Maintenance Tips: Accelerated Ovens
Accelerated ovens, also called fast-cook or high-speed ovens combine several heating technologies (including microwaves, impingement and radiant heat) to cook a variety of foods to golden perfection in a fraction of the time and space a traditional oven takes. They are sturdy, reliable kitchen appliances. But keeping these ovens in good working order begins with proper installation, and requires well-trained employees who follow daily cleaning requirements.
Manufacturers and top service technicians offer the following tips to keep your fast-cook ovens in top condition.
Wherever you install the accelerated oven, make sure it has enough space for ventilation and is easily accessible for servicing. Opt for a mounting surface that’s fireproof, stable, level and free from vibration. Proper voltage is critical; the unit will likely need a dedicated line.
Excess heat and corrosion are threats to your oven’s solid-state components so be sure to position the unit a sufficient distance from sinks, steamers, ranges and fryers. Also, avoid installing your oven any place where it will be exposed to extreme cold.
Fire poses the greatest risk when using an accelerated oven. Prevent fires by training your staff members on how to properly use the equipment, and how to follow daily cleaning procedures, especially removing grease buildup, as recommended by the manufacturer.
Train employees to not place unapproved, potentially-combustible items—such as aluminum foil, paper and plastic—in the cooking chamber. Don’t prepare shell-on eggs or foods with alcohol, or insert sealed jars or containers, in the oven.
But also, don’t operate the appliance without food in the cooking chamber. To help keep clean-up as easy as possible, and to avoid the potential for fire, pierce foods with skins (sausages, potatoes or fruit) prior to cooking to relieve pressure and eliminate the mess of a food blow-out.
Regularly care for the oven-door gaskets if the model has them. Inspect them for any damage and keep them clean.
Accelerated-oven doors pull down, like regular oven doors. Train staff to not slam the oven’s door (or use it as a shelf or step!), one service tech says. Abusing the door will accelerate wear on the expensive-to-replace hinges, and can possibly dislodge the micro-switches. The result: the controller gives a false ‘door open’ error code and you’ll need a service call.
Before unplugging the oven for cleaning, let the oven power down and allow it to complete its cooling cycle, another service tech suggests. Failing to complete the cooling cycle can subject the electronic components to excess heat, often resulting in the tripping of the high-heat limit switch and/or component damage. Once the oven has properly cooled, you can safely disconnect it from the power source.
To properly clean the oven, make sure employees have the correct tools and supplies on hand. Heat-proof gloves, non-abrasive nylon scrubbing pads, cleaning towels and detergent are standard. A soft-bristle brush can come in handy too.
For more difficult to remove stains, one manufacturer recommends non-caustic cleaner, but still use gloves. Don’t use corrosive chemicals, steel wool, abrasive scouring pads or wire brushes when cleaning the interior or exterior of the unit. Again, make sure staffers follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.
Properly clean the air filters on ovens to prevent a plugged-up and over-heated magnetron. Regularly inspect grease filters for wear and clean the filters gently—no harsh scrubbing. A soft-bristle brush helps when cleaning vents and cooling-fan housings.
Protect your oven’s stainless enclosure from corrosion by immediately wiping the exterior of any spills or splatters of acidic foods or liquids.
Don’t spray liquid cleaners or water onto control panels or displays, or into any openings on the oven, as doing so may cause damage. Never use a hose or water jet, or steam, to clean the interior or exterior of the appliance. If other kitchen appliances nearby must be steam cleaned, completely and securely cover the oven; remember, exposing it to excessive moisture can eventually lead to corrosion of the electronic components.
Troubleshooting, Service Calls
Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for periodic service. If your oven has a scheduled maintenance reminder built in to its display, use it. If the oven displays an error message, be sure to record it; it will help the service tech diagnose the problem.
But before making a service call, first check that employees properly cleaned the oven and that they’re using the correct cooking settings. Check that they’re correctly closing the oven door and that nothing is obstructing airflow to the cooling fans.
If the oven puts out repeated high-heat warnings from the control panel (and several resets of the high-heat-limit safety switch), it’s safe to assume that there’s something wrong with a component in the oven. In this case, immediately discontinue using the appliance and call a service tech. By training staff on how to properly use and care for your accelerated oven, you can rely on the unit to quickly turn out a variety of foods for some time.
Copyright FER March 2016