Frequently Asked Questions

Having your commercial kitchen fully functional at all times ensures both your customers and your employees are happy and safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Having your commercial kitchen fully functional at all times ensures both your customers and your employees are happy and safe.

A restaurant kitchen can never safely operate without using an exhaust hood system.

To ensure that all your restaurant kitchen equipment remains in proper running condition, you should seek the help of a service company that provides filter cleaning, air-duct cleaning, pressure washing, hood cleaning and fire suppression.

Filter Service & Installation and Best Air Systems’ technicians are trained and experienced in providing superior service to commercial kitchens across the Pittsburgh, Western Pennsylvania and entire Tri-State area.

NFPA 96 Fire Code Info ›
NFPA 96 Fire Code Info

NFPA 96 Fire Code Guide

What is NFPA 96?

NFPA 96 is a set of codes and standards for ventilation control and fire protection of commercial cooking operations by the National Fire Protection Association.

These are the standards that fire marshals follow and commercial cooking operations are required to adhere to.

The scope of NFPA 96 states:

1.1.1     The minimum fire safety requirements (preventative and operative) related to the design, installation, operation, inspection, and maintenance of all public and private cooking operations.

1.1.2     This standard shall apply to residential cooking equipment used for commercial cooking operations

1.1.3     This standard shall not apply to cooking equipment located in a single dwelling unit

Responsibility

NFPA 96 Fire Code 4.1.5 states:

“The responsibility for inspection, maintenance, and cleanliness of the ventilation control and fire protection of the commercial cooking operations shall ultimately be that of the owner of the system, provided that this responsibility has not been transferred in written form to a management company, tenant, or other party.”

NFPA 96 Fire Codes for Rooftop Grease Containment

7.8.2 Rooftop Terminations

7.8.2.1 Rooftop termination shall be arranged with or provided with the following:  

(4) The ability to drain grease out of any traps or low points formed in the fan or duct near the termination of the system into a collection container that is noncombustible, closed, rainproof, and structurally sound for the service to which it is applied and that will not sustain combustion

(5) A grease collection device that is applied to exhaust systems that does not inhibit the performance of any fan

[6] Listed grease collection systems that meet the requirements of 7.8.2.1(4) and 7.8.2.1(5)

 

8.1 Exhaust Fans for Commercial Cooking Equipment

8.1.1.3 Upblast fans shall have a drain directed to a readily accessible and visible grease receptacle not to exceed 3.8 L (1 gal).

NFPA 96 Fire Codes for Electrical Wiring & Fan Hinges

7.8.2.1 Rooftop termination shall be arranged with or provided with the following:

(8) A hinged upblast fan supplied with flexible weatherproof electrical cable and service hold-open retainer to permit inspection and cleaning that is listed for commercial cooking equipment…

8.1 Exhaust Fans for Commercial Cooking Equipment

8.1.1.1 – Approved upblast fans with motors surrounded by the airstream shall be hinged, supplied with flexible weatherproof electrical cable and service hold-open retainers, and listed for this use

9.2.1 – Wiring systems of any type shall not be installed in ducts

NFPA 96 Fire Codes for Duct Access & Access Panels

4.1.8 – All interior surfaces of the exhaust system shall be accessible for cleaning and inspection purposes

5.1.2 – All seems, joints, and penetrations of the hood enclosure that direct and capture grease-laden vapors and exhaust gases shall have a liquid tight continuous external weld to the hood’s lower outermost perimeter

7.3.1 – Openings shall be provided at the sides or at the top of the duct, whichever is more accessible, and at a change of direction

7.4.1.1 – On horizontal ducts, at least one 508 mm x 508 mm (20 in. x 20 in.) opening shall be provided for personnel entry

7.4.1.2 – Where an opening of this size is not possible, openings large enough to permit thorough cleaning shall be provided at 3.7 m (12 ft) intervals

7.4.1.3 – If not easily accessible from a 3 m (10 ft) stepladder, openings on horizontal grease duct systems shall be provided with safe access and a work platform

7.4.2.2 – Where personnel entry is not possible, adequate access for cleaning shall be provided on each floor

7.5.2.1 – all seams, joints, penetrations, and duct-to-hood collar connections shall have a liquid tight continuous external weld.

NFPA 96 Fire Codes for Fan Access Panel

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

8.1.5.3.2 – On existing upblast fans where sufficient access is not available to allow for the removal of grease contamination, an approved hinge mechanism or access panel shall be installed

11.6.1 – 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.

11.6.2 – 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.

NFPA 96 Fire Codes for Hood Grease Filters

6.1 Grease Removal Devices

6.1.1 – Listed grease filters, listed baffles, or other listed grease removal devices for use with commercial cooking equipment shall be provided

6.1.2 – Listed grease filters and grease removal devices that are removable but not an integral component of a specific listed exhaust hood shall be listed in accordance with UL 1046

6.1.3 – Mesh filters shall not be used unless evaluated as an integral part of a listed exhaust hood or listed in conjunction with a primary filter in accordance with UL 1046

6.2.3.1 – Grease filters shall be listed and constructed of steel or listed equivalent material.

6.2.3.2 – Grease filters shall be of rigid construction that will not distort or crush under normal operation, handling, and cleaning conditions

6.2.3.3 – Grease filters shall be arranged so that all exhaust air passes through the grease filters.

6.2.3.4 – Grease filters shall be easily accessible and removable for cleaning.

6.2.3.5 – Grease filters shall be installed at an angle not less than 45 degrees from the horizontal

NFPA 96 Fire Codes for Solid Fuel Cooking Systems & Spark Arrestor Filters

14.5.1 – Grease removal devices shall be constructed of steel or stainless steel or be approved for solid fuel cooking

14.5.2 – If airborne sparks and embers can be generated by the solid fuel cooking operation, spark arrestor devices shall be used prior to using the grease removal device to minimize the entrance of the sparks and embers into the grease removal device and into the hood and duct system.

14.5.3 – Filters shall be a minimum of 1.2 m (4 ft) above the appliance cooking surface

 

How long does it take to clean, service, and inspect my Kitchen Exhaust Hood System?

Generally, a service can be completed in approximately 2-3 Hrs. However, depending on the size and condition of your vent hoods, services may take longer.

Why do I need to clean my restaurant hood exhaust system?

To remove accumulated fuel (grease deposits) and prevent spontaneous combustion and fire in your hood exhaust system. This includes cleaning the hood, filters, plenum, ducts and fans (entire system).

Why can’t my employees clean my kitchen’s hood exhaust system?

Restaurant hood exhaust system cleaning requires special tools, equipment and expertise to properly and thoroughly clean the hard to access systems. Trained technicians also know how to work safely in your kitchen’s grease laden environment. NFPA 96 states that “the entire exhaust system shall be cleaned by a properly trained, qualified and certified company or persons.” Local codes often require a trained and certified company.

How often do I need to clean my kitchen’s hood exhaust system?

Each local municipality has a fire code to guide maintenance of your hood exhaust system. Municipalities often refer to NFPA 96 Guidelines (National Fire Protection Association) for their own requirements.

The NFPA 96, 2011 Standard—Table 11.4 recommendations are:

Solid Fuel (wood, charcoal) Monthly
High-volume, 24 hours ops. Quarterly
Moderate volume Semi-annually
Low-volume (camps, churches) Annually

Will my restaurant need to be closed during the time of cleaning?

Yes. In order to properly service your kitchen exhaust hoods, all cook line equipment must be turned off and properly shrouded.

As an owner, what is my responsibility in regards to cleaning the kitchen exhaust system?

According to NFPA-96 section 4.1.5: “the responsibility for inspection, testing, maintenance, and cleanliness of the ventilation control and fire protection of the commercial cooking operations shall ultimately be that of the owner of the system, provided that this responsibility has not been transferred in written form to a management company or other party.”

In other words, it is the owner’s responsibility to keep that system clean of grease and particulate buildup, and reduce the risk of a fire hazard. An incomplete cleaning performed by a low priced contractor (with most likely inadequate insurance coverage) will not protect the owner from the cost and litigation of a fire.

What is considered clean?

The industry standard is to clean to bare metal. If a system has not been cleaned properly for any length of time, sometimes it may take multiple cleanings before getting to bare metal. According to NFPA-96 section 11.6.2: “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.”

The best way to determine if a surface is clean is to inspect it. If it looks like there is an accumulation of grease on a surface, then it probably needs cleaning.

Do I have to be there at night to let you in or to lock up when you’re finished?

No. You certainly can be there if you’d like, but your presence is not necessary. We can arrange for our technicians to pick up a key and to securely lock up your establishment upon completion of cleaning. We take the utmost care for the security of your keys and property. We have many customers that arrange keys with us. Under no circumstances will we enter your restaurant without receiving direct confirmation that you are aware we are coming.

What special accommodations do I need to make to be ready for cleaning?

No special accommodations need to be made for us beyond removing food from the hood area as you normally would when closing up for the day and providing access to a cold water feed. All cleaning occurs inside a tented area we prepare at the hood. There is no impact on the surrounding areas outside the hood.

Will my restaurant kitchen hood exhaust system get a service sticker?

Yes. It is required by law that we, as a professional commercial kitchen hood exhaust system cleaning, inspection and service company, update and apply a new, certified cleaning, inspection and service sticker to every system at every interval.

Do you guarantee your work?

We do guarantee our work! If you are not satisfied with our work, we will address any issues that fall under the scope of our service immediately.

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