It is the least talked about part of a kitchen exhaust system, yet it is probably the most notorious spot for many kitchen exhaust cleaners! Just gaining access to this exclusive area can make some kitchen exhaust cleaners turn and walk away. This essential area of the kitchen exhaust system is the exhaust system’s ductwork. The kitchen exhaust ducts connect from the kitchen exhaust hood to transfer air to the termination point, the kitchen exhaust fan. Even though the kitchen exhaust hood or canopy takes the brunt of the high heat and grease, the kitchen exhaust ducts also accumulate grease laden vapors. That is why the NFPA 96 fire code addresses the kitchen exhaust system’s ductwork in detail.
Kitchen exhaust cleaners are tasked with cleaning a restaurant’s kitchen exhaust system from the hood up to the rooftop kitchen exhaust fan. All the grease laden surfaces must be cleaned down to bare metal. Failing to keep the kitchen exhaust system clean will compromise its ability to do its job. Once too much grease builds up, the risk of dangerous flash fires can occur within the kitchen exhaust ductwork. For kitchen exhaust cleaners to clean the ductwork they must rely heavily on gaining access to a long maze of connecting ductwork. In some restaurant environments, this involves complex systems with hundreds of feet of lateral ductwork. These types of jobs require a lot of technicians, multiple ladders setups, and chemical applications.
The Standard Practice
Every night kitchen exhaust cleaning crews set out across the country with the mission to keep restaurants safe from the risk of fire. The standard practice of cleaning the kitchen exhaust ductwork is labor intensive and should be performed at the highest quality for a thorough, fire code compliant cleaning. As with the hood canopy, this involves a standard power washing truck or van equipped with a hot water pressure system.
These cleaning services include scraping the ducts to remove grease deposits from the accessible areas. The build-up of fats, oils, and grease in kitchen exhaust systems ductwork can be heavily grease ladened. The use of high-quality chemicals is required to remove the grease. This combination is repeated for each access point in the ductwork. Scrape, chemical, rinse, repeat. Depending on the type of chemical utlized this could involve mulitiple reapplications, climbing onto equipment, ladders, and multiple moves. In addition, there are different pressure washing tips that can be attached to help get into difficult angles and tight nooks and bends in the ductwork. In the event that a particular area of the ductwork is inaccessible, an access panel must be installed, or noted as inaccessible in the kitchen exhaust cleaners report.
The TEGRAS Method
Each restaurant produces grease that is directly connected to what they are cooking which can affect the effectiveness of removing grease laden vapors within the kitchen exhaust ductwork. As with the standard method, application of the chemical is fundamental to the entire process. TEGRAS owners have found that the COMEGRAS chemical makes a notable difference!
Many kitchen exhaust cleaners have run into troublesome grease at some point in their career that required finding the right mixture of chemicals. With COMEGRAS, that is an issue no more. COMEGRAS is extremely effective on all types of grease, and unlike many chemicals because it is formulated to create a heavy duty active foam. When the active foam is applied it clings to the walls of the ductwork. Dwell time is key and depending on the severity of the buildup, reapplication may be required. The active foam will go from white to orange in color as it breaks down the grease. The heavy duty foam will cling and pull the grease down from surfaces.
Application of Chemical
The application of chemical in kitchen exhaust ductwork can be tricky for kitchen exhaust cleaners. It relies heavily on access points in the kitchen exhaust ductwork and spraying the chemical onto the duct surfaces. With the TEGRAS equipment, you can reach areas that scrapers and powerwashers cannot! The TEGRAS concept utilizes duct brushing robots to apply the chemical! This automates the procedure of applying chemical onto the duct surfaces with four different models to choose from:
The MULTIPRO is the most technologically advanced robot in the TEGRAS line. Unlike other models, the MULTIPRO lets you integrate a video-inspection system for exhaust ductwork views. It is a self-leveling camera system that provides upright images even when the camera is tilted; now you can inspect and clean at the same time! The MULTIPRO also offers the choice of working remotely through use of a wrist remote control. The most advanced pneumatic robotic design integrates a foam system to distribute the COMEGRAS foam throughout the ductwork. There is no need for additional equipment! This is a powerful machine designed to restore the toughest kitchen exhaust systems down to the bare metal!
The FORTE is also a pneumatic duct brushing robot, this machine connects with an active foam generator to distribute the COMEGRAS foam throughout the ductwork. When connected, it projects a dense foam that adheres to the inside of walls dissolving grease. Like the MULTIPRO, it features 98-feet of semi-rigid hose to work vertically, horizontally, and make 90-degree bends.
The IBRUSH is a small electric portable duct brushing robot. This machine requires connection with the IFOAM active foam generator, which adheres to the walls of the ducts. Its compact size makes it ideal for accessing ductwork with limited access! It is agile enough to make 8-15 foot runs with its 25-foot hose length.
The EON is an electric rotary brushing tool. This machine also requires connection with the IFOAM active foam generator to distribute the COMEGRAS homogeneneously inside the duct. It is the ideal equipment for the cleaning of medium-sized exhaust ducts.
Rinsing the Duct System
That standard method of cleaning involves the use of a powerwash truck or van located outside a facility. KEC’s will then feed the hose to access point of the ductwork to hot pressure wash the inside of the duct surfaces. With the TEGRAS method, the duct brushing robots will polish and rinse the ducts for a perfect shine. The brushes are an essential element between the brushing robot and duct cleaning. For square duct cleaning a combination of two brushes are required and you only have to measure the height of the duct to know the correct size of brush to utilize.
Upgrading or purchasing the right equipment can be instrumental in helping your KEC company tackle these tough jobs. It is common for businesses to get to a point where they have plateaued and need to invest in their business for it to grow and become more profitable. With the TEGRAS line of equipment, you can elevate your business. As a kitchen exhaust cleaner, you want to ensure that not only are your clients happy, but their spaces are free of all grease. The easier that job is on you and your employees, the better. Once you obtain your own set of TEGRAS equipment, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you will save your business both time and money.