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How should I protect my carpet cleaning equipment against freezing?
Freezing temperatures: Machine break down alert!!
Whenever the temperature drops below freezing, one thing is guaranteed: We will get lots of calls from carpet cleaners with broken down machines! Machine damage caused by freezing can mean lost work days, cancelled jobs and an expensive repair bill!
Common problems include:
- Cracked brass connection on carpet wands and hand tools
- Cracked brass connections inside the extractor
- Failed pressure gauges
- Failing pump motors
- Leaking pump heads
- Failing vac motors
What to do with a frozen machine
So what do you do if you arrive at a job and find your machine is frozen and there’s no water coming out the pump? First, don’t keep trying to run the pump if it’s frozen – you may well burn the motor out. Instead bring the machine indoors and run the vac motors. This will quickly warm the machine up and allow the pump to defrost much more quickly. If you are lucky your machine will be ok once it’s defrosted. Check for leaks as these are common after freezing. If there is a leak get it fixed straight away – if the pump head’s leaking then water can find its way into the motor and break the motor too, which means a much more expensive repair.
Always carry a spare wand valve
The most common part to fail is the wand’s trigger valve. If you have a wand valve that’s begun leaking after being frozen it’s best to replace the whole valve as it is likely to have been distorted inside. If you don’t have a spare you probably can’t clean any carpets – so a comparatively cheap part can end up costing you a lot of money. It’s always a good idea to keep a spare wand valve, they’re not expensive and you will need it at some point.
How to stop your equipment freezing
1. Bring it in doors
By far the best way to prevent freezing is to bring your equipment indoors. If this is an option, this is what you should do. We recommend you bring inside your machine, wands, hand tools, solution hoses and sprayers. In fact anything with water inside. This may be inconvenient, but a machine break down and a repair bill can be a lot worse!
2. If you can’t bring it, use a heater
If you can’t bring your equipment indoors, consider using a thermostatically controlled heater to keep the temperature in the van above freezing. For example a greenhouse heater or oil filled radiator. Ebersprache heaters are expensive, but many truck mount owners swear by them. If you use a heater, follow the instructions carefully and obviously beware of causing a fire hazard. If you run electrical cables to your van, beware of trip hazards and make sure the cables/extension cables are suitable for outdoor use.
If you’re handy and have space, some customers have built a small cupboard for their equipment, insulated it and then installed a cheap greenhouse heater which kicks in when the temperature drops near freezing.
Be warned, wrapping your machine in a duvet won’t prevent your machine from freezing! Avoid breakdowns and bring it indoors.
We expect lots of calls from carpet cleaners with frozen machine problems this winter – please take precautions and avoid being one of them!