The weather is gradually warming up and more food trucks are heading back out on the road. If you haven’t by now dusted out your food truck maintenance list, then it is important that you do so and also check everything from your tires to your rooftop ventilation.
Even when you believe there is no need, you shouldn’t let easily preventable problems derail your food truck’s success. One of the most vital places to begin when carrying out a food truck maintenance check-up is with the ventilation system.
It is most often recommended you begin with your upblast exhaust fan. Your upblast exhaust fan is the core of your ventilation system, and if for any reason it is not functioning properly, then your whole kitchen will have to bear the brunt.
Ensure to look around your exhaust fan for any grease buildup or oil run-off. After that, you need to check on the mounting system of your exhaust fan. Although it’s not much more than a metal box, your roof curb or mounting curb is an essential part of your food truck ventilation system.
Your roof curb is what links your exhaust fan to the roof or side of your food truck. As such, a very solid connection between your mounting curb and upblast fan also helps to guarantee that smoke and grease make their way out of your mobile kitchen.
Also take your time to inspect your vent hood filters for any visible dents, holes, rust, or any other corrosion-related damage. If they are exhibiting any signs of wear and tear, it might be the right time to change them with a new hood filter.
If not, just keep your hood and filters on a strict cleaning schedule. If you can achieve this, then you will find that not only does your ventilation system perform better but your food truck will be cleaner overall.
Steps to Clean a Food Truck Hood
While it may seem less stressful to hire a professional to clean your food truck exhaust hood, note that doing it yourself comes with a wide range of benefits.
For one, doing it yourself can save your mobile food business a couple of dollars every year. Aside from just the savings, learning how to do it yourself will help you clean the hoods, filters, and any ductwork more frequently.
This will guarantee a cleaner food truck kitchen and a reduced possibility of fires breaking out from built-up grease and food debris. To do this yourself and to ensure that you do it properly, you will need the following cleaning supplies:
- Plastic sheeting
- Eye protection
- Plastic tub
- Liquid degreaser
- Disposable grease container
- Paper towels
- Spray degreaser
- Cleaning brush
- Scrub pad
- Liquid detergent (mild)
Exhaust Pans and Filters
- Switch off the pilot lights on the ovens, range tops, and fryers within the food truck. Ensure to give time for all the exhaust pans and filters within the hood to cool to guarantee that they can be handled comfortably. Also, switch off the exhaust hood’s power, and verify that the system’s power is also disconnected.
- Cover all surfaces close to the cleaning area with plastic sheeting.
- Fill a large tub with hot water, and add in liquid degreaser, (adhere to the ratios stipulated on the container).
- Wear your eye protection.
- Remove all of the grease pans and exhaust filters, and ensure you deposit the excess grease into a waste grease container.
- Clean the excess grease and debris out of each filter, and pan with the paper towels. Cover every part of each piece with a spray degreaser, and leverage your cleaning brush to carefully scrub and loosen debris. Soak each filter and pan in the hot water tub once you are done scrubbing (you can do this in your commercial kitchen if your truck’s sinks are small).
- Take each pan filter out from the soaking water, and rinse with a strong stream of hot water. Take your time to verify that each piece is clean. Dry completely with clean towels. Replace within the cleaned exhaust hood.
Food Truck Exhaust Hood
- Utilize a clean scrub pad soaked with hot water as well as a mild liquid detergent to clean the interior and exterior of the exhaust hood.
- Also, leverage the scrub pad to carefully scrub grease and debris from the piping situated inside the hood.
- Soak a towel with hot water, and get rid of every soapy residue from every part of the hood and piping. Don’t forget to cover each part with a spray degreaser, clean it off with another warm, damp towel, and dry it completely with a clean towel. Dry very well to avoid rust from forming.
The steps above can guide you on how to clean your food truck exhaust hood and everything attached. While it is possible to get it done yourself, don’t forget to consider the expertise and ease that comes with working with a certified cleaner.
In a good number of places, when you get inspected, inspectors may need to see a certified receipt by a professional specialist or they will not sign off on your inspection. As such, make sure to reach out to your local inspectors to have a first-class insight into what they are looking for.