Commercial beverage dispensers are one of the most-used pieces of equipment in a restaurant, bar, QSR and beyond. So naturally, basic problems can arise pretty frequently with these units. If the operator thoroughly cleans the machine regularly but something still isn't right, there is a way to ease their worries quickly if and when you get that call.
Most of the time, if a problem comes up with beverage dispensers like soda fountains and bar guns, it usually boils down to a few of the usual suspects. Below are three of the most common troubleshooting issues that can help an operator or service technician get a beverage dispenser equipment back up and running.
Issue #1 - Syrup Connection
When there is an issue with the water-to-syrup ratio, it can be a problem with the flow control or flow setting and will need to be adjusted accordingly. Another culprit could be the faucet or dispenser brix, which can be solved with a readjustment in most cases.
Another common problem is related to the connection or within the connection line itself. You can solve this by having the operator check all connections to make sure they're tight, secure and open. Also, have them check for any blockages or kinks and clear them out. If no issues are present with the connection or connection lines, then it's more than likely that the BIB or syrup is empty and needs to be replaced with a new one.
Issue #2 - CO2 Issues
The CO2 pressure in a soda dispenser is one of the biggest contributors to troubleshooting. If there is too much pressure, the soda can be too foamy or strong in flavor. On the flip side, if there isn't enough pressure, it causes flat soda, poor soda flow or dispensing inconsistencies. Therefore, having a solid CO2 supply at the proper pressure makes all the difference when soda woes come to the surface.
When troubleshooting any issues related to syrup/water flow, water-to-syrup ratio and foamy or flat beverages, it's crucial to check and adjust the CO2 to the proper psi. Each manufacturer will have a set psi limit, which should be followed accordingly for the best—and safest—result.
Issue #3 - Mechanical Dispensing
A mechanical or an electronic issue on the soda dispenser can be a troublemaker. If the CO2 connection and pressure are correct but product still isn't dispensing, have the operator first check is if the unit is connected, plugged in or turned on. It's the simplest solution but still one that should be confirmed. If it's connected to power, then it could be a faulty circuit breaker or something within the machine itself. Anything inside the unit should be handled by a service technician, so the problem can be checked and isolated. At this point, a circuit or solenoid might need to be replaced.
For soda bar guns, have the operators check the carbonator and components like the shut-off screw. Solving these issues will require some adjustments to let the soda flow easily again. If product or soda won't stop dispensing, the button or dispenser should be inspected to see if something is depressing it and causing a leak. If that checks out, then move onto internal components. The valve, an O-ring or a retainer might need to be tightened up or readjusted to stop the problem.
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