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The dangers of dirty ductwork in commercial kitchens

The issue of indoor air quality and the associated health risks from poorly-maintained HVAC systems has received a lot of publicity in recent years. Outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease have raised awareness of the need for extract ventilation to be kept clean as part of regular maintenance, but what about the safety aspects of dirty ductwork, especially in commercial kitchens?

90% of fires in catering establishments are intensified due to the presence of grease deposits in ductwork, as these transmit heat and flames very quickly, with gas hobs, flaming woks and flare-ups from deep-fat fryers presenting plenty of ignition sources. There’s also the risk of a fire starting within the grease-lined ductwork itself should the temperature become high enough.

Because of the fire risk associated with ductwork grease – not included in BS EN 15780 ‘Ventilation for Buildings - Ductwork - Cleanliness of Ventilation Systems’ – it can be hard to get cover as insurers are wary of policy holders not cleaning their systems adequately. Those insurers that will offer cover often include disclaimers to reject claims in cases where it can be proved that proper maintenance has not been carried out.

Operators of commercial kitchens should protect their staff and premises by having extract ductwork properly maintained by an experienced professional such as Gibbons HVAC Services. We can clean and service your ventilation system at a time to suit you, so we’ll be out of your way and not disrupt your schedule. For more information on all aspects of HVAC servicing and repair, call Andrew Knight on 07850 204915 or email

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