Sanitation & Safety Equipment

Browse our articles on sanitation and safety equipment and find primers on a wide variety of specific product categories, including articles on how to specify, when to replace, energy efficiency and much more.

THE Quarterly Product Knowledge Guide: Waste Collection Systems

When determining what type of waste collection system suits their businesses, foodservice operators can choose from a variety of options in terms of size and function. These systems can be as small as an under-sink garbage disposer or a big remote pulping system that includes a built-in grinder to send trash through pipes with water to create a sludge for disposal.

Consultant Q&A: Steve Waltz, senior associate/project manager, Cini-Little International Inc., Baltimore

FE&S: What types of operations utilize waste collectors?

SW: Schools, office buildings and other on-premise feeders most often use waste collectors as these are a big investment. Smaller operations are better off manually scraping dishware.

THE Quarterly Product Knowledge Guide: Water Filtration

Water filters not only provide better-tasting beverages but can also prolong the service life for a wide range of equipment types.

Consultant Q&A: Kevin Cromwell, owner, Cromwell Consulting, Stoughton, Mass.

FE&S: Talk about the importance of water filtration in commercial foodservice.

KC: Water is the most important ingredient in foodservice and one of the most overlooked. Soups and sauces are up to 80 percent water; fountain beverages are between 78 percent and 83 percent water, not including ice, which is all water; and coffee and tea are 96 percent to 98 percent water. Plus, every dish, glass, utensil, pot, pan and food contact surface in a foodservice establishment is touched by water. Based on this, why would anyone not have water filtration?

FE&S: What should operators consider when purchasing a water filtration system?

KC: Water for each location needs to be tested, or the 
local municipality should provide a water content breakdown. Then, the proper water filtration system can be designed for the location and application. The filtration requirements of a coffee brewer are not the same as the requirements for a combi oven. The requirements for filtration are set forth in owner’s manuals and data sheets for most items that are water dependent, and failure to meet these requirements can cause a void in warranty — not to mention an increase in repair costs and operational down time.

FE&S: Is there equipment that operators tend to overlook when it comes to water filtration?

KC: A growing area of filtration is for warewashing equipment. Filtering the water before it enters the water heater can extend the life of the water heater, or filtering after with high-heat filters can reduce the costs and amount of chemicals needed in the warewashing process.

FE&S: How can an operator determine the appropriate system for their restaurant?

KC: As the terms used in the testing results and the water filtration industry can make you feel that you are back in chemistry class, the specifier of the system should work with the filtration company of choice to select the proper filtration. All of the major manufacturers that supply the foodservice industry have solutions for all types of water.

FE&S: What is a common misconception about water filtration?

KC: There is a common practice in the municipality to use chloramines as a disinfectant as this works better than chlorine. A chlorine filter will not remove chloramines, which will rust stainless steel, again voiding all warranties from equipment manufacturers.

Cleaning & Maintaining Water Filtration Systems

Assess water quality to determine what type of filtration an operation needs. Filter life varies from location to location based on use and an operation’s water quality.

Here, Vidal Munoz Jr., service manager at Commercial Kitchen Parts & Service in San Antonio, provides more detail on cleaning and preventative maintenance for these systems.

  • One filtering function of multipurpose filters may be exhausted before another. This could lead to replacing a filter sooner than expected.
  • Change the filter if the system’s pressure gauge shows a drop of more than 30 PSI or the outlet water pressure is less than 30 PSI.
  • Store filter cartridges in cool, dry, ventilated areas and properly dispose of filter cartridges in the trash.
  • Some areas rely on many chemicals to make water usable. A good filter will help contend with this to protect equipment.
  • A good carbon-based filter will remove chlorine before it goes into the unit.
  • One common misconception is that a filter will solve all water-related issues. This is not true; it will slow down corrosion or other water-related challenges and increase the time and intervals between service calls. It is impossible to get everything out of the water by filtering.
  • Servicing needs depend on usage. Most filters need to be checked every three months and replaced every six months. This often gets overlooked.
  • It’s best to write the dates on the filter of both when it was last replaced and when it will need replacing.
  • Filters that have not been replaced regularly can impact equipment performance.

Cleaning & Maintaining Waste Collection Systems

With waste handling systems, service agents are mainly called to take care of garbage disposers used in conjunction with drains. When it comes to these systems, the most important thing is to have equipment properly sized to the facility, which will ensure the longest service life.

Consultant Q&A with Phil Maurizzi, president of ABC Fire & Safety, Inc., Beloit, Wis.

FE&S: What is the most important thing foodservice operators should be aware of when purchasing fire-suppression equipment?

PM: The main thing is they want to make sure the system they’re purchasing is UL 300 listed. This designation came about 20 years ago due to the change in cooking oil. Restaurants used to use animal fat, which caught fire more easily but was put out quickly with dry chemical systems. Now, with the prevalence of vegetable, corn and canola oils, kitchen fires tend to burn at higher temperatures and are more difficult to put out. This is why fire-suppression equipment now utilizes wet chemicals.

FE&S: What are the considerations for this equipment with different applications and cook line configurations?

PM: Depending on the operation, there are a number of system types out there. Some are specifically for certain appliances under the hood. Those are the most common in foodservice. Some manufacturers have come out with total flood systems. If a restaurant owner or chef moves appliances around under the hood, they would be best served with this type of system. This way, they don’t need to call the fire equipment distributor to retype the hood since it covers all equipment, no matter where the location. Some appliances, such as back-shelf salamanders, require a total flood fire-suppression system with dedicated nozzles.

FE&S: What type of solution is used to put out the fire with these systems?

PM: All fire-suppression equipment uses a wet chemical that handles grease fires. This creates a layer of foam and prohibits air from coming back to the appliance, which keeps the fire below the flash point.

FE&S: What are the considerations with installation of fire-suppression equipment?

PM: Some units are easier to install than others as certain systems have more leeway in terms of positioning. Traditional systems are designed to break at a certain temperature. Plates over the appliances behind the filter will be held by a bracket and placed under the hood by the exhaust. There are temperature-sensitive wells between two pieces of material. Newer designs utilize a pressurized plastic tube that can withstand high temperatures. With these continuous detection units, if the tube melts anywhere, the system is fast-acting. Electrical fire-detection systems use a thermal probe in the hood that detects the rise and fall of temperatures. If the temperature rises too quickly, it will trip the fire-suppression system.

FE&S: What’s involved with maintaining this equipment?

PM: At a minimum, fire-suppression systems should be inspected every six months by a qualified service technician. The unit will go through different checks, and it will be tested to ensure it’s working as it should. The restaurant operator needs to keep filters clean with a regular maintenance program. Also, there is some type of cap for each nozzle, and these need to be kept in place to block grease buildup. Every six months, operators should have the ventilation hoods and ducts professionally steam cleaned. This will ensure that grease buildup is removed properly and the exhaust is working as it is supposed to.

Product Knowledge Guide: Fire Suppression

Fire-suppression equipment for use in commercial foodservice operations is classified as UL 300, which ensures it meets the necessary guidelines and standards. These systems utilize wet chemicals and ventilation control to extinguish flames.

Product Knowledge Guide: Flight-Type Warewashers

Flight-type, also called rackless, warewashers have a setup akin to a car wash. These units are best-suited for large, high-volume operations, such as cafeterias, banquet and catering halls, or prisons. Due to the big footprint, these systems require a great deal of space.

Service Agent Q&A on Flight-Type Warewashers

Service Agent Q&A with Tim Lochel, service manager, Elmer Schultz Services Inc., Philadelphia

What to Consider When Purchasing a Faucet

Faucets are an obvious necessity in commercial kitchens, and foodservice operators can choose from a variety of types, including units designed for handwashing, prerinsing of dishes and various cleaning jobs.

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