The cooking exhaust system is probably one of the most ignored appliances in the kitchen. Whilst looking around a kitchen it is rare for anyone who is not involved in either installation or maintenance of the system to really make the checks they should. The cooking exhaust system includes a canopy located just above the cooking ranges. The canopy has filter housings that hold the filters which retain the grease and deposits. At the base of the canopy are the retaining trays where the fat and grease that builds up on the surfaces of the canopy runs into. At the top of the canopy is an extraction system made up of a fan in a fan housing that draws the air up from below, through the system and out through the point of expulsion.

To disregard this system underestimates its importance and the role it plays in reducing smoke and odour and most importantly the risk of fire. AMCoil provides a service to clean and exchange filters, clean the canopies and complete a full system clean including all accessible duct work and the fan which is typically roof mounted. AMCoil is able to provide job completion reports which are often requirements for insurance providers and landlords.

The Necessity for a Cooking Exhaust System

The idea of having a cooking exhaust system is to extract any fumes and odours, which inevitably come out in the cooking process together with any dust and dirt in the atmosphere. Without a cooking exhaust system the fumes and deposits within the atmosphere would eventually amass themselves upon any available surface. Over a period of time this build up leaves the area with a constant film of grease and dirt. With a cooking exhaust system the fumes are drawn up into the hood to provide a clean and healthy environment inside and expel contaminated air outside the building.

Consequences of a dirty system

Over a period of time the with continued usage grease builds up in the system and holds food and other particles to the surface leading to the filters being clogged and the overall inefficiency of the system. Which in turn creates lingering stale smells and infusion of air borne grease particles into upholstery, carpets, or any other porous surface. This results in the decrease of the lifetime of furniture, fixtures and fittings, as well as creating an unpleasant atmosphere. More importantly than the mere unpleasantness of the atmosphere and the surfaces, nothing is more vital than safety. A coating of predominantly grease and fat is going to lead to an imminent fire hazard. Considering that there are gas burners and or fryers being used if there were to be a small fire a depth of grease, and fat, is only going to make the situation far worse. Kitchens at the best of times can become extremely hot, and the ignition of a spark, is a foreseeable incident, even when there is no loss of attention by the staff members or negligence involved.
Periodic cleaning of this build up greatly minimises the damage that could otherwise be caused. Someone’s life could depend on the fact that the fire could be contained. Severe grease build-ups however make this an unlikely possibility.

Prevention of Bacterial Growth.

Accumulation of grease and deposits leads down the path of bacteria and microbial build up and consequently creates an unhealthy environment. For bacterium to thrive it requires a breeding ground that provides warmth, nutrients and moisture. The cooking process provides a nest of grease which contains the nutrient along with warmth and moisture in the air. In this environment Bacteria is in its element. In order to minimize this the grease and other deposits that imbed themselves in the grease, have to be removed regularly. Thereby eliminating the nourishment and preventing the bacteria truly establishing itself.

Energy Saving

A system that is not cleaned regularly becomes clogged, and when working it is unsuccessfully attempting to draw air. This is in reality simply means the system is working for no good reason. It is not achieving the objective. The system is simply wasting energy being turned on. In addition to this the system is becoming more and more clogged increasing the fire risk. When it finally is cleaned it will require longer man-hours and a harder clean to get it back to an acceptable level. A periodic clean is more economical and makes for a safer environment as there is less time for the deposits to build up. A lighter level of build-up is easier to clean off and requires less time.

Legal view on Cooking Exhaust Systems

Legislation recognizes the fact that the lack of a Cooking Exhaust system is a health hazard and it is therefore law to have cooking exhaust systems installed over commercial ranges, especially fryers. Continual usage leading to build up of grease leaves an imminent fire risk; consequently regular cleaning has to be maintained. Following the requirement to have a cooking exhaust system installed it is also a legislative requirement to have a periodic ‘cleaning and maintenance’ schedule.

Cleaning of a Cooking Exhaust System

The cleaning of the cooking exhaust system involves the scraping down and washing of the internal surfaces of the ducts, fan, fan housing and all associated ductwork wherever accessible. The canopies filter housings and the retaining trays are manually cleaned of all grease, fat, and oil build-up. In certain cases it may be necessary to cut access openings, which are then sealed with appropriate sealants.

Benefits of a Regular Cleaning and Maintenance Schedule

The benefits of cleaning the system on a regular systematic basis:

  • Reducing the risk of fire hazards – Prevention of high fat build-up
  • Adhering to fire, health and safety guidelines – A legal obligation to promote safety.
  • Increased efficiency of the exhaust system – A clogged system requires more energy to run and is inefficient.
  • Saving energy whilst running the system – A system, which is extremely clogged would not be able to be draw air sufficiently and would be running for a very little effect.
  • Longevity of the system – A clogged system would work harder therefore decreasing its life.
  • Cleaner environment – Removal of grease and dirt reduces the growth of bacteria and promotes a cleaner airflow.
  • Fresher atmosphere – The removal of odors and fumes leaves the air cleaner to breathe.
  • Preservation of fixtures, furniture and fittings – Layers of grease deposits and dirt require physical cleaning, the more the cleaning required the more wear and tear on the system.
  • Cost cutting – Cost incurred in cleaning the system on a one off basis is a long and involved process whereas to clean a system, which has been regularly serviced is a quicker and easier job.


We at AM Coil (Aust) Pty Ltd have been in the business for over 25 years. Our experience and knowledge of the systems involved is extensive and varied. We appreciate the need for a clean system for both economic reasons and the safety aspects. At AM Coil we service Government organisations e.g. prestigious hotels, shopping malls, clubs, offices and hospitals to name a few.

At no-charge we will call out to inspect your system, evaluate your needs and then draw up a cleaning and maintenance schedule to suit your budget. We are only too happy to help you ascertain the required frequency of service and report on the general state of repair of your system.