Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have any questions? We are ready to help. We have taken some of the most frequently asked questions and answered them here for you. If your question is still not answered please do not hesitate to contact us and speak to a specialist.

Kitchen Exhaust

Why should I clean my kitchen exhaust system?
  • By law, kitchen exhaust inspections are required for all Type 1 kitchen exhaust systems in the United States. Restaurants, hospitals, corporate cafeterias have hoods that are designed to capture grease laden vapors and remove them from the building. During the removal process residue builds up inside the ducts designed to carry the effluent.
  • If a significant amount of grease builds up, it can act as a fuel source for a fire. Even though modern ductwork is designed to withstand high temperatures, they are not designed to withstand the significant heat that can arise from a duct full of grease. 
  • Keeping the system clean removes the fuel source and mitigates the risk of a catastrophic grease fire.
Where could a service company cut corners?

A typical service should include an inspection of the entire system. To cut corners, some companies clean only what is easily visible to the customer. This usually includes the hood and filters while the remainder of the ductwork and fan are left untouched. This is commonly known as ‘Hood Shining’ and leaves the client with excessive grease buildup and an increased fire hazard.

Where does a grease fire typically start?

A grease fire typically begins at the appliances and travels up through the filters and ductwork. It is important to properly maintain all appliances as well as the hood system.

Why does my kitchen hood not seem to draw as much air as it used to?

There are a multitude of factors that may contribute to a decrease in air flow such as a loose fan belt, a missing clean-out, and lack of make-up air.

What am I required to Clean?

Most municipalities have adopted NFPA 96 as the standard of care for kitchen exhaust cleaning. A professional kitchen exhaust company considers many variables when designing the most cost-effective maintenance strategy tailored for each system. Talk with one of our specialists to design the best program for your system. For more information regarding kitchen exhaust code visit our Resources page.

How often should a kitchen exhaust system be cleaned?

The most common answer is every 3 months, however cleaning schedules can vary significantly based on a multitude of factors. For more information please refer to the NFPA 96 standards located on our  Resources page.

What should I do if my system has inaccessible sections?
If you find parts of your ductwork that does not have adequate clean-outs for cleaning and inspections, talk to our team about installing clean-outs into your system.

Fire Damper

Why should I have my fire dampers tested?

Per NFPA 80 and NFPA 105, every commercial building is required to perform regular life safety checks and inspections to verify the safety of the occupants. Commercial builds are required to have an inspection 1-year after installation, and a reinspection every 4 years thereafter. Hospitals are allowed a reinspection once every 6 years.

How frequently do they have to be tested?
The really depends on your establishment. All commercial buildings are required to have an operational test 1-year after installation. Once that is complete you are required to test your dampers every 4 years, unless you are a hospital in which case you are allowed up to 6.
What do I do if one is found inoperable?
Since dampers are part of the life safety system, any problem must be fixed without delay.


Why should I consider putting my AHU’s on a maintenance schedule?
A simple but well thought out program relies on inspection rather than automatic cleaning. Checking the static reading across the filter banks and coils tell us when filters need to be changed and coils cleaned. Simple duct inspections of areas where dust and debris may be deposited are key indicators of overall cleanliness. Clean coils, good filtration save money on energy, help maintain good air quality and system performance.
How can cleaning save energy?
Saving energy is challenging when it comes to HVAC and requires several trades to do it well. Looking at new low static filters that keep the pressure drop lower over their life span can save on energy costs. Keeping the cooling coils clean also keeps the pressure drop down which will save money. Revisiting your controls to insure they are optimizing the system and possibly add variable frequency drives can enhance overall performance.
My diffusers are dirty, should I have a cleaning?
A common misconception is that dirty streaks on ceiling tiles around registers and diffusers means the ductwork is dirty when in fact the condition of the ductwork may be having no impact on the dirty ceiling tiles. If the build up has been over a protracted period of time, simply cleaning the diffusers solves the aesthetic issue. If the build up is over a short period of time then one may wish to look at all of the potential contributing factors including house keeping, HVAC and occupant activity.