The function of the door gasket is one of the most important features in any steam sterilizer. Its primary function is to serve as the primary seal to contain steam within the sterilizer chamber.
The Care, Feeding, and Evaluation door gaskets are:
- Visually inspect the door gasket frequently looking for signs of wear such as cracks or abrasion and replace when necessary.
- If outward steam is present around the chamber door, this is generally a visual indicator that the door gasket is failing and should be replaced immediately.
- Visually inspect the door gasket to make sure it is retracting completely into the gasket groove. If the door gasket is either partially or not retracting into the gasket groove, a problem with the vacuum system (either vacuum water ejector or electric pump) could be the cause.
- If a sterilizer will not pass a vacuum leak test, a bad door gasket may be the cause.
- If during the sterilizing cycle, the sterilizer gains temperature and the steam to chamber valve is closed, an internal leak in the door gasket may be allowing steam to fill the chamber and will eventually cause an “Over Temperature Alarm”, replace the door gasket immediately.
- Make certain that the steam pressure from the sterilizer steam pressure regulator is set properly and will not overpressure the sterilizer door gasket.
The door gasket is considered a wearable item on the sterilizer and normal life is 3 to 12 months depending on service. The extreme variability in normal life is affected by steam quality (assuming steam actuated), material which ends up in the door gasket groove from spillage, mechanical abrasion from a partially retracted door gasket, and the number of cycles run.