Service Agent Q&A with Jim Mucher, service agent, Commercial Appliance Service Inc., Sacramento, Calif.

 FE&S: What is the most important aspect of caring for countertop mixers?

JM: The primary thing is to follow manufacturer recommendations for basic care. There can be buildup around the planetary where the mixing paddles and attachments are connected, and this needs to be kept clean so nothing lands in the food that shouldn’t be there.

 FE&S: Is there routine maintenance that is needed with these mixers?

JM: Countertop mixers are not like floor models as they don’t have transmission gear boxes with oil that needs draining. Typically, service only becomes necessary when problems arise.

FE&S: What is the most common abuse with countertop mixers?

JM: The biggest thing that can negatively impact any mixer is overloading it. Operators don’t buy the right size or push the limits, which shortens the service life. Units used for higher volume or heavier mixes also will wear out quicker.

FE&S: What are the daily care requirements for this equipment?

JM: Use warm water and a mild soap or detergent to wash and rinse the mixer after each use. Never submerge these units in a sink. Wash, rinse and sanitize attachments either in a three-compartment sink or dishwasher. If the mixer has motor air vents, keep them clear and clean since heavy loads can cause the mixer to run hot.

FE&S: What are signs that the equipment needs servicing?

JM: If the operator is noticing excessive noise or a grinding sound, there is a problem. Also, if the mixer is bogged down or doesn’t turn when it’s under loaded, this signals trouble. Also, grease or oil leaks indicate the unit requires service.

FE&S: How long do these units typically last?

JM: Operators tend to push the envelope with equipment, and mixers are no different. The average service life varies, depending on the type of unit and whether it’s a high-end or low-end line. It can range from 2 to more than 10 years.