Water Treatment Fundamentals

Hard water is the number one maintenance issue facing water-fed food service equipment.

Scale in Booster Heater
Mineral Scale in Steamer


Sediment consists of small particles of sand, silt, clay, or any undissolved particle that can be filtered out mechanically. All water supplies contain a measurable amount of sediment that can lead to decreased efficiency through clogged equipment orifices and build-up in tanks. Sediment is usually measure in microns. A human hair is 60 microns in size and the unaided eye can see particles down to 40 microns.


WaterSpec Filters will remove particles larger than 5 microns (food service industry standard).


The removal of chlorine/chloramine from water is most often associated with improving the quality of beverages served to customers but chlorine/chloramine is also responsible for corrosion related issues in water-fed equipment. In steamers for example, as water is evaporated, corrosive chlorine gas may form leading to corrosion in the generator both above water line and also may carry over into the cooking chamber as well.

Dissolved Solids / Hard Water (Scale)

Most water supplies contain dissolved mineral salts such as calcium and magnesium. When water temperature increases in equipment such as booster heaters or steamers, dissolved minerals precipitate out of solution and reform as mineral scale deposits.


These deposits “cling” to each other, building up layer upon layer of hard scale resulting in plugged nozzles, clogged pipes, and insulated heat-transfer surfaces inhibiting energy transfer to the water resulting in slower heat cycles, increased energy consumption, and premature failure of heating elements.


Corrosion in food service equipment is caused by low pH (acidity), chlorine/chloramine, and chlorides. The ongoing formation and removal of scale deposits may also contribute to corrosion. Corrosion from any one or a combination of these factors may lead to premature replacement of equipment or parts.

Water Treatment Solutions

WaterSpec’s™ filtration/treatment offering is based on technologies that are not only proven effective in food service applications,
but also are economical and easy to maintain.

In water-fed food service equipment, 95% of water treatment is targeted towards chlorine/chloramine removal, mineral scale control, and corrosion control. Although WaterSpec™ products have the ability to address most any water treatment situation, the emphasis of the product offering is mineral scale control.

Chlorine Removal

The removal of chlorine from water supplies is accomplished with the use of activated carbon filters. Available in various forms, activated carbon effectively removes 95+ % of chlorine from water supplies. Most water filter products incorporate carbon block filters with excellent chlorine removal capacities and flow rates.

Mineral Scale Control

Unlike chlorine removal, controlling mineral scale deposits is a far more challenging proposition. Various methods have been used in food service attempting to control mineral scale without much success. WaterSpec’s™ approach to controlling scale deposits centers around the effective and economical chemical treatment (HydroBlend™) using advanced scale control compounds specifically formulated to work in hot water equipment such as steamers and dish machines.

HydroBlend™ scale control is also incorporated in some systems (ice machine and coffee filters) or is offered as a stand alone treatment (booster heaters and tankless water heaters).

Chloramine Removal

Like chlorine, chloramine reduces the quality of beverages and also poses corrosion challenges to certain types of food service equipment like flash steamers. The removal of chloramine from water supplies is similar to chlorine removal. Activated carbon is still the main technology used with much longer contact times required to remove chloramine which means slower flow rates or larger filters.

Corrosion Control

Corrosion in water-fed foodservice equipment may be caused by various water components. Corrosion is also specific to certain types of equipment. For example, chloramine in the water supply will not pose a corrosion threat to a coffee machine, but will be cause for concern for a flash steam combi oven. Chloride, either naturally occurring in coastal and desert areas or from salting of the roadways for melting snow will also pose serious corrosion issues to certain types of equipment.

WaterSpec™ Reverse Osmosis systems or a combination of the above technologies are used to address corrosion.