Commercial Dishwasher Temperature - Low-temp and High-temp Dishwashers Chem Mark Inc

Some Like It Hot, Some Not – Commercial Dishwasher Temperature

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards divide commercial dishwashers into two types: low-temperature dishwashers with chemical sanitizing, and high-temperature dishwashers with hot water sanitizing. Based on these standards, federal, state and local entities set certain regulations that need to be respected in order not to violate any heath codes.

The next step after choosing the right type of commercial dishwasher based on the size and requirements of your establishment would be to choose between low and high temperature commercial dishwasher. It might seem hard to choose between these two but knowing the pros and cons of each type and specific details might help you make a wise purchasing decision.

The goal of this article is to answer the most important questions regarding the commercial dishwasher temperatures, and to help you choose the most suitable option for your business.

What is the Temperature of a Commercial Dishwasher?

Like mentioned, high-temperature commercial dishwashers use hot water that is high enough to sanitize the dishes, remove visible impurities and bacteria. The high-temp dishwasher wash water is between 150-160 degrees, while the rinse water temperature is at least 180 degrees, and usually between 180 and 195 degrees.

On the other hand, low-temperature commercial dishwashers use water temperature between 120 and 150 degrees both during wash and rinse cycles. Since these temperatures are not high enough to sanitize the dishware, chemical sanitizers, most frequently chlorine, are introduced to perform sanitization. Important is to make sure the water temperature is never above 150 degrees, as chlorine becomes unstable and off-gasses on such high temperatures.

Commercial Dishwasher Temperature Requirements

When using a commercial dishwasher, the temperature of the wash water must be at least 120 degrees, according NSF. This means that low-temp dish machines must reach a bare minimum of 120 degrees for automatic dishwasher machine applications, so the temperatures less than 120 degrees represent a health code violation. However, important to mention is that some local codes require higher temperatures than 120 degrees, while none require lower than this.

The reason why some local codes require higher temperatures is that the 120-degree water delivers poor wash results. At least 138.5 degrees are necessary for animal fats to start to break down, so 120-degrees dish machines will rely on detergents to remove animal fat rather than the water heat. This will cause four issues:

  1. Residual grease and fat leave fil on your dishes, smears on the flatware and spotting on the glassware;
  2. Grease will build up inside the machine and will be visible on the walls;
  3. The dishrack water will get mixed with the residual grease which will get transferred to the dishes;
  4. Dishes will dry very slowly, which means that the water can get accumulated on the stacked dishes causing water rings

Due to these facts, required temperature is 120 degrees, while recommended temperature is 140 degrees.

According to NSF/ANSI, multiple-tank conveyors must utilize wash temperature of at least 150 degrees, single-tank conveyors at least 160-degrees, single-temperature stationary rack dishwashers of 165 degrees, and dual-temperature dishwashers with a stationary rack must have a minimum wash temperature of 150 degrees.

The final rinse temperature for stationary rack dishwashers much reach 165 degrees, and 180 for all other commercial dishwashers (ANSI/NSF standard number 3). The reason behind the 180 degrees rinse temperature is that the health regulations require the surface of the dishes in the dishwasher to reach 160 degrees for 10 seconds. This can only happen if the rinse water is heated to a minimum of 180 degrees as it enters the dishwasher but having it a bit higher would be optimal.

For glasswashers that use a chlorine sanitizing solution, the minimum final sanitizing rinse temperature specified by the manufacturer must be at least 75 degrees.

What is the Highest Temperature in a Dishwasher?

The maximum temperature for the final sanitizing rinse for all commercial dishwashers is 195 degrees.

What is a Booster Heater?

A booster heater is additional piece of equipment that ensures that the dishwasher final rinse water is hot enough to perform sanitization and meet sanitation regulations. It’s a 3 to 5-gallon tank that can be built right into the dishwasher of can be placed next to it.

Booster heaters are not necessary for low-temp dishwashers that run on 120 degrees or higher, nor for high temp dishwashers that run at 180 degrees or higher. If your machine settings say that the final rinse is not sufficient, it’s time to get a booster heater. Also, raising the temperature of your low-temp dishwasher from 120 to 135-140 won’t raise the numbers on your energy bills that much, but it will certainly make a difference when it comes to results.

Not only does the heater heat the water, it also flash-dries the dishes, which saves time and money.

Dishwasher Temperature & Drying Agents

The drying agent disperses at a certain temperature referred to as the cloud point. The water temporarily turns cloudy, and the drying agent gives the rise water a sheeting effect. This causes the water to run off quickly, and consequently, the dishes get dry much faster. However, not just any drying agent will do, as the temperature of the dishwasher is an important factor when choosing.

Very important is to find the right combination a high-quality rinse aid and right temperature. Namely, the rinse aid in contact with the residual animal fat creates soap. If soap is seen in the rinse water, it means that the water is not hot enough, so it needs to be adjusted. You could also reduce the rinse aid concentration, but that’s not recommendable, as reducing the drying agent will cause the dishes to become wetter and greasier.

Should I Get a High-Temp or a Low-Temp Commercial Dishwasher?

There is no easy answer here. According to online experiences and reviews, it might seem that high-temp dishwasher is a Commercial Dishwashers - Infographic - Chem Mark Low-Temp vs High-TempIncbetter choice. BUT – there is a ‘but’. There are certain types of business where a low-temp dishwasher might be quite enough to meet all the needs. While its shortcomings might be unacceptable for e.g. busy restaurants, they might be just not as important for slower establishment or bars. So, it all comes down to personal preference, the type of business and traffic.

If you are interested in the initial cost, then a low-temp dishwasher might be a better choice. High-temp dishwashers might cost up to several thousands of dollars more, they need more power, and therefore, use more energy. On the other hand, low-temp dishwashers might require additional washing cycles to remove stains like grease and lipstick, which will result in higher water and sewage bills.

High-temp machines might also require investing in a booster heater and, since such a high temperature is involved, these dishwashers tend to create a lot of steam. Unless you want the steam to damage your surrounding area and create an uncomfortable work environment, you’ll need to install a vent hood system. This may require more space and additional electrical connection, which will again cause the electric bills to go up.

On the other hand, low-temp machines don’t create much steam, so they are a better choice if you need to place them near customers. They also cost less, are more energy efficient and are easier and cheaper to repair. You will, however, need to add chemical sanitizers to monthly expense list, which, many ague, might cost you more over time.

Besides being an additional cost, chemical sanitizers might cause damage to certain types of flatware, dinnerware and plastics, so you’ll need to be aware of the materials being used in your washware and the exact types of chemicals you are using. Sanitizing chemicals could also pose a risk to the environment and cause damage to the pipes due to depositing chemicals into the drainage system.

If you are interested in speed, then the high-temperature dishwasher is a better choice, as it has a much faster wash cycle. Also, the dishware gets almost instantly dried once the high-temp dish machine door is opened. On the other hand, with low-temperature dishwashers you’ll need to let the dishes air-dry for a while or dry them manually. Instantly dry dishware might be crucial to busier establishments, while speed might not be as important to smaller establishments. They also require more careful pre-washing to get satisfactory results on silverware and glasses.

In case you run a bar, high-temp dishwasher might influence the serving speed, as the glasses will need to cool down for a bit before you serve certain beverages that shouldn’t get warmed by the glass. On the other hand, the low-temp sanitizers might change the flavor or smell of certain beverages, such as wine and beer, and not to mention that they can prevent beer head from forming. If cold glasses are a must, you’ll have to be very careful with picking the right sanitizer that won’t influence the beverages.

Low-temp dishwashers are not as effective at removing grease and fat, which will be an issue for restaurants, but not so much for bars, since lipstick residue is the only stain you would need to worry about.

So, as you see, there are a lot of pros and cons for both low- and high-temperature dishwashers. You might come to a conclusion that the high-temp dish machines cost more initially, but that low-temp dish machines tend to cost more in the long run. Benefits of the high-temp dish machine also seem well worth the cost.

However, we suggest not making a definite decision without consulting warewash professionals first. Your commercial dishwasher solution might require careful consideration and customization.

Choosing Between High Temperature & Low Temperature Dishwashers - Chem Mark Inc

Chem Mark, Inc. Low-Temp & High-Temp Commercial Dishwashers

And this is the part where we come in! Chem Mark, Inc. is your trusted sanitation and warewash professional with more than 50 years of experience in supplying businesses in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego areas with top-top-of-the-line commercial dishwashers and commercial dishwasher chemicals.

We offer amazing commercial dishwasher lease & rental deals on a wide selection of low-temp & high-temp commercial dishwashers manufactured by industry leaders. Whatever your establishment needs, we got it – models are ranging from glasswashers and undercounter dishwashers, to single rack and double rack, straight or corner door-type dishwashers, to largest 44″ or 66″ conveyors.

Our rental & lease deals include water softeners service, high-quality commercial dishwasher detergents, chemical sanitizers, rinse aids and chemical dispensers to ensure accurate and economical usage.

Our company-trained technicians will take care of the installation, provide regularly scheduled maintenance and necessary repairs, while we keep you at ease at all times by offering 24/7/365 emergency service.

In other words – Chem Mark does it all! Our concept makes us the only true full-service company in the industry and your reliable dishwasher supplier and partner.

Give us a call at 714-220-2436 (CHEM) TODAY to discuss your business requirements, suitable commercial dishwasher options and various rental or lease deals.

What we’ll do:

  • Dispatch our on-site service technician to make initial estimation based on the size of your kitchen and available space
  • Help you choose between High-Temp & Low-Temp commercial dishwashers based on your business size, type and traffic
  • Help you choose the right dishwasher type based on your business requirements
  • Offer you top-class brands such as ADS & CMA dishmachines
  • Help you choose right detergents and rinse aids for low-temperature or high-temperature dishwasher
  • Suggest best chemical sanitizer for your low-temp dishwasher based on the material used in your serving products
  • Offer you best rental & lease deals on your new commercial dishwasher
  • Take care of the delivery, installation & regular maintenance to keep your equipment in top condition