Kitchen Ventilation Systems are mechanical systems. Much like changing the oil on your car, they need to be maintained in order to prevent damage to components and system breakdowns. Every system is different, whether it’s the style of fans, level of usage, and accessibility to perform service. Call us anytime in order to discuss your options regarding Preventative Maintenance: 1-800-524-7352.
Most kitchen ventilation systems fall into the following three categories in regards to how often they should be mechanically serviced:
Once per Year: Seasonal/Low Usage:
These are your seasonal restaurants that are open 3-6 months out of the year (Ex: Theme Parks, Restaurants in vacation towns) or locations that only have limited operation once a week/month (Ex: Churches, Concession Stands, Corporate Test Kitchens). To save on operating costs, we recommend only servicing these types of locations 1 time a year.
Twice per Year: Standard Operation:
90% of the kitchen ventilation systems in the market fall into this category. They are open either all year round or for the majority of the year, and have standard equipment (Ex: Restaurants). Over the last decade, we have found that every 6 months is about the sweet spot for how often it takes to adequately maintain these types of locations. It is a good compromise between spending too much money on service that is overkill, and too little.
3 to 4+ Times per Year: 24/7 operation, Critical Operation, Specialty Equipment:
This is the rarest type of kitchen ventilation system in the industry. Not often do you need to change out a fan belt more periodically than every 6 months to prevent having a problem. With that said, some systems are so operation critical, that the management is willing to pay the extra money in an attempt to prevent breakdowns. Also falling into this category are systems that are continuously operating 24/7 or ones that utilize specialty equipment that have more frequent servicing needs (Ex: Restaurants equipped with Pollution Control Systems).
There are many different opinions out there regarding exact protocol for what should be replaced, serviced and or checked on a regularly scheduled check-up. At the bare minimum, the following is what we recommend. Granted every system is different, the owner’s manual for the equipment should be referenced as well as a guide:
- Belt Replacement.
- Make up air filter Cleaning. (Offsite)
- Bearing greasing.
- Heater/Cooling functionality testing.
- General performance of hood system. (smoke and heat capture)
- Cleaning of air filter for electrical control cabinet.
You will notice that we do not list items such as voltage and motor amperage recording or RPM reading every time we are onsite. Obtaining information like this, depending on the condition of the system, can sometimes cause more harm than good. Information of this type is more used in the event of troubleshooting a system when it is underperforming. We recommend to keep it simple for two reasons. 1) To keep the cost down, 2) To be the least intrusive on the cooking operation.
Below is how we as a company approach Planned Service:
Kitchen Air Inc’s Method of Service:
- Identify a Service Company that is local to your area and capable of providing you with quality service. If there are a number of choices, eliminate the least expensive choice. Use the guide below as a helpful resource in selecting a quality service provider. Ask specific questions and document answers. There is also a map on our website that lists some of the companies all across the US: “Link to Service provider resource”.
Questions to ask while selecting an adequate Kitchen Ventilation Service Provider:
- How are emergencies handled? Do you provide 24/7 coverage?
- How soon do they guarantee a technician onsite?
- What is the extent of the stocked parts in your inventory?
- Do you stock spare parts on your trucks? If so, what parts are stocked? If not, is there an hourly rate charged when parts need to be picked up from a supply house?
- Who is your biggest competitor? If they say they don’t know they are lying.
- Do they partner with any other companies that provide similar services in case for that one time they are not available?
- Perform an initial system inspection. This should be conducted by a professional service company. They will identify what kind of system you have and what is required to regularly maintain it properly. (# of Fans, Exhaust and Supply. Ex: Belts, Filters, Bearings, Cleaning Detergent.)
- Make any Repairs or adjustments to system prior to the first preventative service visit. Yes you may spend a little money, but it will be money well spent.
- Identify how periodically Your system needs to be serviced. 12 months, 6 months, 3 months, etc.
- Identify any regularly scheduled replacement parts required by the system. Belts are usually the only parts that fall under this category. If your exhaust and supply fans require belts to operate, the belts should be replaced at each service interval defined in step #4.
- We make this step hassle-free by giving the owner the ability to order an initial spare backup set of belts directly off our website, and then have the required set being replaced automatically shipped to your location at each interval of preventative maintenance service: “link to our belts page”. This ensures that belts are getting changed every time and on time. In addition, our belts are extremely affordable, and fresher compared to the ones supplied by the service company. It also keeps the backup set of belts fresh. When each new set of belts arrives, replace the worn belts with the backup set each time and the spare emergency set will never get dry-rotted.
- Make the decision on whether or not you would like to stock any emergency parts onsite besides belts(covered in step #5). This mainly pertains to exhaust fan motors. Identify the exhaust fans that are critical to the kitchen ventilation systems operation. If there are any that you know you absolutely could not operate without, then find out what kind of motor is inside of it (HP, Phase, Voltage, RPM, Frame. Sometimes it’s easier just to take a picture of the motor label itself). If you want to save some money, you can order it yourself on our website “link to our motors page”, if not, have your service company provide the motor for you.
- Once the system is on a regular scheduled service regimen, the only step is knowing who to call in case of an emergency or to report a concern regarding system performance.
- Your Regular Preventative Service Provider.
- Backup Service Company #1
- Kitchen Air Inc’s Corporate Technical Support Line: 1-800-524-7352
- Establish how you plan on cleaning your Hood grease filters. This is important for sustaining proper exhaust airflow and prevent a fire hazard. Choose the most economical way, whether it’s the inhouse cooking staff or an outside professional hood filter exchange company. Make sure whoever is performing the cleaning gets the filters back to bare-metal. It is much better to perform cleaning less periodically and 100% proficient, than more periodically and not as well.