Common Autoclave Issues

In a perfect world, laboratory autoclaves will work perfectly as intended. You won’t experience any issues while using it. However, problems do and can happen. Fortunately, you can solve these problems if you know what to look for.  

Today, we are going to share with you some of the common autoclave issues that require an autoclave repair. 

A Huge Load of Liquid Causes the Sterilization Cycle to Stop 

Huge loads of liquid take a lot of time to heat. This can cause sterilization cycles to stop. Thus, the ideal way to sterilize liquids is to space them out in as many tiny containers as possible. Another method to avoid this common autoclave issue is to utilize an F0 Cycle. This allows the autoclave to count the time that it spends heating the water up toward the overall sterilization time.  

The Load is Wet Even After the Drying Cycle 

Usually, this occurs if autoclave users load porous items such as paper and cloth close together. This causes them to work like a sponge and soak water. The simplest method to prevent this problem is to adopt a loading form that spaces out goods. This includes a cart-and-carriage arrangement or a rack. Another method is to invest in an autoclave with a vacuum feature. This dries goods every cycle. The machine will just pull turn on the vacuum inside the chamber and evaporate any lingering water. 

Goods Aren’t Sterilized 

Goods that are not sterilized properly can result in contamination, a failed biological indicator, and growth in the media. There are a lot of reasons a sterilizer might not sterilize the load. This includes user error, wrong cycle type, insufficient steam, component failure, steam dryness, improper loading, and much more. The ideal way to guarantee proper sterilization is to confirm the equipment is utilizing a biological indicator.  

Just place the biological indicator into a usual load to verify the autoclave. Once the load is done, take out the indicator and place it in a special broth and incubate to see if there is any growth. It is safe to assume that the load is validated if there isn’t any growth. It means that the autoclave is properly working.  

The Equipment Will Not Reach the Set Temperature 

Autoclave users have the capability of personalizing sterilization cycles based on a lot of aspects. This includes temperature. The machine will either sound an alarm or abort the cycle if it fails to reach the set temperature in the time it takes to run the cycle.  

There are a couple of reasons why this issue happens. For instance, the power source for the steam generator is probably not turned on. Particular autoclave units utilize integral steam generators. Usually, this form of generator is hooked up to its own power source. You can turn off this power source and still turn on the unit. If you do this, you will stop the sterilizer from reaching the set temperature. Thus, always check the power source first before you turn on the autoclave for a cycle.