How to Properly Inspect Your Kitchen Grease Exhaust Systems?

Commercial kitchens see a lot of activity which ranges from cooking with oil as well as grease. So it is natural, and the exhaust system will have some residual grease and oil stuck to its surface. While you cannot help with this accumulation because it will happen as long as cooking is happening in the kitchen, you cannot be lazy about cleaning up either.

The majority of kitchen fires happen because of malfunctioning kitchen equipment. You will be shocked to know that almost all of these fires are completely preventable. Inspection of kitchen equipment like exhaust systems thus becomes extremely important not only for the safety but also for better efficiency in the kitchen. Regular inspection is essential for a smooth function in a commercial kitchen. If you are looking for minute details to take care of during inspection, just read below:

Be Frequent


Before jumping into inspection details, one thing to note is that the maintenance and servicing of exhaust hoods should be frequent. A higher frequency does not mean that you have to inspect the exhaust system everyday. The rate of inspection depends entirely upon how much the kitchen is being used on a daily basis. Do not hesitate to enlist professional help from service providers like

For instance, in a commercial kitchen seeing regular use every day, it is better to be more frequent with the inspection and cleaning. The recommended frequency is once a month, but you can set up a maintenance schedule as per your daily operations, which can be more frequent or less frequent than the monthly standard. If your kitchen does not come into use that much, a bi-annual inspection will also do.

Follow Regulations

Running a commercial kitchen is not child’s play. When you are running a business, it is your responsibility to follow all the regulations and standards in the industry. Regular inspection and cleaning of the grease in the exhaust system is mandatory for commercial kitchens. If you are feeling unsure about how to clean the exhaust hood, you can check out the guidelines by the National Fire Protection Association.

The NFPA has certain mandates that any inspector should follow for the proper maintenance of the kitchen exhaust system. It is essential to follow these regulations to ensure proper ventilation and the safety of all the people in the kitchen at any given time. Any expert who comes to clean the exhaust system will inspect whether or not the equipment is working as per the regulations or not.

Follow Cleaning Standards


Inspecting the grease will allow you to check different parts of the equipment and whether or not they are functioning optimally. Since the grease is a fire hazard, it cannot be allowed to accumulate at any constituent part of the exhaust system. If you say that you are engaging in surface cleaning, it is not enough.

In a commercial kitchen, cleaning the surfaces as well as the hoods and ducts is equally important. Industry regulations dictate thorough cleaning of all the parts to remove the accumulation of dirt, oil and grease. Establishing cleaning schedules will also help reduce the workload by maintaining a certain hygiene standard. If you have a monthly plan for cleaning set up, try to have it done professionally every once in a while.

Look at the Exhaust Hood

If you are inspecting it yourself, there are a lot of pointers you need to keep in mind. In a thorough inspection, the filter in the exhaust hood will have to be removed to see whether the doctor is clean enough and does not have any grease accumulation. The compatibility of a filter also matters as per the kitchen operations. For instance, a mesh filter is used for moisture and dry heat, whereas a baffle filter is used for grease.

While inspecting the exhaust hood, the following pointers need to be considered:

  • Are the baffle filters installed at the right angle?
  • Are the baffles in a filter placed appropriately at the proper distance?
  • Are there any baffles missing or bent out of shape?
  • Is there a particular spot with excessive grease build-up?
  • Can the filter be removed for regular maintenance and cleaning?

If the answer to any of the questions mentioned above is no, the exhaust system needs to be repaired accordingly.

Check the Fire Extinguishing System


The fire extinguishing system will not be deeply inspected in a commercial kitchen if the inspector is only looking at the exhaust system. However, having them in place and in proper working order is extremely important. A fire suppression system should be in place in the space below the exhaust hood.

The inspection for the fire suppression system is only visible to check if all the parts are present. Rather than trying to activate the system to see if it is working, the inspector only looks at the possible damage and effects on different parts of the system. Be vigilant about the inventory of the constituent parts.

Ensure Proper Lighting


The lighting is situated in an exhaust hood to properly illuminate the area where the food is being cooked. Since the light source is placed in the hot cavity, it needs to be protected from sparking. Grease and oil are fire hazards, so if the bulb is being used without protection, the inspector will see it as going against the industry safety standards. An inspection typically checks the working of the bulb with the flick of a switch.

The Takeaway

Kitchen exhaust systems are supposed to provide proper ventilation and ensure the safety of all the people working in a commercial environment. Improper maintenance and cleaning can not only cause problems for your business but can also threaten the safety of everyone involved. Proper inspection of kitchen grease in an exhaust system will require checking the filters and the lighting. One will also have to inspect the fire suppression system, all the while following industry regulations and cleaning standards.