Water filtration can positively impact an operation’s water quality, equipment performance and ability to keep up with demand — but only if it is installed properly.
An incorrectly installed system can lead to a myriad of problems, from leaks and water line issues to voided warranties and poor performance.
Antunes’ technical experts step through the water filtration installation process and identify the challenges — and resulting consequences — that can occur when a trained professional doesn’t handle the installation.
Assess the application
Before determining which water filtration system is best, a water sample analysis should be completed at a minimum and a site survey by a qualified beverage installer is highly recommended. The survey process includes reviewing the requirements with the customers, taking photographs and collecting a water sample.
Through this understanding, the professional would review the information with the manufacturer and make a recommendation on the type of filtration system that would address the needs of the operation.
Understand the current set-up and regulations
The second step requires a more in-depth evaluation of the operation’s current state and how that will affect both the unit selected and the installation.
Water filtration equipment has minimum and maximum ratings for operating temperature and pressure, so the professional will make sure that the specifications for the selected unit meet the operational needs. Additionally, the unit will need to have proper clearance to remove filters and be near a power outlet and a drain. A professional will ensure that the unit is installed in a fitting location that meets these requirements.
A professional installer will also review the equipment that will be connected to the water filtration system — beverage fountain machines, ice machines, drip coffee makers and even specialty coffee equipment, which may require different filter technology.
Finally, some cities require that certain materials, like copper, be handled by a licensed plumber, and overlooking this step could cause the operation to incur heavy costs down the road. A professional would already be familiar with any codes in the city where the customer’s site is located and can comply appropriately.
Create a plan
The kitchen equipment is typically already in place prior to the installation of the water filtration system, and the water lines for that equipment are spread throughout the building. Oftentimes, the maze of tubing is unlabeled and hard to distinguish, so having a professional map out the pipes ensures that any major mistakes are avoided.
Filtering the wrong lines, such as those for the toilets, means the unit would not be operating properly — it could have to draw more water than it is rated for, and the beverages lines could be starved for water. Additionally, unfamiliarity with the piping could lead to cutting open an active water line accidentally and creating a big mess for the kitchen.
Gather the correct components
Each water filtration system is different, and therefore, there is not a standard set of components for a proper installation. Beyond the system itself, additional parts can range from specific beverage tubing to special pipe fittings needed to install the system. Working with a trained professional helps ensure that there are no delays from having to acquire a missing component the operator didn’t know they needed.
Prepare the beverage lines
Anytime a technician cuts open a beverage line — a standard practice during installation — it is exposed to air which can cause bacteria and other contamination to form. Sanitizing the line will eliminate the risk, but if this important step is not completed properly, the improper exposure will cause equipment issues, and possibly health issues, over a period of time.
Mount the system
After ensuring that all the correct parts have been acquired and that ample space is available, the mounting process can begin. For the Antunes VZN water filtration system, we recommend two people mount the system using the correct hardware, such as anchors. If the system is not mounted securely, the operation runs the risk of the unit falling during operation.
Prep the unit for use
Once the system has been properly installed, the start-up process is critical for the successful operation of the unit.
The filters must be flushed in the correct sequence. For example, in order to remove the chemical used to prolong the membrane during shipment, the ultrafilter must be flushed without any other cartridges following it. If this is not done properly, the chemical gel will go into the other cartridges, clogging them and negatively affecting the taste of the water.
It may seem obvious, but the unit also needs to be plugged into a power supply. This step ensures that the system will flush on schedule, which is how Antunes gets the expected life out of its cartridges. If an operator overlooks this step, which does happen, the system will operate and filter water, but won’t flush the ultrafilter cartridge, shortening the lifespan.
After the startup process has been completed, a professional installer will evaluate all the fittings to confirm that no leaks occurred during the installation or initial flushing process. These inspections are another area where mistakes are common unless a professional is handling them. If leaks have occurred, they are more than likely too small for the untrained eye to catch, but over time will waste water, and money, if they go unnoticed.
Each of these start-up steps is critical, not only because of their impact on proper operation, but also to ensure that the unit stays under warranty. For example, Antunes’ ultrafilter comes with a general market two-year warranty, but if the unit wasn’t plugged in, and therefore, not flushed properly, the ensuing service call wouldn’t be covered by the warranty. Additionally, if the system is getting too much or not enough water pressure, or if it is undersized for the application, any failures would not be covered.
Install a bypass
This step is critical for servicing the unit and avoiding downtime in the event of a filter failure. For example, if one of the filters clogs, it will not supply water to the beverage equipment, but if a trained professional installs a bypass, the operator would simply turn a valve to allow unfiltered water to flow to the equipment. This is a temporary workaround that eliminates downtime while the unit is serviced.
Additionally, when servicing the unit, such as replacing a cartridge or fixing a water leak, the bypass allows the technician to turn water off only to the system. If there were no bypass installed, water to the entire facility would need to be turned off in order to service the unit.
Because of the importance of a properly installed water filtration system, Antunes offers an installation and service program for its water filtration customers through a partnership with a team of certified, skilled beverage installers. These trained professionals ensure that the equipment is installed correctly and that it will perform to both manufacturers’ specifications and customers’ expectations. Learn more about this partnership and the services offered in this announcement.