Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Are You Under Pressure?

Lustraâ„¢ Tip of the Month

April 14, 2010

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How 5 Minutes of Your Time Can Give You Insight as to how Accurate Your
Chemistry is Being Dispensed

In a challenging business climate, controlling costs while providing consumers a great carwash can put a lot of pressure on any carwash operator. But pressure is what you need to operate a successful wash and keep your costs under control; water pressure. Low and/or inconsistent water pressure impacts how chemicals are being delivered to the wash and can affect cleaning performance while wasting chemicals and water in the process. This can impact the results of the wash and leave your customers dissatisfied.

The chart below shows how changes in water pressure can impact water use, chemical dilution ratios and cost per car.

Injector feeding a tank; Set up when water pressure was at 60psi-Target $/Car $0.182
Product Cost for 55-Gallons $200.00
PSI GPM Flow Ratio Solution Usage / Car Oz Product / Car $/Car % Diff
30 5.1 67:1 5.00 Gallons 9.537 $0.271 49%
45 6 79:1 5.00 Gallons 8.107 $0.230 27%
60 7.6 100:1 5.00 Gallons 6.400 $0.182 0%
75 8.2 108:1 5.00 Gallons 5.932 $0.169 -7%

Depending on the type of equipment and how chemicals are injected into the wash processes, inconsistencies in the ratio of chemicals to water can occur. For instance, if you are using a pump supplied from a tank and the water pressure supplying the tank drops too low, the tank level may not keep up with the pump, causing pump cavitation which can cause it to run dry. Also, the reduced water pressure causes solution to water ratios to change, causing more chemical to be delivered to the wash than necessary. The same is true with injectors that are set to the desired ratio, when there is low system water pressure and when the water pressure goes higher, so do the ratios. Any decrease in pressure causes less water flow and the chemical ratio will be stronger. Varying water pressure can cause other problems like inconsistent spray patterns or lower chemical ratios changes that can result in less than satisfactory performance results.

Taking five minutes to determine the water pressure in your wash when it is static and under normal wash conditions is time well spent. Use a pressure gage on the water line going to your chemical delivery system and monitor for any inconsistencies in pressure. If it is too low or if it fluctuates dramatically, you are likely wasting chemicals and or providing inconsistent coverage to your customer’s vehicle. This is especially important if you are using concentrated products.

Adding regulators on water lines feeding chemical application systems can help balance your systems' pressure. Some cases may require a booster pump to remedy these issues and improve your wash performance.

Being aware of the water pressure and taking steps to gain consistent and adequate pressure will ensure your wash equipment is performing at its best and can prevent costly down time. Above all, you will keep your customers happy with the performance of your wash.

For more information go to Lustrabear.com.