Hatco Booster Heater Troubleshooting

Frank Whittemore

Hatco booster heaters provide an effective way to boost the temperature of water for dishwashing in the food service industry. They are built to offer many years of reliable service, but if problems arise, these troubleshooting instructions may assist you in resolving them prior to calling for service on a unit.

The instructions assume that the unit has been properly installed and that water is being supplied at the correct temperature, flow rate and pressure.

Insufficient Water

If the water reaches 180 degrees Farenheit, but does not last through the entire dishwashing operation, first check the incoming water temperature to see whether it is too low, and increase the water temperature to between 110 and 140 degrees F if necessary. Next, check to see whether the incoming water pressure is too low. If needed, increase the pressure to accommodate the booster heater demand. Also, check the flow pressure to see whether it is set too high and, if necessary, reset the flow pressure to 20 PSI. The installed booster heater should not be undersized for the specific application and the voltage must be adequate to power the unit.

Low Water Temperature

If the booster heater does not heat or delivers low-temperature water from 120 to 150 degrees F, check the elements in the unit. Avoid energizing the unit without water in it, as this will cause the heating elements to burn out. Replace the elements if necessary. Check the fuse or circuit breaker and the fuse if it has burned out, or reset the circuit breaker if it has been tripped. Ensure that the temperature setting is working properly and set it to correct temperature. Check the high-limit switch to see whether it has been tripped. Reset the switch if necessary. If the switch continues to trip, have the unit repaired by an authorized service agent.

Improper Water Temperature at the Dishwasher

If water at the dishwasher itself is not at the proper temperature, check the temperature of the water to see whether its gauge is working properly. If the gauge is faulty, have it replaced. Check the thermostat to see whether it is set to low and adjust it accordingly. Ensure that the booster heater is not more than five feet away from the dishwasher. If it is, wrap the pipe from the booster heater to the dishwasher with thermal insulation.

Frequent Heating Element Failure

If you are having problems with the heating elements burning out frequently, first make sure that the tank of the booster heater is full of water at all times. Do not energize the tank when it's empty, as this will burn out the elements. Also, check the low-water cutoff system to ensure that it is working properly. Lime buildup can also contribute to elements burning out. Examine the tank for lime buildup and clean and delime the tank regularly. Consider installing a water softener or phosphate-treatment system to reduce calcium and other minerals in the water.

Dripping or Open Relief Valve

A dripping or open relief valve is caused by excessive pressure in the unit. Have a pressure-reducing valve installed to decrease water pressure to the booster tank. If one has already been installed, examine the pressure-reducing valve for proper operation and have it cleared if it is blocked. Examine the high-pressure bypass for proper operation. Have it replaced, if necessary. Check the thermostat to see whether it is set too high or is sticking. Then reset the thermostat to the proper temperature or replace the thermostat if it has failed.

Temperature-Limit Tripping

If the high temperature limit trips, check to see whether the temperature limit is set too low. If the district feeder does not overheat, have the height limit safety switch replaced. Check the setting of the thermostat to see whether it is too high. Adjust the thermostat to the proper temperature of necessary. Ensure that the incoming water temperature is not too high.