Catering Equipment Maintenance: Keeping Your Kitchen Safe

Why is catering equipment maintenance important?

In our last blog we spoke about the benefits of Planned Preventative Maintenance. Whilst we feel we touched on the main advantages of the proactive upkeep of commercial kitchen equipment, it was by no means an exhaustive list.

As we start to delve into individual pieces of equipment and their specific role within a professional kitchen, we begin to understand the job they are designed to do. As such, bespoke catering equipment maintenance and servicing is required to ensure that equipment is not only working but working effectively, and in the way it was intended by the manufacturer.

Correct operation will help protect any manufacturer’s warranty, but also ensure safety. Safety for the operator. Safety for your customers. Safety for your business, and its reputation. Safety must, above all else, be the primary focus of any maintenance work.

If you know that your commercial catering equipment is operating as it should, you can rest easy. It is therefore vital that the correct personnel carry out the correct tests on each piece of equipment. For example, gas and electrical installations should be inspected and serviced by a qualified engineer to guarantee a safe and compliant working environment.

Electrical Appliances

Because of the demanding environment they operate in, the Institution for Engineering and Technology (IET) recommends frequent inspections for electrical catering equipment in kitchens. For fixed equipment, inspection and testing is required every five years. For portable appliances, formal visual inspection is recommended every 12 months, and combined inspection and testing, every 24 months. Planned preventative maintenance would ensure all these recommendations are met and your equipment remains operational and compliant.

At Northern Catering Equipment, we keep a record of electrical testing on all customer commercial catering equipment carried out and recorded during a Planned Preventative Maintenance visit.

Gas Appliances

Gas appliances such as oven ranges, fryers, grills or combi ovens require regular maintenance to ensure they are operating correctly. Proper maintenance helps avoid any breakdown or emergency repairs but there are certain warning signs to look out for in your commercial gas appliances that may suggest a problem. They include the presence of yellow or orange flames rather than blue flames. This signifies poor air circulation, and you should immediately conduct an inspection and plan for a thorough clean. A pilot light that frequently blows out, is also a sign of a malfunctioning gas appliance.

It is illegal for anyone who is not Gas Safe registered to carry out any work on a gas appliance in a commercial setting. Always ensure that any subcontractor hired to maintain your equipment is suitably qualified.

Read the HSE information sheet with regards to gas safety in catering and hospitality.

Catering equipment maintenance includes gas appliances. This image shows a blue (safe) flame and an orange (unsafe) flame.

Gas Interlocking Systems

Gas Safe regulations demand that all commercial kitchens are legally required to have a gas interlock system installed.

A gas interlock system restricts the flow of gas to any appliances until the ventilation system is on and working correctly. In this way, the gas interlock system can prevent the build-up of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.

A qualified engineer will need to check each operating component of the system is working efficiently, including valves, sensors, and pipework.

Read more about our gas interlocking systems maintenance.

Ventilation and Extraction

As mentioned above, ventilation is a vital component of any commercial kitchen environment. This needs to remain in good working order and be regularly maintained to remove cooking fumes and excess hot air and bring in cool, clean air to avoid the dangers of germs, viruses and odours building up. Regular maintenance will also ensure that the air movement in the kitchen does not cause discomfort and provides enough air for complete combustion of gas fired appliances. T

Testing of the ventilation system carried out during maintenance will assess the levels of Carbon monoxide (CO) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) accumulating within the Kitchen working area and the remedial works required if too high. Regular cleaning will avoid the build-up of fat residues and blocked air inlets which may lead to loss of efficiency and an increased risk of fire.

Combi Oven Maintenance

At Northern Catering Equipment we are proud that our engineers are RATIONAL trained. We feel this certification benefits both our engineers and our clients, ensuring the highest standards of work by our team and demonstrating our continued commitment to aftersales customer service.

Our trained commercial oven servicing engineers are able to conduct repair work and planned maintenance on all RATIONAL combination ovens. Furthermore, they receive regular manufacturer updates and training, guaranteeing customers top-quality work on their catering equipment.

Commercial Dishwasher Servicing & Repair

At Northern Catering Equipment, we are also trained to work on the newest models of Hobart and Winterhalter dishwashers.

Please note, we are not restricted to these two brands; we proudly cover all commercial warewashing brands.

Next Steps

If your commercial kitchen already contains any of these top-quality cooking appliances, or you’re considering investing in new catering equipment, Northern Catering is here to help. With our team of trained service engineers, you can rest assured that your cookware will receive only the best service, helping it to work efficiently and last for many years.

For further help and advice about our planned maintenance and servicing contracts, please call Northern Catering Equipment on 0113 833 1234 or email