4 Common Steam Autoclave Problems


1. Loads are damaged by the autoclave

An steam autoclave can damage a load in a number of ways. It is important to remember that anything loaded into the sterilizer is autoclave safe.
To determine if the item can be sterilized, please visit this article.
It is important to train autoclave users to be aware of what they are loading into the unit as it can cause damage to the sterilizer and in severe cases cause an explosion if an inappropriate item is put in.

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2. Sterilizer does not reach set temperature

Autoclave users can customize the sterilization cycle based on many parameters including the sterilization temperature. If the autoclave does not reach the predetermined temperature in a timely manner, an alarm will sound or the cycle will be aborted altogether.

Now, there are few reasons why an autoclave may not reach temperature in a timely manner. For example, the power to the steam generator may not be turned on. Other reasons may be that the steam generator needs repair. Or there may be a problem with a blocked chamber drain, which may prevent air from escaping from the chamber and the steam from reaching the desired temperature and pressure.


3. The load remains wet at the end of the sterilization cycle

This problem usually occurs when the user loads any porous items (such as paper or cloth) at the same time. It causes them to act like sponges and leads to water accumulation. You can choose an autoclave equipped with a vacuum function that helps to dry the items at the end of the cycle.


4. Merchandise is not even sterilized

Improper sterilization of commodities can lead to contamination, media growth or bioindicator failure. There can be many reasons why a sterilizer may fail to sterilize a load.

For example, incorrect loading, component failure, incorrect cycle type selection, steam drying, user error, insufficient steam, etc. The best way to ensure proper sterilization is to verify that the autoclave is using a biological indicator.

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