Pre-rinse spray valves

Small Upgrade, Big Savings: How Restaurants Save Money with Low-Flow Pre-Rinse Spray Valves

By David J. Alexander

Restaurants use more energy than almost any other commercial business industry.1 Energy usage rates can be even higher for those food service businesses that run a full-service kitchen. One energy-intensive area of restaurant operations revolves around cleanliness. Many owners rely heavily on sprayers to pre-rinse dishware, pots and pans before putting them in a dishwasher, and these pre-rinse spray valves can account for nearly one-third of the water used in a typical commercial kitchen.2

That’s why upgrading to low-flow pre-rinse sprayers is one of the more effective ways to immediately reduce restaurant operating costs and improve energy efficiency. While the upgrade is a small one, the savings are significant.

Low-flow pre-rinse spray valves offer consistent savings compared to older sprayers
Modern low-flow pre-rinse spray valves use significantly less water than older, less efficient models. Spray valves from the 1990s routinely use up to 5 gallons per minute (GPM) and can translate into an annual operating cost of $1,500 per valve if only used for one hour a day.3 New low-flow pre-rinse spray valves perform optimally, while also using significantly less energy and water. By using pre-rinse spray valves with a flow rate of 1.15 GPM or less a restaurant owner will be able to see drastic annual savings in reduced water bills, decreased energy costs and, depending on where a restaurant is located, lower sewer utility bills.4 While you expect low-flow pre-rinse spray valves to cut water use, the extent that they do so can be surprising. For example, using a 0.7 GPM sprayer rather than a 5 GMP sprayer results in 85% less water usage annually. If restaurant operators select a high-performance, pre-rinse spray valve with a 0.7 GPM, they can reduce annual energy and water costs by well over $1,000.5

How much can you save?
When you combine lower water, energy and sewer bills, the savings that low-flow pre-rinse sprayers provide add up quickly.6

Gallons per minuteAnnual Operating Cost
5.0 $2,250
2.5 $1,050
1.15 $500
0.70 $250

These figures are for just one sprayer. If your restaurant operation uses more than one, those savings multiply.

Low-flow pre-rinse spray valves often provide optimal performance
In addition, those savings come without sacrificing performance. Low-flow pre-rinse spray valves are evaluated using ASTM standard F2324-23, which takes into account such factors as flow rate, spray force, spray pattern, coverage area, usage time and flow control.7 You can take advantage of the savings that a low-flow sprayer provides, and choose the sprayer that meets your exact requirements, without sacrificing performance or productivity.

And best of all, it’s a tremendously simple upgrade: Just unscrew the old spray valve and screw in the new one to see immediate savings.

Low-flow sprayers are such a good idea, California has required that any new pre-rinse spray valves sold as of January 2006 have a flow rate not exceeding 1.6 GPM.8

California drought makes now the time to invest in pre-rinse spray valves
California’s historic drought has prompted Governor Brown to declare a state of emergency and call for a 25% reduction in water usage.9 Installing low-flow pre-rinse spray valves is an easy, economical and effective way to reduce water usage. They install in an instant, start cutting costs immediately and quickly pay for themselves. That’s especially true if you take advantage of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s $35 rebate for pre-rinse spray valves that use 1.15 GPM or less.

Energy-efficient pre-rinse spray valves offer restaurant operators a strong return on investment and an opportunity to improve long-term sustainability. To learn more about other energy-efficient restaurant upgrades, download PG&E’s guide on "The Best Energy Efficiency Rebates for Quick-Service Restaurants".

  1. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  3. Food Service Technology Center
  4. Food Service Technology Center
  5. Food Service Technology Center
  6. Food Service Technology Center
  7. U.S. Department of Energy
  8. California Water Boards
  9. California Water Boards

Pre-rinse spray valves offer restaurant owners an easy, effective way to reduce water usage and save on annual operating costs.
  • SMB Blog Author
    David J. Alexander
    Senior Product Manager of Customer Energy Solutions for PG&E, plays a large role in the products and solutions that support SMBs. Involved in the company's energy-efficiency programs since 2006, Dave is also an energy solutions manager for the field engineering services team. He's been instrumental in the design and launch of PG&E's initial LED-focused programs and continues to serve as one its leading lighting experts in the field.

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