What to Do If You Think the Water Coming Into Your Restaurant Is Hard
If your city changes its water source from one with soft water to one with hard water, you will immediately notice a difference in how the water engages with some of the commercial appliances in your restaurant. In particular, the appliances that use hot water such as your dishwasher are most likely to be affected. Luckily, there are several things you can do to mitigate the issue.
Here are some tips to help you:
1. Make sure the water is hard.
In most cases, the first symptoms of hard water you will notice at your restaurant will be in your dishwasher. Namely, your dishes won't be as clean when you take them out of the dishwasher, and they may have a white chalky buildup on them related to the calcium deposits in hard water. Alternatively, you may see white scaling on the walls inside your dishwasher or in the jug of your coffee maker.
To make sure the issue is hard water, grab some toothpaste and wet it under the tap. If your water is soft, it has less minerals in it, and the toothpaste will lather up quickly. If it's hard, the toothpaste won't lather as much.
If the water is hard, you need to take steps to reduce its effects, but if it is not hard, your appliances may be having issues, and you may want to contact a commercial appliance repair person or a commercial plumber.
2. Lobby the city to chemically correct the water.
In some cases, city water officials may be able to correct the hardness of the water by adding certain chemicals to it. Go to a city council meeting and let your voice be heard. Keep in mind, however, that city officials need to tread slowly and carefully into the realm of adding chemicals to water.
If they add too many chemicals or the wrong type of chemicals, it may soften the water, but it may also have the unintended effect of allowing the water to leach lead off the plumbing pipes in your city.
3. Adjust your dishwashing strategies.
As a restaurant owner, running hard water through a dishwasher can be hard on your business. Glasses are more likely to have spots on them, and dishes may harbor built-up calcium deposits. Try experimenting with the type of rinse aid you use. In some cases, changing to an oxygen-based rinse aid will help to remove the calcium build up relatively effectively.
Alternatively, consider washing the dishes at your restaurant by hand until the city switches the water supply or finds the right chemical balance to soften it.
4. Invest in a water softener.
If you believe that the water in your area is going to be permanently hard, you need to take another approach. Remember, hard water occurs naturally when water runs through a landscape of limestone and chalk instead of other rocks. It is not unhealthy, and it doesn't pose a health risk. It simply can be hard on your appliances, and it renders soap less effective. In fact, some people think that hard water earned it's name because it's "hard" to clean with.
In these cases, the best option is to work with a plumber to install a water softener. A water softener uses sodium to reduce the mineral build up in the water. As water enters your restaurant through your plumbing, it immediately runs through the water softener. Then, the softener exchanges the ions in the water so that it has sodium in place of calcium deposits.
Buying a water softener for your business costs a bit of money upfront. However, in the long run you are likely to save. Without a softener, hard water can be very hard on your appliances and potentially cause them to have a lower life expectancy, and because it's inefficient with soap, hard water can drive up your soap bill.
If you think the water at your restaurant is too hard, contact a commercial plumber and learn more info about options and solutions.