Commercial Range Maintenance
Author: Jason Rahm
The commercial range is the most versatile piece of equipment in your kitchen. They come in various widths and various top configurations. They come with open burners, griddle tops, hot top, French tops and charbroiler tops. Each aspect of the range requires special care, and if they care if given, your range will last longer.
Monitor Flame and Electric Elements to Ensure Proper Heating
Commercial Range Cleaning TipsDuring the day, spills happen. Do your best to safely wipe up excess liquids from the range area. At the end of each shift, have your kitchen staff perform a more thorough cleaning process, but implementing some of the procedures below. Before thoroughly cleaning, be sure that the range is off and the top is cool.
Clean as you goWhenever a spill occurs, be sure to wipe it up immediately. This will prevent the food from becoming baked on to the range top. If a spill extinguishes the pilot light on a gas range, you will need to clean the burner heads and pilot orifice before relighting it.
Clean the gratesWhether your commercial range is gas or electric, the burners can be removed for cleaning. Cast iron grates, common additions to gas ranges, can be cleaned by simply wiping down with a wet cloth. If they are in need of a deeper cleaning, these grates can be soaked in warm soapy water to break down the grease. Calrod heating elements, that are prominent on electric commercial ranges, can be wiped down the same way. If you choose to soak these elements, be sure to let them dry before plugging them back in!
Clean under the grates or burnersWhen your grates and burners are out for cleaning is a great time to clean under them. If your stove has drip trays, remove them and wipe them down. If they are wiped down daily, they will not be as difficult to clean. These can be soaked in warm soapy water if necessary. For gas ranges, wipe down the area underneath the grates.
Empty scrap traysAfter cooking on a griddle, use a scraper to scrape off excess food products. Be sure to do this throughout the day. Not only will these keep your griddle surface clean, but it will also prevent taste contamination between foods. At the end of the shift, or the end of the day, pour water on your griddle and heat it to 150ºF or 175ºF and wipe down the area with a thick clean cloth.
Clean the oven interiorIf the range comes with an oven base, that oven needs to be cleaned at least once a month; more frequently if there is a spillover. If it is a porcelain enamel interior, use a standard oven cleaner. For metal interiors, use a mild detergent and soft cloth.
Range Top Cleaning TipsThere are several different top configurations for commercial ranges, and each top has to be cleaned in a particular manner in order to maintain its cooking efficiency.
Cleaning a French top.Spot clean throughout the day to wipe up any spills and maintain heat transfer. At the end of the day, wipe the French top down with warm soapy water for a more thorough cleaning and to increase its longevity.
Cleaning a griddle top.Clean the griddle top after with a grill brick at the end of each day, and degrease the griddle once a week. Also, re-season the griddle as needed.
Cleaning a hot top.While the cooking surface is still slightly warm, wipe it down with a coarse cloth (like burlap), and scrape off any burnt-on food. If excessively dirty, the hot top should be removed and washed in a sink of warm, soapy water. After drying, the hot top should be wiped down with a light coat of oil to prevent rust.
Cleaning gas open burners.At the end of each day, the burner grates need to be removed, cleaned and dried. Also, the burner ports (the part the flame comes through) should be cleaned with a wire brush. If any of the holes are clogged, the burner should be removed and cleaned more thoroughly to assure a proper flame. The flame should also be blue and steady. If it is jumpy, yellow or white, a port may be clogged or the gas-to-air mixture is wrong. Reference the owner’s manual to adjust this mixture.
Monitor Flame and Electric Elements to Ensure Proper Heating
Check flame on commercial gas ranges.After cleaning the range at the end of a shift, turn on each burner one at a time and check the flame. What you should see is steady blue flame.
- If the flame is jumpy, turn off the burner, and adjust the screw that secures the flame shutter. Check it again, and make any tweaks necessary.
- Make a schedule for cleaning, calibrating commercial ovens, checking commercial refrigerator temperatures, descaling dish machines and any other type of commercial equipment upkeep.
- If the flame is to yellow or white, open the shutter just a tiny bit to ensure proper air flow. Once you have the flame where you want it, tighten the screw around the shutter.
- If the pilot doesn’t stay lit, then the port is clogged. It should be cleaned out with the range unplugged.
Servicing Your Commercial RangeEach commercial range manufacturer has a list of authorized service agents around the country. These service agents are the best people to contact if something goes wrong with your range. If the range is under warranty, the manufacturer will often cover some or all of the cost for the service call.
- Garland Service Agents
- Southbend Service Agents
- Star Manufacturing Service Agents
- Town Food Equipment Customer Service: 800-221-5032
- Vulcan-Hart Service Agents
- Wolf Range Service Agents
Check Your Warranty InfoWhen contacting a service agent or considering handling repairs yourself, be sure to check the warranty information on your range to see what is covered. Oftentimes, warranties are voided if you attempt to make your own repairs.
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