Decon Pete – recommissioning new or existing equipment

From treatment centres to ultrasonic baths, this month Decon Pete breaks down the steps you need to take to recommission your equipment.

From treatment centres to ultrasonic baths, this month Decon Pete breaks down the steps you need to take to recommission your equipment.

Last month we discussed the importance of decommissioning equipment before any period of closure or down time, and this month we will discuss how to go about recommissioning everything.

We need to ensure that equipment is recommissioned correctly. Not just if we are closed for a period, but also if we ever move equipment, receive equipment back from being repaired or purchase new equipment.

There are certain pieces of equipment that could potentially pose a risk if they are not ‘recommissioned’ correctly or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

The items to check off are:

  • Treatment centres
  • Compressors
  • Autoclaves
  • Ultrasonic baths
  • Washer disinfectors
  • RO units and water distillers
  • Stored bottled water
  • Clinical waste
  • Compliance tasks.

Treatment centres

Whenever you purchase a new treatment centre, or if your existing unit hasn’t been decommissioned correctly, its important that a biofilm remover is used before you commence.

If any residual water has been left in the lines – which can happen when the new units are tested before shipping – then biofilm can form. This could be potentially harmful and taint any water going through it.

Make sure that the chair is plugged in and switched on, and that everything is working correctly before using with patients.

Re-connect the water bottle using RO/distilled water and flush all the lines for two minutes.


If the compressors have been decommissioned, then make sure that they are fully switched on and the pressure is correct before using.

If you have acquired a new compressor, then make sure that you receive a full Written Scheme of Examination (WSE) from the installing engineer.

The WSE is required for all new compressors/autoclaves in line with the Pressure Safety Systems Regulation 2000 (PSSR 2000).


Make sure that the autoclave and data logger are switched on at the plug.

Refill the internal water tank with RO/distilled water and then carry out the required tests in accordance with the manufacturers.

The tests will include a Helix test, for Vac and S class, and the Automatic Control Test (ACT) for non-vac units.

Once these tests have been run, store the results in a suitable logbook. The unit is then ready to use.

If you have a new autoclave being installed, ensure that you receive a WSE in line with the PSSR 2000.

Ultrasonic baths

Before refilling the ultrasonic bath, ensure that the drain hose is fully closed.

Refill the unit with RO/distilled water and the correct level of detergent. Then run a degas cycle to eliminate any oxygen bubbles contained in the detergent.

Process a load of instruments, and then it’s a good idea to perform a protein residue test to ensure that the unit is cleaning and functioning correctly.

Washer disinfectors

Make sure that the WD is switched on at the plug and that the water valve is open.

Whether the unit has been decommissioned or is brand new, connect all the detergent bottles. As well as this, if possible, run an air removal cycle to remove any residual air from the detergent hoses.

Once the first load of instruments has been processed, perform a protein residue test to ensure that the unit is working correctly and cleaning effectively.

RO units and water distillers

Make sure that the water distiller is cleaned fully before use.

It’s also a good idea to clean the distiller kettles. I would suggest using a chlorine tablet which will provide a microbiological clean.

If you have an existing RO unit that has been decommissioned, ensure the unit is switched on and that the water valve is open.

If the manufacturer suggests replacing all the filters, run the unit to refill the external tank.

Before using the dispensed water, it is a good idea to use a conductivity meter to reconfirm the quality of the water.

Compliance tasks

If the practice has been closed for a period and you are using a compliance software provider, ensure that you log in and check that all required tasks are up to date.

It’s also a good idea to check what upcoming tasks you have to ensure that nothing suddenly surprises you.

CPD cycle

As the new CPD cycle commenced on 1 January, I would suggest that everyone review the status of their relevant CPD. You should start to plan in courses to get ahead of the game.

In-practice courses are a great way of getting everyone together. They also provide a great opportunity for sharing ideas and discussing procedures and processes.

If you need any help or support, please drop me a line at [email protected] or check out the website

Also, if you would like to book an in-practice IPC course, click here to check out availability.

Catch up on previous Decon Pete columns:

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