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Conserving Water with Low-Flow Pre-Rinse Spray Valves

Conserving Water with Low-Flow Pre-Rinse Spray Valves

Pre-rinse spray valves are one of the first lines of defense against dirty dishes. Although they are a big help at the dishwashing station, they end up spraying a good deal of water right down the drain due to inefficient designs. In fact, the pre-rinse operation in a restaurant typically consumes about 30 percent of all water used in the establishment. With increased utility costs and decreased natural water resources, there is no better time than now to install a low-flow pre-rinse spray valve in your commercial kitchen.

Anatomy of a typical pre-rinse spray valve

A pre-rinse spray valve uses a blast of water to rinse off excess food waste before loading them into a dishwasher. Their components are simple and standardized for convenient retrofitting and parts replacement.

pre-rinse spray valve parts
A Low-Flow Pre-Rinse Spray Valve Makes the Difference

A low-flow pre-rinse unit looks no different than a conventional model. However, it is designed to use less water. Low-flow models must use 1.6 gallons of water per min (gpm) or less. The best models use around 0.64 gpm. By installing one in your establishment you can save money, improve efficiency and conserve water all at once. The benefits of a low-flow model include the following:

  • Reduced water costs. With less water flowing at a higher velocity, fewer gallons can be used to achieve the same goal. Depending on use, a low-flow pre-rinse sprayer can save up to $1,000 throughout the course of a year.
  • Improved efficiency. No need for water savings to jeopardize efficiency. Low-flow units have smaller nozzle openings for a subsequently higher water velocity and more effective spray patterns. This results in a more effective method of removing food.
  • Less stress on the dishwasher. Since the water-saving spray valve is so effective on leftover food waste, your commercial dishwasher does not have to work as hard. This may even improve the longevity of your dishwashing unit.
Low-Flow Pre-Rinse Sprayers: By the Numbers

The Food Service Technology Center has tested low-flow pre-rinse spray valves to confirm that they save water and energy with no detriment to performance. The chart below displays savings based on hours of usage:

Spray Valve Usage
Water Savings
Waste Water Savings
Gas Savings
Annual Dollar Savings
HOURS
GALLONS
GALLONS
THERMS
AVERAGE
1
60
60
0.5
$325
2
120
120
1.0
$650
3
80
80
1.5
$975
Purchasing a Low-Flow Pre-Rinse Spray Valve

A typical pre-rinse spray valve lasts about five years unless it is improperly installed or used in a facility with poor water quality. Most units cost only $5-$25 more than the price of a standard model, so they have a very low incremental cost. They last about five years but the initial price can be recouped in less than one year, making the low-flow pre-rinse spray valve a cost-effective investment to lower your water bills.