Dishwashers are among the hardest working kit in the kitchen but failure to maintain them properly can quickly undermine the investment an operator has made.
That’s the view of Steve Elliott, managing director of kitchen maintenance provider Serviceline, who notes that a dishwashing operation in a typical restaurant could be using two-thirds of all the water used. He says that embedded energy costs as designed by the manufacturer will only be achieved if the equipment is regularly maintained and serviced.
A common fault, such as a poorly fitting drain seal, can allow water to drain away, increasing the amount of heating needed to maintain the washing cycle.
“The quality of water supplied to your dishwasher is important and if you have a water softener fitted, check that it’s full of salt and that it’s refilled regularly,” advises Elliott. “Excessive lime-scale will also add to your energy costs. A heating element which is thick with scale uses up to 50% more energy to reach working temperature. Hard water also requires more detergent, so keep the softener topped up.”
Debris in wash pumps is one of the major causes of machine failure. Dishwash operators must be trained to carry out regular care tasks, such as clearing the internal filters, removing and cleaning the wash arms, and checking detergent, salt and rinse aid supplies are adequate.
Regular cleaning will provide the best quality wash by keeping the machine clear of waste products and help improve the life of the pumps. Elliott says one of the best tips he can offer is to clean out the strainers regularly — at least twice a day if possible.
“Cutlery in wash pumps will cause a major failure and a cost. Check the strainers are not damaged and that they are fitted correctly, so as not to allow waste residue, cocktail sticks or cutlery to pass through, because this will damage pumps and possibly cause blockages, especially in the increasingly popular energy recovery devices. Replace strainers immediately if damage is evident,” he counsels.