The following information is provided
courtesy of The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association.
Understanding Water Treatment Systems
commonly classified as hard or soft depending on the type and
amount of naturally occurring and harmless minerals and salts
dissolved in it. The most common ones are calcium and magnesium.
When water has a relative high content of dissolved minerals it
is described as hard, a low dissolved content and it is
described as soft.
water is heated it causes the dissolved salts to attach
themselves to any metal they come into contact with, forming a
creamy-coloured hard crust which builds up and is called
limescale or just scale. Its a familiar sight on the heating
elements in electric kettles. In areas of the country where the
water is naturally soft, the build-up will take a long time to
be noticed. In hard water areas the build-up can be relatively
of limescale build-up is where it occurs in the internal
pipework or water heating elements of kitchen equipment which
uses running mains water and heating elements, such as
dishwashers, combi-ovens, coffee machines and vending machines.
build-up occurs in internal pipework it restrict the flow of
water causing serious and expensive damage to equipment. Where
scale build-up occurs on heating elements it will insulate the
elements forcing them to use far more energy than needed to heat
the water, leading to early burn-out.
that a catering business may be in an area of the UK officially
classified as a soft-water region is not an excuse for not
fitting water treatment, because there is still a risk. There
are dissolved salts in all water and scale build-up will occur
eventually. While the normal water supply is regarded as soft
water, should the water be drawn from deep boreholes in times of
drought, its hardness level will change.
companies move water around from region to region through
underground pipework, which will also change the hardness level.
Apart from softening, water treatment systems will remove
contaminants, which can affect the taste of water in ice, mains
water for the table and hot beverages.
several different water treatment systems. A hotel may choose to
have a system which treats all water coming in through a central
treatment point. This will give purified and soft water not just
for the kitchen, but for all other parts of the hotel. A system
may be installed to serve all kitchen equipment or individual
items of equipment can be fitted with their own water filter.
These add a slight amount of salt to the water, which has the
effect of greatly reducing the amount of dissolved limescale
which will be released when the water is heated. Suitable where
the water is not directly for consumption, such as in
dishwashing or laundry. Not suitable where the water is to be
consumed because of the slight increase in saltiness. Can lead
to streaking of glasses in glasswashers and over time the salt
can corrode welds on internal pipework. The least expensive form
of water treatment.
These will remove chlorine and discoloration, but not
hardness. So if the business is located in a soft water area,
but there is a wish
to make the
water taste better for drinking or use in draught soft drinks
dispensers, carbon filters are an option.
Sometimes called calcium treatment units because they remove
the hardness. The water is passed through. Suitable for
combi-ovens, steamers, icemakers beverage machines and vending
This removes almost all the dissolved minerals and hardness in
the water and an option where the water is very hard. Useful for
glasswashers where there has been a history of smearing on
glasses due to high levels of dissolved salts in the washing
- While this sounds like high science, it is in principle a
fairly simple water treatment system. The water is forced under
pressure through a very thin filtering membrane, like a sieve,
which removes not just the harmful limescale but many other
trace elements, giving water, which is very pure, but total
removal of trace elements may change the flavour of beverages.
For use in delivering very pure water or where the water is