Hard water when referring to warewashing equipment is something that catering operators must consider at all times when purchasing new equipment.

Across the UK, many areas are prone to having hard water which, although is sometimes the preferred option for drinking due to the minerals it contains, isn’t great for warewashing equipment as it can leave limescale within the machine which can affect its operation.

For commercial kitchens, this is a disaster and the repairment costs only add to this never-ending disaster. To avoid this from happening, catering equipment distributors must identify the right warewasher for different areas of the country and consider the different options available for each site early on during the installation stage.

The definition of hard water and how it affects warewashers

Hard water has a high mineral content which consists of specifically calcium and magnesium, whereas soft water occurs naturally and contains less of these minerals. Although hard water has several benefits for drinking due to the amount of minerals it contains and the taste, it can often be the reason why dishes and glasses are left with residue and water marks. This is sometimes why the water must be softened.

For warewashing equipment, hard water can affect the machine in many ways so it is highly important to be aware of how hard the water actually is in the area the equipment is being installed. There are many hard water testing kits available which will give distributors an accurate answer of how hard the water is, and this should be done at the very start of the specification process, preferably during the site survey.

How can the effects of limescale be reduced within the equipment?

As hard water seems to be the better option for drinking as mentioned above, sometimes it must be softened for warewasher units to clean dishes and glasses in professional kitchens. To do this, a water softener can either be built into the dishwasher or a standalone unit. The softener is a unit that is used to soften water by removing the minerals that cause the water to be hard.

Comenda provide water softening treatments which improves the purity of the water throughout the cleaning process. This then allows for spotless dishes and glasses with no hard water stains, which also eliminates the need for post-wash polishing which can often be time consuming and unnecessary when water softeners are available.

When should distributors check the water’s hardness?

The distributor should check at the very start of the process, ideally during the site survey, of how hard the water is and should check that the site isn’t fed by a lead pipe system. It would be advisable to have the lead pipe replaced before softened water can flow through it and although lead pipe systems in hard water areas may not cause a problem, they should still be replaced. When naturally or artificially softened water ends up in these lead pipe systems, it may cause the pickup of lead.

Some dishwashers are actually fitted with fully automatic water softeners, which reduces down time. These dishwashers are the ones which are most suitable for use within hard water areas, so having one of these in a commercial kitchen can benefit the user and the establishment.

To find out more about how Comenda can help with providing the right warewasher for your establishment if your area is subject to hard water, get in touch with our UK team at info@comenda.uk.

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