Your hood filters are the first line of defense in your kitchen exhaust system. They keep grease and debris from entering the ventilation system to maintain environmental quality and reduce the risk of fires. But, to do their job well, your exhaust hood filters must be in top working condition.
There is no set schedule for replacing hood filters. The life of a filter will depend on factors that include the type of filter, how well it’s maintained, and the amount of grease, debris and heat it is exposed to. Many busy restaurants need to replace exhaust hood filters every six to eight months. Others are able to go as long as two years between replacements. Different filters have different effective lives. Stainless steel filters last longer than aluminum or galvanized. You will also get longer life from heavy-duty filters vs. standard-duty.
Each time you clean your filters, inspect them for signs that it is time for them to be replaced. Look for corrosion, dents, holes and warping that prevent the filter from sitting snugly in the hood opening. Any filters that show these sorts of damage should be replaced to keep grease from getting further into your kitchen exhaust system.
The life of a hood filter can be extended through conscientious maintenance and care. Never use bleach or harsh chemicals when cleaning your filters, as this can cause corrosion. Aluminum filters are particularly vulnerable to corrosion. Handle filters gently to prevent dents. The best way to clean filters is to hand-wash them; this allows you to thoroughly clean them without causing excess damage.
Keep filters clean and replace those that are worn or damaged as quickly as possible. By carefully maintaining your filters and checking them regularly, you can extend their life and protect the functionality of your kitchen exhaust system.