With energy and water costs rising, choosing the most energy efficient unit can have a big impact on overall energy use. Dishwashers can consume up to one-third of an operations energy use, primarily due to the cost to raise water temperature. These machines are rated on water efficiency by gallons of water used per rack. Choosing a machine with lower water usage will help the operator increase efficiency.
Some tips to save energy:
- Turn the machine off at night
- Replace torn wash curtains and worn spray heads
- Repair leaks
- Verify whether the machine is ENERGY STAR® rated
Booster heaters are a type of water heater used to raise the temperature of rinse water to properly sanitize. These heaters are typically built-in to high temperature units and help to ensure the water temperature reaches 180°F. Built-in booster heaters are certainly an advantage to the unit and operator since they’re pre-plumbed, wired and sized for that specific machine. They average around 9kW of power.
There are some machines, however, that only offer booster heaters as an option. You’ll need to make sure to have one in order to ensure the water reaches the correct temperature. If the water comes in preheated, it’s important to double check that the heater can handle the 40°F rise. If the water comes in from a cold tap, the booster heater will need to be able to handle a 70°F rise.
Benefits of booster heaters include rapid self-drying due to higher temperatures that allow excess moisture to evaporate quicker, ensure temperatures are high enough to meet sanitation codes, and they’re usually compact enough to fit right next to your unit.
Commercial water heaters can be purchased independent of dish machines here.
As noted, purchasing a commercial dish machine unit is a high-involvement decision that, depending on the machine, can cost a pretty penny. Here are some suggestions for regular maintenance that can help enhance the life of your machine.
- Scrape and rinse dishes well prior to running through your dish machine. It can be challenging to remember to do this at times, especially during busy rushes, but this step can enhance the longevity of the dishwasher and make for a more effective clean.
- Check the vital levels and clean the machine daily, removing all food particles and debris beforehand. Then follow the manufacturer’s directions available in the instruction manual. After cleaning, leave the door open to let it air dry. This reduces the risk of bacteria growth due to moisture buildup.
- Use thermometer strips to check the water temperature to ensure it’s high enough to properly sanitize. Inadequate temperatures can put your guests at risk of foodborne illness and your operation at risk of a health code violation.
- Get it inspected annually by a certified technician. This is a great way to fix minor issues and diagnose potential issues, enhancing its lifespan and ensuring it doesn’t break unexpectedly.
Renting vs. Buying a Commercial Dishwashing Unit
It is recommended that you buy your commercial warewasher, but they’re not necessarily the cheapest piece of commercial kitchen equipment. Therefore, renting may seem appealing. However, consider the long-term ramifications.
For starters, leasing commercial equipment usually requires insurance to cover the entire replacement costs, leading to higher insurance premiums. You’re also under contract, and therefore tying yourself to the company for chemicals and service, meaning you’ll be paying their prices and sacrifice the leisure to shop competitively. You lose all room for negotiation.
As we’ve already stated, commercial warewashing units also use a lot of energy and water. Therefore, you can save money by purchasing an energy-efficient model. However, because using more water means buying more chemicals, rental companies rarely offer these models. This also prevents your from taking advantage of certain incentives, like rebates for ENERGY STAR® certified equipment, and tax benefits like the Section 179 deduction that allows businesses to deduct equipment costs and can earn you up to $500,000 back on your total equipment purchases.
Another important consideration – and be forewarned, it’s not one many businesses enjoy thinking about – is the possibility of going out of business. It’s an unfortunate reality, and you could be looking at high penalties or buyouts if you’re under contract with a rental company. If you own your dishwasher, you can recover some of the cost by selling it to another foodservice operation or an equipment dealer.