Question 1: Why is cleaning the entire system important?

Answer: Cleaning the entire system is important only when the entire system is contaminated with flammable substances like grease. Think of cleaning your grease exhaust systems as a risk mitigation strategy. On the day the system was installed the grease vapor accumulation should have been 0%. Systems are designed to contain a fire for 1 – 2 hours depending on the building size and local codes. Thus, the amount of grease build-up that is acceptable should be traced back to the amount of time it would take to burn off the grease build-up inside the entire system. NFPA 96 has provided guidance to assist in determining the acceptable number of days a system could go between cleanings. BARE METAL STANDARD® kitchen exhaust cleaning service’s process is used to set each system on a predictable cleaning rotation schedule. Upon each cleaning date the risk would be mitigated (cleaned) and brought back to 0% or as close to 0% as possible.

If portions of the system are allowed to remain contaminated, the number of days between cleanings must be shortened to ensure that the system does not fall into an unacceptable level of risk for the business and/or property owners. Consult your insurance companies and AHJ’s to become comfortable with the rotation schedule you develop with your BARE METAL STANDARD® kitchen exhaust cleaning service professionals.

Question 2: What do you clean?

Answer: BARE METAL STANDARD® cleaning processes are designed specifically to clean the interior of your grease exhaust systems. This includes the hoods from filter tray up to include the plenum and into the connecting duct work continually from the hood to the fan. Some systems may have a 3-foot vertical duct, but the exact same hood installed in a different building could have a 2-foot vertical duct into an 80-foot horizontal that turns up to the roof another 90-foot vertical, to a fan that is 3-times the size of the one on a 3-foot stack. In both cases, the complete system would be hood, all connecting duct, and fan. However, the pricing would be different, given the large difference in connecting duct work. This fact is often difficult for some restaurant owners to understand. After all, standing in the kitchen, they are identical canopies (hoods) and have the identical cooking equipment under them. However, no one would argue cleaning one 3-foot duct is very different from cleaning one 172-foot duct.

Question 3: How often does my system need to be cleaned?

Answer: There are 5 influencers to this question:

  • Insurance requirements (guidance from NFPA 96 Chapter 11)
  • AHJ’s (guidance from portions of NFPA 96 that have been adopted by the AHJ’s)
  • Type of cooking equipment
  • Your menu
  • Design of the grease exhaust system
  • The key to answering this question is to work closely with your BARE METAL STANDARD® service professionals. In kitchens with multiple systems, it is common to have a number of rotations inside your kitchen. For example, a steam hood will have a different rotation than a broiler. However, a solid fuel broiler will have a different rotation than a gas fired broiler.

If your kitchen exhaust service company is not asking you questions about your menu, kitchen design, and insurance requirements, you may not be getting the coverage necessary to be in compliance with the AHJ and/or your insurance carrier. Don’t let noncompliance result in fines and/or uncovered losses.

Question 4: Will I need to schedule each appoitment for cleaning?

Answer: We know that our customers have a business to run, and helping us manage our business is not something we feel they should be burdened with. Thus, we have developed and invested in scheduling software that allows each of our Bare Metal Standard partners to proactively contact each customer prior to their recurring service dates. Once a customer is input into the system with the agreed upon system rotations, the Bare Metal Standard partner is notified of upcoming due dates. Thus, they will contact each customer – prior to the due date – to set-up acceptable time for service. Additionally, our scheduling software maintains all service history for you, your insurance company, and the AHJ.

Below you’ll find the recommended cleaning schedule, according NFPA 96.

Table 11.4 Schedule of Inspection for Grease Buildup

Type or Volume of Cooking

Inspection Frequency

Systems serving solid fuel cooking operations


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


Systems serving low-volume cooking operations


Systems serving low-volume cooking operations, such as churches, day camps, seasonal businesses, or senior lefts


Question 5: Will the rest of my kitchen be left clean?

Answer: Your kitchen will be returned to you in the condition we receive it. Our BARE METAL STANDARD® partners are trained and provided with the tools necessary to contain all of our cleaning activity. Our policy is to cover-up all of your work surfaces, mop our footprints out and leave filters in the negotiated location. (Filters may or may not be cleaned, depending on the SOW agreed upon between our BARE METAL STANDARD® partner and each customer.)