moderate-use char broilers Biweekly exchange of all filters in hoods of this type
Filters in hoods over high-use ovens, stoves, convection ovens, Henny Penny fryers, moderate-use hoods Monthly exchange of all filters in hoods of this type
Filters in hoods over low-use ovens, stoves, convection ovens, any other low-use hood Bimonthly exchange of all filters in hoods of this type
Table 3 – Extract: Filter Cleaning Frequency by Type of Cooking (IKECA Journal Spring 2017, Eric Dyer – IKECA Certified Exhaust Cleaning Specialist)
Type or Volume of Cooking Offsite Cleaning (Lotus Filters)
Systems serving solid fuel cooking operations, systems serving high-volume cooking operations, such as 24- hour cooking, charbroiling, or wok cooking Multiday or weekly exchange of all filters in hoods of this type
Systems serving moderate volume cooking operations Biweekly exchange of all filters in hoods of this type
Systems serving low-volume cooking operations, such as moderate-use churches or senior centres Monthly exchange of all filters in hoods of this type
Systems serving low-volume cooking operations, such as low-volume use churches, day camps, seasonal businesses Bimonthly exchange of all filters in hoods of this type (during season or when in use)
Table 4 – Extract: Filter Cleaning Frequency by Volume of Cooking (IKECA Journal Spring 2017, Eric Dyer – IKECA Certified Exhaust Cleaning Specialist)

EXHAUST SYSTEM

Perceived level of grease production Typical example Up to 6 hours 6 – 12 hours 12 – 16 hours 16+ hours
Low No significant production of grease laden aerosols during normal daily food production operations 12126 6
Medium Moderate production of grease laden aerosols during normal daily food production operations 12643
High Heavy, significant or continual production of grease laden aerosols during normal daily food production operations 6332
Table 1 - Kitchen grease extract systems (BESA TR19 Chapter 7, table 11)

Every commercial kitchen exhaust is however still unique, and your system may need cleaning less or more often depending on a number of factors. For recommendations on individual systems, contact us for a free, no-obligation quote.

Kitchen Exhaust – Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t I clean the filters myself?

Filter cleaning is a dirty and sometimes dangerous job and unless you are properly trained in filter cleaning, you probably aren’t cleaning your filters properly. Giving your filters a quick spray down or wipe is not only insufficient; you open yourself up to breaching EPA regulations from the grease and oil coming out of them. It is always safer to go with a professional service provider that has the right equipment, knows how to clean the filters properly and dispose of waste in accordance with environmental regulations.

 

The kitchen is clean, how do my filters get dirty?

Regardless of whether your kitchen is clean or not, your filters will always get dirty. It is a build-up of oil and grease from cooking and cannot be avoided. Even though your filters may appear clean on the outside, it does not mean the inside looks the same.

 

Why do I need to get the filters cleaned?

Professionally cleaning your kitchen filters eliminates bacteria, grease and fat build up, enhances exhaust efficiency, reduces fire hazards, improves staff safety and is a requirement of Australian Standard AS1851-2012. Insurance claims can be rejected if you cannot prove that your filters, canopy and exhaust system have been professionally cleaned and maintained.

 

How often should I have my kitchen exhaust cleaned?

At a minimum Australian Standard AS1851-2012 requires exhaust systems to be inspected and cleaned annually. Best practice however drawn from overseas standards and captured in our service guide bases cleaning frequency on the nature, type and hours of cooking.

According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) standards, kitchen exhaust systems should be cleaned as regularly as follows: “Systems serving solid fuel cooking operations should be inspected monthly. Systems serving high-volume cooking operations such as 24-hour cooking, charbroiling, or wok cooking should be inspected quarterly. Systems serving moderate-volume cooking operations should be inspected semi-annually. And systems serving low-volume cooking operations, such as churches, day camps, seasonal businesses or senior centres should be inspected annually.”

 

How do I know if my kitchen exhaust needs cleaning?

Aside from following the regular maintenance guide, you can often discern whether your system is due for a clean by simply looking at it. If there is an accumulation of grease on its surface, then it probably requires cleaning. If you’re after a more precise method of measurement, a grease gauging tool is available from the International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association (IKECA). Please contact us if you would like to learn more about this.

 

What is involved in kitchen exhaust cleaning?

A comprehensive clean of your kitchen’s exhaust canopy and system involves a complete scrape clean of your system (from top to bottom) and scrubbing. The canopy is cleaned thoroughly both the exterior and inside the plenum behind the filter cavity.

Standards require regular access panels in the ducting to enable access into the system to maximise the cleaning possible. If these are not present or are inadequate in number or size, we will make recommendations for their installation.

 

What happens if I don’t clean my filters, canopy rangehood and exhaust system?

There will be a dangerous build-up of grease and oil, which increases the risk of fire. When grease has built up in a kitchen filter, canopy rangehood and exhaust system, it acts as a fuel that only takes the smallest spark to ignite. The bigger the grease build up, the greater the fire-risk.

 

What should I look for in a kitchen exhaust cleaning company?

Your exhaust cleaning company should be well-versed not only in Australian standards but what is best practice. Please refer to our service guide for assistance. Upon completing any work, they should supply you with a report and certificate detailing the service provided. You’ll need to file this documentation in case of inspections or insurance claims.

 

Why choose Lotus Filters?

Lotus Filters is Australia’s leading commercial kitchen exhaust cleaning company, fully insured and accredited. Lotus Filters will meet with you to understand the requirements and needs of your business. Lotus Filters has invested in systems which allows us to schedule your service, so you’re never left wondering when your kitchen filters should be exchanged, your canopy rangehood or your exhaust system next cleaned.

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