If a range hood filter is not clean, then grease may drip from the filter into hot foods or onto hot cooking surfaces. That grease could then ignite, creating an immediate fire hazard. Because most house fires start in the kitchen, a clean grease filter is an easy, low-maintenance way to keep homes safe.
Clean range hood grease filters serve a number of other purposes within the home in addition to fire prevention. Filters clean up the air in the kitchen by removing grease, humidity and smoke particulates. People living in the home can enjoy better air quality, and cooks in the kitchen can feel free to experiment with different techniques without worrying about creating foul smells or billows of smoke. In addition, filters cut down on the amount of time required to clean the kitchen because they keep grease and dust from settling onto kitchen surfaces. The exhaust motor of the range hood also works more efficiently when the filters are cleaned and maintained regularly.
A grease filter should be checked at least once per month for cleanliness. One indicator of a clogged filter is that the range hood works normally, but air moves through the filter more slowly than usual. A permanent filter should be cleaned by removing it, washing it with hot water and detergent and allowing it to dry completely before reinstalling. A permanent aluminum mesh filter can also be cleaned by running it through the dishwasher. If a range hood requires disposable charcoal filters, then the charcoal filters must be replaced according to the manufacturer's instructions.
For maximum safety and optimum range hood operation, homeowners and renters should follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning or replacing their filters. The instructions will include a schedule for cleaning and preferred methods for cleaning. If the maintenance schedule isn't followed, then the manufacturer may void the warranty for the range hood.
When the filter is either too dirty to clean or shows damage, the filter needs to be replaced. Start by contacting a reputable supplier and providing information about the make and model of the range hood. The supplier may also provide assistance if homeowners or renters are unsure about how to install the filter. Cleaning and maintaining a range hood filter is a smart investment of a homeowner's time. A few minutes and a bit of elbow grease could potentially save a home from catastrophic fire damage.