Changing Seasons, Changing Approaches

There’s starting to be more of a nip to the morning air. The leaves are changing colors and falling from trees. All the telltale signs are there – fall is coming and that means winter’s not far behind. That also means that now’s the time to make sure that you, your team and your equipment are ready to take on dirt and grime in the cooler months ahead.

Changing Temperatures and Equipment Operation

As the thermometer dips lower, pressure washing machinery often seems to run slower. It might seem that it takes a little longer for your Hotsy to warm up or it may seem to be running sluggishly. Most often, this slow down isn’t from freezing temps, but instead the result of your lubricants. Before conditions get too cold, now is the time to check over your equipment and make sure all moving parts are well oiled and lubricated. Pay particular attention to the cylinders and carburetor to make sure winter doesn’t put a freeze on your operations.

Another consideration is your fuel. In cooler weather – and especially during transitions from warm storage to cold operating conditions – your fuel quality can suffer, making your engine run harder or even introducing contamination or dilution that can wreak havoc on your pump. Consider using a fuel stabilizer to help and allow the motor to run for a few minutes when starting operations to make sure treated fuel is in the system.

Removing Oil and Grease

Getting rid of oil and grease is hard in warm weather, and during the colder months it can seem almost impossible. We all know heat is the key to getting rid of these organic grimes. That means that during cooler conditions, you may need more time to allow your pressure washer to warm up or spend more time heating up frozen-on grease and oil. Using a portable heater may help in certain situations, and evaluating your detergent selection may help you find something that’s a better fit for cold weather.

Soap and Detergent Efficiency at Cooler Temps

Some chemical solutions don’t handle the change in temperature well and may not work as well – or at all – in some situations. Most notably, acid cleaners and aluminum brighteners tend to have reduced effectiveness in temperatures below 60 degrees. Other detergents may not be rated for use in cold weather at all and you might need to take a different approach to ensure your surfaces are completely clean.

Review your detergents and identify any with temperature sensitivity by examining the label. Not sure if your soaps will work or need help finding a more appropriate solution for the season? Call the team at WET and let us perform a Chemical & Detergent Evaluation to make sure you have the best solution.

Add Time for Clean in Cold

Things often take longer during the cold-weather months. People move slower, it takes longer to dress for work in the cold, machines need more time to warm up – the list goes on and on. One particular aspect to keep in mind is detergent efficacy.

As mentioned above, some detergents can be dramatically affected by use in cold conditions. Just because a detergent is still safe to use in the cold, however, doesn’t mean it will still work the same way. Be aware that with some solutions, you may need to adjust the amount of detergent used or increase the length of soaking time to completely clean a surface. Make sure you know the details of your detergents and build enough time into your schedule to get the job done.

Don’t Forget Fall Maintenance

Fall is also a great time to tackle any maintenance projects. Take advantage of things slowing down to speed up your upkeep. Check over hoses for wear and replace any that are damaged or excessively worn. Take a look at fittings and gaskets for any signs of failure. Change oil and air filters, and perform a thorough visual inspection to look for any other external signs of wear.

The cooler weather can be harder on your equipment and your crew, so spending time to make sure everything is in peak condition can help prevent breakdowns and improve operations in the colder conditions. At WET we can also help with Scheduled Maintenance Plans that take the stress out of keeping your equipment ready for action with preventative maintenance that works around your schedule. Contact us today to learn more.

Staying CLEAN in Every Season

We believe in CLEAN in every season, and that means we’re always striving to make sure that your operations are as efficient, effective and safe as possible. Whether you need parts or accessories to help with your fall and winter projects or you’re looking for help with repairs and upkeep, turn to the CLEAN team at WET. We know CLEAN and we can help you tackle any seasonal challenges. Call us today to learn more.

Under Pressure: How Hose Length Affects CLEAN

How often have you been working on a pressure washing job and had to stop to move your equipment so that you had enough hose to reach the far edge of a surface? Using a pressure washer means that you’re tethered to your machinery, with the length of your hose dictating how far you can move before needing to reset your operations.

For many, it’s tempting to overcome this limitation by increasing the length of hose used on the job site. However, adding more distance for your water and detergents to travel can also present other problems.

The Science of Hose Lengths

Assuming a best-case scenario – working on flat ground and normal operating conditions – you typically won’t lose much pressure as you increase the length of hose that you use. For instance, on a 3/8-inch hose with a 3 gallon/minute flow, the loss of pressure per 100 feet is about 50 PSI. When you consider that pressure washers often operate at 3,000 to 5,000 PSI, that’s a fairly negligible loss for the increased distance.

Other factors can increase this pressure loss, however still at negligible levels. For example, if you’re spraying at a height of 50 above your pressure washer, the loss in pressure is approximately 22 PSI. That means if you were using a 100-foot hose, you’d have a net loss of approximately 75 PSI at the spray nozzle, not considering any other variables like hose interior smoothness, fitting style and even water temperature, which can all play a role in pressure.

If you think about that loss with a typical 3,000 PSI pressure washer, the pressure loss works out to only about 2.5 percent – fairly negligible and still providing ample cleaning power for most applications. It also means that, in theory, you could run a hose for several miles before losing pressure entirely – not that you should.

The Practicality of Hose Lengths

While that math all looks great on paper, in the real world there are more practical limits to hose lengths.

For example, there are few scenarios in which more than 100 to 200 feet of hose would be appropriate. Investing in the additional length of hose for infrequent use would be cost prohibitive when your Hotsy pressure washer has wheels and can easily be moved from one end of even a large warehouse building to the other.

In addition, more hose length also means more hose weight. Dragging an extra 50 or 100 feet of hose, filled with water, adds a burden of weight to operations. Let’s roughly estimate that every 100 feet of hose contains one gallon of water and, for the sake of simplicity, let’s say that with the weight of the hose that totals 30 pounds. That means if you add another 100 feet, you now have a hose weighing 60 pounds to drag around the job site. That’s not a ton, but it brings us to the third issue with increased hose lengths – wear.

With more hose being used, more hose also ends up lying on the ground. That means that as you move, you drag the hose across the terrain which can wear at the exterior of the hose and lead to premature failure. Longer lengths may also reach across access areas like driveways or vehicle bay entrances, increasing the possibility of a vehicle driving over and damaging a hose.

Less Is More – More Effective, That Is

All told, as tempting as it might seem to add another length of hose to your pressure washer, for most practical reasons it simply isn’t needed. While you may save a few minutes for projects that require you to move the pressure washer around to reach the full length of your surface being washed, the detractions and real-world practicalities of additional hose typically make it not worth the hassle.

Instead of investing in adding hose, make sure you’re using the best hose. Even 50- and 100-foot lengths of hose can suffer wear and tear, and failures in these hoses can pose a full range of problems and hazards. Find high-quality hoses and replace any worn hoses with the team at WET Give us a call today and find the right hoses for your cleaning needs.

10 Cents to Replace or 10 Days of Downtime?

How O-Rings Can Make or Break Your Operations

There’s nothing worse than having to shut down operations due to something completely preventable. While accidents happen or unexpected failures can occur, issues that arise from poor or improper maintenance are wholly preventable. Even worse is when those issues happen from something with a negligible cost, like replacing O-rings. 

O-Rings? Seriously?

Seriously. At WET, we know how important O-rings are and the critical role they play in practically any system that involves fluids. And in a pressure washer, there’s no shortage of liquids that need to be properly managed. Whether it’s fuel passing to the engine, detergents being drawn from a container, or the water being forced through a hose and nozzle, O-rings play an important part at each of these steps in the process.

If you’re experiencing spraying, leaking or low pressure from your washer, you could have a failing O-ring. If you’re having problems with water intake, it could be a bad O-ring. Worst of all, if dirt and gunk are accumulating on an O-ring, it could be causing your pressure washer to function at a less-than-optimal level or even allow some of this dirt to get inside the pressure pump where it can lead to internal damage. All of a sudden, a 10-cent part leads to major costs – lost work time, repair bills and possibly rental fees to get replacement equipment to stay on task.

The Most Infamous O-Ring Failure

While O-rings can fail from overuse, they can also fail as the result of environmental factors like use in low temperatures. This was the case in perhaps the most infamous O-ring failure – the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger.

In January 1986, Florida experienced one of the coldest nights it had ever seen, dropping to temperatures 20 degrees colder than the previous coldest-weather launch performed by NASA, as reports. In these brisk conditions, the rubber O-rings that separated fuel compartments in the solid-rocket boosters became stiff and brittle. As a result, they lost the elasticity and expansive properties that would normally allow them to fully seal the joints between chambers.

As the shuttle ascended, an exhaust plume was able to leak out of the booster, heating the exterior of the fuel tank until it ultimately weakened and ruptured. The booster partially separated from the overall launch assembly and burned the venting fuel, resulting in a cataclysmic fireball and sheer aerodynamic forces that caused the shuttle to veer dramatically off course, resulting in a complete and utter disaster. This dramatic failure of an O-ring led to the ultimate loss of the Challenger, the death of the seven astronauts aboard, and the grounding of the spaceflight program for almost three years.

Prevention Bests Reaction

A failed O-ring on terra firma may not be as explosive, but it could still lead to serious injuries. A leaky hose could spray scalding hot water or caustic chemicals, leading to injury. A dirty O-ring connection on a pump could allow dirt or air to seep in, causing mini explosions inside that degrade and destroy the engine. But replacing an O-ring takes just a few minutes at the cost of your change from lunch.

Make checking and replacing O-rings a part of your regular maintenance routine. Keeping this important connection in good shape will help with the overall performance of your pressure washer and keep you CLEAN – working efficiently, effectively and safely each and every time you wash.

Take the CLEAN Challenge

Need help keeping up on your maintenance? Want a comprehensive review of your operations? Let the team at WET help. Take the CLEAN Challenge and invite one of our techs to your site to review your equipment and operations and put together a CLEAN Accountability Plan that helps ensure you’re always working at peak performance. Call us today to get started.

Keep Bugs at Bay with Vital Oxide

Safe and effective sanitization for back to school

As summer winds down, the school year ramps back up, and with it comes an increased risk of sickness. As children congregate, common colds and flus are often transmitted throughout a class, with each student stricken in turn with a case of the sniffles – or worse. Maintaining a clean and sanitary environment helps, but it can seem difficult to manage when students are in and out all day, carrying germs with them throughout a school building.

With Vital Oxide, available from WET, it doesn’t have to be.

About Vital Oxide

Vital Oxide is an odorless and noncorrosive disinfection solution that is useful in a wide variety of settings. Due to its cleaning and sanitization properties, it’s a trusted solution in even the most sensitive of environments, like hospitals. Safe to use around people and animals, this solution is easy to mist or spray with a bottle, apply using a fogger or even used as a foaming solution. Plus, it is designed to naturally evaporate, leaving behind safe and sanitized surfaces

Not only is Vital Oxide odorless, but it helps eliminate odors. By attaching the bacteria and other substances that cause noxious smells, it removes the cause of the problem and makes unwanted odors a thing of the past. It’s also great at attacking molds, spores, fungi and other types of microbial life, eliminating these threats and creating a healthier environment.

What’s In Vital Oxide?

Unlike many cleaners that rely on harsh or caustic chemicals to clean, Vital Oxide is all natural. It is chlorine dioxide, and while it may sound like a chemical, it should not be confused with chlorine bleach. Instead, Vital Oxide stable and safe, and when sprayed or fogged onto a surface, it evaporates and leaves just a simple salt behind.

As an EPA-registered disinfectant, Vital Oxide is fully safe to use in a variety of situations to kill viral and bacterial contaminants while still being completely safe around people and animals. In fact, it is considered a category 4 disinfectant with no exposure warnings or risks with the exception of causing potential mild eye irritation.

How Does Vital Oxide Work?

As mentioned above, Vital Oxide is chlorine dioxide – a stable substance that, at a molecular level, wants to bond with other molecules with extra electrons, like bacteria, viruses and molds. When this happens, the resulting interaction attacks proteins like those that form cell walls, causing them to rupture and killing the cell.

Because it works as an oxidizer, this process also leaves behind just simple sodium chloride – the same stuff in table salt. Don’t let the “chlorine” scare you – the chemical process is sound, and has been studied numerous times by university and government researchers and found to be safe and effective. Learn more in Vital Oxide’s presentation.

Safe on Fabrics, Safe on Surfaces

One of the biggest benefits of Vital Oxide is that it’s not just safe to use on hard surfaces like metal or laminate countertops – it’s also perfectly safe to use on carpets or fabrics. In fact, it’s widely praised for its usefulness in cleaning, deodorizing and sanitizing these surfaces while not causing any issues with color fading or bleeding. This makes it exceptionally useful in homes with pets or smoke odors, while also attacking allergens, molds, dust mites and more.

In fact, Vital Oxide has received a Seal of Approval from The Carpet and Rug Institute. This seal is given to products that are tested for overall cleaning effectiveness, rate of resoiling, pH, surface texture change, use of optical brighteners and colorfastness, among other factors. 

Strong and Safe

Vital Oxide has a long history of use in hospitals and even public water supply sterilization, but it’s also seeing use in many public spaces, including schools. Because it is safe around humans, it’s a perfect solution for use in educational environments. Vital Oxide does not need to be diluted or mixed to use, so teachers can simply mist desks, tables and even carpets and backpacks between classes or at the end of the day to treat and eliminate bacteria and viruses that cause illness, helping everyone stay healthier and happier.

It’s also safe in food environments as well, meaning that it can be used to sanitize food counters and prep areas. This helps eliminate the risk of food-borne diseases and infections and helps make for safer places to cook, serve and dine for everyone. Vital Oxide is also popular in farming and animal handling businesses, allowing for the sterilization of animal stalls and feed containers, while also helping to control odors and reduce the risk of disease transmission or infection.

See for yourself how simple it is to apply and how safe it is to be around in this video.

A Powerful Partner to CLEAN

With all of Vital Oxide’s benefits, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the top-selling products here at WET. However, it’s only one part of CLEAN – our philosophy to drive efficiency, effectiveness and safety with your cleaning operations.

For something to be truly CLEAN, it needs to first be – well, cleaned! Vital Oxide is most effective on surfaces that are already free of caked on dirt, grime, grease and other substances. When these items are present, they interfere with Vital Oxide’s ability to contact the surface that needs to be cleaned. That means that dirt itself can interfere with its sanitizing power, limiting or even preventing the ability for surfaces to be sanitized.

With a CLEAN mentality, you can handle this with ease. For large projects, using a pressure washer to first remove the bulk of soils can leave a surface ready for treatment with Vital Oxide. In fact, you can even use Vital Oxide as a detergent and mix it with your existing steamer or pressure washer to apply it as part of your overall cleaning process. In smaller applications, using cleaning wipes and soaps can free debris and dirt from your surface and leave it ready for spraying, misting or fogging.

Deter Dirt with Detergent

How effective is your detergent at removing dirt? At removing grease? What about sanitizing? If you’re using the wrong solutions, you could be pouring money down the drain every time you clean.

At WET, we know CLEAN and that means we can help make sure that your operation is running not only effectively and efficiently, but safely – both for operators and for the surfaces being cleaned and sanitized. Our Chemical & Detergent PlayBook i is part of our on-site evaluation process that helps customers make the most of their detergent use and purchases.

Through our evaluation, we take a close look at the equipment you use, the different applications where you need detergents, how the quality of your water may impact operations, what safety concerns exist on job sites, the type of surfaces that need to be cleaned, and your current soap and detergent use.

By taking a holistic look at all these factors, the technicians at WET can help you determine if you’re using the right solution for your jobs or if you’re wasting money by using too much of a solution. We can also help you identify factors that may be impacting your cleaning operations, resulting in inefficient cleaning, or suggest new alternative detergents or accessories for your equipment that can help you work CLEAN – efficiently, effectively and safely – every day.

Stay CLEAN, Stay Sanitized with Vital Oxide

With the new school year now ramping up, now’s the time to make sure you’re ready to keep bugs at bay all throughout the year. We all remember how intense the flu season was last year, and with current concerns about the spread of hand, foot and mouth disease and the unknown severity of a new flu season yet to come, it’s best to be safe and prepared for anything.

Let WET help make sure you have everything you need to stay on top of CLEAN. Give us a call today at 865.525.1515 to schedule your complimentary on-site consultation.