There are various ways to keep your autoclave regularly serviced and maintained. If you want to learn more about this, then please keep on reading.
Autoclaves play a critical role in ensuring the thorough sanitation of instruments we use for medical purposes, industrial purposes, and much more.
As such, it is important to regularly maintain autoclaves so that they work effectively and efficiently.
How Often Should An Autoclave Be Serviced?
The frequency of service will be indicated by the manufacturer of the autoclave.
Generally, many manufacturers suggest and recommend that autoclaves be serviced every 12 months. Other manufacturers say once a quarter.
Servicing an autoclave can usually take around 2 hours to do, but this varies depending on the technician.
The maintenance of your autoclave is also dependent on the size of the autoclave and how frequently you use it.
Usually, if your autoclave is of a small to medium size, it can have complete preventive maintenance accomplished at least once a year in addition to weekly maintenance routines.
If your autoclave is bigger and has heavier purposes for places such as surgery centres or medical groups, then it is recommended to call a certified technician to conduct bi-annual preventive maintenance.
Full preventive maintenance targets any corrosion on the sensors in the autoclave chamber and conducts a thorough cleaning of both the pressure chamber and the water reservoir.
How Can I Maintain My Autoclave?
Maintaining your autoclave is essential for it to effectively function. It is important to maintain it at regular intervals to ensure that it consistently performs as it was designed to do.
Weekly and monthly autoclave maintenance is recommended and should be performed by the medical technicians of the practice the autoclave is being used for.
Here is what happens in weekly, monthly, and annual autoclave maintenance:
1). Weekly Maintenance
For weekly autoclave maintenance, the following steps are taken to clean the autoclave:
- Using a biological spore test indicator;
- Cleaning the chamber weekly or every 20-25 cycles with a non-chlorinated cleaner and scrub pad that has no metals;
- Change the water weekly with distilled water only to prevent the build-up of algae that can clog the filters and valves; and
- Run the cleaning cycle as per the manufacturer’s recommendations
There is also a recommended weekly door switch check to conduct. Start a cycle while the door is open.
If the alarm does not appear, then that means the door switch is not working and needs adjustment. Do not operate the autoclave if it did not pass this test.
You can call for service for assistance with this.
2). Monthly Maintenance
For monthly maintenance, it is recommended that you ensure that the pressure bleed valve is properly functioning.
You can do this by using a long tool such as a pair of pliers or a long screwdriver to open the bleed valve by pulling on the relief pin during a cycle.
One reason why you should use a long tool to open the bleed valve is to avoid getting burns on your hands from the steam exiting the relief pin.
3). Annual Maintenance
Annual maintenance is recommended to prevent water leaks and obstruction of some holes.
For this maintenance, it is recommended that a qualified technician check or change some of the components like the bellow, air-jet, door gasket, and e.p.a. Filter.
To understand more deeply how often your autoclave must be serviced, be sure to check the guidelines provided by the manufacturer.
This will often be different for each unit of autoclaves, so be mindful of this.
Alongside servicing, it is also important to make sure that your autoclave is regularly maintained weekly, monthly, and annually.
However, even with maintenance, always be mindful of the guidelines that are provided by the manufacturer and ensure that maintenance procedures are performed by the right technicians.