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Tundra’s Tech Talk helps you learn how to fix you restaurant & food service equipment on your own – DIY. Ask one of our experienced technicians a question, or learn about other equipment we’ve already helped other readers with.

Repairing Commercial Fryers

commercial-deep-fryerWhen your fryer needs to be repaired you probably want to get it up and running again fast.  Fortunately, commercial fryers are generally easy to repair, and parts are also pretty easy to come by.  There are 4 fryer parts that most commonly cause a fryer to fail:

1. Hi-Limit
2. Thermopile
3. Combination Safety Gas Valve
4. Thermostat

How to Determine What the Problem Is


If the pilot light will not stay lit, 1 of 3 things have failed:

  1. Hi-Limit. First, check to see if the hi-limit is the culprit by taking one wire off and connecting it with the other wire.  Do as you always do and light the pilot.  If the pilot remains lit, then the high limit is bad and needs to be replaced.  To replace the hi-limit, you first need to empty the oil from the tank.  This needs to be done because the sensing bulb for the hi-limit enters through the side of the tank.  There is a large nut in the side of the tank and a smaller nut inside the large nut, loosen and pull these off.  Now you can remove the defective high limit.  Reverse the procedure to install the new hi-limit.  Always screw the larger nut into the tank first and then the smaller nut.  Light the pilot and your unit should be working.A Commercial Fryer Hi Limit
  2. Thermopile. If the pilot still will not stay lit, then the thermopile is most likely the culprit.  One end is attached to the pilot and the other is attached to the gas valve.  Remove the thermopile from both places and replace.  Light the pilot, and if it remains lit you are good to go.  Also, remember to reconnect the hi-limit wire.A Thermopile For A Commercial Fryer
  3. Combination Safety Gas Valve. If the pilot still will not stay lit, then the only thing left is the combination safety gas valve.  To replace the combo valve, you will need to have a couple of pipe wrenches.  This is the most difficult part to change, due to the limited space.  Remember to install the new gas valve in the same direction and replace all the connections.A Combination Safety Valve For A Commercial Fryer

If the pilot is lit, but the fryer still does not work, the thermostat may be faulty.  Only 3 things can happen:

  1. Either the burner will not light when turned on even though the pilot is lit.
  2. The oil will not get hot enough.
  3. When the oil reaches temperature it will not shut off.

Thermostat. In either case the thermostat will need to be replaced.  If it is running wild (will not shut off) the oil will overheat causing the hi-limit to trip out and shut everything off.  By resetting the hi-limit and relighting the pilot and it stays lit, then you will know that the thermostat is not good.  To replace the thermostat follow the same instructions for replacing the hi-limit.A Thermostat For A Commercial Fryer
Interested in more? Download our Commercial Deep Fryer Buying & Maintenance Guide Here »

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Converting Gas Restaurant Equipment In 5 Simple Steps

Converting any piece of gas equipment from natural gas to propane or from propane to natural gas is fairly simple and can be accomplished in 5 easy steps.

Parts needed to convert the equipment:

  • Burner Orifices
  • Pilot Orifice
  • Regulator
  • Combination Safety Valve conversion kit
  • Nomenclature (tag on unit that has model and serial number on it).


Burner Orifice

1.  Replacing burner orifices. First, the most important thing you need to know is the brand name, model and serial numbers of your unit.  Next thing you will need to know is what altitude the unit you are converting is at.  This will determine what orifice size you will need.  You will also need to know the number of top burners as well as any other burners such as oven burners and the number of oven pilots (if you are converting a range).  The conversion can be done one of two ways: either by using the manufacturer’s conversion kit or with individual parts.  The conversion kits can be more expensive than using individual parts.

The conversion can take some time because whatever piece of equipment you are converting has to be dismantled and then reassembled.  Begin by removing all the burners and then remove what is needed to be removed in order to access the burner valves.  The burner valves do not need to be removed.  Remove the old orifices and install the new orifices (orifices are screwed to the end of the valve).

2.  Replace pilot orifices. If you are converting an oven, you also need to change the pilot orifice.  The pilot tube is attached to the pilot with a nut.  Unscrew the nut and pull the tube out of the pilot assembly.  When the tube is pulled out, the orifice should fall out; if it does not, tap the pilot assembly.  Replace the pilot orifice and reassemble.  Reassemble the unit the same way you took it apart (you are almost done!)

Gas Regulator

3.  Replace the gas regulator. You must change the gas regulator usually found at the back of the equipment.  Remove the old regulator and install the new regulator, making sure that the gas flow direction is accurate.  The regulator has an arrow on the bottom of it and it must point toward the piece of equipment.

Reconnect the gas hose, turn on the gas and check all connections for leaks.  This can be done with soap bubbles – wipe soapy water onto the connections and look for places where it bubbles up, indicating a leak.  Light all your pilots (it may take a little time to purge out all the air).  Adjust the pilots to the correct flame height by turning the adjustment screw on the pilot valve.  Now turn on one burner at a time (you want a nice blue tip flame).  If there is yellow or orange in the flame you will need to adjust the air shutter on the burner to  correct the flame.   This goes for top burners as well as the oven burners.regulator, making sure that the gas flow direction is accurate.  The regulator has an arrow on the bottom of it and it must point toward the piece of equipment.

Gas Safety Valve4.  Converting combination safety valves. Some pieces of equipment have combination safety valves, most notably fryers.  There are conversion kits for them (there is no choice on this).  The kit contains a plate and gaskets.  There are instructions with each kit, and it is very simple to change.  Remove the old plate from the top of the safety valve and follow the instructions to install the new plate and gaskets.  The conversion is complete!

You can special order a conversion kit easily by calling 1-888-388-6372.

5.  Replace the unit’s nomenclature. By law, the nomenclature must also be replaced.  This is only available through the manufacturer of the piece of equipment being converted.  Sometimes it takes awhile to get them, so until you get the replacement, you should remove the word “natural” from the tag with a magic marker and write in large letters, “LP”.  When you receive the new tag, simply stick it over the old one.

You have now converted your equipment from natural gas to propane or vice versa.


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Identify Commercial Faucet Parts

There are many different brands of faucets on the market.

Some of the most common faucet brands are:

A T&S Faucet

A T&S Faucet

Some faucets are easily identified and sometimes it is more difficult.  The best way to identify the faucet you have is by the manufacturer’s name found on the front of the base.  The base is the part that the stems and spout attach to.  If the brand name has been worn off from age you may find the name on the end of the spout.  If you are still not able to identify the type of faucet, then we move on to identifying portions of the stem faucet.  The shape of the spout would be another factor.

A CHG/Encore Faucet

A CHG/Encore Faucet

Most manufacturers have different shaped spouts.  This includes the angle at which they are bent to the curvature of the bends.  Another identifying factor is how it attaches to the body.  They all have a nut that either screws into the body (male threads) or screws over the outside of the body (female thread).  Most have the female threaded nut, so the last identifying possibility is whether there are o-rings on the part that inserts into the body.  Some may have a double or a single o-ring (rubber).  There are others that have a brass sealing ring.

A Krowne Faucet

A Krowne Faucet

Sometimes you still may not be able to identify the faucet correctly.  The last means of identification are the stem assemblies.  Of course, they vary by manufacturer, and some may have different stem assemblies depending on whether or not they go into a standard duty or heavy duty faucet.  They may also vary if it is a wall mount or deck mount faucet.

There are three manufacturers (CHG, T&S, and Krowne) that use what is called a barrel type stem assembly.  The barrel inserts into the body of the faucet and the stems screw into the barrel.  They do differ and are not interchangeable. The T&S and Krowne can be confused with one another because of the bonnet assembly, although the handles are very different and the name may be embossed into the stem.  Encore/CHG is fairly easy to identify by the black plastic cap that covers the packing nut that screws into the bonnet nut.

Identifying other stem assemblies may be a little more difficult.  You would need to remove the stem for proper identification.  Look at the bonnet nut to see if it is a female or male thread.  Check to see if it has o-rings on it (single or double), or no o-rings.  Also check the spline on the stem, which is at the top of the stem where the handle attaches.  It can help sometimes.  For example, a Chicago stem has no spline and it is square.  A Perlick stem has no spline.  These are not interchangeable so be sure you are getting the right one.

If all else fails compare your stem to pictures of stems and assemblies online.    If you are unable to match up your stem, it may be a discontinued model or it may be a residential version.  If this is the case you may have to replace the entire faucet.

Check out more food service parts.

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Replacing Refrigeration Door Latches & Hinges

There are many different styles of hinges and latches for refrigeration equipment.Walk-in hinge

Both the hinges and latches have a number on the back.  In addition, they may say “flush” or have the offset size, e.g. 1 1/8, 1 ½, etc.  It is important to have that number on the back to ensure you get the proper replacement.

Let’s talk hinges!

Walk in cooler or freezer hinges are either flush or offset.  The easiest way to determine which style you have is to place your hand on the outside wall of the walk-in and slide it towards the door.  If the door stops your hand from moving across the door then you have an offset door.  If your hand slides across the door it is flush.

Determine the offset measure by measuring from the wall surface to the door surface.  The offset measure combined with the number on the back will ensure you receive the correct hinge.

Also, some walk-in hinges are reversible.  If you receive a hinge and it is the reverse of what you need, you can reverse the new hinge.

Reach-in LatchLet’s talk latches!

Walk-in latches, like hinges, are for either offset or flush doors.  Use the same procedure as you would for a hinge to determine if it is an offset or flush latch.  Also make sure you find the number on the back of the latch.

Edgemount latches and hinges are most commonly found on reach-in type refrigerators and freezers.  Edgemount means they mount on the edge of the door.  The hinges and latches can mount on either side of the door.

Some hinges are spring assisted and some are self-closing:

  • Self-closing hinges use a cam system to close the door
  • Some of the edgemount hinges have spring assist kits available.  As with all latches and hinges, there’s a number on the back for identifying the correct replacement

There are two types of edgemount latches: Magnetic type or those that have a strike that the latch locks into.  These latches also have a number on them.

The best way to get the correct hinge or latch is to get that number off the back!

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Replacing Refrigeration Fan Motors & Blades

Refrigerators are the backbone of your kitchen.  They are usually durable and long-lasting, but when they go down, you have to have them fixed right away.  Some tips on replacing the fan motor in your commercial refrigeration unit:Refrigeration Fan Motor Blade

There are two types of motors for refrigeration.

1. Condenser fan motor.
2. Evaporator fan motor.

First, we will discuss the condenser fan motor:

The condenser fan motor is mounted on the condensing unit located outside the refrigeration interior.  The size of the refrigerator unit will determine the motor size.  Motors vary in size, voltage and rotation.  All of this information is found on the motor, and is very important to have when ordering.  Rotation is vital to the operation of the unit.  Rotation will either be clockwise (CW) or counter-clockwise (CCW).

The fan blade is also a critical part of the motor.  The blade is similar to the motor in that it is either CW or CCW.   Normally the rotation of a fan blade is stamped into the blade assembly.  When replacing either the motor or the fan blade be sure to use the same rotation type.

A General Use Fan Motor

Next, we will discuss the evaporator fan motor:

The evaporator is located inside the refrigeration interior, and will always be located on the ceiling or top of the unit.  There are two types of evaporative motors:

1. Open winding type.
2. Closed type.

On the open winding motor the copper wires are exposed and visible to the eye.  The open winding motors are usually reversible.  This is done by removing the bearing housing and pulling out the armature.  The armature is the part that has the fan blade attached to it.  Simply turn it around and put the shaft through the other direction and reassemble.  Now you have gone from CW to CCW motor or a CCW to a CW.  Each manufacturer will vary in what direction their motors rotate.

The closed winding motor has an encasement around it.  The rotation will be stamped on the back of the motor.  Mounting holes will be either on the side or rear of the motor.  If the motor fails, the motor will need to be replaced and cannot be repaired.

Buy general use fan motors or search by manufacturer here.

As with every piece of equipment the most important thing is the model and serial number on the equipment itself.  Generally, the model and serial numbers are found in the interior of an upright cooler/freezer, prep table or under counter cooler/freezer.  If the condensing unit is attached to one side or the other of the unit, the model and serial numbers may be found inside that area.

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Troubleshooting Gas Range and Oven Problems

Commercial Gas RangeIf your gas range or oven is down, chances are you’re looking for a way to fix it fast.  Luckily, troubleshooting most problems with commercial gas equipment is fairly easy as long as you know how to replace a few key parts.

To learn more, simply click the link below that corresponds to the part or the problem you’re having and get taken directly to the answer.

Remember: whenever you work on gas equipment, turn off the gas first!

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Replacing Restaurant Faucets Made Easy

Replacing the commercial faucet on sinks in your restaurant doesn’t have to be a difficult job.  Following a couple simple steps will help you replace old or worn faucets in your kitchen very easily.

For starters, there are two types of faucets:

A Commercial Deck Mount Faucet

1. Deck MountThese faucets attach directly to the top (or deck) of your sink.  The water lines come up vertically underneath the sink.

A Commercial Wall Mount Faucet

2. Wall MountThese faucets attach to water lines that come horizontally out of the wall above the sink.

Commercial restaurant faucets vary in sizes of four or six inch centers. Although there are some wall mount faucets that have an adjustable inlet coupling, that can adjust from six to ten inch centers or two to eight inch centers.


Deck mount faucets are more difficult to change than wall mount because you have to access the connections under the sink.

With a basin wrench (the easiest tool to use) or a crescent wrench, loosen the nuts on the hot and cold water lines on the bottom of the faucet water lines.  At this point you can use your hand to remove them.  Next, using the basin wrench, loosen the two nuts that hold the faucet in place.  Again, use your hand to remove the nuts.  Remove the old faucet and then use your hands and the wrench to tighten the nuts on the new faucet.  Make sure the connections are tight.  Turn the water on and check for leaks.

If there aren’t any leaks, then the job is done!

To replace a deck mount faucet that’s on a wall mounted hand sink, remove the sink from the wall.  First turn off the water and disconnect the water lines at the shut off valves.  Next disconnect the drain line from the bottom of the sink and lift it straight up (it hangs on a wall bracket) and remove it from the wall.  Now you can access the bottom with ease.  Follow the previous instructions to remove and replace the faucet.  The only difference is you will not need to use the basin wrench.

Wall mount faucets are fairly simple to replace.  It is best to know the faucet’s brand name for a direct replacement.  If you are unable to find a brand name then measure the inlet coupling on the back of the faucet body.  These are the couplings that fasten the faucet body to the sink.  To replace the faucet simply unscrew the inlet couplings from the back of the faucet body and install the new faucet.

If this is a new installation, you’ll also need to order either the wall mount kit or the deck mount kit for the faucet you are installing.  The kit comes with everything needed to connect the water lines to the new faucet.

Check out more commercial plumbing supplies.

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Fixing Gas Ranges

The most used and abused piece of kitchen equipment is the range.  Luckily it’s probably also the easiest to repair.  There are five range components that need to be replaced the most frequently:

If you are having problems with the oven portion of your range, check out these tips on repairing the oven.  There are additional parts depending on what other features your range has.  A convection oven would also have a blower motor and fan.  If there is a griddle on the range then burners and gas valves may need repair.

When working on a range always remember to shut off the gas!

1. The top grates only need replacing if they have cracked due to metal fatigue or if they have been dropped and broken.Burner Head

2. Burner heads usually become plugged over time.  There are usually two screws that connect the head to the venturi.  It is a good idea to use some kind of rust dissolver on the screws to loosen them.  Once the screws are out you can install the new head, and always remember to replace the gasket as well.

One alternative to replacing the head is to get a drill bit the same size as the holes in the head and drill out the grease build up in them.  However, this can sometimes alter the flame pattern.

3. Replacing the venturi is only necessary if it has been dropped or broken.  Use the same procedure for replacing the burner head and remember to install a new gasket.

4. Top burner pilotsneed to be replaced if they become clogged.  They are very difficult to unclog, and generally need to be replaced. There are three types of pilots:

Those with the tube pre-welded to the pilot head.

Those that have a nut and ferral to slide over the tube and be tightened onto the tube.

Pre-formed pilot assemblies specific to a particular range.

Pilot TubingFinally, there are new “flex tube” pilot burners that have a flexible pilot tube, making them very easy to install.

When replacing the pilots you will have to remove the front top plate (bull nose) from the range to access the pilot adjustment valves.  This will also have to be removed to replace the burner valve described below.

The pre-welded type is fairly easy to install. To replace, disconnect the pilot tube from the pilot adjustment valve and remove.  Place the new pilot head and tube next to an existing one and follow the contour while slowly bending to form the same shape.  When you get to the end you may need to cut the tube off, using a tubing cutter.  A nut then needs to be put on, and then a ferral and screw back onto the pilot adjustment valve.

The type with the nut and ferral is very easy.  Simply use a tubing cutter and cut if off just below the old pilot head.  Remove the nut and ferral from the new replacement pilot head and slide them over the tube, nut first and then the ferral.  Slide the pilot head onto the tube and tighten the nut up to the pilot head.

The pre-formed pilot assemblies are far easier because they are all bent and ready for installation, the only draw back is they are a little more expensive than the others.

Gas Burner Valve

5. Top burner gas valves are fairly easy to replace. With the top plate (bull nose) removed you can access them easily (part of the frame runs across the top of them).  If you are replacing all or just one, the burners must be removed if they have a slip type orifice.  If there is a tube type burner valve they need not be removed because you can disconnect the tube from the burner valve and move it out of the way.

In either case when the burners or the tube is disconnected take a wrench and screw out the valve being replaced (in some cases you may have to remove a pilot adjustment valve to be able to turn the burner valve by it).

Once the old valve is removed, put some gas thread sealer on the treads of the new valve and screw it back into position, being careful not to over tighten.  Reassemble the unit except for the top plate.  Turn the gas back on and light the pilots (this may take a few minutes because the gas must first force out the air in the manifold).

Once the pilots are lit, turn on the first burner.  There may be no gas flow because the orifice on the new valve may be closed.  Using two wrenches, one to hold the valve the other to turn the orifice, open the orifice to allow gas flow (this may take a couple of turns).

Burner VenturiOnce the burner lights, continue to adjust the orifice until there is a nice blue flame.  Adjust until you have as little of a yellow flame as possible. If you feel there is still too much yellow flame you may need to adjust the air shutter located on the end of the venturi.  Once you have produced the bluest flame you can get, you are done.  You can reassemble your range and cook to your heart’s content.

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Fixing Commercial Oven Problems


Oven problems are fairly simple to diagnose.

The most common complaints are:

  • The pilot won’t stay lit.
  • The oven won’t get up to temperature.
  • The oven gets too hot.
  • The oven does not cook evenly.

ThermocoupleProblem number one is probably the most common.  Usually it’s the thermocouple that causes this problem.  When lighting the pilot, if the thermocouple is not directly in the flame it can not get hot enough to allow it to open the safety valve.  If it is directly in the flame and it won’t stay lit then the thermocouple is probably defective and needs to be replaced,  Keep in mind that some safety valves have the thermocouple permanently attached so the entire valve must be replaced.

If you’ve replaced the thermocouple and attempt to light the pilot and it still will not stay lit then the safety valve is defective.  Remember to check the type of safety valve you have to get the correct replacement.  For correct identification  procedures check out this Tech Talk post.

When working on any type of gas equipment always remember to shut off the gas!

Number two is usually a thermostat problem.  When you set the thermostat at a set temperature and it does not reach that point it may be one of two problems:Gas Thermostat

1. The thermostat may be defective.
2. The thermostat may be out of calibration.  To check the calibration get a thermometer that you know is accurate.  Put it in the oven and set the thermostat to 250º.  Open the kick plate below the oven door and watch the burner flame, if it goes off before the oven reaches 250º you may be able to calibrate it.

To calibrate a thermostat remove the knob and check to see what type of thermostat you have.  The thermostat is either a type with a round disk that has two screws holding it in place or it will have a D shaft with a small screw in the center of it.  In either case only turn the disc or screw a fraction of a turn at a time and no more than a quarter turn either direction.

Continue to turn the disc or screw a fraction of a turn each time until you see the burner come back on.   If you reach that quarter of a turn point and the burner does not come back on, the thermostat is defective and must be replaced.  If the burner comes back on, watch the temperature of the oven and if it gets to within 5 or 10° of the preset temperature, you are good to go.  It may take several tries to get it properly calibrated.

If you still can not get it calibrated within the temperature range, you need to replace the thermostat.  All thermostats are preset from the factory and should not require calibration when installed.  If you find that the new thermostat does require calibrating, follow the previous instructions.

Number three is also a thermostat problem.  Follow the same procedure to calibrate as you did for the oven not getting to temperature.  Again, if you can’t get it to calibrate, replace it and the oven should heat to the correct temperature.

Number four is a common problem after a new thermostat has been installed.  All the thermostats have a capillary tube with a bulb attached to the end of it.  This is the part that senses the temperature in the oven.  The bulb is attached to clips inside the oven.  If the bulb is not put back in the same place, i.e. it’s just stuck in the oven cavity and left hanging, then the thermostat will run “wild,” meaning the oven cooks unevenly.

Remember to get that bulb back into those clips no matter how hard it may be.

If your oven is running wild check and make sure the bulb is installed properly.  Another reason for the oven running wild is that the thermostat is totally defective and in this case must be replaced.

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Identifying Electric Cooking Equipment Elements

There are five types of elements in electric food service equipment:

1. Calrod (metal) type
2. Glass tube (quartz) type
3. Ceramic type
4. Wire type
5. Solid typeReplacement Electric Elements

These five elements are either submersible, dry, or both.  No matter what type of element you’re trying to replace, the most important piece of information you need is the element’s manufacturer, model, and serial number.  Search for elements by manufacturer here.

When working on any piece of equipment always remember to disconnect the POWER!

Calrod elements are found in both overhead warmers and well type warmers.  The well type warmer can be a counter top or a steam table warmer.  The configuration (shape) of the elements depends on which unit they go in.  Most overhead warmers use a straight calrod or glass tube element.  Steam table elements can be many different shapes: u-bend, w-shape, s-shape, round, etc., so the best means of identification is by brand name, model and serial number.  The voltage is also very important.

Glass tube type elements have a wire element curled like a spring inside a glass tube. These elements are found in overhead warmers, cheesemelters, and some conveyor type toasters and impingers.  The best way to identify these elements is with brand name, model and serial numbers as well as voltage.

Ceramic elements are most commonly found in overhead warmers.  Although they are a rarity, the same identification method should be used, model number, serial number and voltage.

Wire type elements are usually those that are referred to as a card element.  This means the element is a thin flat wire or spring type wire that is wrapped around some type of conductive flat card.  This type of element is most commonly found in pop up or pop down toasters.  For proper identification, again having the model and serial number and the voltage is very helpful.

Solid type elements are calrod or filament elements and are incased in a block of metal or possibly ceramic.  They come in various sizes and shapes but perform just like other elements.  They can be found in warmers, toasters and even chafing dishes.  The best way to identify these elements is by brand name, model and serial number and voltage.

If you can’t find a brand name, model or serial number, there is another way to identify that element (and this goes for all elements).  Every element has information either stamped into it or stenciled on to them.  You may need a magnifying glass to read the information (especially on calrod elements).

The information you need to find on the element is:

1. Voltage
2. Wattage
3. Part number
4. Color coding

With this information, it is more likely that you will receive the correct element the first time.  Also don’t forget the style and the piece of equipment it is in.  Remember, there are many pieces of equipment that have elements, and the above information also applies to their identification.

Check out more food service parts.

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