Cleaning and Maintaining Carbonated-Beverage Dispensers

Fountain units don’t require a great deal of maintenance; however, like all equipment, it’s important to follow daily, weekly and monthly maintenance tasks to maximize the beverage dispenser’s service life.

Here, Scott Hester, owner of Refrigerated Equipment & Leasing in Dallas, provides cleaning and maintenance tips for cold carbonated-beverage dispensers.

  • The soda guns and fountain heads are where the mixing takes place and should be cleaned on a daily basis.
  • For cleaning, the use of a mild detergent appropriate for equipment should be used as well as a sanitizer to break down sugars and syrup at the end of the day. Troughs also should be drained in self-service models.
  • Because people overfill their cups with ice, the ice overspill needs to be controlled in self-service dispensing areas.
  • Old coffee or warm liquids will melt ice but also compromise the drain tubes. Spilling soda into the trough causes residue to build up and shrinks the size of the line, causing a clog and necessitating replacement.
  • The appropriate amount of hot — not scalding — water can clear the lines and should be done daily. This will control odors and also kill off fruit flies since this is where they tend to hibernate and grow. However, If the water is too hot, it will melt the lines.
  • The connectors at the bag and box, where syrup comes from, should be cleaned monthly or when the syrup bag is changed out. Those areas can get messy and sticky, drawing flies.
  • Soda gun nozzles and parts should be soaked daily.
  • The syrup-to-carbonated-water ratio is a formula that needs to be tested on a regular basis to ensure the unit is working properly. If the taste is off, there may be a malfunction.
  • Another important factor is the water condition in terms of filtration, which can impact the taste and odor of beverages. Operators will need specific filtration systems that address the water condition.
  • In a high-volume setting, the service life of a cold carbonated-beverage dispenser is between 7 and 10 years, similar to an ice maker. This is dependent on user interaction.
  • Because the ice displaces liquid in the glass, make sure ice is fully formed. Half-formed cubes won’t replace the liquid properly and will eat into beverage profits.
  • The ice dispenser should be cleaned out weekly since bacteria can wreak havoc in this area. This is key in bakery operations with heat and airborne yeast, which are drawn to ice and can create black mold.