The Pressure Pump
Many consider the pressure pump as the heart of the pressure washer unit, something which is unavoidable because like the heart, the pressure pump is also the one responsible in generating pressure. The pressure generated by the pump is what’s needed to propel water at high speeds for it to be effective in cleaning. There are different types of pressure pumps, however, the most popular these days is the Triplex Reciprocating Positive Displacement Plunger Pump. These pumps are becoming widely used because they are able to generate a smooth flow with equal volume of water and pressure throughout. This is possible as the pressurization of water is not passed on the pump itself, but through a restrictive nozzle giving it a consistent output.
For cleaning businesses, the pressure washing equipment they need to have, particularly the pressure pump, should be made of high-end heavy-duty materials. This means the pressure pump should be equipped with solid ceramic plungers so that it is able to endure prolonged usage. Additionally, for safety reasons, it should also be equipped with an unloader valve, a pressure hose fitting, and a thermal relief valve. By using heavy duty pressure washing equipment for your cleaning business, you are assured of superior quality and construction which overall results in very minimal maintenance.
As mentioned earlier, the pressure pump is responsible for generating the high water pressure needed for pressure cleaning. Now, the pump can be powered by either an electric motor or a gas combustion engine, but these two needs a method of delivering their power (or rotary motion for that matter) to the pump. This is done either through the use of a belt drive or a direct drive system. Each type has its own advantages as well as disadvantages.
- Belt Drive – this is basically a pulley mechanism or system where a motor runs at one end while a wheel gets turned on the other (which in this case is the pressure pump). One of the best things about using a belt drive is you are able to run the pump at lower RPM depending on the tautness and circumference of pulleys you are using. In addition, the fan belt acts as a sort of shock absorber protecting the pressure pump from the vibration the motor makes and thus saving it from premature wear. Since there is also no direct connection between the pump and motor, the pump is not subjected to the heat generated by the motor. The main disadvantage with this type of configuration is that it is not efficient as some of the energy is lost within the pulley system.
- Direct Drive – in this type of configuration, the motor is directly connected to the pump. Since they are directly connected to each other, the pressure pump is able to achieve the same revolution as the pump which means there is no energy wasted. In addition, this configuration requires lesser moving parts, which in turn results into more compact pressure washer models. The disadvantage with this setup however is that the pump is subjected to both the vibration and the heat the motor generates which can lead to the premature wear of the pressure pump.
Wands and Nozzles
You will see wands attached the gun to enable the operator to start and stop the flow of water. There are different types of pressure wands – standard wands, straight through wands, dual lance wands, spray-flex wands, and telescoping wands. Each wand is used depending on the cleaning requirements. For example, the telescoping wand is used when pressure washing elevated spaces as it can expand by as much as 24 feet, while the dual lance wand has a double barrel and is highly useful when you need high and low pressure alternately or maybe even at the same time as one is used to dispense cleaning agents.
The business-end of the wand is the nozzles (or tips as called by many). Nozzles provide different spray patterns made for use depending on the dirt or surface meant to be cleaned. As a rule of thumb with pressure nozzles, the smaller the spray angle the nozzle provides the more powerful that nozzles is, and the wider the spray angle gets, the lesser the power is but the more area coverage it offers. Simply put, 0-degree and 15-degree spray nozzles are intended for cleaning tough dirt as they have more power, the 40-degree nozzle is intended mostly for rinsing as it has more coverage area, while the 25-degree nozzle is meant for general use as it offers both power and coverage area.
Aside from using regular pressure washer nozzles, there are specialized nozzles that when used for their intended purposes helps to accomplish the cleaning job much faster. These accessories are usually aftermarket sales and they are often worth the investment because they help to accomplish the job more efficiently and in less time. Some examples of these specialized nozzles are the gutter cleaner, duct cleaners, turbo nozzles, water brooms, flat surface cleaners, and many more.
This is one of the most important things to consider when running a pressure washing business as this not only involves your employees, but the environment as well, particularly when working with cleaning chemicals. For personnel safety, it is important that they wear safety goggles or face shields at all times. These not only protects their eyes and face from any chemical splashes, but also from ricocheting debris that can potentially cause serious injuries. Aside from eye or face protection, operators should also wear rubber gloves, rubber boots, as well as rubber aprons.
Safety is very important when using cleaning chemicals which is why it is very important to always read the label of the product completely and following its directions carefully before using it. Some chemicals even have recommendations for safety that must be followed. It is also equally important to know certain chemical incompatibilities with your equipment which is why you must always be wary when using chemicals you are not familiar with as this may prematurely damage not just the surface you are cleaning, but also your equipment – something which can cause downtime as well as unnecessary expenses on whatever surface you may have damaged.