Many restaurants utilize some form of deep fat frying in their kitchen. These deep fryers are used to cook a variety of delicious foods: doughnuts, chicken wings, tortilla/potato chips, onion rings…the list goes on. While these items are undeniably popular and well-known throughout the world, little attention is given to the equipment that produces these tasty treats. This includes regular deep fryer maintenance and annual inspections by a qualified contractor. 

Regular Maintenance for Deep Fat Fryers

Deep fat fryers are available in numerous sizes and are manufactured by many different companies. While each deep fryer is uniquely designed and constructed, one constant for all is the need for regular maintenance and cleaning. Most manufacturers provide a list of preventive maintenance checks and service in the owner’s manual; follow these closely.

Daily or weekly checks typically include cleaning the inside and outside of the fryer cabinet, as well as looking for loose or frayed wires and cords, leaking oil, and any abnormalities not associated with regular use. These checks can be easily performed by an employee as part of their weekly kitchen routine. Prior to developing any of these procedures, it is important to read the owner’s manual for any warnings or special instructions which should be followed.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 21% of restaurant fires are caused by deep fat fryers, typically due to lack of cleaning or proper maintenance. NFPA recommends an annual inspection and service be performed by a qualified commercial cooking appliance contractor.

How to Find a Qualified Contractor for Annual Inspections of Commercial Cooking Appliances

To find a qualified contractor, start with the manufacturer. The manufacturer knows the exact layout and parts used in their product. They are the most knowledgeable and equipped to handle your appliance service. If the manufacturer does not provide service themselves, they will recommend a local commercial appliance service contractor. As an example, Vulcan Equipment has a service option on their website where you can search for a service contractor by zip code.

Annual inspections should only be performed by a qualified commercial cooking appliance contractor. Their inspection includes items which are inaccessible and may be potentially dangerous to untrained employees.

During an inspection, the contractor will:

  1. Ensure there is no excessive oil build-up or oil migration on the interior and exterior cabinet.
  2. Make sure all burners, pilot lights, ignitors, and gas lines are properly connected and functioning.
  3. Verify the temperature thermostat and high-limit switch are properly connected, tightened and functioning properly. High-limit switches are a safety feature which will cause the gas valve to automatically close or the electric heating element to shut off if the oil temperature reaches an unsafe level.
  4. Verify there are no piping leaks and all connections are properly tightened.
  5. Verify the fryer tank is in good condition and free of leaks and that the appliance insulation is in serviceable condition.
  6. Verify that all safety features (drain safety switches, reset switches, etc.) are present and functioning properly.

These are just some of the items that a qualified commercial cooking appliance contractor will inspect during their visit. Failure or malfunction of any of these key components can potentially lead to a catastrophic event, such as a fire, resulting in property damage or serious injury. In order to ensure the safety of your property, employees, and customers, it is extremely important to schedule an annual inspection performed by a qualified commercial cooking appliance contractor.

Check out this blog for more information: “Clean Cooking Equipment to Prevent Grease Fires.”

-Jarrett Wagner