Save Money with a T&S Brass Water Audit
As an operator, you probably spend a good deal of valuable time looking for ways to cut costs so you can maximize the profitability of your venture. One of the biggest ways to save money every day comes down to some of the smallest, least-expensive pieces of equipment in the kitchen: your water fixtures. T&S Brass is focused on finding operators ways to save on their water usage, and they provide free water audits that can determine ways to save money by finding what's called unaccounted-for water (UAW) in technical speak, and leaks or waste in common words. Once those are identified, repairing or replacing water-wasting fixtures and tweaking kitchen workflows can save some operations big each year.
- Check for leaks and worn out equipment.
- Audit your workflow and make sure you're using the right fixture for the right job.
- Make sure your hand sinks are up to code.
- See if you're using the right spray valve.
- Help you size your compartment sink faucet.
Leaks - you may know they're there, but if they're not causing damage, you may allow yourself to ignore them, convinced that getting them fixed will cost more money than it's worth. Think again. Even the tiniest leak can waste thousands of gallons of water per year. Fixing leaks often requires just a few minutes of time and may not even involve replacing a whole fixture. Often it's just a matter of adjusting or a replacing a single piece of hardware - something as simple as an O-ring or a faucet cartridge.
Speaking of cartridges, they're the critical pieces of every faucet responsible for stopping and starting the flow of water when the handle is turned. They can succumb to temperature fluctuations and break down over time, creating a faucet that is never completely closed. A T&S audit will identify cartridges that may have suffered that fate and suggest replacement. When you do replace them, T&S recommends the use of ceramic cartridges that generally last longer and hold up better to the stress of fluctuating temperatures.
Another common issue that a water audit can uncover is components or fixtures that have been replaced with ill-suited pieces, either because the person responsible for making the change opted for an economy model or the issue needed to be addressed in a pinch without access to the proper replacement pieces. Those quick fixes can cause fixtures to waste water and risk breaking down prematurely, so you're better off replacing them before they wreak much havoc.
Kitchen workflows change as menus and operations evolve, and that can lead to fixtures and equipment being used in ways that are inconsistent with how they were originally intended. Some practices - like defrosting raw meat in the wrong sink - can be downright dangerous. Experts from T&S Brass can observe how you're using your various sinks and fixtures, then talk to employees about their workflow and how they use equipment. If the water audit identifies misuse, the auditors can suggest ways to improve the workflow to promote water savings, efficiency, and safety.
Dipper wells are essential items that keep serving utensils clean and sanitary, but they can also be a huge money-waster. Because they usually circulate water constantly throughout the day, it pays to understand how much water is actually needed and use only enough to be effective. Some dipper wells are shipped to use as much as an astounding 5.2 GPM (gallons per minute) of water. In reality, as little as 0.25 GPM is all that's needed to keep utensils clean and sanitary.
Another frequently mishandled procedure is the washdown routine that many restaurants execute at the end of a shift to clean and sanitize their kitchen floors. T&S's experts have observed many restaurants using everyday garden hoses to perform their washdown, a practice that is dangerous and unsanitary. Retractable hose reels are much cleaner, safer, and efficient in terms of both water use and labor requirements. T&S can help operators find the right size water hose based on their kitchen's size and specific needs.
Hand sinks are the front line in the war on foodborne illnesses, and nearly as important as strictly-enforced handwashing best practices is making sure the sinks themselves are set up correctly. Plumbing codes set both maximum and minimum flow rates, but you'd be surprised at how many restaurants are using sinks that actually exceed that rate.
Higher-than-recommended hand sink faucets not only waste water, but the excess splashing can actually spread germs. Implementing auto-off, water-proportioning faucets at the correct flow rate can save considerable money in operation and reduce the spread of the dangerous microorganisms that may be the greatest liability your operation faces.
Pre-rinse spray valves are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Different spray valves work better for different applications, and using the right one can have a dramatic impact on your water use. For the majority of operations, valves using more than 4 GPM just waste water. High-efficiency models use as little as 0.65 GPM and are still effective at getting dishes ready for the wash step.
Pre-rinse units have evolved dramatically over the years since T&S invented the fixtures in the 1940s. With each new iteration of the design comes improved efficiency, since features are frequently implemented that achieve the same functionality while using less water. T&S Brass water audit experts can help you determine whether an upgraded spray valve could save you money, as well as point you in the direction of the one that will work best in your kitchen.
Most every foodservice establishment is required by law to have a compartment sink that enables staff to manually wash dishes. One mistake that's often made when a sink is specified is the assumption that compartment sinks need to fill up quickly, which is not often the case. That assumptions leads to the installation of faucets that have a much higher flow than necessary. Often, compartment sinks are used for applications like thawing frozen food or rinsing large wares - tasks for which a lower-flow faucet is better suited. One particular establishment that underwent a T&S Brass water audit saved $4,400 annually simply by switching from a 7 GPM faucet to a 2.2 GPM one.
For more information and to schedule your water audit, see the links below or e-mail Eric Isenbarger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lessons We've Learned that Can Save You Money. T&SBrass.com. March 13, 2015. Accessed September 2015.
EPA WaterSense® Fix a Leak Week. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Accessed September 2015.
Saving Water in Restaurants. Unites States Environmental Protection Agency. Accessed September 2015.