Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Ductwork Cleaning: Ingot Services Cleans Kitchen Extraction Systems

Fire Insurers Set for Ductwork Cleaning Crackdown

When restaurants fail to carry out vital ductwork cleaning, the risk of grease build-up causing fires isn't just a theoretical possibility. It is a real and present danger and is happening more frequently, as evidenced by the Association of British Insurers (ABI). 

Its figures show that the cost to insurers of fires caused by grease and dirt in extraction systems has more than doubled, from £25 million to £65 million, over just two years. But what's behind this increase, and how should businesses respond?

Reasons to Step Up Ductwork Cleaning

Already, a ductwork cleaning certificate is mandatory for fire insurance to be valid. However, looking forward, businesses can expect insurance companies to get stricter about this. They are likely to want to see proof not only that air duct cleaning has been scheduled, but also that its frequency is appropriate to the level of use. Increasingly, insurers are refusing cover to restaurants which don't arrange adequate cleaning, and they may even refuse to pay out after a blaze if it is caused by neglecting this precaution.

There are various reasons why your schedule may need to be reviewed. For instance, if business has picked up recently, kitchen extract cleaning could be needed more frequently than the statutory minimum of once per year. This is because more cooking means a faster build-up of grease. Another factor to consider is whether your menu has altered. A change in customer demand, the season or even shifts in food fashion could mean a change in oil or grease levels. For instance, if you cook more burgers and fry-ups than you used to, that is something to bear in mind.

Your cleaning timetable may also need a rethink if the opening hours of your business have expanded. Perhaps you are staying open later or opening at weekends, or you might have added a lunch service as well as evening dining. Any of these changes will put more pressure on kitchen extract systems.

A Shift in Thinking

All businesses obviously have to consider their budgets, and therefore there may be a temptation only to do the statutory minimum when it comes to scheduling maintenance. However, companies should think less about being compliant on paper and more about protecting their businesses from the risk of fire. 
If your catering firm has to shut down temporarily because of damage to your building, the costs will far outweigh those of preventing the fire in the first place. There is also a risk that customers will go elsewhere during the shutdown and be lost for good. And, of course, no price can be put on the risk to human life posed by any fire.

All this means that professional advice is needed about the optimum frequency of duct cleaning for your particular business to ensure fire safety. The officially recommended levels are that extract ductwork should be cleaned annually if there is only light use of the kitchen, for up to six hours a day. However, if usage goes up to between six and 12 hours daily, six-monthly cleaning is needed – and if usage is between 12 and 16 hours, which is the case with many busy commercial kitchens, you need to schedule it in every three months. 

About Ingot Services

Ductwork cleaning experts Ingot can carry out inspections as well as cleaning, and can advise on whether your current schedule is adequate. This is especially important if there have been any changes in the way the kitchen is used since your schedule was agreed. We provide a UK-wide service, including London, Suffolk, Norfolk, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle. Call 0800 731 7892 or follow the link  for a free quote.

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