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Dishwashers: Wash Up and Save a Buck

Dishwashers: Wash Up and Save a Buck

Wash Wisely

Work smarter, not harder, and save money with these energy-smart solutions.

Invest in a pre-rinse sprayer.

Installing a pre-rinse sprayer in your compartment sink lets you remove food waste from dishes before loading them in the dishwasher. This will help your dishwasher work more efficiently. Use a low-flow spray valve to keep water consumption as low as possible.

Install an instantaneous booster heater.

This kind of water heater (also known as "tankless") can raise the water temperature 40-70ºF for the final rinse, while reducing energy costs. Just remember to turn it off at night to conserve energy.

Install a water softener.

Fit your dishwasher with a water softener to reduce mineral deposits on the heating element. It will help your machine work more efficiently. Otherwise, the salts that break out of the water during the heating process can attach themselves to the heating element and your pipe-work, where they can cause serious damage to your machine.

Always run a full load.

Your energy and water expenses are the same for a full or half load. Running a full load will use your commercial kitchen’s water and energy most effectively.

Check the flow pressure.

Look at your manufacturer’s operating manual for the correct flow pressure for your machine. Measured during rinse and fill cycles, flow pressure is typically between 15 and 25 pounds per square inch (psi). This range ensures proper operation.

Run conveyor dishwashers on auto mode.

If you have a conveyor type dishwasher, run it on auto mode to save energy. Manual mode will keep it operating even without dishes running through it, unless it is manually turned off after each rack moves through.

Avoid the pre-rinse, rinse-hold and heat-dry features.

Features like these may seem handy, but they tend to contribute to even more water loss. Instead, manually scrape and pre-rinse your dishes before loading them. Your high temperature machine will flash dry the dishes due to the extreme heat of the rinse water. If you have a low temp, consider letting the dishes air dry if possible.

Keep the heater tank at 140°F.

Never raise the temperature setting of the water heater tank above 140°F. The heater is meant to run at a certain temperature, and using the machine properly will save you the extra cost in energy.

Turn off your dishwasher at night.

There is no need to keep your dishwasher on when it is not in use. Keeping it operating when no dishes are being washed is simply a waste of energy. Over the course of a year, this can add up.

commercial dishwashing operation Wash Up and Save a Buck

To keep your equipment performing efficiently and with the least amount of energy, establish a regular maintenance plan with these maitain and save tips.

Keep an eye on your dishes.

Dirty dishes are a sign that your dishwasher is not performing efficiently. Keep an eye on the dishes as a means of identifying any basic problems.

Clean the filters.

Make sure your machine’s filters are cleaned regularly to remove any solid waste that could damage the pump. This is one of the easiest things you can do to ensure that your machine is working efficiently.

Check the wash arms.

The wash arms spin on bearings that can wear out over time, thereby hindering wash arm performance. Check them frequently and replace any damaged bearings to prevent wasting energy.

Inspect your machine.

Determine if any parts need to be replaced to keep your dishwasher working efficiently. A service technician can be a big help. Sometimes though, replacing the unit could be a better solution than continually repairing it, since poor performance almost always results in a loss of energy dollars.

Double-check your settings.

According to NSF guidelines, your rinse pressure should be set at 15 to 25 pounds per square inch for optimum energy use. Additionally, the wash tank should be set at 160°F and the booster heater should be set to 180°F. Your hot water heater should be set to 140°F.

Maintain wash curtains.

Conveyor dishwashers include plastic strips hanging from both sides of the conveyor. These are in place to improve washer efficiency by trapping heat within the dishwashing machine. They tend to deteriorate over time and must be periodically replaced.

Dishing Out Smart Buys

Saving energy dollars begins with choosing the right equipment. Learn which energy-smart features can save you the most money and help you to conserve electricity or gas with these shop smart & save energy dollars tips.

Look for the ENERGY STAR®.

Commercial dishwashers that have earned the ENERGY STAR are approximately 25% more energy-efficient and 25% more water-efficient than their conventional counterparts. On top of that, ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers can save you up to $1,050 a year.

Select a built-in heat recovery system.

This useful feature makes it possible for your commercial dishwasher to recycle heat, reducing the cost of operation.

Try a reduced-water rinse system.

By increasing the pressure on the revolving arms, some newer-model commercial dishwashers use less water for the rinse cycle without compromising cleanliness. Many ENERGY STAR qualified models exemplify this feature.

Choose models with programmable controls.

Handheld computer interfaces are making dishwashing more automated and energy-efficient by scheduling specific functions, like start-up and shut-down times. You can also program an internal booster heater and diagnostic functions.

Buy with capacity in mind.

Estimate your needs from a dishwasher and buy the appropriate size. Equipment that is too large will have a higher initial cost in addition to a higher operating cost. Assess the number of meals you serve per hour and be aware of your needs before you purchase.

Check for rebates.

Many types of energy-efficient commercial kitchen equipment have rebates available from utility companies. It pays to check with your local utility provider since rebates can cut a significant portion off your initial cost.