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Four tips to ensure good quality water in your commercial kitchen

With consumers increasingly concerned about the quality of the water they are consuming, commercial kitchen owners need to ensure quality water supply. This will not only keep your products tasting great, but also means a longer life for your kitchen equipment.

Having worked with many commercial kitchen owners, here are four tips to maintain the water quality in your business to ensure good tasting food and beverages and a long-life for your kitchen equipment.

As restaurant operators, you do not want any foul tastes or smells in your water supply. To keep your water clear and clean, first test the current water quality at your business outlet.

An indicator test that is widely used is the total dissolved solids (TDS) test. This test determines the general quality of the water flowing through the taps in your premises. As water easily picks up impurities and TDS like calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, bicarbonates, chlorides, sulfates and other organic matters, it is crucial to test for TDS regularly.

If the TDS is higher than 200 ppm (mg/L) or if water hardness is above 70 ppm, then you need to install a water filtration system as these contaminants can affect the taste and flavor of your food. They can also reduce the longevity of your kitchen equipment, like coffee machines, ice machines, combination ovens, steamers and dishwashers.

Before you choose the type of filter system, it is essential to know the specific number of water outlets present and/or planned in the future. For example, two in the washing area, one for the drinking facility, one for the ice machine and two for the heating equipment. Knowing this will help you to determine which system will fit your operations.

 

The common types of water filtration systems for commercial kitchens include:

  • Sediment filters: removes larger particles from the water
  • Carbon filters: utilizes a bed of activated carbon to remove contaminants and impurities like lead, chlorine and sediments
  • Reverse osmosis: forces water to an area of higher concentration across a semipermeable membrane which traps most contaminants including perchlorate, sulfates, fluoride, industrial chemicals, heavy metals and chlorides
  • Ultraviolet light: disinfects water by killing microorganisms with ultraviolet radiation and is often used together with carbon filters

An important consideration when selecting the type of water filtration system is the required maintenance that comes with each system. Be it a membrane, filter cartridge or an ultraviolet light replacement, they each require some form of periodic care and upkeep.

In addition to filters, you also need to regularly clean the water pipes running through the premise, something that is often overlooked by operators. Over time, water pipes become clogged with debris, sediments or even roots growing into the pipes, causing low water pressure or blockages. Having them checked and cleaned regularly are important to the overall water quality supply for your business.

With numerous water filtration systems options available out there, there are also many vendors and suppliers to choose from. From my extensive experience in this field, I recommend that business owners choose a partner who can help you answer the above considerations and offer useful value-added services, such as maintenance and replacement planning, water quality checks, water pipe cleaning, and health and safety compliance assessments pertaining to the water filtration systems used.

Follow the above steps to keep your kitchen equipment maintenance costs low, your food tasting better and your customers happier. Here’s an example of how a retailer in Taiwan overcame its problem with poor water quality.

About the author

Weilun Tsao is Managing Director of Technology, DKSH Taiwan. Prior to his current role, he spent ten years in general management and strategy consulting in San Francisco’s Bay Area, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. He has vast experience in business development of high-tech products, including hospitality equipment, machine tools, laboratory instrument, and wire and cables. He holds dual master degrees in international business and economics from University of California San Diego, USA.