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Advice from Steve Tucker Jr., president of G2 Equipment LLC, a manufacturer of industrial vacuums, parts and accessories headquartered in San Diego, CA. Tucker has more than 15 years’ experience in the carwash industry and can be reached at Steve@G2Equipment.com.
If space permits, some operators install additional vacuum/detail islands. Others choose to maximize their vacuum/detail space by installing a central vacuum system in the equipment room and piping suction to the vacuum islands.
With a central system, the same existing vacuum area can serve twice as many users while reducing energy consumption.
By running a central vacuum system with a variable frequency drive (VFD) or computer-controlled electric motor regulator, energy consumption is reduced tremendously.
For example, operators currently running six high-speed vacuums (standalones) can expect to save more than 55 percent off their new central vacuum electric bill with a VFD.
These central vacuum units are virtually maintenance-free and have a life expectancy of more than 11 years.
Plus, many power companies offer rebates at the time of purchase to operators who install these central vacuums with VFDs.
Considering the rebates offered by the power company, along with the reduced monthly electric costs, the ROI on the central system can be as short as 12 months.
Sometimes self-serve vacuums can be loud and therefore cause customers to rush through the vacuuming process. Central vacuums solve this problem because the vacuum that powers the hoses is located away from the actual vacuum islands. All the guests see and hear is the vacuum hose and its suction.
Customers will likely spend more time vacuuming and detailing their vehicles. Since there is room for plenty of hose drops, this extended vacuuming does not create a backlog of cars.
Carwash owners who face noise abatement regulations also benefit from the quieter self-serve central vacuums. Residential zoning requirements often preclude vacuum stations or limit the hours of operation because of their high noise level.
Advice from R.L. “Bud” Abraham, president of Detail Plus Car Appearance Systems of Portland, OR, and a nearly 40-year member of the car care industry. He is a founding member and the first executive director of the International Detailing Association and a member of the Western Carwash Association Board of Directors. He is also the Detail Editor of Professional Carwashing & Detailing. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Keep in mind that it will cost less to repair equipment than to replace it. But it is still an operating expense that every detail business owner would more probably like to avoid. That is easy to do. Just read the manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for daily and weekly maintenance.
For example, on vacuums and soil extractors:
Advice from Tom Tucker Jr., president and founder of Vacutech, a manufacturer of vacuum technologies for the carwash industry. He has been hard at work in the industry since 1968. Tom can be reached at 1-800-917-9444.
Follow these tips to make sure you are properly cleaning and taking care of your vacuum system's hoses and accessories for optimum performance.