Having the right equipment is key to running a smooth kitchen. What’s even more important is making sure each unit is maintained regularly between scheduled visits from technicians.
Whether you’re looking to get the most out of your refrigeration unit or fryer, there are some easy ways to keep your equipment running strong. Here are our top 10 tips for commercial and restaurant equipment maintenance.
Routine maintenance is essential on any commercial refrigerator, freezer or cooler. Remember to add the following to your restaurant equipment maintenance checklist. For more thorough guidelines, check out our full commercial refrigeration maintenance tips.
- Check the gaskets – Split and cracks can cause cool air to escape your unit. Also, make sure your gaskets are clean. Dirt and grease wear down your gaskets if not cleaned immediately.
- Check the air filters – This goes for not only refrigerators but also ice machines and coolers. Too much dust or grease can keep air from properly ventilating. Remove the dust with shop vacuum, and use the proper degreasing solution to clean off any grease. Check your owner’s manual for any specific instructions.
- Clean all coils – Both the condenser and evaporator coils are crucial on your refrigerated units. Try to clean these parts off with a brush and shop vacuum at least once every three months.
- Keep drain pans and tubes free of debris – This is crucial on refrigerators, walk-in coolers and freezers. These units frequently attract buildups of slime and sludge, causing them to freeze up. Try to clean them regularly. If a clogged tube is damaged by the blockage, replace it immediately.
- Keep units dry – Make sure the floors of walk-in coolers and freezers are clean and dry. Having the area spotless not only reduces the likelihood of slips and falls, but it also helps keep coils on your units from freezing up. This also is important for the bottoms of reach-in refrigerators and freezers.
- Monitor your fryer for possible gas leaks – Every four to six weeks, check for any possible gas leaks. The easiest way to test this is by spraying the gas supply hoses with soapy water. if you see any bubbles appear, that means there is a leak. If you smell any gas in your kitchen, make sure to check immediately.
- Clean the combustion fans – Try to clean your fryer’s combustion fans at least once a month. This helps prevent a possible breakdown in your unit.
- Boil out your fryer regularly – Both fat and carbon deposits can build up on the heating element and in the tank. Boiling out your fryer on a weekly basis will help remove any old grease or grime. Consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions and recommendations.
Ranges, Griddles & Grills
- Clean your burners, grates or flattops – Each type of surface should be scrubbed or wiped down on a daily basis. A more thorough cleaning might be in order once a month or if you use ingredients that leave a mess. For instance, you may have to soak any grates in warm soapy water to break up thick buildups of grease. Also, make sure to frequently clean out any drip trays or areas underneath your burner or grates.
- Check grease filters on overhead exhaust units – A large buildup of grease can restricts airflow. Looks at your owner’s manual for any specific instructions on cleaning the filters. Be sure to replace them if you notice any damage or excessive amounts of grease.