Fixin’ The Kitchen With CPS: 6 Common Commercial Oven Problems & How To Solve Them

Posted June 30, 2021 by CPS

If your commercial ovens breaks down during a busy dinner rush, you’re in big trouble. Broken oven = cold food = unhappy customers. That’s why it’s essential to enroll in a preventative maintenance program so you can avoid problems before they happen. Commercial ovens (and all other equipment, for that matter) are a lot like cars. If you take care of ‘em, they’ll last you.

However, sometimes an issue with your commercial oven is inevitable – especially if you’re keeping it on for hours and hours each day. Hey, we don’t blame you. The food ain’t gonna cook itself! Thankfully, most oven issues are fairly straightforward to diagnose, and there’s usually an easy solution that you can try to avoid any unwanted interruptions to food service.

The 6 Most Common Commercial Oven Problems We See

Problem #1: No Utility

  • First, check to make sure your gas line is completely engaged. Then, check to make sure your oven is plugged in and if any wires are broken or frayed. If everything looks okay, check on the “high limit switch.” If the unit gets too hot, your high limit switch may cut off power altogether – it’s a safety feature that’s important to avoid accidental fires. You may need to re-set the high limit switch but be careful! If it looks like it’s beyond repair, it’s time to call in the pros.

Problem #2: Pilot Flame

  • If your pilot flame keeps flickering on and off or won’t ignite completely, check to make sure it’s making contact with the thermocouple, so the gas valve stays open. You want to make sure that your pilot flames are lit before you leave the kitchen every night; if they’re out in the morning, turn your hood on to evacuate any gas that may have accumulated. If your pilot flame is faulty, you might have a clogged system and it won’t burn no matter how many times you try to light it.

Problem #3: Burner Flame

  • Check on your burner flames often to make sure they are an even blue color with subtle orange tips. If the flames appear weak, too strong, or uneven in color, you’ve probably got a problem. One easy thing to do is check the knob/controller and the burner caps – make sure they’re securely in place and free from built-up grease and grime. If that’s not the issue, ensure the air shutters are aligned. It could be that your flame isn’t getting enough gas to stay ignited.

Problem #4: Internal Temperature

  • Most commercial oven thermostats come pre-set, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. Over time, they can become uncalibrated, broken, or faulty, which can cause overheating or underheating issues. If you suspect your thermostat is at fault, check its calibration with a second thermometer – simply put the accurate one in the oven, set the temperature to 350°, and see what happens. If your oven thermostat is indeed broken, you’ll need to install a replacement.

Problem #5: Oven Door

  • If your oven door doesn’t close all the way, the interior is unlikely to get hot enough to evenly cook food. First, make sure that nothing is blocking it, then that the area behind the kick plate is clean and debris-free. Next, check the hinges and door springs. If they’re at fault, you’ll likely hear them squeak. Check to make sure they’re not covered in grease, grime, or fallen food particles – another reason to deep clean your commercial kitchen equipment more often.

Problem #6: Blower Wheel

  • Fans (i.e., blower wheels) in convection ovens are extremely important in maintaining proper air flow and temperature regulation inside the cook cavity. Make sure your blower wheel is clean and in place, and DO NOT block it. It’s a good practice to routinely observe proper clearances around the unit, as it may get moved during busy shifts. Always educate your kitchen staff on what “proper clearance” looks like, and schedule trainings to keep everyone up to date.

BONUS TIP: When cleaning your commercial kitchen oven, it’s NOT recommended to use highly caustic or harsh chemicals. While those products may make your oven look nice and shiny, they will actually cause problems like corrosion down the line. A very light cleaning will do just fine!

How To Take Care Of Your Commercial Oven

When you’ve been working in a commercial kitchen or food service establishment for a long time, knowing how an oven operates seems like second nature. However, it’s important to always read the equipment manual; every model is different, so a quick fix that works for one machine may not be the right approach for another. Additionally, you need to keep up with regular oven maintenance protocols. We recommend that you clean your oven on a daily basis and also schedule a monthly deep clean and professional evaluation to prevent the oven from breaking down. Our CPS inspections focus on early detection of problems and the immediate replacement of suspicious components to ensure your oven is running properly.

If you ever do encounter an issue with your commercial oven or need to replace a specific part, CPS is the #1 company to call in Ohio and beyond. We carry more than 5 million commercial kitchen OEM parts in our 40,000+ square foot warehouse, including oven valves, oven thermostats, door hinges, oven thermocouples, replacement racks, and so much more. If you need a new part for your commercial oven, there’s a very good chance we have that exact part in stock and can ship it to your restaurant or place of work within 24 hours. We’ll even install it for you! If you’re ready to enhance the care and maintenance of your commercial oven, call a CPS rep today:

Want a checklist that you can print and quickly reference to diagnose and solve common commercial oven problems? We got you – simply download below:

Download Checklist