The commercial dishwasher (or warewasher) does an amazing amount of cleaning and sanitizing in the blink of an eye, thanks to hot water, soap, rinse chemicals - and lots of energy. It's worth looking at your dish room to see if it is costing too much to operate and to see how much you can save.
The two basic strategies for washing and sterilizing dishes are low-temp and high-temp.
The FSTC has tested dishwashers and has reports pending on several models. You can get a customized look at what appliance energy is costing you in your operation by contacting your PG&E Marketing Representative. If you want to look at actual performance figures from our laboratory trials or our Production Test Kitchen monitoring, check out the list of published Reports for a title that matches your interests, or browse through the Abstracts for a more detailed summary.
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Low-temp dishwashers use the hot water supplied by the kitchen's existing water heater, typically this hot water is supplied at 140°F. These dishwashers use a chemical sanitizing agent in the final rinse cycle, and sometimes a drying agent. Energy costs are usually lower than the cost of chemicals for low-temp dishwashers.
High-temp dishwashers use a "booster heater" to raise the rinse water temperature to 180°F, hot enough to sterilize the dishes and help them dry quickly. There is also a heater in the dishwasher that keeps the wash water up to temperature. Energy costs are typically higher for this type of machine than for the low-temp dishwasher.
Your choice of high or low temperature depends on your operation; each offers certain advantages and disadvantages. Dishwasher type, dish volume, water consumption and fuel choice will all play a role in your energy costs.
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