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Pressure Washing Business; Steam Cleaner Fuel Maintenance
You need to fully understand how the fuel system works on your hot water pressure washer or steam cleaner. If you mess with it, it can catch fire, and if you’re not good enough to get it out, you can lose your machine. This type of equipment is known to explode, and Hydrotech out of California has a CD ROM video of a machine exploding when a fuel leak ignites to show an operator what can actually happen. We recommend Hydrotech hot water pressure washers. Some people prefer Landa, but we’ve tried them all.
If your hot water pressure washer is diesel powered, you must replace this diesel filter. All hot water pressure washers have a burner that uses diesel fuel, kerosene or natural gas to heat the water. If you use diesel fuel or kerosene, make sure the fuel is clean. Clogged filters cause blockages and will shut down the burner due to lack of fuel flow. You should clean the crud out of your filter every other month.
There is a fuel pressure adjustment on the burner. To adjust the fuel pressure in your burner (which we do not recommend), turn the adjusting screw counterclockwise to decrease the fuel flow; Clockwise to increase fuel flow. Warning: Never exceed 145 lbs. fuel pressure; If you do this, you will create a huge flame at the top of your steam cleaner. You will also burn the insulation around the coil. I even set the coil on fire. I turned off the heat but the fuel continued to burn because the diesel fuel had soaked the insulation. It also melted the paint on the coil cover, burnt the transformer and worse we ran out of water in the tank trying to put out the fire. So we went down the street engulfed in flames and smoke, found a bucket of water and a hose at someone’s house at one in the morning, turned on their hose and put out the fire. All the neighbors woke up. Someone called the fire department and of course two police cars showed up. All because the water wasn’t heating up when we were cleaning the sidewalk in the middle of the night and we thought we’d adjust the fuel pressure screw. This wouldn’t help though as we had a problem with the water flow which was shutting the water off early before it reached the correct temperature. Please don’t touch that screw! – Call the dealer. So you can really learn from our twenty years of experience. It happened fifteen years ago, but we at headquarters will never forget it.
Fuel control system
Our units use a fuel solenoid valve located on the fuel pump to control the flow of fuel into the combustion chamber. This solenoid, which is normally closed, is activated by a flow-switch when water is flowing through it. When you release the trigger on the shut-off gun, the flow of water through the flow switch stops the flow to the fuel solenoid. This closes the solenoid, cutting off the supply of fuel to the combustion chamber.
By controlling the fuel flow in this way, our machines are unique in that they create instant burn-or-no-burn conditions. The solenoid allows us to maintain safety by eliminating high and low water temperatures. Temperatures that are too low will not clean well, and temperatures that are too high can cause machine components to explode, catch fire, or melt. By incorporating this shut-off gun we have also virtually eliminated the combustion fumes associated with our units. This saves fuel and extends the life of the insulation. Not to mention that this schedule doubles the time between routine de-scaling maintenance of 80 coils.
I recommend checking the fuel solenoid valve periodically to make sure it is working properly. To do this, stand near the exhaust of the coils and pull the trigger on your gun. You know everything is working well when it makes a low rattling sound. Since this patent solenoid is in place on the machine we believe it is a much safer piece of equipment.
Wires, spring contacts and electrodes should be checked periodically for condition, security and proper spacing. To test the transformer, use a screwdriver (no damage) with an insulated handle. Be sure to keep your fingers away from the metal parts of the screwdriver. Place the blade on one contact and within 1/2 inch of the other contact. The transformer should be arced with small lightning bolts 1/2 inch apart. Be careful not to touch it because it is like 10,000 volts.
Keep the nozzle tip free from surface deposits. Use a clean solvent saturated rag. Be careful not to plug or enlarge the nozzle while cleaning. For maximum performance, replace nozzles every two to two and a half years during tune up.
Steam cleaners are usually factory adjusted to operate at seventy-five feet above sea level. If your unit operates at five hundred or more feet above sea level, you may need to make a time correction because the higher you are above sea level, the thinner the air. This upgrade will improve efficiency, performance, economy and extend the service life of your machine. If you notice smoky or eye-burning exhaust coming from your machine, it probably needs adjusting. But first, make sure you’re burning clean fuel. Number one is the best fuel for home heating, but kerosene is fine. Diesel fuel can also be used.
An oily smoke fire indicates a lack of air and the air band should be turned to allow air to flow through the burner. Sharp eyed burning smoke indicates too much air is flowing through the combustion chamber and unburnt fuel is escaping so rotate the air band in the opposite direction.
The fuel flow in your steam cleaner is the most critical part of your machine, it can do the most damage if not monitored or not working properly. If you have a trailer unit, jarring and speed bumps can cause system problems and you may find yourself trying to put out a fire in your machine. It can blow up in your face and even hurt you, or if you’re unlucky, possibly kill you. Play it safe, check it regularly and don’t get hurt or get sued. Think about it.
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