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Pressure Washer FAQs
There are important advantages and disadvantages to both. In a nutshell, portable machines cost more to purchase and require much higher maintenance as long as you own the equipment. You gain portability, but it comes with a cost.
A stationary machine requires that you bring the dirty material to be cleaned to the pressure washer. A stationary wash requires that the necessary utilities are available and hooked up and in many cases, requires the exhaust to be vented. However, once it is installed, you can normally expect years of low operating cost and minimal maintenance.
Both stationary and portable washers have their purpose. Ask your Alklean sales consultant to explain the differences.
Belt driven pressure washers are most commonly found on commercial/industrial style pressure washers. A belt driven pump is ideal for cleaning applications that require more than 20+ hours per week. On a belt driven unit, the high-pressure pump spins at a less RPM reducing the heat and vibration, which in turn, minimizes the wear and tear on the internal parts of the pump and leads to longer life.
If you will be using your pressure washer less than 20 hours a week, a direct drive may be better suited for your application. Direct drive units turn about twice the RPM as a belt driven unit. These units are usually more compact and easier to transport. They are also typically more cost effective.
Gas or electric is completely up to the consumer. There are pros and cons to both.
Electric is safe to use indoors because you don't have harmful fumes. Electric motors are usually quieter and require less maintenance than a gas engine. Also, with an electric motor you do not have to have gas on hand and you do not need to fight the rising cost of fuel prices.
With a gas pressure washer you have a couple of different choices when selecting an engine. Also, gas engines don't require a power cord which in turn allows more portability.
The following are established guidelines to consider:
- There is a formula to determine how much horsepower is required to drive a pump at a given volume and pressure. Various manufacturers have slightly different versions, but generally volume is GPM x PSI/1456 = brake horsepower. Now that may be just enough information to be dangerous.
- As a general rule, 130 volt service cannot offer more than 2 horsepower. That means 3 GPM at 1,000 PSI is tops for a 130 VAC.
- Moving on up, the next general rule is that 10 horsepower is maximum horsepower for single phase. Roughly 4.5 GPM x 3,000 PSI is about maximum for a 10 horsepower.
- Motors larger than 10 horsepower generally require three phase power.
If you operate a pressure washer for less than five hours per week, you can probably get away with a less expensive model found in do-it-yourself stores. But beware—you certainly won't get the service, support or warranty coverage that so many people expect from Alklean Industries.
If you operate pressure washers for less than 20 hours per week, you can find some mid-range models that are typically identified by a direct-drive pump and a bare-bones design. However, these are usually mediocre options.
Trust the experts at Alklean to help you select the best models and solutions for all your applications.
PSI and GPM are both equally important when choosing a pressure washer. The PSI refers to the amount of pressure and GPM refers to the flow. You must have the correct combination of PSI and GPM to have the most ideal pressure washing system for your needs.
To clean effectively, a pressure washer must provide a "stripping" action to scrub off the dirt and "flow" to move the dirt away. Think of the pressure (PSI) as the stripping force that is applied to the surface you are cleaning and the flow (GPM) as the rinsing power that carries the dirt away.
PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) refers to the amount of cleaning pressure that the unit can produce.
GPM (Gallons per Minute) is the amount of water that is coming from the unit.
Cleaning Units (CU) is the result of multiplying the PSI by the GPM. Cleaning units gives the customer a measure of unit performance (efficiency) to compare one unit to another. Cleaning units is calculated by multiplying PSI and GPM.
- A pressure washer with 3000 PSI and 2.0 GPM has 6000 Cleaning Units
- A pressure washer with 2000 PSI and 3.0 GPM also has 6000 Cleaning Units but the rinsing power is greater than the stripping power
GPM is usually more important to contractors than PSI. Since most contractors use cleaning chemicals to do all of the cleaning, their job becomes one primarily of rinsing the dirt away.
Rotary Surface Cleaners
Clean large, flat surfaces faster and easier than with a standard cleaning nozzle. The Alklean rotary surface cleaners come in three different diameters, 18", 20" and 28". Each is equipped with a heavy duty nylon brush to eliminate overspray and maintain the distance between the nozzles and the cleaning surface. This combination ensures a balanced and even cleaning pattern.
Rotating nozzles increase your cleaning power and decrease your cleaning time. Rotating nozzles offer 0° spray impact with 25° coverage. Alklean Nozzles include a filter, to protect the nozzle from becoming clogged with debris, a quick connect and heavy-duty components for long life and reliability. Rotating nozzles can be used on sidewalks, driveways, track vehicles, muddy areas, old peeling paints and concrete surfaces.
Alklean Detergents are environmentally friendly, can be used indoors, and are biodegradable. We offer 3 types of detergents: Deck & House Wash, All Purpose Cleaner, and Heavy-Duty Degreaser. All are available in 1 gallon, 5 gallon, and 55 gallon drums.
Hose reels are convenient for the storage of hoses and can be mounted directly on pressure washer frames or attached to a wall bracket. Several sizes are available.
Extended Reach Wands
Clean hard to reach places such as home exterior and gutters, farm equipment and multi-story buildings by using telescopic extended reach wands. Alklean has several lengths to choose from.
Wet sand blasting is an efficient and dust free method in removing coatings from steel and concrete surfaces such as rust, paint, and graffiti.
Learn more about all of the accessories we offer.
We think you’ll find the following chart helpful when determining how best to select a pressure washer nozzle.View Chart
YES! If you plan to pull water from a regular garden hose connection you can use a direct drive pressure washer with a standard filter that comes with your pressure washer. If you plan to pull water from a tank we recommend that you use a belt driven pressure washer. The pump on a belt driven pressure washer has better suction capabilities than a direct drive pressure washer.
The nozzle is what creates pressure. If you have the incorrect nozzle size on your pressure washer you may not get the full potential out of the unit. Always make sure that your pressure washer nozzle is clean and free of debris.
YES! Alklean custom builds trailers to suit the needs of our customers in either single or dual axle models. Add reliable Alklean equipment to suit your application and you are ready for the next job! Trailer units are used by heavy construction contractors, factories, well drillers, mines, military bases, road builders, contract cleaners, shipyards, municipalities and food services.
At Alklean, we have experienced many problems with “off road” diesel. Because it’s so inconsistent, we simply are not confident it will work in pressure washer burners. Use of off-road fuel (red diesel) will result in additional charges to remove the off-road fuel, clean out the fuel system, refill the fuel, recalibrate the burner, repair the damage, loss of use, and other charges.
Compression combustion engines and oil-fired burners are very different. The pressure for atomization in internal combustion engines is many times higher than those in oil burners. Engines utilize compression to ignite fuel in a diesel engine whereas an oil burner utilizes an electrical arc. The only similarities are that both burn some of the same fuels. However, the compression combustion engine will tolerate fuels that simply will not burn at acceptable parameters for an oil burner.
Therefore, we recommend “road” fuel. We cannot dictate to a customer where you purchase your fuel and what grade you purchase. However, our experience shows the quality and consistency of road fuel meets the parameters required for pressure washer/steam cleaner burners to operate satisfactorily more than 99 percent of the time.
UL 1776 is a set of safety standards written by Underwriters Laboratories for the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association (CETA). CETA— and its predecessor Cleaning Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA)—paid Underwriters Laboratories to establish safety standards for the American Pressure Washer Industry by developing UL-1776.
Until the UL-1776 standards were established, each manufacturer determined their own safety standards and they could vary widely from one manufacturer to another. By developing UL-1776 standards, consumers are now assured of a safety standard that is generally accepted and adhered to by most American and foreign pressure washer manufacturers marketed in the USA.
Underwriters Laboratories is a well-known testing agency that is unbiased toward any pressure washer manufacturer in the industry. Their standards do not favor any specific brand or manufacturer.
No, it is not unlawful to build or operate a pressure washer without meeting UL-1776 standards. However, if there is an accident involving a pressure washer that is not certified, there is very little defense. Even though there are several agencies that certify to UL-1776 standards, UL-1776 is the only current safety standard generally recognized in the pressure washer industry.
The first option is to store your pressure washer in a heated area and not let it freeze. If the unit cannot be stored in a heated area you will need to run RV Anti- Freeze through the pump. To do this, take a short piece of garden hose with a male garden hose connector and attach to the pump. Attach a funnel to the other end of the hose and fill the funnel with the RV anti- freeze fluid and pull the engine over until you see the colored fluid exiting the pump. It is also very important to drain the high pressure hose and the gun/wand.
If you are unable to store your pressure washer in a heated area you can purchase a 6 oz container of Alklean pump saver, which comes equipped with a male garden hose connector. Thread the connector onto the pump inlet, remove the pressure washer high pressure outlet hose, and spray the contents by pressing the center cap of the canister. By allowing the entire contents into the pump, the water should be pushed out through the discharge quick connect. The pump saver provides longer pump life, prevents harmful build up of hard water mineral deposits, preserves seals, pistons and protects against freezing.
Water Treatment System FAQs
You can start sizing the system by asking these questions:
- How much water do you need to treat in 24 hrs?
- Do you discharge to sewer or will you recycle the water?
- What will you remove from the wastewater?
Alklean offers several water treatment systems to meet your needs.
- Biological (BIO) Treatment Series can be used either as a discharge or closed loop system. Microbes consume constituents in the wastewater turning them into carbon dioxide and water.
- Mechanical Filtration Series uses sand filtration to remove particulates down to 25 microns. A cartridge filter may be added to filter to 30 microns.
- Water/Oil Separator Series uses oil attracting (oleophilic) media that separates the oil and floats it to the surface where an oil skimmer sends the oil to a decanter for easy removal.
- Electro-Coagulation Flocculation uses aluminum rods along with electricity. The electricity passes between the rods and contaminates in the water are charged and coagulate with the free metal ions from a sacrificial anode, thus neutralizing the contaminates in the waste stream. This system is used in applications where metal removal is needed.
If you have access to a sanitary sewer you have the option of using a discharge system. Our system is meant to remove constituents down to a reading that should be acceptable to local parameters. (Parameter settings are not the same everywhere. Check with your local municipality)
If you don't have access to a sanitary sewer, you will then need a closed loop system that removes constituents so the water is recycled for pressure washing.
It all depends on the system. Water oil separators require the least amount of maintenance as only one pump is involved, whereas mechanical filtration requires more (additional pumps, media filters, slide valves, pH/orp meters, and timers). Biological treatment is also a low maintenance system. Standard pump maintenance and coalescing media cleaning, which is necessary in all systems except the ECF, is all that is required.
The ECF system does not require a great deal of maintenance either. The anodes are a replaceable part and pump servicing is the extent of the maintenance.
Remember, sometimes we rely on living bacteria to reclaim the water. There are many substances that will create problems or interfere with their ability to remove contamination. Acids or caustic materials shorten the systems operational life as well as kill the important microbes. In high volumes animal and vegetable derived fat, oil, and grease (cooking oil, fat poured off cooked meat, etc.) can cause problems. It can block your drains and also take the microbes a long time to "eat" this material.