Service Q&A: Chuck Knuth, business development manager, General Parts Group, Bloomington, Minn.
FE&S: Charbroilers run at very hot temperatures. What are some issues to look out for?
CK: Gas is fired in chambers with baffles, and temperatures can get so hot that the heat deflectors fail first.
Operators should watch for any bending or warping, which will cause heat to cast in different directions.
FE&S: Is there a charbroiler part that needs replacing more often?
CK: Baffles need replacing regularly, and the chambers that gas flows through eventually need swapping out. Also, charbroiler valves get so hot and become hard to turn over time, so they will need to be fixed as needed. This is also true with the shaft that connects the knob to the unit, which is used to adjust the gas or flame. If this stiffens and makes the knob difficult to turn, it should be replaced.
FE&S: What are the daily maintenance tasks charbroilers require?
CK: From a maintenance standpoint, operators should empty the drip tray every day. Grates need to be removed and sprayed down to remove debris. Burner orifices that throw out gas need to be cleaned or wiped down as needed. Although most pay attention to this task on ranges, it also is required monthly for charbroilers.
FE&S: Does the menu impact this equipment’s maintenance schedule?
CK: If a restaurant is producing a lot of burgers and chicken, grease needs to be contended with at the end of each shift to get the longest life out of the unit. In this case, management should set the cleaning schedule.
FE&S: What tasks should operators leave for service agents?
CK: Technicians are required to change out burner tubes and valves. We also will check gas pressure and make sure burner holes are clean. During a service call, we’ll ensure the gas feed is free of grease.
FE&S: What are the indicators that a charbroiler needs replacing?
CK: Commercial units typically have a 10-year lifecycle. If the valve and grates are worn and the burner orifices need changing, operators need to look at the availability of parts. It may not be worth investing additional money in older units. A visual inspection of the heat deflectors and grates also may indicate a new charbroiler is warranted. Finally, if there are major temperature fluctuations or the quality of the food is being impacted by the equipment’s age or condition, the unit may be at the end of its service life.