When your restaurant uses a deep fryer to prepare foods, maintaining the oil's temperature is vital to their quality and safety. However, if your fryer is either no longer able to reach 350 degrees or consistently exceeds the smoke point for the oil you are using, use the following four-step guide to find and solve the problem.

Step 1:  Look At The Burner's Pilot Light

The first thing you should look at is the burner's pilot light. If it is not lit, make sure the gas valve is turned on and try lighting it. If it does not light, there may be old oil or food caked inside the opening that needs to be removed.

To clean the pilot, turn off the gas valve. Then, wet a stiff-bristled brush with water. Do not use any cleaners, as they could ignite and pose a fire risk.

Use the brush around the pilot light's head. Then, use a clean rag to wipe it dry. Turn on the gas and light the pilot flame. 

If the pilot refuses to stay lit after cleaning it, you may have a problem with the gas valve, referred to as a thermopile on a gas deep fryer. When this is the case, you will need to order a new one and have a trained professional install it who is qualified to work on gas lines.

Step 2:  Clean The Heating Element

If the pilot light is strongly burning but the oil does not heat properly, the next thing you need to clean is the heating element itself. Burnt on food may be blocking its ability to heat the oil evenly.

After turning off the fryer and allowing it to cool for two hours, drain the oil so you can reach the heating element. Using a firm bristled toothbrush, gently scrub the entire element with a mixture of equal parts water and baking soda. The baking soda softly removes debris without scratching the surface. Plus, it is safe to use around food.

Once you have finished, use a wet rag to rinse the heating element. Let it dry, then refill the fryer with oil.

If cleaning the element does not make a difference, go on to step three.

Step 3:  Check The Oil Filtration System

The next item you need to troubleshoot is the oil filtration system. When it is not working properly, the oil is not cleaned thoroughly and does not circulate properly. This could affect even heating of the oil.

First, listen to the fryer while it is running. You should hear a soft whirling sound that indicates that the motor is running and pumping. If you do not hear it or if it is clanking, the pump's motor may need to be replaced by a service technician.

If the motor is running properly, look at the filter to see if it is clogged. If so, remove it and brush it with a stiff brush. Then, rinse it for 10 minutes under hot water to remove any residual old oil.

Replace the filter and check the temperature after an hour. If there is still no improvement, go on to the next step.

Step 4:  Inspect The Wiring Behind The Temperature Control Panel

After ruling out a problem with the dryer's mechanical parts, inspect the wiring behind the temperature control panel. If a wire has become loose, corroded, or detached, the thermostat may not be working correctly.

Unplug the fryer and use a screwdriver to remove the control panel. Carefully pull it forward so you can inspect the wiring. If you find any loose or detached wires, try to reattach them. However, if you find a corroded or burnt wire, you may want to have a technician replace it with material from a frymaster parts supplier .

If there are no issues with the wiring, the thermostat itself may be malfunctioning. You may need to order a new one.

While going through the above troubleshooting guide, you may come across a problem with one of the parts, such as the heating element or oil filter. If so, you may want to contact your deep fryer's parts supplier to discuss your options for repair or replacement.