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Pressure Washing Business; Steam Cleaner Fuel Maintenance
It is imperative that you fully understand how the fuel system works on your hot water pressure washer or steam cleaner. If you mess it up, it could catch fire, and if you’re not there to put it out, you could lose your machine. This type of equipment has been known to explode, and Hydrotek of California actually has a CD-Rom video of the machine exploding when the leaking fuel is ignited just to show operators what could happen. We recommend Hydrotek high-pressure washers with hot water. Some prefer Landa, but we tried them all.
If your hot water pressure washer runs on diesel fuel, you need to replace these diesel filters. All high-pressure washers with hot water have a burner that uses either: diesel fuel, kerosene or natural gas to heat the water. If you use diesel fuel or kerosene, make sure the fuel is clean. A clogged filter will cause clogging and will shut down the burner due to lack of fuel flow. Every other month you should clean the dirt from the filter.
There is a fuel pressure adjustment on the burner. To adjust the fuel pressure in your burner (which we do not recommend), turn the adjustment screw counterclockwise to reduce the fuel flow; clockwise to increase fuel flow. Warning: Never exceed 145 lbs. fuel pressure; Doing so will create a huge flame at the top of your steam cleaner. You will also burn the insulation around the coil. I even lit the coil. I turned off the heat, but the fuel continued to burn because it soaked the insulation with diesel fuel. It also melted the paint off the coil casing, burned out the transformer and worse, we ran out of water in the tank trying to put the fire out. So we drove down the street in flames and smoke, at one in the morning we found a faucet and a water hose at someone’s place, opened the hose for them and put out the fire. All the neighbors woke up. Someone called the fire department and of course two police cars showed up. All because the water wasn’t hot when we were cleaning the sidewalks in the middle of the night and we thought we’d adjust the fuel pressure screw. This wouldn’t have helped anyway as we had a problem with the water flow shutting off the water early before it reached the correct temperature. Please don’t touch that screw! – Call the dealer. So you can see that you can really learn from our twenty years of experience. It happened fifteen years ago, but we at headquarters will never forget it.
Fuel control system
Our units use a fuel solenoid valve located on the fuel pump to control the flow of fuel into the combustion chamber. This solenoid, which is normally closed, is activated by the flow switch when water flows through it. When you release the trigger on the shutoff gun, the flow of water through the flow switch stops, cutting off power to the fuel solenoid. This closes the solenoid, cutting off the fuel supply to the combustion chamber.
By controlling fuel flow in this way, our machines are unique in that they create instant burn or no burn situations. The solenoid allows us to maintain safety by eliminating high and low water temperatures. Temperatures that are too low will not clean well, and temperatures that are too high can cause an explosion, fire or melting of machine components. We have also virtually eliminated the combustion smoke associated with our units by installing this cap gun. It also saves fuel and extends the life of the insulation. Not to mention it doubles the time between regular descaling maintenance on the 80 coil schedule.
I recommend a periodic inspection to make sure the fuel solenoid valve is working properly. To do this, simply stand by the exhaust of the coils and pull the trigger on your gun. When it makes a soft rumbling sound, you know everything is working great. With this patented solenoid on the machine we believe it is a much safer piece of equipment.
You should periodically check the condition, security and proper spacing of wires, spring contacts and electrodes. To perform the transformer test, use a screwdriver (without defects) with an insulated handle. Keep your fingers away from the metal parts of the screwdriver. Lay the blade over one contact and within 1/2 inch of the other contact. The transformer should lock with a small stud bolt over a distance of 1/2 inch. Be careful not to touch this as it is something like 10,000 volts.
Keep the tip of the nozzle free of surface deposits. Use a clean cloth soaked in solvent. Be careful not to clog or enlarge the nozzle while cleaning. For maximum efficiency, replace the nozzle at tune-up time every two to two and a half years.
Steam cleaners are usually factory set to operate at seventy-five feet above sea level. If your unit is operating at an altitude of five hundred feet or more, you may need to make a one-time correction because the higher the altitude, the thinner the air. This correction will improve efficiency, performance, economy and extend the life of your machines. If you notice smoke coming out of your machine or exhaust that burns your eyes, it probably needs an adjustment. But first, make sure you’re burning clean fuel. The number one home heating fuel is the best, but kerosene is fine. Diesel fuel can also be used.
A hazy smoky fire indicates a lack of air and the air strip should be turned to allow air to flow through the burner. Acrid smoke that burns the eyes indicates that too much air is flowing through the combustion chamber and unburnt fuel is escaping, so turn the air strip in the opposite direction.
The fuel flow to your steam cleaner is by far the most serious part of your machine, it can cause the most damage if not monitored or operated properly. If you have a trailer unit, bumps and bumps can cause problems with the system and you could find yourself trying to put out a fire in your machine. It could even blow up in your face and hurt you or potentially kill you if you were unlucky. Play it safe, review it regularly, and don’t get hurt or get into a lawsuit. Think about it.
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