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Booster Heater Buying Guide

Sometimes it can be hard to know whether you need a booster heater or not. And if you do, how can you choose one that will keep up with your warewashing system's requirements? Well, this guide is here to help! We'll walk you through some booster heater frequently asked questions so you are better equipped to decide what you need for your business.

What is a Booster Heater?

Hubble booster heater

Booster heaters are a special type of water heater typically used with dishwashers to heat rinse water to proper sanitizing temperatures. Unlike regular water heaters that you might see in any utility room, booster heaters take water that is already warm and heat it to even higher temperatures between 180 and 195 degrees Fahrenheit to properly rinse and sanitize china, glassware, cooking utensils, and more in a commercial dishwasher.

Why Do Some Dishwashing Machines Require a Booster Heater?

Some dishwashing machines rely on chemicals in order to sanitize soiled dishes, in lieu of very hot rinsing water. These are considered low-temperature machines and they do not come with a booster heater. Because of this, you may find that grease and tougher stains are more difficult to remove. If you wish to raise temperatures into sanitation range or even just to the point of having deeper cleaning potential, a booster will be necessary.

What are the Benefits of a Booster Heater?

While it might seem like a nuisance to install a dedicated booster heater for dishwasher applications, there are several benefits that can even help save you time and headaches.

  • Booster heaters provide rapid self-drying and sparkling clean dishware because the high temperatures mean that water will evaporate quickly from china and glassware once these items are removed from the dish machine.
  • They ensure that the final rinse water temperature is hot enough to meet sanitation codes which will keep your health inspector happy.
  • Compact models fit right next to your dishwasher, often in spaces that wouldn't even be used otherwise.

Do I Need a Booster Heater?

dishwasher testing strip

A booster water heater provides water at temperatures between 180 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit for your dishwasher's final rinse, ensuring proper sanitation. Here are some situations where you may need to purchase a new booster heater:

  • If you are installing a high temperature dishwasher that does not come with a booster heater. If a unit comes with an internal dishwasher booster heater that information will be listed in the specsheet for that model.
  • If you have a low temperature dishwasher but your incoming water doesn't reach at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure proper removal of greasy soils like lipstick.
  • If your current booster heater is no longer able to keep up with your warewashing needs. If you can't tell whether your rinse water is hot enough, you can check by using dishwasher temperature testing labels.
Expert Tip

Not sure about the water temperature requirements for your type of dishmachine? Check out the manual that came with your machine or our commercial dishwashers buying guide for additional information.

How Do I Size a Booster Heater?

To choose the right booster heater there are a few pieces of information you need to have.

  • The temperature of the incoming water to your dishwasher.
  • The rise in temperature that you are trying to achieve. For high temperature dishwashers, you can find this number by subtracting the temperature of your incoming water from 180 degrees Fahrenheit. For low temperature, chemical sanitizing dishwashers, subtract the temperature of your incoming water from 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The GPH (gallons per hour) of water that your dishwasher uses for the final rinse cycle. This information is generally available in the machine's product literature and on your dishwasher's data plate.

In order to figure out what size booster heater you need, when considering electric models with power measured in kilowatts, you can use this formula and input the temperature and water usage data you've collected. Or to make it easy you can enter your data in the calculator we've provided below.

([GPH of water used] x [Desired temperature rise]) / 400 = [Estimated kW]

To determine the size of the booster heater needed for a Noble Warewashing 66 high temperature conveyor dishwasher, for example, this is what the formula would look like if you had an incoming water temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit. In this example, since the result is 26.775, a 27kW booster heater would be recommended.

([153 GPH] x [70°F desired temperature rise]) / 400 = [26.775 Estimated kW]


GPH of Water Used
Desired Temperature Rise
Estimated kW

Expert Tip

If you want to double check your results or get a second opinion, both Hubbell and Hatco provide convenient sizing charts that pair their booster heaters with many dishwashers from the most common warewashing machine manufacturers. Does your restaurant need a gas booster heater because of available utilities? Be sure to check out Hatco's sizing chart to help you find the best gas powered unit for your application.

What Important Features Should I Consider?

Hubbell 6 Gallon Booster Heater

As warewashing equipment goes, booster heaters are pretty simple. Still, there are a few things to keep in mind besides size when you are comparing units and deciding which one is the best choice for your business.

Low water cut-off: this prevents the unit from overheating by running dry. When paired with a leak detection sensor (standard on some models) this can also alert the operator to a possible leak in the system, preventing water damage to the electrical components and the surrounding area.

Tank design: There are two distinct types of tank styles in our selection of booster water heaters: cement lined steel and stainless steel. Both types have their benefits however stainless steel tanks tend to be more durable and last longer, plus they meet ASME's (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) standards for the construction of boilers and pressure vessels.

Temperature control / display: Our Hubbell booster heaters come with electronic controls and a digital temperature display that allows you to set the water temperature that your warewashing machine or sanitation codes require. Hatco booster heaters have much simpler electromechanical controls and a standard output temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit, which is what many machines will require.

What If I Have Hard Water?

When hard water is heated, the minerals in it collect on elements, tank walls, and fittings, making the equipment work harder. This can result in greater maintenance costs and damage to the unit. Plus, this sort of damage most likely won't be covered under your warranty.

To prevent premature failure of your booster heater or costly service bills, check out the water hardness requirements in the specs of the booster heater you choose. If your water falls outside of those parameters, you'll want to make sure that it is properly conditioned or filtered.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details.

Related Resources

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Commercial Dishwasher Reviews

Compare our commercial dishwasher reviews to see price quotes and to learn more about the styles we offer, including brands with digital touch pads, ventless technology, and undercounter designs. Whether you're a high-volume healthcare cafeteria or a low-volume cafe, we have a model to accommodate your amount of dishes with dishwasher leasing and buying options . Use undercounter units in small kitchens and bars where space is a concern, and check out our conveyor dishwashers for busy restaurants with a constant flow of dirty dishes. Many of our dishwashers are also Energy Star Qualified to save you water and energy with each wash cycle!

Types of Warewashing Chemicals

With the wide range of warewashing chemicals available, you might not know which products work for your kitchen. Whether you wash dishes manually or with a dish machine, each method has detergents and sanitizers for cleaning and sanitizing that are important to meet regulations. By choosing the right warewashing chemicals within your budget, your dishes will be spotlessly clean to impress your customers and your health inspector. Shop All Warewashing Chemicals

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