Most Common Problems Encountered Regard Door Gaskets
- Be sure that they are in good condition (no tears or buildup, not sagging or falling out) and installed completely and correctly (Midmark/Ritter with the dam gasket bottom “knife edge” centered in the larger gaskets groove).
- A quick and cheap check for door gasket leakage: just prior to closing the door, on a DRY countertop, place a folded paper towel flat on the countertop right under the chamber front opening; close the door and run a cycle as usual.
- If, prior to the unit reaching sterilization temperature, the towel is soaked: you have a leaking gasket (it is either mis-installed or needs replacement); if it is just slightly “spotted” then likely no issue, at this time.
Please note that it is normal for the towel to be wet when the door is opened at the end of the cycle. Also, be aware that the sealing of the door is equally dependent upon both having a properly installed gasket in good condition AND a clean smooth surface chamber opening upon which to mate. Having a spare gasket in known good/new condition to install, if in doubt, can save the cost of a service call.
The Power Cord
Another problem we encounter with autoclaves concerns the power cord. The cord supplied by the manufacturer, especially if detachable, is of a specific type, length and gauge to perform correctly. If a substitute cord is used (or even the correct cord, if it is worn or deteriorated) it may overheat and damage the connections at either end.
A quick way to check for this is, during a normal cycle, when the unit is in sterilizing mode, to carefully touch the outer rubber part of the connector at each end of the cord to check if it is hot. It may be warm to the touch (think near body temperature) but if it is much hotter, especially too hot to touch, then the cord itself and, possibly, the connector(s) to which it mates require replacement and/or service.
One possible cause, other than a deteriorated or incorrect power cord is incomplete insertion of the cord connection into either the autoclave or the power outlet. Be sure to fully insert the connectors into their receptacles at each end.
This is especially likely at the power entry point, usually concealed from view, at the rear of the instrument, where the cord may have worked itself loose from normal handling of the unit (during cleaning, for example) even if originally fully connected.
The connectors on the power cord, at either end, when viewed disconnected and end on, should appear with unblemished metal and smooth uniform (not deformed or melted) rubber surfaces.