Combination ovens — aka combi ovens — are an important piece of most commercial foodservice equipment operations. Combi ovens provide a wide range of functionality and often receive heavy use due to this versality. They are an excellent way to boost productivity and capacity, and even trim costs by standing in for multiple units on your cook line.
Combi ovens are by no means an inexpensive investment and should be properly maintained in order to maximize both efficiency and length of life of the unit. This includes daily and weekly cleaning protocols, depending on manufacturer guidelines, and a comprehensive planned maintenance program that includes additional procedures that are not recommended for the end-user/operator.
Here are 7 essential steps for proper combi oven maintenance:
- Keep the oven clean. Wipe down the exterior and interior of the oven daily with a soft, damp cloth. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, wire brushes or scouring pads, as they can damage the surface of the oven. Always check the manufacturer instructions before cleaning, as different models may have different cleaning guidelines. Ensuring your liquid cleaner jugs are replaced as needed or using manufacture recommended cleaning tablets will ensure proper cleaning.
- Clean the door gaskets regularly. Over time, food and grease can build up on the door seals, causing them to become dirty and less effective. Use a soft cloth and a mild detergent to clean the seals, and make sure they are completely dry before closing the door.
- Check and replace the door gasket(s). Inspect door gaskets for tears, stiffness and deformation. Gaskets are a wearable item that should be replaced quarterly with high-volume usage and semi-annual with moderate use. If this gasket, or rubber seal, is damaged or worn, it can allow heat to escape and lead to poor cooking performance.
- Descale your combi oven. Combination ovens use steam during the cooking process, and over time, mineral deposits can build up in the steam generator and other parts of the oven. To remove these deposits, use a descaling agent. It is imperative that the cleaning agents are placed in the appropriate locations of the oven to ensure maximum efficiency. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper cleaning agent and placement.
- Check the water levels. Combi ovens function by using a certain amount of water to produce steam. Ensuring your equipment is connected to a treated water supply will ensure your unit can function properly. Your treated water system should be scheduled for preventative maintenance and filter change outs to ensure proper pressure is maintained.
- Test the oven’s safety systems. Regularly test the oven’s safety systems, such as the door lock and emergency stop button, to ensure that they are functioning properly.
- Perform regular planned maintenance through a reputable service provider. Area service manager Dillan Taylor of United Service Technologies, a Tech24 Company, says keeping a professional maintenance schedule is key. “In addition to regular cleaning and upkeep, it’s important to have your combi oven professionally serviced on a regular basis,” said Taylor. “The frequency of professional planned maintenance will depend on how often the oven is used and the manufacturer’s recommendations. Professional technicians can perform tasks such as checking for leaks, calibrating temperature sensors, and lubricating moving parts to ensure optimal performance and extend the life of your oven.”
Although this is not an exhaustive list of your combi oven’s manufacturer guidelines, it provides a baseline for proper maintenance, and daily or weekly tasks that should be adhered to. Careful and consistent maintenance is a cost-effective way to preserve the life of your expensive equipment and reduce equipment downtime.
Need more information on your specific combi oven model or your other commercial kitchen equipment needs? Reach out to a Tech24 service professional for guidance. We’ll keep you up and running!