Service FAQ

1. Where is the Manual?

All Priorclave sterilizers arrive with their Initial Opening Instructions and Installation Manual attached to the outside of the unit. The model-specific Operation Manual is in the chamber of your Priorclave. If you have lost any of these, you can find PDF versions in the Downloads section of our website. Replacement manuals can also be ordered by contacting us directly.

2. What is the warranty associated with this unit?

All Priorclave autoclaves come with a 36-month limited parts-and-labor warranty, a 20-year pressure vessel warranty, and unlimited lifetime technical support.

3. If I need service, do you have reps in my area? How long it will take to get a service rep on site?

We back every Priorclave with 24/7 lifetime technical support. These remote diagnostic and consultation services come at no additional fee, are fully transferable, and generally have a four-hour response window. Most problems can be diagnosed and resolved remotely. If an on-site technician is called for, one can often be on site within 24 hours in most cases. Although no service contract is necessary, owners with a current Priorclave Preventative Maintenance Autoclave Service Plan can see significant savings, depending on the nature of the service call.

It’s worth noting that on-site service calls are a relative rarity for Priorclave. Our minimum-part/maximum-performance philosophy, rugged build quality, and per-facility customization reduce service requirements to a minimum.  A little routine operator maintenance is often sufficient to keep a Priorclave running smoothly for years. We are pleased to offer operation and maintenance training for your in-house staff, or to support your preferred third-party service.

4. How often should my autoclave be serviced?

The routine operator maintenance includes daily, weekly, monthly, and biannual tasks (mostly keeping the unit clean and greasing gaskets). For most applications and facilities, this is sufficient to keep your Priorclave running in good order. For peace of mind, many Priorclave users choose to have an autoclave check-up every six months (a service included with our standard Preventative Maintenance Autoclave Service Plans).

5. Am I legally obligated to have my autoclave examined regularly? How often? Can Priorclave carry out such an examination?

Regulations vary throughout North America by country, province/state, municipality, and industry, as do insurance policies. Some of these specify how often such an inspection must occur, who must perform the inspection, and what it must include. You will need to check with your insurer or applicable regulatory bodies for details. Your landlord, facilities manager, or property manager can likely answer this question.

6. Are replacement parts non-proprietary and available from common sources if we have problems?  Can Priorclave furnish replacement parts?

We make every effort to use only non-proprietary components available from common sources. The only exceptions to this are our Tactrol Control System and the pressure chamber itself (which is hand built under an ISO 9001:2008 quality management system, ASME-stamped, and tested to 1.5 times the maximum working pressure).

The current Tactrol Control System is the culmination of nearly three decades of development and refinement. It offers unparalleled safety, reliability, and flexibility (with dozens of individually controllable parameters per program, including Cycle Repeat with up to 999 iterations and optional custom Remote Cycle Monitoring).

Priorclave can furnish replacement parts. These ship from our Michigan warehouse, and are available for overnight delivery. Spare parts kits are also available, if you prefer to keep stock on hand. We maintain a “fair price” policy on all components (including our Tactrol Control System), offering these at competitive prices.

7. How much space around the autoclave is required to service it?

Because of their efficient design and construction, our wheel-mounted units are significantly easier to maneuver than traditional medical-grade sterilizers. We recommend making all service connections with flexible braided stainless-steel hoses. This allows the unit to be rolled out for service—just like a refrigerator or other appliance—then tucked away when the work is done.

8. Can I use DI or distilled water with my autoclave?

Priorclaves can be specified to use any type of water source, but most are built to operate most effectively with standard softened water. A unit specified for standard water may not function efficiently—and can even be damaged—by demineralized, deionized (DI), distilled, reverse osmosis (RO), “high-purity”, or ultrapure water (UPW) supplies.

9. Should we have our water quality tested?

When in doubt, it’s always best to have water tested. This can save you thousands of dollars in service costs, and greatly extend the life of your autoclave. Using a hard water supply will lead to a build-up of scale that will damage the heaters and other parts of the system, and could invalidate the warranty.

If in the first six months of operation you observe hard-water scale or other water-quality related issues, refer back to the Installation Manual and have your water quality tested. You can always contact Priorclave North America for advice on how to proceed.

Even “soft” water supplies contain trace minerals. These will slowly accumulate in autoclave chambers and plumbing, and on heating elements. Scale build-up will significantly impact autoclave performance and decrease operational lifetime. Distilled white vinegar (available at any grocery store) can be used to effectively address scale accumulation. See your Operation Manual for details.

10. What impact does our autoclave have on our facility’s heating and cooling system?

Because it harnesses high temperatures for long periods of time, any autoclave can have a major impact on your building HVAC system. Some aspects of Priorclave’s design (such as cold idling) mitigate this impact. Our team works hard to guide every autoclave buyer to a properly specified and installed unit. This minimizes the impact on HVAC operation.

In general, the thermal load placed on your air conditioning and ventilation systems by your autoclave is approximately one third of the total heater power for the unit’s first hour of operation. The output from the autoclave is cyclic and varies throughout the cycle, but this figure is a good guide for a thermal load calculation. If you’re using a direct steam heated unit, look up the wattage of the corresponding electrically heated unit.

11. My printouts are showing the wrong time. Can the time be adjusted?

Certainly! The time and date settings (along with other common functions) can be adjusted directly from the Tactrol control panel. Please refer to your Operation Manual for full instructions. As a quick reference, you can find the Priorclave Customer Setting Instructions sheet in the Downloads section of the Priorclave website.

12. My printer is using a lot of paper. Can it be set to print out less often?

Yes, you can change the print interval. By default it is set to print relevant data every three minutes during the cycle dwell period. The print interval is one of the many functions that can be changed from the front control panel. Please refer to your Operation Manual for a full list of functions and settings. As a quick reference, you can find the Priorclave Customer Setting Instructions sheet in the Downloads section of the Priorclave website.

13. I want to start my autoclave cycle before I arrive in the morning, is that possible?

Yes! Delayed Start is standard on all Priorclave models, and can be set from the Tactrol control panel. Please refer to your Operation Manual for a full list of functions and settings. You can also find the Priorclave Customer Setting Instructions sheet in the Downloads section of the Priorclave website.

14. I’m using Media Warming on my autoclave, but the media is not fully liquid when I open the autoclave. Can I adjust the set temperature for this function?

Yes. Although this is a simple operation (only requiring a few minutes), changing this Tactrol parameter requires some guidance from Priroclave North America. Please contact us, and we’ll walk you through making this adjustment. Such assistance is covered by your autoclave’s free lifetime technical support.

15. When I press START nothing happens and no LEDs on the “half-moon” cycle progress display light.

This is because the Tactrol Control System is waiting for a response from the printer before starting the heater. Either the printer is not installed correctly, or the connection to the printer has been lost. Please follow this procedure:

  1. Simultaneously press the up/down buttons directly below the green dwell time display. The autoclave should beep. The temperature display will change to “0” and the dwell time display to “000”.
  2. Press the up button bellow the dwell time display until it reads “011.”
  3. If the temperature display is showing anything other than “0” adjust it down to “0” using the up/down buttons below the temperature display.
  4. Now reset the controller. If your autoclave includes a Multi-Program Memory unit, turn the Setting Lock key from position 1 to position 3 and back again. If you do not have a Setting Lock key switch, then reset the controller by pressing the small black reset button labeled “Tactrol Reset” located at rear of control panel.
  5. The autoclave should now function correctly. If not, please contact us.

16. The temperature display is showing “F00” and a number, and “FAULT” is lit on the panel (there may be other messages lit as well). What does this all mean?

Something is wrong. A complete list of error codes is included in your Operation Manual. If your autoclave includes a printer, the code and a short explanation will be printed out.  Alternatively, you can find a list of error codes in the Downloads section of the Priorclave website.

17. What is the cutest thing?

Opinions vary. Classically unattractive mammals (such as bats) in adorable situations (e.g., wrapped in pastel blankets like tiny Easter burritos) are often regarded as cute. Unfortunately, these results are not reliable, as some such animals trigger repulsion in many viewers, despite cute accoutrements.

For the most reliable cuteness, Priorclave North America suggests you consider a moderately confused animal. Examples include kittens batting at race cars shown on television, dogs frightened by their own reflections, and monkeys or squirrels piloting vehicles of any kind.

If your question is not listed above, please Contact Us.  We’ll reply with an answer as soon as possible.