The essence of preventative maintenance is to recognize potential problems and correct them before they happen. It also means nipping small problems in the bud before they turn into major headaches. Preventative maintenance when it comes to personal health might include regular physicals, vitamins, and lifestyle changes. Your car would benefit from periodic tune ups and oil changes, fluid checks, and properly inflated tires. Preventative maintenance is a policy that should be implemented at work as well. In the restaurant service industry, there are a number of things to look for that may require corrective steps to be taken.

The main purposes of hood and duct cleanings are to prevent grease fires and to keep people safe. In order to reduce the risk of fire, the exhaust system should be thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis. That can sometimes be difficult to do if the duct has unreachable areas. Therefore, one preventive maintenance measure would be to install access doors at least every 12 feet and at all changes of duct direction. This will allow hood cleaners the access to do a thorough cleaning job.

Everyone wants to prevent injury at work. Hood cleaning is a dirty job and there are many ways one could severely injure oneself for life. One place that can be more dangerous than most others is the rooftop exhaust fan and surrounding area. When it’s time to clean the fan, the chance of injury is a real possibility. One way to substantially reduce the risk is to make sure there is a sturdy, reliable hinge installed. If there is no hinge, the heavy, greasy, unwieldy fan must be lifted off the curb manually and set down on the roof. It’s easy to lose your grip in that situation, and the result could be a gashed roof, damaged fan, or broken foot. A flimsy hinge isn’t much better. You don’t want to have your hands or head getting smashed when that hinge gives way! Be proactive. Install an NFPA96 compliant Omni Super Hinge and you’ll have one less worry.

Another hazard often seen near the exhaust fan is a grease covered roof. Grease exits from the fan drain spout and sometimes from seams and cracks in the fan as usage increases over time. The grease ends up pooling on the roof. The problems associated with rooftop grease accumulation are obvious. It is a slip and fall danger for rooftop workers. It is a violation of EPA regulations and a pollution hazard when rainfall washes it off the roof. It can also provide fuel in the event of a fire. A necessary part of rooftop maintenance is preventing grease from reaching the roof. Omni has the answer to whatever grease issue or situation a fan presents. For fans that emit grease only from the drain spout, you can choose from the Grease Box (which is available in three sizes), the Sidekick, or the SRS Interceptor. For fans that require 360-degree grease protection, we offer the Grease Gutter and the Roof Guardian.

Are there other preventative maintenance measures you can take to stay on top of and ahead of potential grease related headaches? Many restaurants already have some sort of grease containment device on or around the exhaust fan. That’s a good start. But most grease containment systems include some kind of absorbent media or filter to hold the grease. Sooner or later, these filters will reach their saturation capacity. The filters must be changed before that happens or else grease will end up wreaking havoc on the roof and environment. To prevent this possibility, a forward-thinking restaurant service company will stock its trucks with a variety of replacement filters. When the crew comes across a grease containment system that has been neglected, they can rectify the problem right then and there. The crew might also end up on a roof that already has grease spread over an area. That possibility is a good reason to have a supply of Grease Away on board. Apply Grease Away to the affected area and problem solved!

The keys to effective preventive maintenance are observation and preparation. Be alert, see the problem, and have the right answer on hand. You will stop some problems before they start and prevent small problems from becoming big ones. Your customers will love you, and you’ll make a nice profit in the process.