Service Tips: Deck ovens

Deck ovens are the workhorses in many pizza places, bakeries and more.

Perhaps that's because they get to the fundamentals of cooking: heat, a box and some stones. This simplicity means there's little operators need to do to keep these units in good working order.

For day-to-day maintenance, operators only need to sweep off the stones in the cooking chamber and open the burner compartment to clean out dust and flour.

Kitchen staff should never slam a deck oven's doors. Doing so can wear down the springs and hinges. When those break, the repair can be very costly.

A deck oven's thermocouple can break down easily, taking the unit completely offline. Operators should keep a spare on hand to ensure quick repairs, and even consider having the part changed out once or twice a year to avoid a failure in the first place.

Related: If a deck oven's burners go out intermittently, that's a sign that the thermocouple is failing.

Some older units have mercury thermostats and pilots. Those have been outlawed in many states. When they break they require an expensive retrofit. Unfortunately, there's little an operator can to prevent or delay this. The only option is to plan for the expense.

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