Hot Water Systems


Hot water is required to effectively clean greasy uniforms, heavily-soiled F&B (food & beverage) table cloths, napkins, bar mops, mop heads and other similar items. Also, some pieces of finishing equipment require steam to operate effectively. These include steam tunnels, presses/irons and other equipment that use steam to operate and to accomplish their task. These situations require a hot water heater or boiler to produce the hot water and steam.

When using traditional laundering methods, you consume an average of 3 gallons of water with each pound of linen processed. In a typical laundry, an average of 70% of that water is heated. For every 1,000 pounds of linen, you will use 2,100 gallons of hot water. Assuming the incoming water temperature is 60 degrees and your target temperature is 160-degrees, you will heat 2,100 gallons of water, 100 degrees. 8.33 Btu’s will heat one gallon of water one degree. 2,100 gallons x 8.33 x 100 = 1,749,300 Btu’s per every 1,000 pounds of linen processed. A boiler or hot water heater using Natural Gas to produce this hot water will cause 205 pounds of Carbon to be released into the atmosphere.

A green alternative to the typical hot water heater or boiler is an inline hot water heater or on-demand hot water heater. There are many brands to choose from. These hot water heaters are at the top of the efficiency scale. They heat water only as you need it. Some operations might need a storage tank because of specific, high volume hot water demands but most laundries will work perfectly with an inline heater with no storage tank. If you need really hot water, you can daisy-chain some models to achieve the temperature rise you need.

Water Softeners

Water hardness varies from location to location from as high as 20 to 30 grains of hardness per gallon on the West Coast to 5 or less on the East Coast. Readings above 3 grains per gallon signal the need for a water softener to treat water used for processing linens. Water softeners work on a principal of ion exchange. Incoming water is run through a bed of resin beads specifically designed to attract Calcium, Magnesium and other elements dissolved in the water. The beads very effectively remove this contamination from your water by causing it to stick to them like a magnet. After a preset volume of water has passed through the beads, a timer starts a back flush operation where common salt water or brine is flushed through the media to clean it. This process causes the Calcium, Magnesium and other trapped elements to release and go down the drain with the salt water. This happens because the ‘magnetic’ power of the salt is much stronger than the ‘magnetic’ force of the beads. This cleansing process is what enables your water softener to remove these contaminants on an ongoing basis and provide years of dependable service. Water softeners are very effective for the money needed to purchase and maintain them.

Water hardness is a factor of the dissolved solids in your water consisting mostly of Calcium and Magnesium with other elements playing a part in some locations.

Linens act like a filter and over time they collect these contaminants producing a dull, dingy appearance. The higher the hardness level, the faster the linens become dull.

Hard water will accelerate the destruction of your linens during the washing process.

Increasing the amount of chemicals you use by 25% can compensate for hardness above 3 grains per gallon. This is a perpetual waste of money and it also adds to the chemical residue in your linens and to the amount of chemicals you send down the drain which ultimately ends up contaminating the environment.

Greatly extend the life of your water softening systems by installing simple and inexpensive Carbon filtration before the water softener. It is strongly advised to install carbon filters ahead of the softening equipment to remove the Chlorine added by all Municipal Water Utilities to all potable water. If not removed, the Chlorine will attack the beads of media that perform the task of softening the water by causing them to crack and shatter. The beads’ efficiency is a factor of the amount of surface area they have available to attract and trap the foreign material. Chlorine will work on the beads to oxidize and destroy them well ahead of their useful life.

Water Hardness Definitions
Grains per Gallon Parts per Million Description
Less than one Less than 17.1 Soft
1 to 3.5 17.1 to 60 Slightly Hard
3.5 to 7 60 to 120 Moderately Hard
7.0 to 10.5 120 to 180 Hard
10.5 and over 180 and over Very Hard