Hot holding cabinets are temperature maintenance units in the same vein as refrigeration equipment. And though they are heated, foodservice operators do not use this equipment for cooking.
The service life of hot holding equipment varies per application. For instance, units in a high-volume chain operation will last 7 years on average, while a less busy environment, like a school, can get 15 or more years of use from this equipment.
Clean the units daily, inside and out, with a mild detergent and sanitizer. Remove side racks and any inside parts. Rinse and wipe out interiors. Some models come with self-contained removable tops, allowing operators to hose down the interior more easily during cleaning.
If a humidified hot holding cabinet does not have a decent water filtering system, the cabinet’s interior may need regular deliming. Humidity-generating systems will require descaling and deliming to stay efficient.
Never pull mobile cabinets by the electrical cord. When cleaning, take special care around exposed heating elements and thermostat bulbs, which can break easily.
Properly maintain handles, tightening all screws regularly to prevent them from breaking.
If a cabinet leaks, breaks down or won’t reach desired temperatures, it is most likely time for a replacement unit. By the same token, if heating sources, thermostats or humidity systems fail, the unit has reached the end of its service life.
Deterioration of door hinges, seals and gaskets signifies that the cabinet has not been properly maintained and its operation could be compromised.
Typical components that will require replacement over time are casters, thermostats, thermometers, blower motors for air circulation, on/off switches and heating elements.
If the cost of maintaining a hot holding cabinet becomes close to the cost of replacing it, it is time for a new unit.