The flat top grill or griddle is a mainstay in most commercial kitchen today because of the versatility they provide for preparing many different types of food in a small space. While many companies manufacture flat tops in a variety of sizes they all fall into two main categories based on how they heat – gas or electric.
Common problems to both types of grill –
Both types of equipment have a common set of parts that will need to be calibrated or replaced from time to time.
Or t-stat as they are sometimes called, operate just like the thermostat in your home or office, their job is to bring the grill to a set cooking temperature and prevent it from heating beyond that point. When a thermostat is out of calibration customers often report that the food isn’t cooking fast enough or is burning. A grill with multiple heating sections (multiple thermostats) is more noticeable because one section will be much warmer or colder than the others when they’re all set to the same temperature. If a thermostat fails one section of the grill will not heat at all or will “run away” as the grill continues to heat well beyond the set point. The “run away” thermostat is the more dangerous of the two situations because of the potential for burns and it could cause damage to the elements by drawing too much current if the breaker doesn’t trip first.
Cords / plugs –
Cords and plugs are a part of the equipment that are often times overlooked because they are out of sight behind or under the equipment. Over time heat stress or hot grease falling on the cords will cause the protective coating to degrade or plugs will become damaged. If the equipment is moved regularly for cleaning the cord or plug can be stressed and damaged by employees pulling on it or if they forget to unplug the grill.
What we’ll call the chassis or frame of the grill is made up of the legs, actual frame, the drip tray, and all of the other components that hold the heating parts in place. Occasionally customers will contact MTS to request a new set of legs or new grease pan for their grills because the old one either has reached end of life or has been lost. If you need any of these parts Contact Us and our office staff will be happy to assist you.
Electric grills -
Indicator lights –
A safety feature used in grills to let users know when the heat section of the grill is in use or has reached temperature. Depending on the type of grill the voltage of the indicator lights will be different as well as their size and shape. MTS carries many of these indicator lights in stock and if you need one for your facility please Contact Us.
Another common failing point is the heating elements. Over time constant use and thermal cycling from heating the griddle will cause the elements to burn out. When the “run away” thermostat occurs often times the elements will burn out if the circuit breaker doesn’t trip to protect the grill in time. Because of the potential for shock or burn injuries a trained professional should always work to replace elements in a griddle.
Special high temperature wires are used to connect the components of your together. Like elements the wires will degrade over time and need to be replaced. It is vitally important that the proper type of wire, both size of wire and heat resistance be used to ensure a proper repair. Along with high temperature wires, special high temperature wire terminators are used. Whether it’s a ring terminal or quick on connector MTS technicians carry the high temperature wires and connectors to ensure safe and proper repairs.
Gas griddles use natural gas or propane as fuel for heating the cooking surface. Regardless of manufacturer, all grills have a common set of parts with the potential to fail.
Gas valve / Pilot safety valve –
The gas valve also known as the pilot safety valve allows the gas to flow to the combustion chamber to be ignited when the thermostat calls for heat. Gas valves will malfunction and fail over time in a variety of ways rendering the grill inoperable. The gas valve could fail by not closing at the proper time or by not opening when the equipment calls for heat. The pilot safety portion of the valve may also fail if equipped causing the valve not to produce a pilot light and when ignition fails to occur the valve will lock itself out to prevent unwanted gas fuel to be released and not burned.
If the pilot continues to go out MTS technicians have found in some rare cases that it is due to environmental changes. If a piece of equipment near the grill was moved or the HVAC air flow was rebalanced causing drafts to occur and blow out the pilot light.
Burner tubes transfer the heat from combustion to the cooking surface of the griddle and contain exhaust products which are directed out of the grill through a flu stack. In time burner tubes will degrade from age or thermal cycling and crack or rust. The burners can be replaced by trained MTS technicians on most commercial grills or griddles. It is important to have properly operating burner tubes in equipment because poor combustion with inadequate exhausting can lead employee carbon monoxide exposure.
Gas lines –
Most commercial grills come equipped with flexible gas lines and quick disconnects. Please see our page on Dormont Products for a deeper discussion. Like cords and plugs the gas hoses need to be replaced eventually due to wear and tear.
Configure for the right fuel type –
A detail that is occasionally overlooked when buying new equipment is making sure that the orifice matches the fuel type. If the fuel type doesn’t match the orifice the grill will not work right when it’s installed and started up the first time. If you aren’t sure if you have the right type of orifice to match the fuel type or you are unable to start up your new grill Contact Us and we can help to get you going.
If you need any parts for your griddles or grills such as new legs, grease trays, etc. please Contact Us to see how we can help. While most repairs should be performed by a factory trained MTS technician there are some basic repairs that can be done by staff on site.
Preventative Maintenance –
Preventative Maintenance is very important for keeping your flat top grills working efficiently and properly for many years. Check out our Preventative Maintenance page for more details about how MTS is able to help with maintaining your equipment.
While gas grills produce combustion products that need to be vented to the outside many fire codes require that both types of grill be placed under an exhaust hood because of the potential for grease products such as burgers or bacon to be cooked.