By law, kitchen hood and exhaust cleaning is required for virtually every commercial cooking establishment in the United States including Washington state. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 96) mandates commercial kitchen hood and exhaust systems be cleaned by a properly trained, qualified and certified person(s).  Requests for proof and validation of compliance will be made by the Fire Marshals, Health Inspectors, Landlords and Insurance Companies.  Regular kitchen hood exhaust cleaning is an important defense against fires.  


Violation of the code by using a non-certified company could be considered negligence. If there is a fire that originates in the kitchen exhaust system, the insurance company may reject any claims submitted and the liability will remain with the business owner.  Below are excerpts from the code.


NFPA 96 - Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations (2011 Edition).


4.1.5 - The responsibility for inspection, maintenance, and cleanliness of the ventilation control and fire protection of the commercial cooking operations shall be the ultimate responsibility of the owner of the system provided that this responsibility has not been transferred in written form to a management company or other party.


4.1.8 - All interior surfaces of exhaust system shall be accessible for cleaning and inspection purposes. - Fans shall be provided with safe access and a work surface for inspection and cleaning. - Approved upblast fans with motors surrounded by the airstream shall be hinged, supplied with flexible weatherproof electrical cable and service hold-open retainers, and listed for this use.


11.4 - Inspection for Grease Buildup. The entire exhaust system shall be inspected for grease buildup by a properly trained, qualified and certified person(s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and in accordance with Table 11.4.


   Table 11.4

   Monthly:  Systems serving solid fuel cooking operations.

   Quarterly:  Systems serving high-volume cooking operations, such as 24-hour cooking, charbroiling, or wok cooking.

   Semiannually:  Systems serving moderate-volume cooking operations.

   Annually:  Systems serving low-volume cooking operations, such as churches, day camps, seasonal businesses, or senior centers.

11.6.1 - When the exhaust system is found to be contaminated with deposits from grease-laden vapors, the contaminated portions of the exhaust system shall be cleaned by a properly Trained, Qualified, and Certified person(s) acceptable to the authority jurisdiction.


11.6.2 - Hoods, grease removal devices, fans, ducts, and other appurtenances shall be cleaned at frequent intervals to remove combustible contaminated prior to surfaces becoming heavily contaminated with grease or oily sludge.


11.6.8 - After the exhaust system is cleaned, it shall not be coated with powder or other substance.


11.6.13 - When an exhaust cleaning service is used, a certificate showing the name of the servicing company, the name of the person performing the work, and the date of inspection or cleaning shall be maintained on the premises.