How to start a carwash: Monitoring chemical use - Professional Carwashing & Detailing

How to start a carwash: Monitoring chemical use

Once a chemistry balance has been set, owners should look for the most effective methods to check and monitor their wash's use of chemicals.

Wash chemicals are imminently important in today's tunnel or bay. Not only can excessive use of chemistry lead to loss of profitability, overuse can create diminished wash results as well. Once a chemistry balance has been set, owners should look for the most effective methods to check and monitor their wash's use of chemicals.

Brent McCurdy, president of Blendco Systems, offers the following tips for new carwash owners and operators that want to ensure their washes are not using chemicals in a wasteful and ineffective manner.

How to start a carwash tip 1: Measure use per year.

Option one is to measure usage at the end of the year and divide it by the number of cars or minutes sold, according to McCurdy. Yet, this is a “rough” option, and it requires waiting until it is too late for owners and operators to identifying issues such as over or under usage.

How to start a carwash tip 2: Mark containers.

Another way operators can monitor usage is to mark the containers with dates, McCurdy notes. Owners estimate the percentage of the drum used since the last measurement and then divide by the number of cars or minutes. Again, this option is not exact. “With a 30-gallon drum, is not easy to determine usage of, say, 2 gallons,” McCurdy states. “This also has a long lag time if you make a correction … identifying and specifying a new exact usage.”

Read also: Chemistry for sign maintenace

How to start a carwash tip 3: Flow testing.

McCurdy says a good way to measure chemical usage is through a flow test. This test can be performed using a graduated cylinder while running three or four vehicles through the wash. This provides sufficient usage or draw during the washes to determine the usage per vehicle. This method can be messy and time consuming, and errors in reading can occur, especially if footvalves do not hold.

How to start a carwash tip 4: Weigh containers.

A container can be placed on a scale before and after use, and the difference in weight can be translated into a volume usage, McCurdy explains. A conversion chart that shows what each gram represents in volume is required. This method is preferred by McCurdy because it is not as messy, and errors are less likely to occur. The downside: Scales cannot weigh larger containers, and the scale requires an investment, as well as some data about the specific gravity of the chemical.

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