Sanitation and Safety

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Cleaning and Maintenance Tips for Rack Warewashers

Because warewashers have a number of components, the likelihood of breakdowns and failures is increased. By properly caring for these units with regular cleaning and routine maintenance, operators can expect them to have as much as a 10-year service life.

Bruce Hodge, service manager at General Parts LLC in Wichita, Kan., provides insight on keeping rack warewashers running at peak performance.

  • With rack conveyors, particularly larger flight units, one of biggest problems is drain screens that are removed and not replaced. If the drain screen is missing, silverware, straws or other debris land in the wash pumps, causing pump motor failures.
  • Overloading the racks can also cause major issues. On door-type machines with single racks, wash and rinse arms will hit silverware or dishes sticking up above or below the rack. This not only damages the arms and strains the pulleys, but it also prevents racks from being properly pulled through the system, compromising cleaning.
  • Regularly clean drain screens.
  • Regularly clean and descale wash jets.
  • Clean the warewasher’s interior with the appropriate solution to remove scale buildup.
  • With door-type units, keep the door
    guides clean.
  • Check curtain strips to ensure no water escapes during the rinse cycle.
  • Wash and rinse temperatures should be monitored daily, particularly if there is a booster heater with the unit. Heating elements can fail with these systems, causing water temperatures to drop. Most models have gauges to monitor this.
  • Lime scale can be a big problem on rinse jets and other areas of the machines. In some locations, water filtration systems may be warranted, depending on water quality. There also are hot water applications that can be used for filtration with warewashers.
  • When operators are spending an increasing amount of money on repairs that are totaling between 25 and 50 percent of the cost of a new unit, the rack warewasher most likely needs replacing. Also, when major breakdowns occur with wash and rinse pumps, seals and motors, the unit should be retired.