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.

 
Choosing the right hood grease filter is an essential part of a safe, comfortable and productive commercial kitchen. How do you narrow down the search? The key is to answer two simple questions about your kitchen and cooking techniques:

Does your cooking equipment burn solid fuel?

Mesquite, briquettes, charcoal and hardwood are all examples of solid fuel. If the answer to this question is “yes,” then you need a spark arrestor filter. A spark arrestor is a steel screen mounted to a baffle filter. Its function is to stop flames, embers and sparks from finding their way into the hood exhaust ductwork.

If the answer is “no,” move on to the next question to help you choose the right baffle hood grease filter.

Do you cook in a high-volume kitchen?

If “yes,” then you want a heavyweight filter. Your best options include:

  • Heavy-duty stainless steel: As the most popular baffle filter choice, this rugged option is made of heavy gauge steel designed to withstand the rigors of a commercial kitchen. It’s a great choice for any high-volume cooking application.
  • Hinged stainless steel: The hinged feature allows the filter to be opened for a thorough, hassle-free cleaning in the dishwasher. The higher cost could be worth the extra convenience and grease collecting abilities.
  • Galvanized: This is the lowest-cost option of all filters. While it’s heavy and durable, the dull finish makes it an eyesore. That’s why it’s rarely used in open kitchen environments.

If the answer is “no,” you might be able to get away with less durable options, including:

  • Standard-duty stainless steel: You get the shiny aesthetic of stainless steel in a lighter-weight package. This type of hood filter is only 1.5 inches thick, meaning it doesn’t meet NPFA 96 fire code standards and is not UL listed.
  • Aluminum: This inexpensive option is more prone to damage and corrosion than stainless steel or galvanized filters. The shiny finish makes it an aesthetically pleasing option in low-volume open kitchens.

When to Replace Hood Filters

There is no standard timeline for replacing hood filters. The type of filter, cooking application, kitchen volume and maintenance history all impact the life of a filter. In some kitchens, filters may last a few years. In others, they may need to be replaced every six to eight months.

If you still aren’t sure what type of filter you need, our “How To” video and downloadable hood filter guide both offer detailed information on choosing the right hood filter.

Remember, if you’re only replacing a handful of hood filters, it’s best to choose a style and material that matches your existing filters for continuity across the kitchen. If you’re starting from scratch, consider investing in the best exhaust grease filters available. You can find what you’re looking for at HoodFilters.com.

Baffle Boss

There’s no doubt you need to remove baffle filters regularly for cleaning purposes. How do you perform this task safely? Do you rely on knocking the filters out of place, or even climbing onto the cooking equipment to retrieve them? These unsafe methods could damage the hood filter or even result in employee injury.

The safest bet is to abandon these rudimentary methods and invest in a useful hood filter remover and lifting tool called the Baffle Boss. This device makes removing filters easy, safe and hassle-free, even for the shortest kitchen staff member.


Baffle Boss Features

  • Adjustable angle: The head of the Baffle Boss features five different positions to accommodate the precise angle of the filters in your exhaust hood.The filter remover and lifting tool comes with several features for convenience and ease of use that make it compatible with most types of filters.
  • Adjustable, universal prongs: The lifting prongs adjust from 9 3/4 inches to 15 inches across, so that they can fit between the baffles of your specific filters for stable operation. The precise prong adjustments make this tool suitable for removing most baffle filter sizes and brands.
  • Specialty prongs: If you use Kason hood filters or Flame Guard hood filters in your commercial kitchen, separate prongs are available to accommodate the baffles on these filters.
  • Convenience features: The 5-foot-long Baffle Boss is lightweight so the tool itself is not a hindrance. It also folds flat for easy, space-saving storage.


How to Use the Baffle Boss

Ease of use is what makes the filter remover and lifting tool such a handy device to have in your kitchen. To remove the filter, simply insert the prongs between the baffles, lift the filter out of its channel and guide it out of the hood.

To replace the filter, make sure you install it so the baffles run in a vertical (up and down) position. This allows gravity to draw the grease down into the collection system. Angle the top edge of the filter so it extends into the hood opening. Lower the filter into its channel and the bottom edge should land snugly in place.

Now that you understand how easy it is to use the Baffle Boss, we hope you’ll make it a permanent tool in your commercial kitchen to safely install and remove hood filters.

 
If you think the type of commercial kitchen lighting you use makes no difference, think again. LED kitchen lights are far more advanced than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. When you choose an LED kitchen light, you can expect to enjoy plenty of benefits, but remember, not all LEDs are created equal.

Benefits of LED Lighting

  • Energy savings: LED lamps consume at least 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, reducing operating expenses. Just ask restaurants that have already implemented LED kitchen lighting, such as Chili’s, which enjoys an estimated yearly savings of $3.7 million across all its franchise locations. Applebee’s also reports an 80% reduction in its kilowatt hour light load.
  • Reduced maintenance costs: LED bulb replacements are few and far between thanks to an impressive 50,000-hour rating. That’s a lifespan 35 to 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs and 2 to 5 times longer than fluorescents. That means no hassle and no replacement costs for a long, long time after the initial installation.
  • Durability: LED bulbs are break resistant thanks to a polycarbonate enclosure.

FlameGardLED
Choosing the Right LED Hood Light

While the LED light is an amazing technology, it’s possible to get it wrong. Bad designs lead to a number of problems, some of which are immediately apparent while others are not.

To ensure you end up with an LED kitchen light that meets your high standards, look no further than the Flame Gard LED-40000x Series. The 3500K-4500K bulb is a particularly perfect replacement for Edison-style screw-in exhaust canopy hood lights.

Here are some features to expect:

  • At only 12 watts, the LED hood light generates 960 lumens.
  • The bulb is mercury-free for easy disposal at the end of its life.
  • This is the only UL listed LED bulb rated to 75 degrees C (167 degrees F) with a maximum operating temperature of 80 degrees C (176 degrees F).
  • A five-year warranty protects against defects.
  • With no ballast to warm up, the bulb reaches maximum light output immediately.
  • No ultraviolet emission means insects are not attracted to the light.
  • Installation is a breeze. The bulb fits any standard A19/E26/E27 fixture with no adapter required.
  • The existing globe may need to be reinstalled to comply with the UL listing and accommodate the LED bulb.

Take a simple step toward a more energy-efficient kitchen by installing LED hood lights in your commercial kitchen. We guarantee your satisfaction when you choose a canopy hood lighting solution from HoodFilters.com.

KasonMainImageShadow
Some of the most common complaints about hood filters are related to rattling, cleaning, and repair issues found with riveted style filters. Riveted construction is very common and certainly doesn’t prevent a filter from doing its job. They are a little cheaper and UL Listed models can meet all NFPA fire code standards. However, all things being equal, a welded product is always a superior option to riveted from the standpoint of durability and maintenance.

That’s why we now offer Kason Trapper® grease filters. These uniquely designed dual action filters feature a patented two-piece welded design that combines the baffles and frame into one solid metal unit. This eliminates the problem of loose baffles and rattling often found with riveted filters and offers greater durability and longer life. Plus, the seamless, aerodynamic design promotes better drain-off, improves airborne grease collection and makes the filters easier to clean.

Kason Trapper® filters are fully interchangeable with existing products and require less maintenance than ordinary baffle hood filters. They meet all National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) fire code standards and provide an exceptionally reliable flame barrier.

They are available in both stainless and galvanized steel and are UL Listed and Classified in both the US and Canada. They even meet the National Sanitation Foundation criteria for safety and sanitation.

If corrosion resistance is important to you, the stainless steel Kason filters are one of the only filters made of 304 stainless steel. Most hood filters are made of 430 stainless steel, which is a little shinier and cheaper, but less resistant to corrosion.

Optional locking handles may be purchased, and for those using CaptiveAire® hood systems, a hanging hook kit is also available. Kason welded stainless steel hood filters and welded galvanized hood filters are available on our website now. If you have questions or need help determining the right one to order, visit our Hood Filter Buying Guide or give us a call at 877.394.9731.

 

 
Commercial kitchen exhaust hood and ventilation systems are essential to providing a clean environment by removing grease-laden air and pollutants. But without properly fitting hood filters, the system can quickly become unbalanced, inefficient, and non compliant with building and fire regulations.

While hood filters are affordable and available in a range of sizes, many kitchen hoods don’t match up exactly with standard commercial hood filter sizes. Custom-sized filters are an option, but they can be very expensive. Luckily, you do not need to spend the extra money on custom-made filters. By using hood filter spacers, you can bridge the gap between your hood size and the filters available.

Hood filter spacers are available in stainless steel, galvanized, and aluminum to flawlessly match your kitchen’s look. This is especially important in open kitchens where you want an attractive presentation. They come in custom sizes between one and a half and six inches wide.

Measuring your hood for filters and spacers is easy. Say, for instance, you have a hood that is 85 inches wide and 9.5 inches tall. To fill this space, you would need four 10 by 16 filters and one 10 by 20 filter. The leftover space would be filled with a 3.5 inch filter spacer. Spacers are always the same height as the filters. For more information, check out our video on using filter spacers to avoid the high cost of custom filters.

When installing hood filter spacers, always put them at one or both ends of your hood. These areas have the lowest heat flow and allow you to have the filters where you can maximize the flow of air.

Fitting your kitchen’s hood using filter spacers saves significant amounts of cash and also saves time that would otherwise be spent waiting for your custom filters to be fabricated. Use our handy online calculator to determine which commercial hood filters and spacers you need.

 
Accurate measurements are vital to ensure that your vent hood filters work properly. Filters should fit your exhaust hood snug, with no gaps that could allow grease and debris into your exhaust system. We have provided a simple online tool to determine what size filters you need.

Hood filters should always be installed with the baffles running vertically (top to bottom). This allows grease to run down the grooves to the grease trough and then collect in the grease tray below.

MeasureVentHood

If you are replacing filters, you can begin by measuring the vent hood filters you currently have. A baffle filter’s size is always expressed with the height first. When measuring, round up to the next half-inch. So, a filter that measures 19.5 inches high and 15.5 inches wide is considered a 20 by 16 filter.

When installing filters in a new kitchen hood, begin by measuring the hood opening. Enter the dimensions of your exhaust hood into our online calculator by typing the width and selecting the height from our pull-down menu. The calculator will tell you how many of each size filter you need.

In some cases, a kitchen’s hood will not match standard filter sizes exactly. While many people believe that this means you will need custom hood filters, that is not the case. Any leftover space that measures more than .5 inches horizontally can be filled using hood filter spacers. Spacers can be installed at one or both ends where they will least impede airflow. Spacers can measure up to 6 inches wide.

For instance, if you have an exhaust hood that measures 19.5 inches tall by 92 inches wide, you will need three 20 by 16 filters, one 20 by 20 and one 20 by 25. There will be a half-inch gap that can be filled with a custom spacer.

Always double-check your work when measuring your exhaust hood and filters. This will prevent the additional delays and costs of ordering errors. Need help? Our “How To Measure A Hood Filter” video and our “Hood Sizing Guide” both offer easy to follow, step-by-step instructions.

 
BurgerKingFireThe National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has established many codes and standards for fire safety and prevention, including NFPA 96. All fire codes in this section relate to commercial kitchen exhaust systems.

NFPA 96 Fire Code 4.1.5, for example, makes it clear that it’s the restaurant owner’s responsibility to have their ventilation control and fire protection systems inspected, maintained and cleaned. This all-encompassing statement can be broken down into the following categories:

Rooftop Grease Containment: NFPA 96 Fire Codes 7.8.2 & 8.1.1.3

Upblast fans should feature a drain that sends grease into a receptacle no larger than one gallon in volume. Restaurant owners must make sure grease can drain from traps or low points into this closed, rainproof collection container. This container should not inhibit the operation of any fan within the system

Electrical Wiring & Fan Hinges: NFPA 96 Fire Codes 7.8.2.1, 8.1.1.1 & 9.2.1

Rooftop termination should include an approved, hinged upbast fan to make inspection and cleaning easy and convenient. An exhaust fan hinge kit is exactly what restaurant owners need to comply. Also, electrical cables should be weatherproof and no wiring should be installed in the ducts.

Duct Access Panels: NFPA 96 Fire Codes 4.1.8, 7.3.1 & 7.4.1

The NFPA requires all interior duct surfaces to be accessible for inspection and cleaning. A duct access panel should be present at the top or side of the duct. Horizontal ducts require at least a 20-inch by 20-inch opening for personnel entry. When an opening of this size is not possible, a large enough duct access panel for adequate cleaning is required every 12 feet with work platforms as needed. You can find a complete selection of NFPA approved duct access panels here.

Spark Arrestor Filters and Hood Filter Removal: NFPA 96 Fire Codes 6.1, 6.2 & 14.5

Restaurant owners should choose UL-listed hood filters made of rigid steel or equivalent material. These should be installed no less than 45 degrees from the horizontal and be easily accessible and removable for cleaning, which should take place monthly, weekly or even daily depending on cooking volume and application. Solid fuel cooking operations should also include a spark arrestor installed at least 4 feet above the cooking surface. The spark arrestor should be below the grease removal device to reduce the entrance of embers and sparks into the hood and ductwork.

Hood Cleaning and Maintenance: NFPA 96 Fire Codes 11.4 and 11.6

All appurtenances (hoods, filters, fans and ducts) should be cleaned by a certified commercial kitchen exhaust system cleaning company before the exhaust system becomes too heavily contaminated with oily sludge. This requires the entire exhaust system to be cleaned monthly for solid fuel cooking operations and quarterly for other high-volume non-solid fuel cooking applications.

HoodFilters.com is a valuable resource for cleaning products needed to keep a commercial kitchen exhaust system up and running. For more information about NFPA fire codes and making you’re in compliance, visit our website or contact us at 877.394.9731.

Commercial kitchens generate more grease than one would like. When the grease isn’t handled properly it can damage equipment, cause odors, start fires and even put you on the wrong side of the EPA and other government codes and restrictions. Learn a little more about your grease control obligations and how to keep your kitchen safe:

In the Kitchen

About 60% of all clogged drains and sewage lines are caused by grease.  The lines become clogged when the oil and grease solidify when cold water hits. Contrary to belief, mixing grease with soapy water doesn’t unclog the line, it actually sticks to the side of your pipes over a series of days.

NFPA 96, a set of code and standards used by fire marshals nationwide, requires that your kitchen’s exhaust system be equipped with grease filters. These filters keep grease out of your ventilation, significantly reducing the risk of fire.

How to control grease in your kitchen:

  • Never pour grease down the sink or drains in the floors.
  • Ensure that all kitchen hoods are equipped with grease filters and clean them regularly.
  • Use low-temperature automatic dishwashers to reduce the amount of grease that gets into sewage lines.
  • Educate your employees on proper grease management procedures.

Around Your Dumpsters

When grease escapes from your dumpster, it could travel down into the storm drains and cause damage to local bodies of water. In order to prevent this from happening, local and state authorities enforce grease regulations to prevent the surrounding bodies of water from being contaminated. Here are a few tips to manage your grease dumpster area:

  • Make sure that dumpsters are never overfilled.
  • Keep lids on dumpsters to keep wildlife from pulling out trash that can spread grease and other debris.
  • Never hose off the area around your dumpster, as that can cause water pollution.
  • It’s best not to dispose of grease in dumpsters, as they can leak. Instead, use dedicated grease collection units that are emptied regularly.

On the Roof

Grease, oil and debris are discharged from your upblast exhaust fan and collect on your roof. Rooftop grease control is a necessity to prevent fires, roof damage, and keep you on the right side of local and federal regulations. NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards and codes require grease capture systems for your ventilation fan. A rooftop grease containment system will allow water to pass through while keeping oily residue from escaping.

LaneGuard Pavement Protection

The Lane Guard low profile ground mounting pavement protection system is design to trap and contain grease spills and oil leaks before they enter the environment.

It’s Up To You

Like it or not, commercial kitchens are ultimately responsible for the fats, oils, and grease (FOG) they create. In addition to being a possible cause of structural damage and increasing your risk for fire, any grease not properly contained has the potential to send harmful pollutants into nearby rivers, lakes or other bodies of water.

Educate staff on why grease management is so important. People are more willing to support an effort when they understand the basis for it. By using proper grease containment systems and performing routine cleaning of your exhaust hoods and filters, using absorbent pads around grease dumpsters you can help stop FOG in its tracks and keep it from causing unnecessary and often costly issues for your business or the environment.

Commercial kitchens have all the ingredients for starting a destructive fire, and restaurant fires pose a unique risk because they gather potentially large numbers of customers at one time. That increased risk is exactly why the National Fire Protection Association has developed the NFPA 96 – Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations.

Keeping up with various building and fire codes can be challenging, but it’s a critical and worth the effort. You do want your commercial kitchen to be compliant, right?

In order to help you do just that, we’re going tell you about a couple of kitchen exhaust fire codes you may not be aware of.

Hinge Kits: NFPA 96 Fire Code 8.1.1.1

This fire code specifically states that “approved upblast fans with motors surrounded by the airstream shall be hinged.”
At HoodFilters.com we offer three kinds of exhaust fan hinge kits to choose from:

  • L-Bar hinge kits: This inexpensive option holds the exhaust fan open without the use of chains. It extends beyond the curb, requiring at least 2- to 3-inch clearance. This fan hinge is available in standard and heavy duty models and comes with a one-year warranty.
  • Driploc hinge kits: The hinge itself resembles a metal door hinge. Chains attach to the opening to preventing the fan from opening too wide. This versatile option has no space restrictions, and regular and over-sized versions allow it to fit every fan size. It comes with a lifetime limited warranty.
  • Omni Super hinges: This is the most durable fan hinge available. It uses a holding pin to lock the exhaust fan into place at 45 or 90 degrees. There are no space restrictions; the Omni Super hinge can fit any fan and duct combination. It comes with a lifetime warranty for peace of mind.

Exhaust Fan Access Panels: NFPA 96 Fire Code 8.1.5.3

The first fire code in this section (8.1.5.3.1) requires upblast fans to have “an access opening of a minimum 3 inches by 5 inches or a circular diameter of 4 inches on the curvature of the outer fan housing to allow for cleaning and inspection of the fan blades.”
The second fire code (8.1.5.3.2) addresses existing non-compliant upblast fans, stating that “an approved hinge mechanism or access panel shall be installed…to allow for the removal of grease contamination.”

An exhaust fan access port is necessary to clean the fan blades. That’s why the NFPA has established this fire code. If you’re modifying an existing upblast fan, rest assured that it’s quite simple to install an exhaust fan access panel. You can watch the entire process of installing a Driploc exhaust fan access panel in our “how-to” video. With the proper tools, field installation only takes about five minutes!

 

For more information, visit HoodFilters.com or call 877.394.9731 to speak with one of our product specialists.