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A stitch in time...
Ken Wainwright, of the National Carpet Cleaners Association, writes...
"Murphy's Law states that if anything is to go wrong, then it will happen at the most inconvenient time. It also states that when this happens it will usually be mega expensive and the inconvenience will last for days, if not weeks.
For us carpet cleaners, one of the things that we dread most is a machine breakdown, and this was brought home to me last month when my portable extraction machine had its annual service at the manufacturer's works.
My machine has a metal Pumptec pump, popular with many equipment manufacturers for their high performance portables. The machine had been running perfectly, so I was expecting a small parts bill.
Upon removing the small valves inside the pump head, the engineer noted some minor damage to the valve seats in the head's casting. Although the pump could be reassembled and returned to working order, I was warned that it would eventually fail and that this would be sooner rather than later.
If you look carefully at the picture (above), you will be able to see the damage.
I reasoned that labour, shipping, and lost work, almost certainly during the peak season of Christmas trading, would cost much more than the price of a new pump head, so getting a new replacement part was a 'no brainer'.
This experience reinforces my view that preventative maintenance is an essential element of business life.
Whilst there, the engineer showed me an identical pump head where the valve seats had been completely worn away and the anodised finish had been eaten away by cavitation. See the second picture (left).
The amazing thing was, this had come from a new machine that was just one week old! The owner had totally ignored the manufacturer's instructions, both verbal and written (in the manual), and used an unsuitable powdered rinse agent. As we often say, RTFL (Read The Fffflaming Label)!
Apart from the regular servicing of our machines, there are other things we can do to make our working lives easier whilst protecting our investment in our capital equipment:
1) Clean the machine inside and out, at least every week. This will not only make it easier to spot potential issues or problems early, but make them easier to deal with too. It will also help control bacterial growth which can sometimes make the exhaust smell really foul.
2) Clean the recovery tank filters daily, sometimes more often if cleaning a particularly 'fluffy' carpet that sheds a lot of pile fibre.
3) When winding up the hoses and electric cables, use this as an opportunity to inspect them for any damage. Occasionally, run the cables and hoses through a damp cloth to keep them clean.
4) Weekly, using good quality silicone grease and spray, lubricate QC fittings and valve plungers.
5) Inspect the jets on your wand and hand tools. Many of the detergent and acidic rinses we use can be corrosive to brass. In extreme cases, jets can be worn within weeks. A worn jet flows excess water and the fan angle is reduced, leading to streaking and over-wet carpets.
6) If you have inline filters on your hoses or tools, clean these out occasionally.
Don't forget other equipment too. Vacuum cleaners have filters to be cleaned or changed. Sprayers need the plungers and valves lubricated and agitation machines also need to be checked out. Even the humble brush needs cleaning occasionally too.
by Ken Wainwright, of the National Carpet Cleaners Association little bit of care and attention will not only make your life easier, it will also help with reliability and save you money.
28th January 2016