National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 96 is the standard for ventilation control and fire protection of commercial cooking operation. It is the standard that mandates the service cleaning of kitchen exhaust systems as well as establishes service cleaning interval schedules.
This means that kitchen exhaust system cleaning for commercial kitchens is not only required, but that each account provides recurring revenue through mandated maintenance schedules.
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.
This code specifies that a system should be cleaned ‘prior’ to the buildup of heavy grease deposits. The goal of this code is to limit the amount of grease (fuel) that exists within a kitchen exhaust system. This can be seen in the before and after pictures below.
To assist the customer, fire department, and vendor on protecting the establishment, NFPA 96 also provides Table 11.4, which gives each customer a guideline on how often a system should be serviced depending on the volume of their cooking operation.
NFPA 96 defines cleaning cycles from monthly to annually. Typically, the majority of commercial kitchens are cleaned quarterly, meaning quarterly recurring service and revenue. In addition, insurance companies require proof of service.