Restaurant Equipment “Hot Side” w/ Nick Messick
Restaurant HVAC and refrigeration tech Nick Messick comes on the podcast to talk about restaurant equipment, especially the “hot side.” The “hot side” refers to equipment that heats the food; it includes often deep fryers but has a lot of variation. The “hot side” also includes specialty equipment for frying noodles and performing other unique functions.
In Nick's opinion, the worst service call has to do with fryer pumps due to all of the grease. The grease gets all over tools and your hands, and it can be quite difficult to work on equipment with fryer grease. Other things he dislikes working on are machines that are on their last legs, as many owners are reluctant to replace equipment.
Many fryers go through a melt cycle that turns the heat on and off to avoid burning the oil. The flames heat the bottom of the vat using a heat exchanger like a furnace; then, the gas vents into the flue and out the hood. These systems generally use spark igniters and may use either direct-spark or intermittent-spark ignition with a pilot. Nick's favorite call is when fryers make loud popping noises, as it's easy to diagnose and fix; the cause is typically either the ice cube relay or a bad igniter.
In grease-heavy restaurant environments, we clean equipment by using cleaners meant for electrical equipment. You want to avoid leaving residue on the equipment and ruining the control boards. The restaurant staff should be cleaning out the fryers themselves, but you may encounter some dirty equipment (and workspaces).
Nick and Bryan also discuss:
- Replacing equipment
- Flame rectification
- Circuit boards
- Electric fryers
- Drawing the line when it comes to sanitation in HVAC service
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