Maintenance Tips for Commercial Warewashers

You've hired the best staff for the job, sourced the best suppliers, and developed recipes that can't be beaten. All of this will be for nothing, though, if you don't have a warewasher that's up to the job. Once the dishes start piling and you have no way of getting them clean in time for the next course or next job, you'll find yourself out of commission. This doesn't have to be the case, though. By employing some very simple maintenance tips for your commercial warewasher, you'll have every aspect of your kitchen operation under control and will be able to perform at your highest level.

In this post, we're going to look at why this maintenance is required, what kind of routine you should have to ensure optimal performance, and what you should look out for in terms of future upgrades.
 

Why is maintenance required in the first place?

Kitchen staff tend to assume that since warewashers today are much more advanced than they used to be in decades past, they won't require any maintenance. While it is true that they'll require far less upkeep than most older models, there are still things to maintain on your warewasher. Simply put, if your warewasher isn't clean, then your dishes won't be clean either. The good news is that a lot of these new machines have automated cleaning procedures put in place specifically to make this maintenance process that much easier for you. There are a number of ways that these machines conserve water while running hot water through the system. This will eliminate some of the errors that will crop up from a manual cleaning, but machines aren't perfect either.

One of the most important parts of your warewasher are the heat-recovery system coils. These should be kept clean on a regular basis to make sure that the whole machine works properly. You can clean these coils by using pressurized air to remove any debris that gathers over time. Another solution is to wash these coils with warm, soapy water. If these things aren't kept clean, they won't be able to provide heat to the machine. If you don't haver any heat, you'll never get a proper clean.

Another thing to consider are the blower dryers. These will properly maintain your warewasher's temperature, so you'll likewise want to check in every crevice for any sort of debris or dust and then clean accordingly. Again, if your machine is happy, you're happy.

You also need to check out your pumped final rinse. This is the part of your warewasher that operates at the end of a job to make sure that no unwanted food matter or debris remains in the system. If this part isn't maintained properly, debris will tend to build up quite quickly from job to job. This is a problem that will compound itself to the point where you might get to a job without even realizing that your warewasher isn't going to work. Luckily, this is a simple problem to fix. If you simply clean out those rinse nozzles from time to time, you'll prevent any debris from building up and ruining your system.

Keep informed about your advanced diagnostics. A unique problem that you run into with modern warewashers is that you'll have to contend with error codes that can leave your machine malfunctioning or out of commission altogether. On top of all that, you'll be given an error code that might as well be a foreign language to you. One simple solution to this problem is to keep your owner's manual handy at all times. Or, you might elect to memorize all of the error codes. The best solution, though, is to make up a list of the most common error codes you tend to encounter. You can then laminate that list and keep it in an easy-to-access location. This way, you'll never be caught unawares again.

Always delscale your equipment. Lime scale buildup is a real problem. For instance, if one of your sensors is loaded up with the gunk, they won't be sensing anything anytime soon. There are some methods you can use to automatically detect lime scale, but nothing will substitute for a close inspection done on your own. 
 

What kind of routine should I have?

It is true that there are way more systems on modern warewashers that need caring for than there were in the past. It's also true, though, that these new machines were designed with the idea of easy access and intuitive cleaning in mind. There are two main types of warewasher: those that use a pegged conveyor belt or those that use a flat conveyor in order to load the dishes that need to be cleaned. The good news is that regardless of what kind of warewasher you have, the cleaning and maintenance process is essentially going to be identical. The parts on these machines have been specifically designed for easy maintenance. Some of the parts have even been separated by color in order to make the process that much easier for you. This might seem obvious, but the best way to keep all of the warewasher's parts in order is to commit to a daily routine where you clean the machine on a regular basis.

To keep your warewasher running smoothly is to have your staff check the machine and make sure that everything is clean before running any dishes through it. It can be tempting to assume that since you cleaned the machine the night before and haven't run anything through it since that it won't need any cleaning, but this isn't always the case. Just like everything else in life, you're better safe than sorry. Also, if you pre-scrap your machines components, the warewasher will be far less likely to get clogged up through repeated use. Another bonus to doing this pre-scrap procedure is that it'll help to keep your machine's supply of water fresh. With plenty of fresh water, your machine won't have to be refilled as much. You'll be helping yourself at the same time that you're helping the environment.

Dishes need to be loaded properly. Not only can improperly-loaded dishes lead to obstructions, malfunctions, and even broken equipment, but loading improperly can also block the washing nozzles and prevent anything from getting cleaned. After each job you do, you should take out all of your warewasher's components, remove the water supply, and hose down the entire inside of the machine. Once you've done this, you can go ahead and replace all the parts that you removed. It's important to understand, though, that keeping the macvhine closed up after this cleaning can lead to the development of mildew and bad odors. An easy way to avoid this problem is to open up the warewasher's doors and allow it to air out overnight.
 

What should I look out for in future upgrades?

Warewashers are built to last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. You should be perfectly fine sticking with the one you already have, but there are certain situations that warrant an upgrade of your machine. Minor fixes and repairs are totally normal, but if these start getting costly and the machine fails more than it works, it's time to look into an upgrade. It's very similar to owning a car: If the repairs start to cost more than the car itself is worth, you're better off upgrading.

Once you do decide to upgrade, you'll want to take into account practical things like cost and ease of use. Just as important, of course, is how easy it would be for your staff to access the plumbing components for cleaning. If it's overly difficult to access the components, your workers might just skip the cleaning process altogether. Also, keep in mind your volume. If you're a small operation, you probably won't need an industrial-sized warewasher. And if you've got a massive company, you definitely shouldn't skimp and go with the cheapest model. It's really all about balance.

When it comes to buying the right warewasher and then making sure that your equipment is working up to your specifications, it can seem like a daunting task to make sense of all the features and procedures out there. By following the tips and tricks on this list, you'll be much better equipped to handle any type of problem that might crop up in your cooking and catering option. Because when you're taking care of the culinary needs of your clients, the last thing you want to worry about is whether your dirty dishes can be cleaned or not. As with everything else, be sure to conduct your own research when looking into a new warewasher, and take note of what specific strategies and routines work best for you.

 

Further Information...

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