By Mark Ligon

Because water plays such a critical role in a restaurant’s daily function, ensuring that it is clean, clear and filtered should be a top priority. Every food service business, from coffee shops to full-service restaurants (and even bakeries) will benefit from effective water filtration systems. Read on to learn more about water filtration mistakes in restaurants and how to avoid them.

Failing to work with an expert
With the large variety of filtration systems on the market today, one may feel like any of them could work for the restaurant application. The options available for restaurant water filtration, however, shouldn’t be considered one-size-fits-all. The type of filtration system a restaurant owner will need is dependent on many factors, including the types of contaminants that need to be removed, filtration capacity and the types of equipment that will require water filtration. Once a system has been chosen, it must then be installed properly as well, which could bring a new set of challenges to restaurant owners.

Instead of navigating the process alone, restaurant owners should consider working with a water filtration expert, such as yourself. Working with an expert ensures that the owner will not only have the right filtration system for a restaurant’s unique needs, but will also have it properly installed, allowing the system to work most effectively. They can then move forward, knowing that customers will have the freshest sodas, cleanest ice and most flavorful espresso possible.

Overlooking storage capacity
Unlike homes, where filtered water is only needed periodically throughout the day, restaurants need a steady stream of clean, filtered water all day and night. Whether for ice makers, dishwashers, soda machines or coffee makers, filtered water must be ready on demand. This is why it is critical to ensure that the water filtration system you install has enough storage capacity for the job at hand.
Overlooking storage capacity could lead to cloudy-looking ice, dishes that aren’t quite sparkling clean and drinks that fall a little flat. A filtration system with enough storage capacity to handle a restaurant’s day-to-day needs can best be determined by a water filtration expert.

Buying cheap replacement filters
It’s understandable that business owners would want to be budget conscious with their purchases. Because of this, it may seem like buying a less expensive replacement filter is a cost-effective decision. Unfortunately, not all filters are created equal and selecting a different filter than the one the manufacturer recommends may not be the best choice in the long run. Even if a filter is the same standard size, the micron ratings and mesh sizes could be vastly different. For example, if a previous filter had a three-micron rating, but a new, less expensive filter has a micron rating of 15, the filtration system will now be allowing in much larger particles than before. This small change could impact the taste of foods and beverages, the quality of ice and more. Both restaurant owners and water treatment experts should follow manufacturer guidelines when purchasing replacement filters to be sure the filtration system is as effective as possible.

Not regularly replacing filters
Restaurant owners often have a to-do list that seems never ending, from training new employees to updating menus and making sure the dining room is clean and tidy. It can be easy to forget regular maintenance of the filtration system, including filter replacement. One may not notice the consequences of this oversight right away, but soon enough it will be apparent with a change in the water’s taste or smell, scale and mineral deposits on equipment and a significant drop in water pressure. While it’s recommended to change out filters every six months, any noticeable changes to water pressure, taste or equipment function may indicate that a filter needs replacement. If the filter seems to need much more frequent changing, consider installing a prefilter, which will remove larger particles from the water before it makes its way into the filter, which in turn, may extend the life of the filter.

Using old seals
While filter replacement is the most common form of filtration maintenance, don’t overlook sealants and O-rings. Both create a seal between the clean, filtered water and the contaminants. Old seals or O-rings that no longer fit properly could allow contaminated water to make its way into the restaurant’s water, even if filters have been replaced. Inspect seals and O-rings periodically to ensure they are installed properly and fit tightly into the system. If water is making its way through past the sealant, it may be time to replace it. Restaurant owners should also look out for eroded or broken O-rings and gaskets. In addition, O-rings can lose their elasticity over time. If any of these signs are present, it is time to find replacement parts. Owners and water treatment experts should follow manufacturer guidelines for determining when to replace them, as well.

When installing new rubber O-rings for a bag or cartridge filter, remove the old O-ring completely and clean the groove in the filter system where the new O-ring will sit. Then, lubricate the replacement O-ring and fit it into place in the system. Wipe away any excess lubricant. When lubricating gaskets or O-rings, ensure you use food-grade silicone lubricants. These lubricants should be NSF- and FDA-approved.

Water filtration in the restaurant industry
Nothing is as important to a restaurant owner as the quality of the food and beverages that are served to customers. In order to have high-quality food, however, restaurants need high-quality, clean, filtered water. Owners should work with an expert to find the best water filtration system for the restaurant, with the right storage capacity to meet its needs. Once it’s in place, regular maintenance should be conducted to be sure it functions properly. Replace filters and seals as needed, with products recommended by the manufacturer and pay close attention to the water’s clarity, taste and smell to determine if additional maintenance is required. Avoid water filtration mistakes for the cleanest water and the most satisfied customers.

About the author
Mark Ligon is the Marketing Manager at Commercial Filtration Supply, a distributor/supplier of industrial filtration products, including bag filtration, cartridge filtration and replacement parts. At CFS, he engages with major filtration brands like Eaton, Titan Flow Control, Shelco, MAHLE and more. Contact Ligon by email:[email protected]. For more information, visit


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