Water is the most-used commodity in North American restaurants. In fact, it is estimated that the average restaurant consumes over 30 litres of water per patron. For an establishment seating 100 patrons per day, that adds up to more than one million litres a year. More than half of this water is likely used in the kitchen and for dishwashing.
Restaurant owners and operators wanting to reduce water and energy expenses should make the dishwasher their first stop. Here are seven tips for conserving water while getting the most from your dishwashing equipment:
- Wash smart: Ensure the dishwasher is full prior to running a load, as a commercial unit will use an equal amount of water regardless of how full it is. If kitchen and front-of-the-house staff members are regularly unable to wait for a full load to accumulate, consider reviewing whether you have an adequate amount of cookware, dishes and utensils.
- Keep it clean: Lime deposits from hot water tanks and heater coils are a drain on efficiency and diminish the appearance of dishes and utensils. Cleaning regularly, or running a de-liming cycle if available, can work wonders.
- Keep it hot (but not too hot): Most commercial dishwasher wash cycles run at between 61° and 70° C, with the rinse cycle running above 82.2° C. Maintaining higher-than-recommended temperatures brings no added benefits — only added costs.
- Check drains and valves: Inspect for wear and tear on rinse spray valves. As valves wear out, their openings become larger and can lead to a significant increase in water consumption. When operating a convey-type dishwasher, adjust the bypass drain to ensure excess water drains into the wash tank.
- Mind the rinse cycle: Ensuring that rinse cycle times and rinse pressure settings conform to the unit’s recommended settings reduces consumption as well. Consider a multi-stage system, which conserves water by re-using rinse water to pre-rinse dishes.
- Get efficient equipment: Insist on an Energy Star® qualified high-efficiency commercial dishwasher. A high-efficiency unit can reduce energy use by more than 25 per cent and cut overall operating costs by roughly 30 per cent when compared with a baseline unit.
- Consider your hot water source: When it comes to energy savings, an efficient and reliable hot water heater is as important as the dishwasher, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Tap into the expertise of hot water specialists such as Enercare to equip your restaurant with the right hot water solutions for the job.
Information provided by David Turk, associate marketing manager, Enercare. For more information, call 1 855-255-5458.