If you have heavy equipment and either are washing it yourself, or are looking for a pressure washing contractor, you might be wondering what exactly is the best method to get it all clean.
Every machine owner or power wash tech probably has his own way of cleaning a piece of heavy equipment, but here’s some tips to make sure the job is done right and as quickly as possible.
Before I get into details, though, I have to address the variety of machine owner considerations, such as how often to clean and degrease an excavator or other piece of construction equipment.
Some owners and companies clean their equipment as rarely as a year or more and some monthly. As you can imagine, this can drastically change the amount of time and effort that goes into getting a machine clean. Pressure washing by itself will not clean and degrease an excavator, backhoe or any other piece of machinery. Power alone will not do it and too much power in the wrong places can push grease out of important wear areas.
Grease, over time will begin to harden, likely making it necessary to scrape it off areas around knuckles and on booms. The drier parts will not move with only high pressure, no matter how much you wash it.
These areas must be degreased using a suitable cleaner, and usually takes more time than the actual washing process. What that soap, or degreaser is, can have a lot to do with where you are washing the equipment and what the local and federal laws are.
Is it bio-degradeable? Is it acidic or alkaline? Where are the residues going? How are the hydrocarbons managed? For instance, lets say you have a wash bay with an oil/water separator. Do you know if the degreaser or soaps you are using are going to cause problems with the process of removing the oil from the water.
Hot water pressure washing has advantages over cold water cleaning. First, hot water is itself a kind of detergent, which means it can break down dirt, grease and oil by itself. Adding a good high pressure soap can then be more efficient, allowing you to use less, and reducing the amount of runoff, water used, and the soap on the ground, which is always better for the local environment.
Powering off dirt and grease with cold water takes much longer to achieve a satisfactory result and again, uses much more degreaser and soap.
IMPORTANT: Keep your tracks as clean as you can between equipment cleaning as heavily compacted mud and vegetation in and around the tracks of a machine like an excavator can take as long or longer than the entire rest of the machine.
This is even more important in the winter and the early spring. Wet mud, pieces of tree limbs, and branches and freezing can stop you dead in your tracks. And this will take even longer to get you free. So the operator should, at free times, make sure that the tracks are regularly attended to.
Lastly, is it cost effective to clean your equipment? If you are not particularly busy and you have a good hot water pressure washing machine, then yes, it is. But if you are busy and you’re paying wages to an operator who is better at land clearing than equipment washing, and thinks the job is beneath him, the answer is no.
A qualified professional tech, can degrease and pressure wash a machine faster and better, which can actually mean a cost savings, rather than an additional expense.
So the next time you want to get that excavator, backhoe, dump truck or what have you, all clean, you might just want to call a professional pressure washing service that uses hot water. If there’s no on site water, ask them if they are able to carry their own water, and how much experience they have cleaning heavy equipment.
And whether you’re located in Vancouver British Columbia, Dallas Texas, or Minot North Dakota, make sure you comply with your local and national eco standards.
Check here for more information on equipment washing, high and low pressure power for different cleaning jobs.