When you think of a commercial dishwasher, images of large, heavy-duty, and high capacity machines come to mind. Indeed, while the commercial and domestic dishwashers work the same way to perform similar functions, both are fundamentally different. The main differences are in their size and power.
As you can imagine, the commercial dishwasher is much larger than the domestic dishwasher. The commercial machine is built to meet the larger volume of work generated by busy restaurants and similar food establishments. On the other hand, the domestic dishwasher is made for home use, for lighter workloads, and is meant to last for a shorter time.
Considerations when buying a commercial dishwasher
If you are interested in buying a commercial dishwasher for home, here are a few things you need to know.
- The operating costs are high: Commercial dishwashers are made to clean dishes quickly. Dry times are also very quick for the comfort and health of customers in restaurants and food facilities. Such machines are usually built for energy efficiency and positive ecological impact. Naturally, the water bill resulting from the use of such energy-efficient and ecologically friendly devices is more costly. That is because the industrial dishwasher uses gallons of water to do its job. For example, a full-featured industrial dishwasher uses approximately 150 gallons of water per cycle. Similarly, the electricity costs are higher than for the domestic dishwasher. The cost to purchase a commercial dishwasher can range from $1,000 to as high as $60,000.
- The capacity is more substantial: The capacity of a commercial dishwasher is much larger than that of the home dishwasher. An industrial dishwasher typically requires a tub or tank to store water that is heated for its cycles. As a time-saving feature in restaurants, the commercial dishwasher streamlines the wash cycles. This is not a necessary feature for the home. Also, the commercial dishwasher is a piece of high-temperature equipment that does not have a dry cycle (like the home dishwasher). Glasses and ceramics dry quickly in the commercial dishwasher due to evaporation from the high temperatures. That said, not all commercial dishwashers are made to remove chunks of debris from dishes since restaurants typically have staff to remove this before placing in a commercial dishwasher.
- Commercial dishwashers produce steam and fumes: To acquire a commercial dishwasher also means getting your ventilation system put in order. That is because the commercial dishwasher produces steam that can distort any surrounding material that is not made of metal, stone, or not easy to warp, distort, or corrode. Besides, the chemicals that commercial dishwashers use can create fumes that, if not properly ventilated, can become harmful to users.
- Electrical requirements are higher: Your commercial dishwasher will require a higher electrical rating than the typical home dishwasher. For an industrial dishwasher to be installed successfully, you will need to have wiring in place to handle at least 280 volts. This means more wiring or multiple circuit breakers installed at your house. You will, therefore, need a professional electrician to install your wiring to handle a three-phase electrical hook-up.
- Commercial dishwashers need special plumbing: Plastic PVC pipes won’t cut it for the industrial dishwasher. The heat that is generated by the hot water used by commercial dishwashers will destroy plastic PVCs. Also, commercial dishwashers use high volumes of water to do its job. As such, a more robust drain pump will be needed, which is also typically designed to work with floor drains.
Now that you have seen the different considerations for the commercial dishwasher let’s move to the various types of commercial dishwashers that you can choose from.
Types of Commercial Dishwashers
You have four types of commercial dishwashers to from which to choose.
- The high and low-temperature dishwasher: A high-temperature dishwasher is used for washing dishes at temperatures of 150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. They also sanitize dishes at 180° Fahrenheit. On the other hand, the low-temperature commercial dishwasher operates at around 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit to wash and rinse dishes. Chemicals are also used in the low temp dishwasher.
- The Conveyor Dishwasher: This type of dishwasher is heavy-duty. It can wash up to 300 racks of dishes per day.
- The Door Type or Rack Dishwasher: The door type commercial dishwasher is smaller than the conveyor dishwasher, although it is a conveyor dishwasher. It connects to a dirty dish table or a clean dish table.
- The Undercounter Dishwasher: This type of commercial dishwasher is designed for small, tight kitchens or bars. It cleans up to 30 racks of dishes each day.
If you are still considering the commercial dishwasher for your home, be prepared to pay much more for it. As you can see from the list of options already presented, commercial dishwashers can operate at higher temperatures as they clean racks of dirty dishes per day. Unless you have an extensive family, or you go through dirty dishes upon dirty dishes each day, then a commercial dishwasher is not the best option for the home.
Here are the pros and cons of buying a commercial dishwasher for the home.
The Pros and Cons
- Commercial dishwashers clean dishes quickly, within four minutes for a load;
- The smaller version of the commercial dishwasher is a similar size to the domestic dishwasher which can fit under most kitchen counters;
- Commercial dishwashers also sanitize dishes against germs and bacteria using either boiling water (at 180° Fahrenheit) or a chemical sanitizer.
- You will need to pre-wash dishes before placing in a commercial dishwasher as it is mainly a sanitizer, not a washer;
- Also, the commercial dishwasher does not dry the dishes, which come out wet. You must have a separate space to air dry your racks of dishes;
- Commercial dishwashers do not have food grinders to get rid of debris on dishes. They have only filters that can become clogged if you put dishes that are too dirty in them;
- They tend to be noisy when in operation;
- Commercial dishwashers must use 240 VAC which you need to have installed in your home;
- They do not have a drain pump, so, you would need a gravity drain installed in your floor;
- Furthermore, you will need extra space for keeping the gallon bottles of chemicals for sanitizing dishes;
- Finally, commercial dishwashers allow you to use the rinse water from one load as the wash water for the next. While this is a water-saving strategy, in homes, unused water may remain for days in the bottom of the dishwasher and become smelly.
So, do you think a commercial dishwasher is your best bet for home use after all this? Commercial dishwasher seems like a convenient solution to dirty dishes at home. But, think of the extra cost, plumbing, wiring and other accommodations you will have to make to bring one home. Is it worth it? If not, a domestic dishwasher is a better alternative.