Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Driving You Crazy? or Ways of Driving Your Pressure Washers Pump

Driving You Crazy? or Ways of Driving Your Pressure Washers Pump

The pump is one of the main components of your system. How it turns to produce the pressure comes from a motor electric or gas that is the end of it right? Pictures all are provided by Cleaned by Pete via his equipment and washers except the hydraulic photo, I do not have a tractor so I don't have a need for this washer.

No pumps are divided into different speeds or RPMs they also are mounted differently and have different life-spans. If you can a turn a pump slower but still achieve the desired pressure and water flow you will do the same job only with less wear and tear on the pump. Less wear and tear means a longer life who would not want their pump lasting longer? How is this done? Why would you want anything else? Well the answer starts here, what do we need to do? 

First thing is we need a pump that runs at  1700 RPM (rounds per minute). These pumps will have larger cylinders, capable of pumping larger volumes of water. With each stroke of the pistons in the pump's head more pressure and more water can be pumped out. Since the pump is turning slower it will last longer. The three most common ways of doing this are by using pulleys and belts, using a gear drive or gear driven speed reducer, and the last method which is not to common is a hydraulic pump (as a pto shaft or hd pump on say a tractor). These methods use a gas powered engine to make power and then you can transfer that power to the pump.
Top view of one of the belt driven pumps from Cleaned by Pete.

 Belts and pulleys
Belts and pulleys come in different configurations and you can "over drive" as well as "under drive" the pump by changing one or both pulleys. The main thing here is you still must have the correct size of gas engine to provide the RPMs as well as the required torque. To small of engine or to little of HP horse power can not compress the larger volume of water in the head of the pump which the pistons are trying to compress. Belts and pulleys are the most common way a commercial or industrial grade power washers are driven.
Cleaned by Pete's belt driven pump, twin belts transfer power form the motor to the pump this is a 5 gpm @ 2500 psi with a 13 hp Honda engine.

Under Cleaned by Pete's Landa skid belts provide power to the pump as well as the 110 volt generator seen on the right.  Since it is pulling a pump 5 gpm @ 3500 psi and a generator it needs a larger motor in this case 18 hp twin Briggs supplies the power.
You can see the pump and the belt and pulleys that drive it in this picture.

Gear driven or Gear Reduction
Gear driven or Gear Reduction set ups have an enclosed set of gears such as the transmission on a car. The gear ratio cuts the speed of the motor in half or there about half speed. This will let you use a belt driven pump but via the transmission you can bolt it to your engine. This makes the pressure washer a smaller and more compact size. This method is gaining popularity with pressure washer builders. This method of driving the pump still has all the advantages of the belt driven unit but as stated above the "footprint" is smaller when using a small pickup as Cleaned by Pete does this gives us more room for other needed items. Smaller footprint washers and vehicles are becoming a must when trying to stay as "green" or earth friendly.
Gear driven Hypro pump the small transmission reduces the speed of this 15 hp engine to around half to power the 4 gpm @ 3200 psi pump.

The belts and pulleys are replaced by this gear reduction or gear box transmission Cleaned by Pete's gear driven pump.

Hydraulic drive
The  hydraulic drive is not that popular but does need to have a mention. A hydraulic drive system is a drive  system that uses pressurized hydraulic fluid to drive hydraulic machinery via a vane which than can transfer those RPMs to that same pump used on the other two systems mentioned above.
PTO driven pump via the shaft on a tractor.
Hydraulic drive on a pressure washing pump

Why do we as power washers chose one of the systems listed above? I have mentioned the life of the pump is doubled it simply last longer. An other reason power washers like this system or pump it will "draw water". Drawing water means the pumps volume of water is large enough and slow enough to pull water from a tank or reserve. I does not need to be forced fed water from a water tap or a well pump system. You see big water tanks that are used in areas where there is no water supply. These pumps can create enough suction or draw to pull water from a tank or gravity feed (bottom of the water tank is above the level of the intake on the pump. These pumps with larger pistons and water volume usually move larger gallons per minute and have higher pressure. Remember GPM x PSI = TCU (gallons per minute x pressure per square inch = Total Cleaning Units) or the work our washer can do. Draw backs are these pumps cost more and are larger. They need more maintenance at times, changing oil in the transmission, new belts or belt adjustments 

The Direct Drive Pumps 

Direct drive pumps work in the same manner but turn or spin at the same speed of the engine or motor driving them. Since they spin at 3400 RPM to 3600 RPMs they wear out quicker and have smaller pistons most direct drive pumps don't have large volumes of water. They can draw some water but it is not advised to use them in that matter. Gravity feed if set up correctly will work but most have to be force fed from a water tap or some type or other pumping devise. I have used a sump pump to supply water to them, they will need the supply of water to match their outputs if you are putting out 4 GPM you need 4 gallons per minute going in. The direct drive pump is found on most consumer grade systems. 
A direct drive nickle plate pump putting out 4 gpm @ 4000 psi driven by a Lifan 15 hp engine.

A direct drive nickle pump putting out 3.5 gpm @ 2700 psi driven by a Mitsubishi  7 hp engine.

Direct drive General pump 4 gpm @ 4000 psi powered by a 15 hp Lifan engine.

You can see in this picture the direct drive housing that protects and connects the motor to the pump. Cleaned by Pete portable heated unit photo.

The direct drive pump can also be found to attach to an electric motor. Most electric motors run around 1750 RPM some run at 3400 RPM your pump must be attached and mounted to the correct size motor. Electric motors are rated still in horse power but they are classed differently than a gas motor. Torque produced in an electric motor is constant unlike a gas motor. Electric motors start and run constant even under load gas motors have governors that speed up or throttle down the engine under load to keep it constant. You can find belt driven electric power washing units also and they will have a longer life as it gas breathers do.
C frame pump mounted directly to a 1 1/2 hp electric motor.

An electric kitchen cleaning unit capable of running hot water from the kitchen boiler or hot water heater do to its special packings.

This is an old "barrel pump" set-up the direct drive pump is a Hypro twin cylinder that was the standard for carwashes in the old days.
This is a 3600 RPM C frame pump for an electric motor only via a special adaptor it is mounted to a 6 hp gas engine. A Cleaned by Pete special build.

A closer view of a "C" frame pump designed to work with and bolt on to electric motors with a "C" plate face.

This is just some highlights on driving a power washer picking which way you need will boil down to what you are looking to do with it. You need to decide on a few things cost, life, style, footprint, what will power it, are just some of the questions that should be addressed before you purchase a washer. For Cleaned by Pete and what we do we have several different washers and use several types of drives depending on what the job requires. The question is always is my motor big to run this pump. Pumps require a certain horse power and speed and much be matched to the motor or engine. You can always use a bigger motor or engine with no problems but to big of pump will not work out. 


Thursday, April 24, 2014

House Washing Wednesday, Springfield MO

House Washing Wednesday, Springfield MO

Time once again to show case what we do. House washing finds us in Springfield MO. Here is what it looks like with a cleaning from Cleaned by Pete. You can see the pictures we are power washing the brick and mortar surface of the home, along with the concrete stoop. The house's brick and mortar looked just like the concrete steps. Owner was very pleased and was amazed at the fact you can now see each brick out lined with a nice clean line. Taking great care with this 80+ year old home.
Cleaning the stoop, Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.
Cleaning the stoop, Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.

Cleaning the brick and mortar, Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.

Cleaning the brick and mortar, Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.

Cleaning / washing the painted wooden window sills greater care has to be taken, house washing Springfield MO.

Cleaning / washing the fascia and soffit along with the wood trim bring the white back to life, Cleaned by Pete Springfield MO.

Cleaned by Pete house washing Wednesday Springfield MO.

Sun came out and helped dry the house the brick really pops out now and along with the gutters and window sills this house is looking good.

Sun came out and helped dry the house the brick really pops out now and along with the gutters and window sills this house is looking good.

Sun came out and helped dry the house the brick really pops out now and along with the gutters and window sills this house is looking good.

Cleaned by Pete safely washed this beautiful older home (80+ years old) from the ground no ladders on your home, no climbing around on the roof, no unsafe actions, just great results, using longer poles and lances. Cleaned by Pete Springfield MO.
Cleaned by Pete
serving the greater Springfield MO area
"cleaning up Springfield MO one home at a time"

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Should of Would of Could of?

Should of would of could of?

I should have written a new entry in the blog. I would have written a new entry in the blog but for the lack of time. I could still write a entry in the blog but I'm heading out to a job in a short bit. So what it taking up my time that keeps me from blogging? Spring is here weather is good and folks in the Ozarks are having things cleaned, it is great.
I then come home and work on the little service truck that went down on us a few weeks back. It has taken on a whole new life and it should be back in the field washing next week. Here is a quick shot of it, before and now.
Cleaned by Pete's little service truck doing it duty.

Same little service truck with a new flat bed, new 5 gpm washer, a new look and new equipment being mounted. There is more work to be done. Cleaned by Pete updating by adding new equipment and washers to serve our costumers better.

Cleaned by Pete working on the "little service truck". Helping this world out by saving gas, oil, water, and using safe and friendly cleaners. A smaller footprint means we are doing our part to help the environment. Do you need a big truck, pulling a full trailer, with a high powered pressure washer, to wash a house? Cleaned by Pete knows there is a better way to "safely soft wash" a home call us 417.459.7869 we can show you how.
Not done yet, mounting the equipment and a newer 5 gpm washer on it today.
Have more to finish off and more to work out but it's getting ready to hit the road. I'll post up the finished photos soon as it happens. With this setup we should be able to serve our customers better and save wear and tear on the pick-up and myself too, as Martha Stewart would say, "This is a good thing".

Cleaned by Pete
serving the greater Springfield and Southwest MO area
"cleaning up Springfield one home at a time"

I felt I had to add this rebuttal to the blog after a comment was made to me about not being a "professional looking" power washer cause I don't pull a big trailer with a big pick-up, cause that is what is expected. I have a larger service truck with a Landa heated 18 hp, 5 gpm, 3500 psi, with a 110 volt generator, diesel fuel heated burner, with everything needed to wash or clean most residential and commercial accounts self-contained in and on it. I also have a trailer with water tanks, 110 volt generator, lights and its' own plug ins and fuse boxes and a Mi-T-M skid, similar to the Landa described above, but I chosen to use this smaller pick-up I built instead, so I'm considered by some as a nonprofessional.
Cleaned by Pete is making progress on the "small footprint" service truck. Lettering on today should be ready to work this coming week.
I was told that this is too small to work out of, that a "real professional" needed a big truck and a trailer. Why I asked and the answer was "Cause that is the way it is done". Well never being one to follow along, I know there are better ways of doing things and better ways of approaching things. Let's look this over and you can then be the judge on the matter.

What do you need to wash a home the safe soft wash way? Most professionals would say you can use a smaller pump but only a 5 gpm (gallon per minute) pump would work for them. OK this pump is rated at 5 gpm. You need a buffer tank OK I have a 35 gallon tank on-board, My question is why do you want a 300 gallon to 525 gallon tank full of water to use as a buffer tank? For most residential jobs the smaller tank will work fine. Landa who make some of the best equipment only have 3 to 5 gallon buffer or reserve tanks on their factory designed skids. Why don't they have 300 gallon tanks if is such a factor. Now before you say I need to haul in water for a job and need that much to get the job done. Well if I do not have a water source I don't take the job I refer it to another local company that carries 525 gallons of water.  One thing on a side-note here is water is @ 8.33 pounds per gallon that is 2499 extra pounds of weight at 300 gallons and for a big tank (525 gallons) 4165 pounds of weight. That is liquid weight moving and sloshing around when starting and stopping. The extra wear on the transmission and drive train alone is more of a reason to downsize the "footprint" size.

The pressure required to soft wash a house is around 800 psi or less why do I need a large skid with 4000 plus psi when doing a house. I need that for washing concrete yes your right! So when I wash concrete I put on and will bring another unit that will handle that. I have several washer to serve our customers needs and I bring the ones that are needed to handle the job that I'm doing. Not having one pressure washer trying to do the needs of all jobs but having the right washer for each job. Cleaned by Pete has 13 different washer to fit different needs, if you follow the blog you know or have seen our surface cleaners. So pressure and washer size is not a problem I bring what is needed that is why there is extra room on the flatbed. One other plus to our method is if one of the washers should go down, break, or have a problem I have another one with me to finish the job.

Professional use only the best equipment  and belt driven pumps are the industry standard. OK the main unit on the "small footprint" little pick-up is a Mi-T-M twin belt driven General Pump. The other pump I take along for house washing and general washing is a Hypro geardriven pump. Along with our Landa and Mi-T-M heated skids Cleaned by Pete has other belt driven units as well as direct drive units both gas and electric. All falling into the commerical if not industrial level of quality. Just because it is not on a skid does not mean it is not quality.

You don't have heat we have heat on our trailer! I have one heated unit that I can load up on the flatbed and it will maintain around 150 degrees of heated water using diesel fuel to heat it. I also have a propane heated unit and 3 dry steam or vapor cleaners I can use. I don't have to take them unless I need or may need hot water. I have an option and I still keep the "footprint" small. I have mounted a hosereel pictured below, and will have the entire truck plumed with a water supply provided by the external tap on the homeowners house or business location. 

I have another big advantage with the small "footprint" Friday I did a job where parking a truck and trailer on the street was not feasible.  Running hose to the home and backyard was also not really feasible, though it could be done with around 500 feet of hose which is no problem for Cleaned by Pete. Running it around the landscaping and all the plants and irrigation system at this home would make it hard. The drive way went up at close to 30 if not 40 degrees with no area to turn around or level out to park a trailer and truck on. I could how ever pull up the small pick-up and park in the far corner to work out of and the customer was able to get by when needed. If you are doing soft-washing and down-streaming your soap and cleaner 500 feet of hose would not draw. Gas is going up thus making a smaller footprint a big impact on the environment by using less gas and oil. It seems like a no-brainer here. There are places here in the Ozarks where you could not drag a trailer in and expect to get back out. We're are mobile cleaning / washing contractors getting to the job is part of what we have to do.

I guess I might just turn the question around, Why do you need a 4x4, crew cab large box pickup and a 16 foot trailer to pull to each and ever job, with that hot water, high pressure skid on it? When a "smaller footprint" would do "Earth-friendly" and helping to save money and time is more important to me than "A real professional needed a big truck and a trailer cause that is the way it has always been done". Sorry just maybe it is time to change, and change is coming more manufactures and power washing houses are offering smaller but as powerful washes that fit in to a standard pick-up bed. More contractors are looking for way to serve their customer base better with better cost effective means. The smaller "footprint" is coming.

I believe I have answered all the major issues that were put before me when I started to build this little service truck.

Now with all this being said is there a need for large trailers with powerful machines and large water tanks? The answer is yes there is we need these cleaners and there large service trucks to pull them. There are jobs that require there special designs and what they do. I am not saying get rid of trailers and pressure washing skids, I don't want to get rid of mine I need it at times. What I'm saying is you need what you have for what you do, I need and have what I need for what I do. Why do you look down on me, refer to my service truck as a low baller, why did you feel you had to refer to it as non professional? Is it because I'm doing things differently then you scared of change? Or maybe you see things starting to change but you don't want to, or have you put yourself so far above everyone else? It has always been funny that a few seem to know more about how you should run, work and what you should do with your business, as well as what will work for you even if they don't live here or do what you do.

On a side-note; driving this around town the last couple of days it has drawn quite a bit of attention and lots of positive remarks. Most of the people who have seen it, think is is a neat looking rig. Getting alot of double takes which should help in the advertising area, the more visible and memorable you are the better. My idea was to be able to work with this but also to have a impact that appeals to others that will help promote our business. Everything form the vintage rotating caution lamp, the aged lettering, the vintage saltflat discs to the washer and tank placements are all set up to get the biggest and best attention to help remember it. Being able to park it up front at stores, instead of along side the building or out in the parking lot where a large truck and trailer always seems to be in someones way, is a good thing too. Still a bit of work to do but it should all come together soon.

Cleaned by Pete adding a hose-reel on our "little service truck"

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Yellow Book?

The Yellow Book?

Being a small business in today's economy a dollar spent needs some return. With this in mind I wrote this entry I know it is not how or why something on a pressure washer works. It has merit do to the fact we expect to see some results for money spent.  Our customers want to see a difference we are also customers and are we due the same?

I have been advertising in "The Yellow Book" since I began my power washing company. They had a local office and you could go in and talk to them, which was quite handy. Getting your name out as a small business is a must and having it in print gives a person some pride as a business owner. Having a listing in the yellow part of the book meant and showed that you were a true business.

My association with "the yellow book" has went on for a few years now and even had them build a one page web sight to promote our web presents. It used a few of our pictures and redirected you to our main web sight "Cleaned by Pete" which would help increase traffic if any one was using it. All in all I was very happy the first year then things started down hill. The local office was downsizing and my rep was being let go and I would have to deal with who ever was filling a chair at that time. The second year came with a price increase, you see the first year is cheaper just to hook a sucker in. Still beaming with pride that I was a business I signed back up paying more for the same service. People were still using "the yellow book" some then. The big change came during the third and forth years closing down the local offices and starting to change the name in late 2012. It seems "the yellow book" was becoming something else. With this change it took an act of congress to get a change on the web page that we were paying for. It was to the point I gave up. The company had a rep that would visit the area but was based in St Louis, a really different market from the Qzarks. Once she even told me she really didn't understand the folks down here. Now, that office in St Louis is gone and you deal with the office in Ohio and Ohio knows the Qzarks and the local businesses and clientele, right? The Hibu-slide was heading down hill fast for me. You know your doing something wrong when you have web sights set up to say you're not doing a good job, http://www.skywebcorp.com/small-business-marketing-blog/item/90-hibu-websites-review or http://www.consumeraffairs.com/misc/yellow_book.html.

 I had made up my mind that I had enough last year so I bought and designed two more sights at a fraction of the cost of what I was paying for "the yellow book" and the web page they set up for me. "Power Washing Springfield MO" and "Southwest Missouri Pressure Washing", with these two sights and the addition of this blog and it's sister blog "House Washing Springfield MO" our web presents grew and our rankings grew. I didn't cancel "the yellow book; now hibu" I kept the web page and took on a smaller add for one more year. I tracked calls to see where they found us. over the year I have had no one say the phone book, or "the yellow book"  and have not had one email off their web sight.

This brings us to today and what gave me the reason to write the entry. I get a call from Ohio "the yellow book / hibu" a salesman with the promises of a steady stream of new clients and more web exposure since "the yellow book: now hibu" is teaming and partnering with Google and add words (last year they had just teamed with Bing). They told me how I needed a Google+ page, which I agreed with, till he saw I already have a Google+ page kind of took the wind out of his sales pitch. The salesman offered to take in all my sights and have "the yellow book" family manage and work on them for more money. Boy that is all I need they could not get my phone to ring and I want to turn all advertising over to you. I brought up the fact that why are you calling yourself "Yellowbook" I thought you were "Hibu" he said they were "hibu" but...... he did not say much about that, "yellow book" was the only way he referred to himself and the company really trying to distance himself from the term "hibu". Wonder why? This has to be wrapped up now since today is the last day before they go to print, the salesman says, you need to make the decision now. This is where I knew I did not want their service any more. Today!, you call today the last day before print. Why didn't you call before the last day? Really shows me where my company ranks with them. Thought we would call you at the last minute and give you the privilege to be stuck in our book, at only $29.00 a month we value you that much. Didn't give me the impression that they even cared about my small business or the past years of advertising with them.

I know that the name "hibu" is taking a hit due to poor performance and some business tactics that are not looked at by the consumer as above board. I know that since "hibu" took over the number of spammers, scammers, telemarketers, and phone sales have increased 100 fold to my phone. I know this was not the steady stream of new customers I thought I was promised. This year I stood firm and had to refuse service from them. Ending of and era of being in print in the old school world of advertising the phone-book.

It seems that the worlds new phone book is in the palm of you hand the modern cell phone has replaced all forms of commutations. With the punch of buttons you can have what you need at your finger tips. I have made my web pages mobile friendly and have seen more traffic from them. Which leaves me with one question did I wait too long to ditch "the yellow book" or is there still some merit in this old printed way of advertising? I read on a recycling page that 80 to 90 percent of the people return their new phone-books within a month of receiving it. I'll walk out and test the waters without it this year right or wrong the die has been cast.

I feel I have been more than fair to them, I stayed with them and gave them several chances to help me and to improve but to no avail. Not saying that they are a bad company but they tried harder to grow themselves, than their customers companies and failed at both. I am not say that this type of advertising is bad or not productive but for me they did not meet what they said they would. For this reason I will no longer use them there are still other phone books out there maybe next year I'll give them a try. I grew up in a different time where it was drummed into you that the yellow-pages were where real companies were listed.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

House Washing Wednesday in Springfield MO

House Washing Wednesday

The cleaning season is in full swing so I thought I would revive "House Washing Wednesday" showing you what I do on Wednesday. It finds me washing a home and a small detached garage, in Springfield MO. Below are some photos of the job. 

House washing Springfield MO, Cleaned by Pete.

Soft washing to power washing Cleaned by Pete in Springfield MO.

Mold, mildew or algae removed from a homes siding call Cleaned by Pete Springfield MO.

Gutters brightened, homes cleaned / washed in Springfield MO and the surrounding area, Cleaned by Pete pressure washing and more.

Safe soft washing on all exterior surfaces Cleaned by Pete Springfield MO.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

One thing we face as a small business "The Pest".

One thing we face as a small business is "the pest".

Not bugs, not the dog next door or even neighborhood kids running around. As a small business owner we face a whole different type of pest; the unwanted solicitor. Better known as spammers, phishers, or telemarketers. Being a small business we need to take all leads and calls coming in, with cell phones you may never know where or who may be calling you for a job, quote or question about service. Each call or email is important and may help pay the bills to survive this economy.

Will they ever stop?
Your phone is ringing the number looks unfamiliar but you still need to answer it, only to get the "Your google map listing may not be right" or the pause that never says any thing. These marketers need to make a quota of calls each day you may find your phone getting two or three calls form the same number each day. I have a caller that I can not get rid of calls three times each Wednesday every week at almost the same time I know the number and just don't answer it, but it take time from what your doing, stopping getting the phone out and looking at the number. These phone calls are getting bad. More telemarketers are calling all the time if you answer they are selling your phone number to other telemarketers, it is big business annoying other people on the phone by wasting your time.

I have tried to slowed them down some, by waiting for the phone to ring at least three times then waiting about three to four seconds before saying the company name. I use to say Pete speaking how may I help you. With the "robo" call they have the company name and a contact person which they them call back later and pretend to know you or have done business with you. I now wait three to four seconds and say the company name and wait if no response I will hang up. Hopefully the robo call will take it as a fax, or answering machine and they will not call back or put your number up as a live number for others to call.

Emails are another source for these leaches to practice their trade. Even opening emails can now be tracked and can unleash some form of take over a "hack" maybe just your address book or worse. It takes time for you to do a search to see what is new or out there but you have to be careful you never know. What is one to do? I wish I knew we now live in a different world where thief and scammers are out there and participating in their trades only you are the one that looses each and every time. You loose time you loose productivity you could higher a screener or call center to receive your calls but you are a small business and pinching pennies now. In any case does trowing money at it  fix the problem? I think not, until things change or these practices are exposed callers will call emailers will email with out regards to you or me it is their business to intrude into ours.

As for now there is not much a person "the small business owner" can do but to help get the word out on these numbers I do post constant callers to some of the pages that do track them as: http://www.badnumbers.com/657-202-9040/ or http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-954-688-3007  this may help others or help drive these people away (fat chance) but it does help vent a bit if nothing else. Here is another one: http://www.callercenter.com/206-333-0505.html . Doing business in the modern world  takes different avenues and approaches.

I would like to add one more thing here. I have nothing against the men and women who make a living at call centers or even calling from their home, you need to make a living too. But no means "no" and you should honor a one call limit, most are courteous when told no. There are some, that give your industry a very bad name, but this is true in all industries.

This is just fitting! As I am fishing this entry off and doing a bit of rewording, I just now received a call from 503.333.577eight who is out of Portland OR but is working closely with the golf courses here in town and thought my company would be a good fit with their advertising package. What is the best thing they represent "the list of courses" which they don't know range from private courses, country clubs and those owned by the city, county or parkboard some do not advertise at all being that the parkboard owns and runs them. They didn't want to talk about this detail. Life is just full of little ironies isn't it.