Distributors that strip out water treatment solutions from a project to reduce cost could inadvertently contribute to their clients suffering equipment malfunctions later down the line, the boss of a leading specialist manufacturer in the sector has warned.
Kit Free, director of European Water Care, claims water treatment has been the “Cinderella” of the equipment market for years, with distributors often grudgingly adding it to a quote only to remove it as part of a price negotiation at a later stage.
While water quality in the UK is generally of a good standard, Free said water remains a major cause of equipment breakdown and expensive repairs in commercial kitchens.
“The two main problems experienced by caterers are scale and corrosion,” he said. “Hard water, which contains calcium and magnesium, causes scale build-up in boilers, on pipes and on heating elements. This builds up and eventually causes the machine to fail, which subsequently leads to down time with associated loss of business and expensive repairs.”
Free points out that contrary to belief, chlorides in water can even attack stainless steel and cause corrosion, while the build-up of scale on heat transfer surfaces means more energy will be needed to heat water.
The use of water in beverage machines, combi ovens, warewashing and laundry equipment means the issue encompasses more aspects of a commercial kitchen than most people imagine, he says.
“If the equipment suffers from scale or corrosion, the client will see this as an equipment problem and not a site problem,” said Free. “Providing protection from water related issues helps protect your good name and the relationship you have with your client.”
Kit Free writes extensively on the subject of water treatment solutions in the current issue of Catering Insight. You can read his opinion piece here.