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Sonny's-Carwash College™ Tip of the Month

Reclaim your Savings

CarWash College™ Preventive Maintenance Tip of the Month

June 02, 2009
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Today it is almost standard to have a water reclaim system installed at new car washes. But unfortunately, due to the lack of understanding the benefits of the system, it has a tendency not to be used. Reclaim is not a type of water that can be used in all areas of the car wash. So let’s look at some of the areas where it can be used.

Reclaim water is most commonly used in the high-pressure water applications like wheel and side blasters. Reclaim can also be used on most wrap-arounds, side brushes, and mitters in the first stages of the car wash. In order to get the full benefit of the system, the reclaim system needs to be maintained and kept in optimal working order.

(1) Operational Checks
(a) Check for leaks around hoses and fittings. Repair any serious leaks immediately.

(b) Perform general examination of operation, listening for any unusual noises.

(c) Check pressure gauges. They should come up to pressure and remain steady.

(2) Closing Checks
(a) Check and clean inlet filter baskets on pumps.

(b) Inspect the odor control system on the unit to ensure proper operation.

(c) Clean inlet filter baskets and odor pumps.

(1) Clean all filter and strainers thoroughly.

(2) Conduct a close inspection of operating mechanisms and hoses for problems.


(1) Check oil level in the FRL.

(2) Check all hardware and fittings for tightness and clean thoroughly.

(3) Check emergency fresh water operation by manually turning off reclaim water supply.


(1) Have a professional sewage company clean all of the sediment tanks and oil separators.

(2) Check all plumbing to ensure that drainage is free flowing.


(1) Have a licensed electrician measure and record the "full load current" readings from each of the three legs of the motor on each producer. If the difference between the legs exceeds 10% creating an imbalance, or if the total "load current" of any motor has increased by more than 10% since the previous annual measurement, order and replace the motor.

(2) Replace all check valves.

Keeping the system maintained that supplies the car wash with quality reclaim water will not only reduce operational costs, it provides an opportunity to market the car wash as eco-friendly to consumers. With water costs always on the rise, the use of a reclaim system can save thousands of dollars per year.

Robert Andre is the President of CarWash College™. Robert can be reached at For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.