Choosing a spray nozzle for the clean-in-place (CIP) system in a smokehouse or dehydrator doesn’t seem all that important, especially when compared to choosing a heating source, damper control system, or the main fan.
While the spray nozzle maybe just a small component part, it plays a big role in effectively cleaning an oven — and reducing the risk of product contamination that can occur in an oven that is not properly cleaned.
The right spray nozzle will give you maximum coverage to clean the inside of the oven. The wrong spray nozzle, however, will give you the illusion of being clean, while leaving a good portion of the oven untouched by cleaning solution — a huge no-no in the world of food processing.
Spray Ball vs Cone Shaped Nozzle
When it comes to spray nozzles used in a smokehouse or dehydrator, there are two main styles: the standard cone shape nozzle and the newer spray ball.
Cone Shaped Nozzle
The cone shape is the most commonly used nozzle style in the ovens of many brand name manufacturers — and the style that most people are familiar with.
As the name suggests, this style of nozzle produces a cone shape, spraying anywhere from a 17° to a 170° angle. The high-pressure spray covers every surface below the nozzle with water and cleaning solution, cleaning the interior cooking cabinet of the oven.
While the cone style spray nozzle is the industry standard, it comes with a number of disadvantages:
- Only cleans surfaces below the nozzle
- Higher PSI to operate
- More locations due to less coverage per nozzle
- Requires special tools to remove
The upside, though, is that the cone shape nozzle is often the cheaper option of the two, as it is the most common style on the market.
The spray ball, however, is a newer option in nozzle styles used in a smokehouse or dehydrator and provides a distinct advantage over the spray cone.
Rather than spraying in one direction (down) like the spray cone, the spray ball provides a 360° spray, cleaning both below and above the nozzle. This provides high-pressure cleaning of not only the interior cabinet of the oven but also up into the supply and return ducts, where most cleaning just does not occur.
The advantages don’t stop there:
- 360° coverage
- Fewer locations due to a higher coverage area
- Low PSI to operate
- No tools required to remove
The only potential downside to the spray ball is that it requires a higher GPM rate to operate.
360 is Better
When it comes to cleaning your smokehouse or dehydrator, the math doesn’t lie: 360 is better.
Thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing any equipment that comes in contact with raw product is a necessity in the food processing industry. Any uncleaned surface runs the risk of harboring bacteria that can quickly lead to product contamination and a costly product recall.
Most oven manufacturers don’t provide an easy way to clean the upper portion of the oven cabinet, including the supply and return ducts, as well as the dampers. While these surfaces don’t come in direct contact with raw product, the circulation of the air throughout the oven is enough to allow bacteria to harbor and grow.
It also reduces the time necessary to clean your oven — as the spray ball covers and cleans more surface area than the spray cone.
Easy to Remove
Completely cleaning the oven cabinet isn’t the only benefit of opting for a smokehouse or dehydrator equipped with spray balls.
Spray balls are easy to remove for cleaning or replacing, should they ever get clogged or damaged.
Cone-shaped nozzles require tools to unfasten from the piping, requiring a maintenance team to find the right-sized wrench to remove the nozzle. The location of the nozzles makes turning the wrench difficult.
Spray balls, on the other hand, are attached with a simple pin that makes it easy to remove the ball for cleaning or replacement. No more searching for the right tool. No busting your hand while trying to turn the nut holding on the spray nozzle. Pull the pin and the nozzle comes off.
The Choice is Simple
When it comes to purchasing a smokehouse or dehydrator with the best spray nozzle, the choice is simple: Always go with the spray ball.
Your oven will be easier to clean and easier to maintain than the spray cone option. It’s why here at Fusion Tech all of our ovens come standard with spray balls. We wouldn’t purchase an oven with a spray cone, and we don’t think you should have to, either.