Picture it: You arrive at your wash after it being closed for several days due to extremely cold temperatures. The weather is supposed to warm up above freezing today, and the streets will be dry.

You’re almost salivating as you open the doors, anxious to recoup some of the money that you didn’t make this week. That’s when you realize your heat isn’t working and everything is frozen solid. And by everything, I mean everything: pumps, water tanks, chemical tanks — you name it. Solid bricks!

Working in Sonny’s Tech Support Division, we have taken this type of call too often lately: Customers telling us that overnight temps have reached 40 below zero, wreaking havoc in equipment rooms across the country.

Even when things thaw out, chances are pretty good the pump’s seals, valves and diaphragms are fried. Which pumps, you ask? All of them! Chemical, high pressure, repress, you name it! If it has seals and diaphragms, the extreme temperature swings will cause swelling and contraction to the point of failure.

How can this be avoided? The first thing to do is get the heat fixed! After that, anytime the forecast is for temps below 0 degrees, drain all your pumps and tanks prior to closing, leaving nothing in them to freeze. Yes, it will cost you some money for the chemical you dump, but would you rather have a few bucks go down the drain or several thousand dollars lost by paying costly repairs and losing customers?

Taking a few extra steps can save your equipment from extreme conditions and, in the long run, keep the cash flowing.


Victor Alonso is a 15-year industry veteran, an instructor in CarWash College and a Tech Support Specialist. You can reach Victor at [email protected]For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit CarWash College or call the registrar’s office at 1-866-492-7422.

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