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Booster Water Heaters

Proper sanitization of dishes, glassware and utensils is required by health and plumbing codes and essential to meeting customers' safety expectations and protecting a business's valued name. A booster water heater raises or "boosts" the temperature of the water in the final rinse cycle of a food service warewasher from the typical, safer temperature of 140°F delivered by the water heater to the 180°F temperature required by health codes. The water is heated using either a conventional burner or infrared burner technology in gas models or electric heating elements in electrically operated units.

A booster water heater is a practical solution to meeting sanitation requirements that offers many advantages over the alternative, chemical sanitization. The use of a chemical rinse is corrosive to dishes and glasses as well as warewashing equipment, a problem that is eliminated with a booster water heater. The high temperature of the rinse water lets dishes dry faster–about 25% faster-minimizing unsightly watermarks and wet, slippery floors. The higher water temperature also does a good job of removing tough substances such as lipstick, dried egg and animal fats.

Several types of booster water heaters are available, including storage-style models, instantaneous units, boiler-type water heaters with a small built-in storage tank and units that are integrated with the dishwasher. Under-the-counter, floor standing and wall-hung units are common. Venting options in gas models include natural draft, power assisted and, at least one manufacturer offers a sealed combustion unit.

How It Works
If the booster water heater is not integrated with the dishwasher, it is placed as close to the warewasher as possible, usually within five feet or less, to insure that hot water is delivered to the final rinse at the requisite temperature. Water from the building's water heater supply is fed into the inlet side of the booster water heater at 140oF where it is heated to 180oF and delivered to the final rinse nozzles.

Capacity/Energy Inputs
Energy inputs range from as low as 28,000 Btu/hr up to almost half a million Btu/hr. Higher energy inputs generally are found in boiler-type units, although one manufacturer offers an instantaneous model capable of 495,000 Btu/hr. Generally, booster water heaters are not designed to store any significant quantity of heated water so most tank-style units offer storage for only 3 to 17 gallons, however, some models are available with storage up to 100 gallons.

Energy Types
Booster water heaters can be fueled by natural gas, electricity or propane. Gas models cost less to operate than electric booster heaters and can help reduce demand charges.