Q&A with Chuck Knuth, business development manager, General Parts Group, Bloomington, Minn.
FE&S: What are the basic warewasher cleaning and maintenance tasks that operators should perform regularly?
CK: Aside from leak repairs, operators should feed these units with filtered water and delime on a daily basis. Wipe down exteriors with a cloth when necessary. Prior to health inspections, operators may need to pull out the warewasher for cleaning on the back side.
FE&S: How can operators mitigate warewasher issues caused by water?
CK: It’s important to take good care of the water
line, and the best way to do this is by feeding the warewasher good water. Water filters and a softener are typically needed to take care of minerals, calcium and magnesium, which can build up over time and cause problems.
FE&S: What should operators keep in mind when caring for warewasher racks?
CK: If racks get chipped or the coating is nicked, these components can rust. For this reason, operators should be careful when stacking items. Some racks have a plastic coating, which offers added durability and can better handle high-temperature washing.
FE&S: When should an operator call a service agent?
CK: Undercounter warewashers typically run until there’s an issue. Operators should confirm that water in high-temp units reaches 180 degrees F for proper sanitation. If the boiler unit gets coated with lime, the heating capability may be compromised. Also, if water is not draining or the motor is not running properly, the unit’s cleaning ability will be severely impacted. In both cases, a service call is warranted.
FE&S: How can operators minimize lime buildup in undercounter warewashers?
CK: Deliming agents can be run through the machine whenever signs of lime, which include white, chalky film or chunks, begin to appear.
FE&S: What is the most common issue with low-temp units?
CK: For warewashers with external soap and chemical dispensers, it’s important to track the volume, which ensures it’s being fed correctly. If the correct amount is not being distributed, a service call is needed.
FE&S: Are there things operators should look out for with warewasher doors?
CK: These units use door gaskets for sealing, which should be periodically checked. An improper seal will impact temperatures and steam. If steam is coming through a gasket gap or wash temperatures are not reaching 180 degrees F, the gasket needs replacing.
FE&S: When should an undercounter warewasher be replaced?
CK: If we’ve serviced a unit, we can provide insight into maintenance costs. When a warewasher is about 10 years old, and the costs to keep it running are increasing, it’s time for a new machine.