Bad Gas Line Takes Out Fryer

Service stories

Kent Estep, field supervisor with RSI in Mesquite, Texas, was working on a steamer at a quick-service restaurant when the operator came over. “He mentioned they’d been having trouble with their fryer for a couple of months, and if it went down again, he’d be calling me,” Estep says. “I glanced over and saw the hose on that gas line, and knew right away that was probably the cause of their problem.” The fryer was still under warranty and Estep wasn’t under contract to repair it, so he told the operator his thoughts on the gas line, but also was upfront that if he was called to work on that fryer, he’d have to charge him.

A few days later the operator called him desperate for help. At his wit’s end with the new fryer causing so many problems, the operator decided to sidestep the warranty technician and go instead with Estep’s knowledge and experience.

The first thing Estep did was put a manometer on the fryer to measure the gas output, and it showed no gas was getting through. Knowing it was a new gas valve on the fryer, he checked the gas line at the back of the unit. Still no gas.

The next step was checking the gas coming into the fryer. “The line installed to the fryer wasn’t a commercial-grade line, which was what I’d seen when I was out there before,” Estep says. He cracked the line loose, tested again and had gas pressure. He connected the gas line to the unit and things ran OK. Then he turned the fryer off, turned it on again, and it wouldn’t light.

At that point, Estep says, it was clear that the fryer was getting gas only sometimes, which was why it would work a while and then go down. But the question was, why? Estep began to test the gas pressure itself. He got a bottle of CO2 from his truck and put it on the gas line. “I started regulating the pressure up bit by bit, and when it got to a certain pressure it would shut down the line,” Estep says. He looked in the hose and saw the internal liner was starting to break down. It wasn’t made for the amount of pressure coming into the fryer, which meant the hose would close up when the pressure took its toll on the weak material, shutting off gas to the unit.

Over the course of a month the previous service technicians had changed the gas valve twice and changed out the ignition twice, when the problem wasn’t with the fryer at all, it was with the gas line choice made during installation. Estep grabbed a commercial line from his truck, changed out the line, and got the fryer back in service.

It pays to have a professional install equipment. Someone who didn’t know the difference between a commercial and a residential gas line ended up leaving a restaurant in a bad spot.


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