A pressure washer works by utilizing the power of water—often in combination with soaps and other cleaning chemicals—to remove hard-to-clean dirt, grease, stains, and other messes.
Even when using just water, pressure washers do a great job of cleaning dirt off any number of surfaces because water molecules have a slight electrical polarity (which means one end is positively charged and the other end is negatively charged), so they stick to whatever you are trying to clean. And the narrow, high-pressure water jet of hot or cold water that pressure washers deliver blasts away dirt and grime. But how can you know when to use hot water or cold water? What’s the difference, and does it matter?
Cold Water VS Hot Water
Cold Water Pressure Washers
If you are seeking a less expensive power washer, you’ll want to look for cold water ones. These are perfect for light to medium cleaning projects as well as jobs where hot water might cause damage to a surface. (Hot water, for example, can cause bare wood to swell, splinter, and split.) Think of cold water pressure washers as penetrative scrapers; they are perfect for cleaning siding and decks as well as boats, cars, and trucks.
Hot Water Pressure Washers
Any job that requires heavy duty cleaning or removal of oil or grease, on the other hand, will probably require a hot water pressure washer. These will do a better job of breaking up and removing oily and grimy dirt. Think about when you do dishes; hot water does a much better job of cleaning them. These are perfect for cleaning engines, construction equipment, oily driveways, and other situations where sanitation is a concern like in restaurant kitchens. Hot water power washers are also better for colder climates and weather as they will not freeze.
As a general rule, hot water will have better cleaning power than cold water. Cold water pressure washers, however, tend to be less expensive to buy and maintain. So, whether or not you chose to purchase a hot water or cold water pressure washer depends on your specific needs.
Restaurants aren’t the only facilities with commercial kitchens. Hospitals, religious institutions (churches, synagogues, etc.), hotels, school, and nursing homes all have kitchens that feed large numbers of people and see heavy daily use. So if you run a facility that contains a commercial kitchen, whether it is large or small, this guide is for you! (Or, if you own a business that offers kitchen hood cleaning, use this guide to help inform your customers!)
Why Kitchen Hood Cleaning Matters
Regular maintenance of your kitchen exhaust system will keep your commercial kitchen running at peak efficiency. It not only ensures your system is working properly but also keeps everyone within your facility safe. Kitchen hood cleaning:
- Reduces the risk of fire. A kitchen hood is supposed to trap grease, grime, and smoke; over time, however, the buildup mixed with heat or open flames could cause the grease to ignite. Grease fires are notoriously dangerous, hot burning, and fast acting so your entire kitchen could be gone in an instant. It’s not a risk worth taking.
- Reduces dangerous emissions. The dirtier a kitchen hood becomes, the less efficiently it does its job. This means that instead of particles getting sucked up into the hood and vent system like they are supposed to, they wind up escaping into the rest of the facility’s space. This is a potential health risk not only for your kitchen staff but for the rest of the building as well, as particles can easily travel through the air.
- Keeps insurance costs lower. Insurance companies require commercial kitchens to follow fire safety codes, and if your kitchen is found in violation, you risk not only dealing with costly fees or your insurance premium skyrocketing, but could lose your insurance coverage altogether!
What Kitchen Hood Cleaning Entails
Kitchen hood cleaning is a job that requires prowess, patience, and practice. Many trustworthy professionals attend hood cleaning school to learn the skills necessary for the job because it requires such thorough knowledge and execution.
- Disassembling, cleaning, and degreasing hoods.
- Removing fans from ductwork to degrease the base, shroud, and blades.
- Inspecting exhaust fans for loose or worn out fan belts.
- Cleaning and degreasing hood filters and accessories, and replacing if necessary.
- Applying food-safe polish to stainless steel ductwork.
- Cleaning the surrounding kitchen area (removing plastic wrap, mopping, removing excess debris, etc.)
How Often Should a Kitchen Exhaust System Get Cleaned?
If your commercial kitchen does not serve a high volume of people and it takes longer for grease and grime to build up, you probably only need to get it cleaned it once a year to comply with NFPA regulations. Otherwise, high volume commercial kitchens need to follow exhaust hood cleaning requirements and best practices as outlined in Table 8-3.1 Exhaust System Inspection Schedule in NFPA 96:
- Monthly: Systems serving solid fuel cooking operations
- Quarterly: Systems serving high-volume operations, such as 24-hour cooking, charbroiling, wok cooking, etc.
- Semi-Annually: Systems serving moderate volume cooking operations.
- Annually: Systems serving low volume cooking operations, such as day camps, churches, seasonal businesses, etc.
If you own or operate a house cleaning, pressure washing, or window cleaning business or a lawn care, landscaping, or kitchen hood cleaning company you’ll want to be sure you take plenty of pictures. No, the photos aren’t for the memories, but they’re just as important!
Why Before and After Pictures are Important
Using the appropriate language and words to describe your business, the work you do, and even your company values and goals are critical; images, however, can speak volumes. Before and after photos highlight your talents and skills through transition and show your current customers what they can look forward to when working with you. The images can also appeal to potential clients and pique their interest in doing business with you.
How to Best Use Before and After Pictures
- Social Media: Visuals are one of the most important social media tools. In fact, social media and marketing content that is paired with relevant images gets up to 94% more views than content without relevant visuals. (Think about how many people love a good before and after photo on Instagram.) Don’t be afraid to use your before and after pictures to show off the high quality of your work to current and prospective customers!
- Advertising: In addition to using before and after visuals for your social media, use them for your advertising. Send them to customers via email newsletters or physical paper handouts. Print a great before and after on the back of your business cards. You can even get a wrap created for your company’s cars or vans. The uses are practically unlimited.
- Liability: If you are working at a location and notice something is broken, torn, or damaged in some way, the smartest thing you can do before you begin working is take a photo of things, especially if there is something on the property that might interfere with you working to the best of your abilities. These photos can also come in handy to ensure you will not get blamed for the damages that were already there.
- Technique: Before and after pictures are not only a great way to keep track of the way properties looked before you began working with them; they are also a great way to keep track of your employees’ and your own progress when it comes to your work! You will be able to see if there has been any improvement in your work as well as a progression or upgrade of your tools and equipment.
There’s nothing more fun that looking back at where you started. Before and after pictures not only show your clients the great work your company is capable of, but it’s also a great way to be able to see how far your business and employees have come!
If you are the owner of a hood and duct cleaning business, or the owner of a restaurant or other commercial kitchen, you’ll want to always be sure you are hiring certified contractors and technicians to get your cleaning jobs done (and done right!). Not only is regular cleaning of your hood and duct system required by law, but it is also a major component to keeping your business running smoothly. After all, the last thing you want is a clogged duct in your ventilation system or a grease fire in your restaurant’s kitchen.
Why You Should Hire a Certified Hood and Duct Cleaner
Not only does hiring a certified contractor ensure they are knowledgeable and skilled at doing their job, but it also means your kitchen will be up to all standards required by law.
Why You Should Become a Certified Hood and Duct Cleaner
As shown below, there is not only a basic and practical need for hood and duct cleaners, it is required by law! Therefore you have customers who must use your service, which creates instant demand for your business.
Getting certified requires you to find a reputable and trustworthy Hood Cleaning School, preferably one that is teaches using CHDCA (Certified Hood & Duct Cleaners Association) regulations and requirements.
Required by Law
Regular hood and duct cleaning and maintenance is required by law. Fire marshals, health inspectors, and insurance companies all necessitate that regular cleaning is done in accordance to the following laws.
What the Insurance Companies Require:
Restaurants must have their kitchen hood and duct systems cleaned by certified technicians in order to be insured.
“The hood and duct system should be cleaned on a semiannual basis by a qualified hood and duct cleaning contractor. A service tag indicating the last date of service should be mounted on the hood.”*
*The above quote is from an actual letter one of our clients received from his insurance company stating what was required before they would insure him.
What the Fire Marshals Require:
The National Fire Protection Code 96 (NFPA 96) Standard is what most counties, cities, and states adopt as their fire code.
11.4 Cleaning of Exhaust Systems
Upon inspection, if found to be contaminated with deposits from grease-laden vapors, the entire exhaust system shall be cleaned by a properly trained, qualified, and certified person (s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction in accordance with Section 11.3.
11.4.2 Hoods, grease removal devices, fans, ducts, and other appurtenances shall be cleaned to bare metal prior to surfaces becoming heavily contaminated with grease or oily sludge.
11.4.8 After the exhaust system is cleaned to bare metal, it shall not be coated with powder or other substance.
11.4.12 When a vent cleaning service is used, a certificate showing date of inspection or cleaning shall be maintained on the premises.
11.4.13 After cleaning is completed, the vent cleaning contractor shall place or display within the kitchen area a label indicating the date cleaned and the name of the servicing company, and areas not cleaned.
11.4.14 Where required, certificates of inspection and cleaning shall be submitted to the authority having jurisdiction.
To learn more about becoming a certified hood and duct cleaner, visit our website.
Have you always wanted to own and operate a hood and duct cleaning business but aren’t sure what the steps are to get there? Your first step is to become a certified hood and duct cleaner! Not only will you learn the proper techniques to cleaning kitchen exhausts, ducts, pipes, and other equipment; but by becoming a CHDC (certified hood and duct cleaner), restaurant owners can rest assured that by hiring you, they are hiring a kitchen exhaust cleaning pro.
Questions to Ask Yourself First
Before embarking on the road to becoming a certified hood and duct cleaner, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions to make sure you are up to the task.
- Can you handle the physical requirements of the job? There’s no way around it; being a kitchen hood and duct cleaner is a physical job. You will have to be climbing ladders, walking on roofs, making your way across greasy or wet floors, and carrying large or heavy loads. Due to the numerous hazards that come with this job, it is critical to ensure you can handle it and that you get properly trained.
- Do you have or can you obtain the equipment for the job? Running a hood and duct cleaning company will require you to buy your own equipment. This includes cleaning equipment and trucks to get you, your gear, and your employees to and from the job sites.
- Do you have or can you obtain the right gear for the job? You can’t forget about uniforms and other proper attire! You’ll want to make sure you and all your employees are equipped with proper gear to ensure safety and identification when on a job site. This includes but is not limited to steel toed boots, eye protection, and clothing with a company logo.
Getting certified first required you to find a reputable and trustworthy Hood Cleaning School, preferably one that is teaches using CHDCA (Certified Hood & Duct Cleaners Association) regulations and requirements. The CHDCA and all hood and duct cleaning schools associated with it teach and certify based on the NFPA 96 standards. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 96 is a set of codes and standards for hood, duct, and other ventilation control as well as fire protection for commercial cooking operations like restaurants. These are the standards that fire marshals follow and that commercial cooking operations are required to adhere to.
Here are several excerpts from the NFPA 96, which is what you’ll need to know how to do in order to become a certified hood and duct cleaner.*
- Cooking Equipment used in processes producing smoke or grease-laden vapours shall be equipped with an exhaust system that complies with all the equipment and performance requirements of this standard (NFPA 96), and all such equipment and performance shall be maintained per this standard during all periods of operation of the cooking equipment. Specifically, the following equipment shall be kept in good working condition:
Ducts (if applicable)
Fire Suppression Systems
Special effluent or energy control equipment
- All airflow shall be maintained. Maintenance and repairs shall be performed at intervals necessary to maintain these conditions.
- Cooking equipment used in fixed, mobile, or temporary concessions, such as trucks, buses, trailers, pavilions, tents, or any form of roofed enclosure, shall comply with this standard unless all or part of the installation is exempted by the authority having jurisdiction (i.e. fire dept.)
- A drawing(s) of the exhaust system installation along with a copy of operating instructions for subassemblies and components used in the exhaust system, including electrical schematics, shall be available on the premises.
- Hoods, grease removal devices, fans, ducts, and other appurtenances shall be cleaned to bare metal at frequent intervals prior to surfaces becoming heavily contaminated with grease or oily sludge. After the exhaust system is cleaned to bare metal, it shall not be coated with powder or any other substance. The entire exhaust system shall be inspected by a properly trained, qualified and certified company or person(s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction in accordance with Table 8-3.1.
Table 8-3.1 Exhaust System Inspection Schedule
- Cleaning to bare metal does not mean removing the paint from a painted surface of an exhaust system.
- Upon inspection, if found to be contaminated with deposits from grease-laden vapours, the entire exhaust system shall be cleaned by a properly trained, qualified, and certified company or person(s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction in accordance with Section 8-3.
- When a vent cleaning service is used, a certificate showing date of inspection or cleaning shall be maintained on the premises. After cleaning is completed, the vent cleaning contractor shall place or display within the kitchen area a label indicating the date cleaned and the name of the servicing company. It shall also indicate areas not cleaned.
- Flammable solvents or other flammable cleaning aids shall not be used.
- At the start of the cleaning process, electrical switches that could be activated accidentally shall be locked out.
- Components of the fire suppression system shall not be rendered inoperable during the cleaning process. (Exception: Servicing by properly trained and qualified persons in accordance with Section 7.2)
- Care shall be taken not to apply cleaning chemicals on fusible links or other detection devices of the automatic extinguishing system.
- When cleaning procedures are completed, all electrical switches and system components shall be returned to an operable state. All access panels (doors) and cover plates shall be replaced. Dampers and diffusers shall be positioned for the proper airflow.
*This material is not the complete and official position of the National Fire Protection Association, on the referenced subject which is represented only by the standard in its entirety. You can buy a full copy of NFPA 96 here.
Duct spinners are designed to clean ducts, trash chutes, vents, restaurant kitchen hoods, and tanks and make the perfect accessory for a hot or cold pressure washer. The best part is, duct spinners are made of corrosion-resistant materials and stainless steel self-lubricated bearings for long-lasting use.
How Duct Spinners Work
Duct spinners, which come available with either fixed or swivel arms, are self-rotating devices that attach to high pressure hoses or power washers to blast away dirt and grease. The rotating heads and 360-degree spray that duct spinners offer makes it easy to clean every nook and cranny of your kitchen hood. Sized to clean ducts, vents, and other parts of your commercial kitchen exhaust system, duct spinners come highly recommended by industry professionals. They are also perfect for cleaning pipes, shafts, drains, barrels, and other containers!
Some commercial exhaust professionals say you can get the same cleaning power with a cleaning wand, and while there is nothing wrong with cleaning wands—they are great for a variety of cleaning projects—a duct spinner takes cleaning vents and hard-to-reach places to a whole new level since they are specifically designed for exactly that.
Operating a duct spinner is easy. Simply attach it to your high pressure hose or pressure washer, and lower it into your vertical duct system. Duct spinners are typically controlled by a foot valve, ball valve, or other similar mechanism.
The Mosmatic Duct Spinner
Highly recommended by kitchen hood and exhaust system specialists, the Mosmatic Duct Spinner comes equipped with a new and improved carbide swivel, which offers the highest quality Swiss-made craftsmanship. The ⅜” NPTF water inlet connector comes standard in all duct cleaners.
Protected by a stainless steel cage, its rotor arm inside is guaranteed a prolonged life for maximum usage. The centerpieces of these duct spinners are the swivel, which is self-lubricating and contains stainless steel ball bearings and a carbide gasket system. They are designed for high revolutions and ensure long lasting durability. Best of all, the Mosmatic duct spinner has adjustable spray arms, so you can move them to create different spray angles for optimal cleaning power.
While some industry professionals prefer to go without or make their own versions of duct spinners, sometimes you have no other way of cleaning a 10-story vertical duct or vents with limited access! Purchasing ready-to-go duct spinners will make your cleaning job that much easier, and when you buy with us, you know you’re getting a reliable product.
With summertime right around the corner, your kitchen has probably already started to heat up. While you can turn your central air up or open all the windows, the number one thing you want to do to keep your kitchen cool (and your house un-damaged!) is to avoid any kitchen fires. Even if you are a master chef, kitchen fires can happen to anyone in the blink of an eye. And before you know it, a small fire can catch and turn into something far more destructive.
Safety Tips for Preventing Kitchen Fires
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking is the number one cause of house fires. Between 2010 and 2014, cooking equipment was the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries, causing 46% of home fires that resulted in 19% of the home fire deaths and 44% of the injuries. Follow these simple tips to avoid any kitchen fires or mishaps.
- Do not leave heat or open flame unattended. It might be tempting to throw something in the oven or let something simmer on low heat and “just step away for a minute,” but unattended cooking is a recipe for disaster. A pot might boil over, wind might kick up a flame… You never know. Your best best is to stay near your cooking or turn off all heat, flame, and appliances if you must step away.
- Be aware of grease. When it becomes too hot, grease can catch fire very easily. It may be a lick of flame touching something frying or a drip of grease making its way down the side of a pan. Thankfully, grease fires can be quickly stopped by cutting off the oxygen supply to the fire. If you can, immediately turn off the heat source and put a lid over the fire in the pat until it is out. Do not try to move the flaming pot or pan as movement will fan the flames with oxygen and can risk spreading the fire.
- Wear appropriate clothing when cooking. If you have long hair, tie it back. Wear short sleeves or tight fitting sleeves. Anything loose or dangling risks touching a stray flame or getting caught on pot handles, and the last thing you want is to fling your dinner or any flames all over the kitchen.
- Keep your cooking area clean and tidy. Make sure there is no oil or grease on nearby surfaces. Keep things that can catch fire—such as dish towels, paper towel, oven mitts, etc.—a safe distance from your cooking area. Make sure anything that could melt, like plastic wrap or tupperwear, is also kept clear of your stove and oven. Never leave plastic cooking utensils resting on hot pot or pans.
- Keep an eye on kids! The last thing you want is for a small hand to get burned. Children should be kept at least three feet away from all heat sources, and be sure you are keeping an eye on them any time they are in the kitchen. Turn pot and pan handles inwards so they cannot be grabbed or knocked over.
- Use a timer. Timers are an excellent tool for the forgetful chef. Set timers—either on the oven, on your phone, or with an egg timer—to remind yourself to regularly check food that is baking, roasting, simmering, or boiling. Or use a timer to simply remind yourself that food is cooking.
These easy tips can keep your kitchen cool, your house damage-free, and your family safe. It’s easy to take an everyday activity like cooking for granted, however, it’s important to follow safety tips, especially when it comes to preventing kitchen fires.
Hood wrapping is an excellent way to keep your exhaust hood, as well as the rest of your kitchen, clean and functioning well. While you will still have to maintain your kitchen hood system by regularly cleaning it and changing the grease filters, wrapping the hood can help protect other kitchen appliances and equipment.
How Hood Wrapping is Done
You want to make sure your entire hood system is cleaned by a qualified professional. These are the steps to take to wrap the hood for cleaning.
- Prepare the workspace by turning off all appliances and ensuring everything has cooled before beginning the work. Remove all cooking appliances and tools, and cover stovetops, fryer, and countertops to avoid damaging them or making a mess. Cover all other areas of the kitchen in plastic to protect it from spray.
- Create a plastic funnel from the hood to a large bucket, water drum, or trash can to capture wastewater and keep the rest of the kitchen from being contaminated or damaged.
- Using tape, secure the plastic to the hood as well as the device you are using to catch the runoff. On some hoods, the systems may be too slick or greasy for tape, so be sure to use clamps or magnets instead for a good hold.
- Once your hood wrapping is complete, the water reclaim and other grease or debris will fall out of the drop, hit the plastic wrap, and funnel into your catch.
If your pressure washer isn’t working as well as it used to, the cause may be an aging or failing pressure washer pump. Luckily, this doesn’t mean your entire pressure washer is done! All you have to do is replace the pump with a manufacturer-approved part. And fortunately, the pump is one of the easiest parts to replace on your power washer, particularly with ready-made pumps, which take the guesswork out of what parts you need and cut down on time and effort.
Pressure washer pumps create the water pressure that comes out of the spray nozzle, so if your pump is failing or damaged, you will likely experience low water pressure at the nozzle.
How does a pressure washer pump get damaged?
Detergent residue left in the pump can damage it, as can air in the inlet water supply. Make sure there is no dirt or other build-up obstructing the pump too. Be sure to maintain your pressure washer and keep it clean to help increase the longevity of all the parts. Running hot water through a pressure washer not meant for hot water can also overwork the pump and other parts.
Do I need to replace my entire power washer?
If the rest of your power washer—including the engine, wand, and other components—are still in good working condition, you probably only have to replace the pump, which can not only save you money but quite a bit of a headache as well!
There are two types of power washer pumps: axial pumps and triplex pumps. If your power washer is using an axial pump, you will have to look at replacement options. If your power washer is using a triplex pump, there is a change you can repair the pump without replacing it. But with either type of pump, the entire power washer doesn’t have to be replaced.
How do I find the right pump for my pressure washer?
If you’ve determined your pressure washer’s issue to be the pump, these tips can help you find the right replacement pump for your pressure washer:
- Find out the exact pressure washer pump that is used in your model
- Find the diameter size for the shaft and if it is hollow or solid.
- Look at how the current pump operates with the motor. What attachments does it have? What are the bolt patterns? Be sure to pay attention to the pump’s orientation in respect to the engine.
- Find out whether your pump is vertically or horizontally shafted.
With these simple troubleshooting steps, you can replace your pressure washer pump with a ready-made pump and get back to your business before you know it!
A restaurant or commercial kitchen hood is a major component in keeping a cooking space clean and safe, so it is important to make sure the kitchen hood is well maintained. Failure to upkeep a hood can result in costly and dangerous consequences including dangerous kitchen fires to paying fines for code violations or higher insurance premiums if fire protection isn’t up-to-date.
This summer, take the opportunity to get your kitchen hood cleaned. Whether you are hiring a crew to keep your kitchen ventilation or own a hood cleaning company, keep these safety tips in mind to ensure a job well done.
Prep for Safe Hood Cleaning
- Clean your worksite. The condition of your jobsite is critical, as you want to ensure the safety of those working within it. Remove all potential hazards and debris from the kitchen and be sure all appliances are cooled, shut off, and disconnected.
- Dress for the job. Cleaning a hood ventilation system is a dirty job, and it requires specific protective gear. You or your cleaning crew should be equipped with slip-resistant shoes, heat- and chemical-resistant gloves, goggles, face masks, and even protective suits depending on the cleaning chemicals you will be using.
Equipment and Gear
- Ladders: If you plan on using ladders, indoors or outdoors, to clean your kitchen hood, you’ll need to ensure they hold. Inspect your ladder before using it and check for cracks or splits. Ensure the feet have slip-resistant pads and sit evenly on the ground. Make sure all bolts and rivets are secure. Once using the ladder, fasten it with a ladder lock or have a coworker hold it safely in place.ely in place. If using a metal ladder in the summer sun, be wary of how hot the surface might be before you touch it.
- Shoes: The best defense in preventing a worksite injury via slip, trip, or fall is to wear slip-resistant shoes or boots. These will help to grip the floor when factors like water, grease, and oil are present.
- Power Washers: Your pressure washer is probably one of the most important pieces of hood cleaning equipment you have, so you want to ensure it is running in top condition. When using it, be aware of your surroundings so you can avoid injury or damaging appliances, gutters, or siding.
If you plan on being up on a roof to clean a kitchen ventilation system, take extra steps in ensuring your safety. Roofs can provide a number of dangerous hazards to look out for. Always double check the stability of the roof first. Be aware of any weather conditions that might affect your safety on a roof including rain, snow, wind, and heat. Watch out for skylights that might cause you to trip or give away if you step on them. Always be aware of where the edge of the roof is and keep the roof’s pitch in mind; the steeper the roof, the easier it is to fall.
- Get up on the roof safely. You’ll want a ladder that extends at least 3-feet above the edge of the roof. Select a lightweight aluminum ladder or a fiberglass ladder that can protect against electrocution in case the ladder touches a power line or live wire. Set the ladder on firm, even ground and be sure to fasten the top of the ladder with rope or wire, which can keep it from sliding sideways as you step onto the roof. Avoid carrying anything up the ladder and use a hoist system to carry tools and supplies instead.
- Ensure proper lift use. If you are using a lift instead of a ladder to get on the roof, be sure you are operating it correctly. Secure yourself and your materials when riding up or down a lift. Keep feet firmly planted on the ground and stay away from the edges of the lift.
- Use a brackets or a safety harness. On low pitched roofs where your footing isn’t a problem, you can use roof brackets to provide you with some extra safety where you step. Roof brackets not only give you a place to step and rest tools, but they also act as a slide guard or something to grab onto in case you do misstep. For ultimate roof safety, however, you’ll want to use a safety harness, especially if you are working on high or steep roofs. Make sure you are properly anchoring your harness and wearing it correctly.
The last thing you want to be doing this summer is taking time off work or not be able to go on vacation because of a jobsite injury, but with these simple tips you can ensure your restaurant or commercial kitchen hood gets cleaned thoroughly and safely!