Consultant Q&A: Justin Silverthorn, Principal, Advanced Foodservice Solutions, Mountville, Pa On Water Filtration
FE&S: How important are water filtration systems in commercial kitchens?
JS: This is a very inexpensive insurance policy for a piece of equipment. We first recommend operators get the water tested with a baseline study. This will determine the type of filtration system that is needed.
FE&S: How do you specify water filtration systems?
JS: Filtration systems keep machines running longer and performing better, especially in areas with poor water quality. It’s not just for equipment like combis, but also for dish machines. For ice machines, we typically specify a filtration system that captures small particulates. Large volume units may require a double or triple filtration system. Although some manufacturers contend combi ovens don’t need to use filtered water, we’ll still specify filters for these units, as it helps with maintenance, hygiene and cleaning cycles. Filters also are necessary for beverage and espresso machines. Kettles and braising pans are often forgotten, but we filter water for these units in the same way as the ice machines. For equipment that uses large volumes of water, like dish machines, we’ll include scale bans. This electrified coil that wraps around water pipes and collects scale works in tandem with water filters.
FE&S: Do water filtration systems require protection from harsh kitchen environments?
JS: We have developed a design with glass cabinets to contain the filters. We also can locate these in a cabinet or build them into walls for added protection. Broken filter housings can be costly to fix and leak large amounts of water, so it’s important to protect these systems.
FE&S: How many filters are required for each piece of equipment or water source?
JS: It depends on the source of the water being used, but we typically specify two to three filters per area. We’d rather over filter than under filter.
FE&S: What’s the required maintenance for water filters?
JS: Once a filter is installed, its effectiveness is directly related to how well it’s maintained. These systems should be checked regularly. The water filter should be pulled out for maintenance every two to three months and changed as needed. Manufacturers recommend having multiple gauges to assess water quality and flow. This provides information on the water pressure level after filtration and gives insight into when the filter needs changing.