oven life

How to Schedule Maintenance to Ensure Longer Oven Life

A commercial smokehouse or dehydrator is a big investment — one that requires regular and ongoing maintenance to ensure a long oven life.

Commercial oven manufacturers provide information on how and what should be routinely inspected and maintained, but in many facilities, those instructions are often buried in a user manual that gets stuck in a drawer somewhere or made inaccessible to maintenance personnel.

Regular preventative maintenance is necessary to keep your oven operating for a long period of time.

Benefits of Preventative Oven Maintenance

A smokehouse or dehydrator is like any other equipment in your facility — over time it will wear down and component parts will need to be replaced, either in advance or after the component part fails and the oven experiences costly down time.

Performing regular maintenance checks on your smokehouse or dehydrator is a smart choice — and one you should take seriously.Click To Tweet

Here are just a few reasons why you need a preventative maintenance schedule for your oven:

  • Catch failing components before they cause a shut down
  • Ensures the efficiency of your oven
  • Prevents changes to the oven breakpoint which could result in inconsistent product cooking
  • Prevents costly down time for repairs
  • Keeps your oven running more efficiently for a longer period of time

Recommended Oven Maintenance Schedule

Every smokehouse or dehydrator is different and may require a slightly modified maintenance schedule, but most oven manufacturers will recommend a preventative maintenance schedule that follows this format.

Always refer to the user manual for your specific ovens to finalize a preventative maintenance schedule.

Daily Maintenance Checks

The following preventative maintenance should be performed on your smokehouse or dehydrator on a daily basis:

  • Wet Sock
    While some wet socks can be used for longer periods of time, it is recommended to change them each day. Wet socks are very inexpensive and ensuring a fresh wet sock each day is a negligible price to ensure a costly error doesn’t occur.
  • Product Probe Calibration
    We recommend calibrating product probes on a daily basis to prevent issues in your HACCP program and the risk of a costly recall that could occur if product probes haven’t been calibrated in weeks.
  • Psychrometer Pan
    Ensure water is slowly dripping into the pan.
  • Rotating Dampers
    Inspect damper positioning to make sure dampers are 90 degrees clocked from each other (+/- 1 degree).
  • Compressed Air
    Ensure compressed air is coming in at the right temperature

Weekly Maintenance Checks

The following preventative maintenance should be performed on your smokehouse or dehydrator on a weekly basis:

  • Door Seals
    Look for cracks, tears, or holes in the door seals.
  • Temperature Probe
    Check the core temperature prove for any damage and calibrate.
  • Steam Coils
    Visually check the steam coils for leaks or any foreign matter that may be caught in the fins reducing airflow.
  • Gas / Steam Valves
    Check for leaks and stuck valves.
  • Air and Water Filters
    Verify the filters are clean and not restricting flow into the oven control system.
  • Natural Smoke
    Check for smoke leaks.
  • Air / Water Atomization Nozzles
    Validate that the humidity system is working properly. Adjust if needed.
  • Fresh Air and Exhaust Dampers
    Check the fresh air / exhaust damper position (if applicable).
  • Clean the Oven
    Clean the unit with a smoke tar removing detergent.

Monthly Maintenance Checks

The following preventative maintenance should be performed on your smokehouse or dehydrator on a monthly basis:

  • Wet Bulb
    Calibrate the wet bulb sensor.
  • Product Shower
    Inspect all spray nozzles to verify they are working properly. Clean or replace if necessary.
  • Lubrication
    Lubricate all bearings.
  • Gas Burner System
    Check the flame to verify it is a billowing type, blue with yellowish orange tips. Contact a qualified service person to adjust the flame if necessary.
  • Main Blower
    Check the fan wheel for any wear or corrosion, check v-belt drive for proper alignment, tension, and wear. Check all set screws and bolts to verify they are tight. Check bearings for lubrication.
  • Cleaning System
    Inspect all spray nozzles to verify they are working properly. Clean or replace if necessary.
  • Fresh Air and Exhaust Dampers
    Check the fresh air / exhaust damper position (if applicable).

Quarterly Maintenance Checks

The following preventative maintenance should be performed on your smokehouse or dehydrator on a quarterly basis:

  • Steam Coils
    Inspect steam coils for leaks and corrosion. Verify that the fins are not collapsed or folded over. Check past graphs to verify that the oven is reaching temperature in the same amount of time.
  • Gas Train
    Inspect gas train for leaks.
  • Fresh Air Intake Damper
    Verify the damper opens and closes mechanically.
  • Actuator Travel
    Verify actuator travel falls within recommended levels:

    • Steam Heat: 3-15 psi
    • Steam Cook: 3-15 psi
    • Steam Humidity: 9-15 psi
    • Fresh Air & Exhaust: 3-8 psi

Annual Maintenance Checks

The following preventative maintenance should be performed on your smokehouse or dehydrator on a yearly basis:

  • Cabinet & Blower Housing
    Inspect entire cabinet and blower housing for cracks or broken welds which can occur from the expansion and contraction cycles of your oven.
  • Gas Burner
    Perform a leak test on the gas burner and verify safeties are operational. Replace if necessary.
  • CIP and Product Shower
    Flush all lines to ensure no obstructions.

Ensure Longer Oven Life

Preventative maintenance is the key to keeping your oven operating at peak efficiency for a longer period of time.

Use the schedule template above, refer to the user manuals for your ovens, and develop a preventative maintenance schedule that will ensure you are inspecting your ovens on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis.

It will increase time on your maintenance team, but the returns will save you from costly down time, leaks, and even damage to your oven.

Fusion Cook Catalog

Use this sample preventative maintenance schedule to ensure a long life for your commercial oven.