KEC Concepts Free Demo: Kitchen Exhaust Systems 101

About This Free Demo Course From KEC Concepts.

KEC Concepts Free Demo Course shows an abridged version of the NFPA Approved KEC Exhaust Systems 101 Course in KEC Concepts Online Learning System. Included in the content are examples of this course’s overview including, audio narration, video tech talks, photos from real job sites, a full Glossary of industry terms and video safety tips. A sample quiz follows the demo course.


Course Narration

Course Narration Button

This course is available with audio narration.

To listen, click the icon to the right to begin the audio track.

Demo Module - Kitchen Exhaust Systems 101

This Module may contain material reproduced with permission from NFPA 96-2017, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations, Copyright© 2016, National Fire Protection Association.  This material is not the complete and official position of the NFPA on the referenced subject, which is represented only by the standard in its entirety which can be viewed for free access or purchased through the NFPA web site at (

NOTE: This material has not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by NFPA.  NFPA is neither a sponsor of nor affiliated with KEC Concepts and has neither endorsed nor approved of the goods and/or services of KEC Concepts.

It is the position of KEC Concepts LLC and its affiliates that it will not be the leader, trainer or have the perception of implementing an official safety program for an organization, whether the safety material is for technicians, managers or business owners.  KEC Concepts LLC and its affiliates can offer and provide educational material and direction to OSHA documents/regulations/hazard assessment material for the participant to improve your safety program. This content is not intended to serve as an organization’s official company safety program

Course Header Image

Let's Get Started

Welcome to the KEC Concepts Demo education module. The goal of this module is to familiarize kitchen exhaust cleaning professionals with the following topic:

  • System Inspection, Cleaning and Maintenance Basics



The proper operation of an exhaust system in a commercial kitchen relies on the appropriate layout and function of the cooking equipment and appliances. The performance of kitchen staff can be significantly diminished when there is insufficient ventilation in the cooking area. Inadequate ventilation can impact safety, optimal kitchen staff productivity, and overall personnel efficiency.  The benefits of adequate ventilation include:

  • Creating the influx of clean, cool air for kitchen occupants.
  • Facilitating efficiency of air flow to ensure effluents (grease-laden vapors, CO2, carbon monoxide, heat, gases) are exhausted out of the kitchen area or filtered for recirculation.
  • Aiding in the complete combustion of burning appliances. This is also regarded as make-up air.

As you continue through this module, it is important to understand terms that are often used in the kitchen exhaust cleaning industry. Most of these terms are outlined in the NFPA 96 Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations. These terms are as follows:

Glossary of Terms

Glossary Icon

  • Approved – Acceptable to the regulatory authority on a determination of conformity with principles, practices, codes, and standards.
  • Damper – A plate or other device within a duct to control the flow of gases
  • Duct – An enclosure for the transmission of air and other vapors
  • Effluent – The outflowing of gas
  • Grease – Any animal fat or vegetable shortening in any form, associated with cooking and other food preparation.
  • Grease Extractor – A device or system of components (usually series of baffles installed in a hood) for reducing the grease concentration from air flow and impeding the grease from adhesion to further parts of the exhaust system.
  • Grease Filter – A device that is installed in the exhaust hood, designed to remove grease from the exhausted air by entrapment, impingement, adhesion, or other similar means and allow it to drain into a grease trap.
  • Grease-Laden Vapors – Vapors having a concentrated level above 5 mg per cubic meter released into the air due to grease being heated to its vaporization point.
  • Grease Removal Device – Any device for removing vapor suspended grease particles from an air stream.
  • Hood – An air in-take device connected to an exhaust ventilation system for collecting and removing cooking effluent which contains grease, vapors, fumes, smoke, heat, and odors created by either cooking equipment or ware-washing machines.
  • Makeup Air – Either forced or passive air that replaces exhausted air from the space.
  • Plenum – An air compartment or chamber to which one or more ducts are connected and which forms part of the supply-air, return-air or exhaust-air system.
  • Type I Exhaust Hood – A hood that is designed to collect and remove all types of cooking effluent from the exhausted air, including grease-laden vapors.
  • Type II Exhaust Hood – A hood that is designed to collect and remove only steam, vapors, heat or odors from exhausted air.


Inspection, Cleaning, and Maintenance Basics

KEC Concepts inspected kitchenThe proper cleaning and maintenance of kitchen exhaust systems is the essence of why our entire industry exists.  While the NFPA 96 has many important sections concerning the design, installation, and maintenance of commercial cooking ventilation systems, Chapter 11, entitled Procedures for the Use, Inspection Testing and Maintenance of Equipment, is one of the most influential sections to the kitchen exhaust cleaning industry and consists of standards the requirements of NFPA 96 concerning:

  • Exhaust System Operation
  • Fire Suppression Inspection, Testing and Maintenance
  • Inspection of Fire Dampers
  • Replacement of fusible links
  • Documentation Tags
  • Inspection of Grease Buildup
  • Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Listed Hoods
  • Cleaning of Exhaust Systems
  • Cooking Equipment Maintenance

The NFPA 96 emphasizes the fact that the proper and thorough “inspection” of a system is where your process must start.

KEC Concepts - How to do a proper commercial kitchen inspection

When a kitchen exhaust system is properly inspected, and the technician performing the inspection identifies areas within the system that are grimy and soiled with grease or oil deposits from cooking, the unclean components or dirty portions of the system must be cleaned by a properly trained, qualified and certified person acceptable to the AHJ. Reference NFPA 96 11.6.1 for specific recommendations.

Note – The AHJ, is usually the local fire inspector: however, the designation may include a building inspector, property owner or manager, or an insurance agent in charge of a particular facility or project.

While many kitchen exhaust cleaning contractors tell their customers that a kitchen exhaust system must be CLEANED at specific periods of time, you must understand that there is no requirement within NFPA 96 identifying “scheduled cleaning.”  Table 11.4 does, however, illustrate the Schedule for Inspection for Grease Buildup within a commercial ventilation system:

Type of OperationCleaning Schedule
Solid Fuel Cooking Operations such as Wood or CharcoalMonthly
High-Volume cooking such as: 24-hour, char-broil, orientalQuarterly
Moderate Volume cooking such as Schools, Independent restaurants (Mom & Pop’s)Semi-Annually
Low-Volume cooking such as: Churches, day camps, senior centersAnnually

*NFPA 96 2017 – Please note that these are recommended minimum standards, and systems can be inspected and cleaned more often than this schedule if the volume of cooking warrants.

Tech Talk

As a professional in the kitchen exhaust cleaning industry, you must be safe working in a commercial kitchen, aware of the condition of the cooking equipment, and always perform a thorough inspection of the cooking equipment’s condition before starting your service.  Look for items that may be broken, not in proper working condition, and have missing or broken components. If deficiencies are found, do not move, work on or work around equipment that is not in working order. 

Deficiencies would include missing legs or wheels for proper movement, equipment propped up or not supported correctly, and equipment missing integral parts such as doors, baffle plates or other required components.  Any non-compliance issues should be documented and reported to the system owner in written form as soon as possible. 

Remember, safety is critical on every job, and documentation protects everyone in the long run.

Pre-Cleaning Inspection

According to NFPA 96 Standard, a pre-cleaning inspection is where the job should start on each and every service call. The inspection should always be performed by a kitchen exhaust cleaning professional who is properly trained, qualified and certified, and that is you.  Your inspection should include all of the following :

    Check previously posted certificate, label or tag on hood canopy from last cleaning service.

KEC Concepts Certificate of Performance


    Inspect grease removal devices or hood grease filters to determine compliance.

KEC Concepts Grease filter photo

    Inspect visible portion of the fan unit to ensure proper operation.

KEC Concepts - Fan unit

    Inspect any other equipment and systems to be maintained including water wash hoods, specialized blowers, and effluent and pollution control equipment if you are qualified and authorized to do so.


KEC Concepts Remember. If the system is off, power the system on and verify proper air flow and if possible, interview the facility manager or system owner and ask if they are experiencing any problems with the operation of the system

Any deficiencies must be recorded in a project service report, and notification is to be provided as soon as possible to the system owner.

The inspection process is vital to identify and document the system condition before service begins. As previously stated, the system owner must be made aware of any system deficiencies, educated in detail about the non-compliance issue, and recorded in your written report.

KEC Concepts - system deficiencies

Along with the service report showing system deficiencies, a certificate of performance  (or hood sticker) must be affixed to the hood canopy identifying the name of the company that performed the service, the technician’s name who serviced the system, the service date, and the date for the next scheduled service. This information must be clearly identified, meaning it can be easily recognized by a person with normal vision without causing any uncertainty. If the system owner requests a sticker not be posted on the outside of the hood canopy, it is possible to affix the sticker to the inside of the hood canopy.

Safety Tip

Hint Icon

Safety must be everyone’s top priority at all times, and safety starts with you. Every company should have their own safety program in place that includes personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect employees from exposure to hazardous items to the workplace. This should include:

  • Eye protection – Wear safety glasses at all times, splash goggles if you are mixing chemicals, and a face shield if you are spraying chemicals.
  • Hand protection – Wear chemical resistant gloves if you are working around chemicals and protective gloves if you are working around sharp metal edges or other potential hazards.
  • Head protection – Wear hats and bump caps for protection from chemical exposure and head trauma from ansul pipes and light fixtures in the hood canopy.
  • Foot protection – Wear non-slip, steel-toed, water-resistant boots or shoes for minimum foot protection required by your company. If your feet are not comfortable, the entire night can become miserable. The right footwear can make you safe, comfortable and more productive.
  • Respiratory protection – Wearing a mask for protection from chemical inhalation when applying chemical is required. Remember, if you use respirators, each employee is required to undergo a medical exam before wearing a respirator, and each employee must perform a fit test before using a respirator.

Remember, these items are the minimum OSHA requirements that your organization should have in place. If you have questions concerning your company safety program, you should ask your supervisor. Visit if you would like more information.



Click the link below to be taken to a sample quiz of 4 questions from this demo module.


Onboard New Employees quickly with KEC Concepts!

Our new employee on-boarding package contains 4 stand alone courses designed to give your new technicians an overview of the core information necessary to become successful in the kitchen exhaust cleaning industry before they ever set foot on a job site.

Learn More