In Not-So-Hot Oil: Troubleshooting Tips For Commercial Deep Fryers

Fryers are coveted appliances in most commercial kitchens. They are in high demand and often spend almost every meal service working almost non-stop. If your deep fryer is suddenly not working as efficiently or effectively as it has been in the past, there are a few tips that might help you narrow down the source of the problem. Here are some troubleshooting steps you should follow when you’re dealing with a problematic fryer.

Pilot Issues

If you’re having problems with the pilot light on the fryer, the first place to check is the main gas supply valve. Make sure that the valve is open so that there is gas being supplied to the pilot light. If the supply line is open but the pilot light still won’t light, there may be a clog or air in the supply line.

Clean the orifice of the pilot light with a stiff brush to get rid of anything that might be clogging the outlet hole. Then, check the gas hose to make sure that it’s connected on both ends. Check the drain valve to be sure that it’s closed, too. The drain valve must be closed, otherwise the open valve will trigger a switch that prevents the pilot light from engaging.

Burner Failure

If the burner is malfunctioning, the first step is to check where the problem is. Turn the burner knob to ignite the flame beneath. If you’re only seeing flames on one side of the burner or you aren’t seeing all of the orifices light the way that they should, it may be a sign that some of the burner orifices are clogged. Turn the burner off and let it cool. Then, use the stiff brush over each of the orifices to clear out any debris.

After brushing the orifices, relight the burner. Watch the flames for any fluctuations or variances. If the flames are fluctuating, that may be an indication that the gas pressure is fluctuating or inconsistent. Check the fuel supply or have a technician inspect the fuel lines for damage.

Temperature Control Problems

Test the oil temperature with a probe-style thermometer. If you don’t trust your thermometer, consider testing it using an older observational method. If the temperature isn’t staying consistent, the thermostat in the fryer could need to be calibrated or replaced. It could also mean that the knob is loose or there’s a loose wire in the connection.

Check the wire connections behind the thermostat control. If the wires are disconnected, you’ll want to have a technician replace them. Tighten the control knob or the thermostat shaft. If none of these things fix the problem, install a brand new thermostat.

Oil Filtration Trouble

Listen to the oil filtration pump when the fryer is on. You should hear the pump running. If it is running, you should be able to see the oil circulation. If no oil is circulating through the filter, check the filter pan to make sure the O-rings are secure. You’ll be able to see wear on the O-rings if they’re deteriorating. When the O-rings start to show damage, it can interfere with the air pressure balance required for the filter to work properly. You’ll have to have the seals and rings replaced for proper function.

Shut the fryer down and let the motor cool if the pump isn’t working. Once the motor is cool, press the red reset button on the pump motor to cycle the system and restart the motor. If the motor starts correctly, watch the pump run for a bit. If the motor is running but the pump isn’t working, you may need to replace the filters in the pump. Clogged filters will prevent oil from flowing.

These are some of the most common issues with commercial fryers. If you’ve checked these things and none of the steps suggested here have resolved the problem, you’ll want to talk with a technician about more extensive troubleshooting.

If your fryer needs new parts, you can find them from local suppliers like K & D Factory Service Inc.

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November 2015
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