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Getting Educated About Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning: Overview

Just about everyone who operates a commercial or institutional cooking operation understands that at some point the exhaust system needs to be cleaned because the grease buildup in the exhaust system is a fire hazard.  But not everyone understands the standards that govern the design and maintenance of systems.  Over the course of a series of newsletters, We are going to try to break it down – not the finer details, but enough to get you caught up on the basics if you’re not already familiar with them.  Along the way, if you have questions, let us know and we'll address them as best we can in future emails.

Today:  Overview of kitchen exhaust standards.

In the State of Illinois, the standard covering “Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations” is called “NFPA 96”, meaning that it is Publication #96 of the National Fire Protection Association.  NFPA 96 is updated every three years after extensive work by a Technical Committee made up of fire marshals, engineers, and representatives of a wide range of involved industries, everything from insurance to fire suppression to kitchen exhaust cleaners.

The State of Illinois Fire Marshal generally adopts the NFPA standard as the standard for the state, usually about one cycle behind in order to give people some time to adapt.  Some other states may use the International Mechanical Code or the International Fire Code, but in Illinois, it’s NFPA 96.  At the moment, the “current” edition is the 2014 edition but for purposes of the Illinois State Fire Marshal, the 2008 edition is the operative standard.  

NFPA 96 mostly covers the design of commercial kitchen exhaust systems, including fire suppression systems, but it also sets out how often they need to be inspected for cleanliness.  It says very little about how to clean a system.  That’s a job for IKECA’s C-10 cleaning standard.

IKECA is the International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association, the industry association for, you guessed it, kitchen exhaust cleaners.  IKECA worked very hard in the late 2000’s and into 2010 and 2011 to create a standard for cleaning kitchen exhaust systems, and to get its standard accepted by the American National Standards Association (ANSI).   C-10 is that standard.

Next:   The big picture on what the NFPA 96 standard says
Then:  The big picture on what the IKECA/ANSI C-10 cleaning standard says

A plug that won't surprise you:  You should have an IKECA member clean your exhaust systems!  Many of you already do, but if you'd like to discuss the standards or how Airways cleans kitchen systems, call us at 630-595-4242 or click here.