equipment maintenance

Top Ten Tips for Commercial Range Safety

cooking commercial rangeCommercial ranges are staple pieces of equipment in many commercial restaurants. Before operating any commercial range, be familiar with all safety precautions located in the manufacturer’s operating manual. Below are our top ten suggestions for burn prevention, fire safety, and general equipment safety.

10. Keep the range clean.

Residual grease and food particles may catch fire and quickly get out of control.

9. Be aware of hot surfaces.

Take care when cooking and avoid burns from hot surfaces or flames.

8. Keep protective equipment handy.

Keep pot holders and oven mitts handy. These are perfect for handling hot containers, pots, pans, and generally following safety precautions.

7. Never leave a hot range unattended.

It is important to monitor and be in control of the heat and the product being heated at all times while operating the equipment.

6. Be careful of equipment tipping over.

Ranges with light-gauge steel are often lighter and may tip easily, causing injury.

5. Never store items on top of a range.

Even if the range is off, never cover or clutter the range top. This creates a fire hazard.

4. Keep flammable items away.

Flammable liquids or chemicals should not be stored on or near surface of the range nor on the floors surrounding the range.

3. Keep the floors clean.

Be sure to clean up any grease or water spills on the floor near the range. This eliminates the possibility of slipping and falling onto hot surfaces.

2. Follow maintenance guidelines.

Know how to care for the commercial range. Replace the range when the overall structure is compromised due to warping, broken components or potential gas leak.

1. Be aware of gas leakage.

The flame emitting from a burner ought to be steady, quiet, and blue in color. A sputtering yellow flame may be problematic and require a certified technician’s help.

Buying Guide: How to Know When It Is Time to Replace Your Walk-In

Summertime is approaching quickly and your refrigerators and freezers will be working overtime. While walk-in refrigerators and Norlake walk-infreezers can have very long service lives, there are a few telltale signs that a unit needs replacing.

With new and more energy efficient technologies continuously being developed (see my previous post detailing ENERGY STAR products here), experts recommend that walk-ins be replaced after 15 years of service.

If panel skins are deteriorating or separating from the foam, the walk-in most likely needs to be retired. Frost accumulates when warm air is allowed to enter the walk-in. If your walk-in is a new installation and the frost is forming along seam lines, you may have an air leak at the seam. Interior panel seams that have condensation or frost build up typically signify that the seal is allowing air to leak through. This can compromise holding temperatures and leave you needing a new unit.

If the frost is around the door you likely have a leaking door gasket or wiper gasket on the bottom of the door. To determine this, go inside the freezer, have someone turn off the lights. If you see light, you have a leak at the gaskets that will need to be repaired. Door seals and sweep gaskets can be replaced. However, sagging doors that allow outside air into the walk-in can cause ice buildup on the evaporator coil, compromising efficiency and eventually requiring the purchase of a new unit

Finally, if the frost is on the ceiling, particularly near the unit cooler (coil), you may have a failed fan delay relay. The fan delay relay functions to delay the coil fans from restarting after a defrost cycle until the coil refreezes. If there is no delay the water on the fins of the coil will evaporate and turn to frost on the ceiling of the walk-in freezer. You’ll need a refrigeration tech to confirm the problem and replace the fan delay relay.

How To Clean Your Commercial Ice Machine

The show Kitchen Nightmares has made me hyper-aware of the risks of dirty ice machines. Ice machines are considered food equipment and must be maintained and cleaned to promote healthy, sanitary conditions. Proper maintenance and cleaning of your ice machine increases performance and reduces the need for repairs. If you’re not cleaning your ice machine regularly, you’re allowing it to accumulate mold and slime that reduces the function of your ice machine and, more importantly, the health and safety of your ice.

Ice MachineCleaning and sanitizing your bin is a two-part process. First, you need to remove lime scale from your machine. Secondly, you need to sanitize the interior and exterior of the bin. It’s recommended that you use the manufacturer suggested solution when following the steps below:

To clean the interior

  1. Mix a solution of water and descaler together following the recommendations from the bottle (Usually 5-6 ounces per gallon).
  2. Use a spray bottle to apply this cleaner to the inside of the bin. Remove the baffle from the inside of the bin by removing the thumbscrews first.
  3. Using a nylon brush, scrub the interior in its entirety as well as the baffle.
  4. Soak your scoop until all of the scale deposits are removed.
  5. Flush the bin, baffle and scoop thoroughly with fresh water ensuring all traces of the descaler has been removed.
Sanitizing your Ice Machine

After cleaning the interior the unit should be sanitized. This is done following the same method as used above however, this time you will use a sanitizing solution.

  1. Apply sanitizing solution with a spray bottle.
  2. With a clean rag wipe down the entire interior surface of the bin as well as the baffle, thumb screws and scoop.
  3. Thoroughly flush the interior of the bin as well as the other parts that were sanitized with fresh water until all traces of the sanitizer is removed.

You’re not done yet!

The outside of your bin should be wiped down at least weekly. While this part of the bin won’t touch the ice, it’s important to keep it clean. Simply apply a mild soap solution and wipe the entire exterior surface.

Cleaning commercial ice machine condenser coils is essential preventive maintenance also. Dirty coils shorten the life of the compressor and reduce ice production. Eventually a safety will cut the machine off to prevent further damage. The coils can be vacuumed, blown out with CO2 or compressed air or brushed. Remember that ice machine condenser coils are usually more fragile than other refrigeration equipment coils.

Finally, for maximum filtration efficiency, replace the primary filter cartridge every six months.

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