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School Kitchen Maintenance: What Should Be Part of Your Summer Plan?

Partstown - school kitchenThe summertime presents the perfect opportunity to conduct several planned maintenance tasks in a school kitchen.

School kitchens need regular preventative maintenance to run properly. When school lets out for summer break, it’s the perfect time to complete the necessary services that commercial equipment requires. No matter if you’re from a service company, a technician or part of the facility maintenance staff, you need to know the tasks at hand. 

This school kitchen maintenance checklist includes some planned maintenance you can perform to keep everything running like new before students return.

Refrigeration Maintenance

When students are gone for the summer, refrigerators aren’t simply turned off and forgotten. These units might still need to run, especially if summer school or courses are still in session. Since the building is less busy, there are a couple of preventative maintenance tasks that can be performed.

Monthly Maintenance

  • Emptying the water trays
  • Cleaning out old food
  • Wiping down the interior and exterior with an OEM-approved solution
  • Wipe down and clean gaskets

Additional Maintenance

  • Clean the condenser coil at least once every three months
  • Clean all drain pans and air filters every four to six weeks

Dishwasher & Warewasher Maintenance

After months of continuous use, it’s important to clean and perform planned preventative maintenance on dishwashers and warewashers. Since there won’t be a consistently active cafeteria during the summer, it’s the perfect time to complete regular tasks on the equipment.

Weekly Maintenance

  • Fully descaling 
  • Cleaning the exterior using an OEM-approved solution
  • Polishing the stainless-steel surfaces

Additional Maintenance

  • Checking drainage areas and cleaning clogs every few weeks
  • Replacing any gaskets or curtains every four to six months or as needed

Oven Maintenance

Even when the students are out for the summer, the ovens will need to be cleaned to ensure they run properly when needed. Here are some maintenance tasks that will help keep school kitchen ovens in top shape:

Weekly Maintenance

  • Wipe down gaskets and doors with a damp rag
  • Descale the steamer
  • Clean intake fans (combi ovens only)
  • Scrub the interior with a brush and soap mixture

Additional Maintenance

  • Clean grease and dust buildup on the exhaust and blower motor fan with a stiff-bristle brush every four to six weeks

Exhaust Hood Maintenance

It’s important to clean and maintain the exhaust hood because this unit helps keep the airflow clean in the kitchen. Every month, perform these maintenance procedures to ensure clean air flow:

  • Clean the interior and exterior of the hood using a soft-bristle brush with a degreaser
  • Clean the grease traps and filters by soaking them and using an OEM-approved degreaser

Food Prep Equipment Maintenance

From grinders to mixers, a commercial school kitchen has plenty of units to prep food. So when school is out, it’s time to perform preventative maintenance on these units. Here are the tasks you’ll want to complete:

  • Wipe down machines
  • Wash any bowls or attachments with warm water and detergent
  • Sanitize the equipment

Water Filter Replacement

Under sink water filterFor schools with hard water, the summer is a good time to replace water filters on kitchen equipment.

Water filters need to be replaced at least once every six months to ensure that any contaminants and minerals are removed from the water. If you’re in an area where there’s poor water quality, you should replace the water filters more frequently. 

This is the perfect task to perform during the summer months when there is a bit more downtime. Most school kitchens have multiple units with water filters, including, but not limited to, combi ovens, beverage dispensers, water fountains and dishwashers. The types of filters depend on the equipment’s needs, but most use activated carbon, carbonless or reverse osmosis (RO) systems. 

Should You Shut Down the Equipment?

If the building’s kitchens are inactive throughout the summer, then conducting full-scale shutdowns should be conducted by an authorized service company or the facility maintenance staff. 

When shutting down equipment, it’s important to conduct a thorough cleaning as well as to unplug the unit. This way, there’s no electricity going to waste. Before school starts up again, you can easily get the kitchen equipment back up and running. Simply perform any preventative maintenance or cleaning that needs to be done, and then power them back up to ensure everything is working properly.