Cleaning and Maintenance Q&A: Dan Varnes, service agent, CCSE, Knoxville, Tenn.
FE&S: What are the basic cleaning requirements for frozen beverage dispensers on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis to keep the equipment running smoothly and reliably?
DV: For frozen beverage dispensers, the air filter should be cleaned at least once a month and more often when the equipment is used in harsh environments. Semi-annually, the unit should be sanitized by a qualified service technician following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Scraper blades should be inspected for wear during the semi-annual maintenance check. Syrup connections should be cleaned at least once every six months or prior to the syrup types being changed so as to not transfer flavors.
FE&S: What should operators avoid doing when cleaning or operating this equipment that could compromise the service life of frozen beverage dispensers?
DV: Operators definitely need to avoid cleaning this equipment with acidic or abrasive cleaners. This is damaging to stainless steel and can scratch the surface. Not only is this wear and tear unattractive, but scratches can harbor bacteria, compromising food safety.
FE&S: What is the typical service life for this equipment?
DV: When properly maintained and serviced, the average service life of frozen beverage dispensers is between 8 and 10 years.
FE&S: Describe the most common service issues with frozen beverage dispensers.
DV: We are called out most often to clean dirty condensers or air filters. This typically happens when operators are not performing the necessary maintenance on a regular basis.
FE&S: What are the signs it is time to replace a frozen beverage dispenser?
DV: The age of the unit will impact whether the dispenser needs replacing. If there are an increasing number of service calls for older units, replacement is recommended. Also, if a major part fails, like the compressor or condenser, especially on an older unit, the entire dispenser should be replaced.