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Buying new dish washing machines

Dish machines are available in a wide range of types and sizes, from big multi-tank continuous flight varieties to rack conveyor machines, single rack door types and under-counter models—heavy-duty versions of a home dishwasher. Purchase decisions hinge on the type and volume of dishware to clean and kitchen space. Water usage has also become a major issue in recent years.

High-temp vs. low-temp machines
High-temp dish machines rely on 180°F water to sanitize dishes; low-temp versions use 120 to 140°F water containing a chlorine-based sanitizer. Low-temp or chemical machines were initially seen as an energy-saving alternative to high-temp machines, which typically require an auxiliary booster heater to ensure delivery of 180°F water. However, many operators found that the chemical machines didn’t clean or air-dry dishware as well. Most manufacturers now offer both high- and low-temp models, but sell more high-temp machines.

Water usage vs. cleaning ability
The cost of heating dishwashing water comes right off the bottom line, so manufacturers have developed creative ways to reduce water usage and energy costs, while meeting industry sanitation standards. In the end, cleaning ability depends  on how and where water hits the dishes.

Hobart offers an Opti-Rinse System which uses special spray nozzles to oscillate the water stream in an S-pattern 30 times a second, delivering larger water drops to the dishware and reducing water usage by 50 percent. Champion has countered with its DualRinse Technology; it circulates over 300 gallons of rinse water per hour, while consuming only 112 gallons of fresh water. Blakeslee has a Quick-Start Plus Consumption Saver system that fills the pre-wash and wash tanks from the rinse tank—reducing water use and heating costs.

Evaluating manufacturers’ claims
NSF International tests dishwashers to ANSI/NSF Standard 3, which includes their ability to sanitize soiled dishware, before listing a manufacturer’s product. However, water and energy savings claims traditionally were taken on faith. Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency is expanding its Energy Star Program to commercial dishwashers; that EPA designation will be proof of both water and energy savings. For more info on the program, visit www.energystar.gov/index.

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