Utilizing steam to cook food retains moisture, nutrients and color. Volume and application dictate equipment selection.


Cleaning and Maintaining Steamers

When it comes to steamers, start with proper installation by qualified professionals who follow manufacturer recommendations. Not following the manufacturer recommendations can result in problems due to undersized drain lines and steam escaping and damaging equipment components.

Water treatment represents another key factor, since lime and scale buildup are a steamer’s worst enemies. Battling these two foes requires the use of water filter systems that range from simple charcoal filters to pricier and more sophisticated reverse osmosis systems.

Here, Jim Mucher, service agent at Commercial Appliance Service Inc., Sacramento, Calif., provides more details on cleaning and maintaining steamers.

  • Signs of equipment neglect generally do not become visible until the damage is done. It is impossible to fix scale and lime deposits that are too far gone. For this reason, it’s important to stick to a cleaning schedule starting from the time equipment is purchased.
  • Operators need to stay on top of filter and cartridge replacement schedules. These need to be changed quarterly or biannually, depending on the system.
  • Maintain a regimen of deliming and descaling. At minimum, follow the factory recommendations for descaling. In some cases, a service company may recommend increasing descaling frequency to help prolong the life of the equipment and keep steamer repair needs to a minimum.
  • In terms of daily steamer maintenance, keep the
    interior of the cabinet clean and drain lines clear. Regularly inspect gaskets, too.
  • During periodic descales, check the steam-line tubing and connection points for cracks or frays. The same applies to water lines, which can crack and deteriorate.
  • When checking the tubing, do the same for the steamer’s electrical components to ensure they are not hot, wet or showing signs of wear and tear.
  • Signs it may be time to replace a steamer include low steam production or inconsistent temperatures.
  • Typically, a steamer can be repaired. The exception is if the boiler hasn’t been properly maintained, and this is an expensive replacement.
  • The age of the equipment and cost of repair will help determine if a steamer is worth repairing or replacing. Generally, countertop units aren’t as pricey and are replaced more often than larger pressure boiler units.
  • It’s important to specify the appropriate hood for steamers, and the municipality will dictate this. The steamer size and whether it is gas or electric also will determine ventilation needs.


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