Pressure Washing Business; Steam Cleaner Fuel Maintenance
It is essential 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 on fire and if you are not right there to put it out, you could potentially lose your machine. This type of equipment has been known to explode and Hydrotek out of California actually has a CD Rom video of a machine exploding when a fuel leak is ignited just to show operators what could happen. We recommend the Hydrotek Hot Water Pressure Washers. Some people prefer Landa, but we have tried them all.
If your hot water pressure washers is diesel fired then you must replace these Diesel Filters. All hot water pressure washers has 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 blockage and it will turn off the burner due to lack of fuel flow. You should clean the crud out of your filter every other month.
There is a Fuel Pressure Adjustment on the burner. To adjust the fuel pressure in your burner (which we do not recommend), turn the adjusting screw counter-clockwise to decrease fuel flow; clockwise to increase fuel flow. Warning: Never exceed 145 lbs. of fuel pressure; If you do, you will create a giant flame out the top of your steam cleaner. You will also burn up the insulation around the coil. I’ve even caught the coil on fire. I turned off the heat but the fuel kept burning because it had soaked the insulation with diesel fuel. It also melted the paint off the coil shroud, burned up the transformer and worse yet, we ran out of water in the tank trying to put out the fire. So we drove down the street engulfed in flames and smoke, found a water spigot and hose at someone’s house at one a.m. in the morning, turned on their hose and put out the fire. All the neighbors woke up. Someone called the fire department and of course two police cars showed up. All this because the water wasn’t staying hot while we were cleaning sidewalks in the middle of the night and we thought we’d adjust the fuel pressure screw. This wouldn’t have helped anyway because we had a water flow problem that was shutting off the water early before it reached the correct temperature. Please don’t touch that screw! – Call the dealer. So you see you really can learn from our twenty years experience. That happened fifteen years ago, but we at headquarters will never forget it.
Fuel Control System
Our units utilize a fuel solenoid valve located on the fuel pump to control the flow of fuel to the combustion chamber. This solenoid, which is normally closed, is activated by a flow-switch when water is flowing through it. When you release the trigger on the shut-off gun, the flow of water through the flow switch stops turning off the current to the fuel solenoid. This closes the solenoid, shutting off the supply of fuel to the combustion chamber.
By controlling The Flow of Fuel in this way, our machines are unique in that they create instantaneous burn-or-no-burn situations. The solenoid allows us to maintain safety by eliminating high and low water temperatures. Temperatures too low won’t clean well and temperatures too high can cause an explosion, fire or melt down of the machine components. We’ve also nearly eliminated combustion smoke associated with our units by incorporating this shut-off gun. It also saves fuel and prolongs the life of the insulation. Not to mention that it doubles the time between regular de-scaling maintenance of the schedule 80 coils.
I recommend periodic inspection to insure that the fuel solenoid valve functions correctly. To do this, simply stand by the exhaust of the coils and pull the trigger on your gun. When it makes a low rumble sound you know everything is working great. With this patented solenoid in place on the machine we believe it to be a much safer piece of equipment.
Periodically you should inspect the wires, spring contacts and electrodes for their condition, security and proper spacing. To perform a transformer test, use a screwdriver (with no defects) with an insulated handle. Be sure to keep your fingers off the metal parts of the screwdriver. Lay the blade across one contact and within 1/2 inch of the other contact. The transformer should arc with a small lightening bolt over the 1/2 inch distance. Be careful not to touch this because it is something like 10,000 volts.
Keep the tip of the nozzle free from surface deposits. Use a clean solvent saturated rag. Be careful not to plug or enlarge the nozzle when cleaning. For maximum efficiency, replace the nozzle at tune up time every two to two and one-half years.
Usually steam cleaners are factory adjusted for operation at seventy-five feet above sea level. If your unit operates at five hundred or more feet above sea level, you may need to make a one time correction because the higher above sea level you are, the thinner the air. This correction will improve efficiency, performance, economy and extend your machines service life. If you notice smoky or eye burning exhaust coming from your machine, it probably needs adjusting. But first, make sure you are burning clean fuel. Number One home heating fuel is best, but kerosene is ok. Diesel fuel can be used also.
An oily smoky fire indicates lack of air and the air band should be turned to allow the air to flow through the burner. A sharp eye-burning fume indicates too much air is flowing through the combustion chamber and unburned fuel is escaping so turn the air band the opposite way.
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 working correctly. If you have a trailer unit the jarring and speed bumps can cause issue with the system and you could find yourself trying to put out the fire in your machine. It could even blow up in your face and hurt you or potentially possibly if you were unlucky kill you. Play it safe, inspect it regularly and don’t get hurt or caught up in a lawsuit. Think about it.