Duct cleaning frequency is a huge aspect of NFPA 96 Standard compliance. A common question is how often should my ducts be cleaned or inspected, and by who? How often your exhaust system should be inspected depends on the volume of cooking your commercial cooking operation goes through. Higher cooking volume means higher grease buildup and more frequent duct cleaning and inspection.
Commercial cooking operations that are open around the clock, or are cooking continuously, need to be cleaned far more frequently than those that don’t. These types of businesses should go through inspection and cleaning every business quarter to help remain in compliance with NFPA 96 Standards. Commercial cooking operations that are considered moderate volume, like a restaurant only open for breakfast would need inspection and cleaning less frequently. Businesses that fall into this category only need to have their exhaust systems cleaned and inspected about two or three times a year. If you are unsure, cleaner is always better. I would suggest sticking to the higher number of cleanings. If your business involves some cooking, but is far from high-volume, a yearly inspection and cleaning may be right for you. This may include businesses that are open seasonally.
NFPA 96 Table 11.3 Exhaust System Inspection Schedule
|Type or Volume of Cooking||Inspection Frequency|
|Systems serving solid fuel cooking operations||Monthly|
|Systems serving high-volume cooking operations such as 24-hour cooking, charbroiling, or wok cooking||Quarterly|
|Systems serving moderate-volume cooking operations||Semi-annually|
|Systems serving low-volume cooking operations such as churches, day camps, seasonal businesses, or senior centers||Annually|
This cleaning schedule is determined by cleaning a duct completely and then returning a month later to measure the grease that has accumulated in those 30 days. Based on this measurement, it has been determined how often a commercial cooking operation should have its ducts cleaned. Determining cleaning frequency is also based on cooking equipment.
Type 1 vs Type 2 Licenses
Inspections need to be done by a certified exhaust system inspector. For instance, in the state of Massachusetts, there are two types of licenses for commercial cleaning professionals. They are called Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 duct cleaning professionals are those that have gone through training and are certified to perform the inspection and cleaning of a multitude of commercial cooking operations. Type 2 licenses include a certification that is limited to allowance of cleaning commercial cooking operations that they own or advance. An individual with a Type 2 license cannot inspect their own commercial cooking operation but they can clean it. These particular licenses apply specifically to Massachusetts, which holds one of the more aggressive requirements in the US. It is best to check with your state jurisdiction for the official requirements of your area.
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