The kitchen exhaust fan is an essential piece to create air movement in a kitchen ventilation system, it creates a draft in the hood canopy and the duct system to remove the vapors and effluent. Cleaning and maintaining exhaust fans are an important part of your kitchen exhaust system maintenance schedule. Kitchen exhaust fans not only need to be regularly cleaned, but there are also several exhaust fan accessories you need. Some are required by law, while others make it easier and safer for personnel to access equipment for routine maintenance and cleaning.

Required NFPA 96 Exhaust Fan Accessories

Building codes protect you from a wide range of hazards – whether it is through implementing safe wiring, fire prevention, or stronger structural integrity. When a community has up-do-date building codes in place, they are more protected against hazards like these. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a global self-funded non-profit organization that is devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due fire, electrical, and related hazards. They deliver information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards.

The building code that is required on kitchen exhaust fans is provided by the NFPA. The NFPA 96 fire code provides preventive and operative fire safety requirements intended to reduce the potential fire hazard of both public and private commercial cooking operations. When inspecting or installing a kitchen exhaust fan, you should be familiar with the National Fire Protection Association’s fire code (NFPA 96) and check your local regulations. The NFPA 96 fire codes require all private commercial cooking operations to install a grease receptacle, hinge kit, and access panel on all upblast exhaust fans.

Grease Receptacles

Most kitchen exhaust fans are equipped with a grease receptacle. This is located under the downspout on your kitchen exhaust fan. This grease receptacle is a small rectangular box that contains an absorbent filter to capture fats, grease, and oil runoff from the fan. It is required by the NFPA 96 because it is important to keep grease off your rooftop. The NFPA 96 Code that refers to this area is, and it states, “UpBlast Fans must have grease receptacle not more than 1 gallon.” This regulation directly influences the frequency of cleaning.

If grease runs off onto your roof, it can lead to several dangerous rooftop hazards. Having the proper grease receptacle for your kitchen exhaust fan is vital to prevent fires, protect the roof membrane, prevent fall hazards, and prevent grease from entering waterways. For these reasons, it is important to examine the current grease receptacle to determine if it is time for an upgrade.

Rooftop grease containment systems come in a variety of styles to suit different needs. Most of the time, standard grease receptacles require frequent filter change-outs to prevent rooftop grease contamination. The level of grease containment you need depends on factors like the type of cooking fuel used and the volume of cooking your kitchen does. Because no rooftop is the same, we have five grease containment systems that can be fitted to a facility’s unique rooftop situation. Professionals have the option to equip fans with our “Off the Rooftop” solutions that are NFPA 96 compliant.

Exhaust Fan Hinge Kit

Commercial kitchen exhaust fans need to be cleaned regularly. When performing maintenance on a kitchen exhaust fan, it should never be removed from the curb and placed directly on the roof upside down or sideways. To avoid this issue, all kitchen exhaust fans should be equipped with an NFPA 96 compliant hinge kit. This provides a safer and more efficient way to access interior mechanisms and keep the fan locked in place while servicing it. The NFPA 96 Code that refers to this area is, and it states, “Rooftop Fans to be hinged with flexible electrical cable and hold open retainer/stop.”

The NFPA requires exhaust fan hinge installation on upblast fans to improve fire and personnel safety. A proper hinge makes it easier and safer to access the inside of the exhaust fan during inspection, cleaning, and maintaining the fan. In addition to meeting the NFPA 96 Code, installation of a proper hinge does three things.

  1. Increases the safety of service personnel involved with cleaning the fan.
  2. It can significantly increase the longevity of the fan.
  3. Prevents grease leaks by maintaining the fan roof curb.

Exhaust Fan Access Panel

During the commercial kitchen fan maintenance it is vital to thoroughly clean the fan blades. If the fan blades are not properly cleaned, it can cause the fan to become unbalanced. Unbalanced fans cause unnecessary wear and hinder the amount of air that is drawn out, leading to fan failure. To prevent this from occurring, the NFPA 96 requires that all upblast exhaust fans have an access cleanout port. The NFPA 96 Code that refers to this area is, and it states, “Fan access panel/port on all UpBlast Fans for thorough cleaning of the backside of the fan blades.”

This access cleanout port is a 4” hole that is drilled into the side of the fan, at level of the wheel assembly. Through this cleanout port, cleaning professionals have direct access to the fan blades. Without this direct access, thorough cleaning of the blades would be next to impossible. It can also contribute to your fire hazard risk.

Being knowledgeable about building codes and NFPA 96 is critical to avoid potential costly problems. When you educate the people in your sphere of influence to understand the risks of fire and how to prevent them, you protect more than just property from the devastation of fire; you protect people’s lives. If you have any questions regarding Omni Containment System’s products, contact us today. We would be happy to explain how our grease containment solutions can get your facility code compliant.