Maintain Your Machines
7 Things To Check Before Scrubbing
1. Dry mop the floor.
Yes, it takes a little more time, but it's so worth the effort! Dry mopping helps prevent debris from being sucked up into your vacuum hose, and allows your squeegee blade to make full contact so that no streaks are left behind.
2. Check under the machine for leaks.
It's much better to identify a problem before starting a floor, instead of having to redo part of the floor later.
3. Look at the scrub brushes and pads.
Check for any wire or string wrapped around them. For pads, make sure they are clean and at least 1/3" thick.
4. Check the vacuum fan inlet filter.
Make sure it's clean.
5. Check the battery posts and cables.
Make sure they are clean and tight. Once a month, check the water level in your batteries after they have been completely recharged.
6. Check the bowl filter.
It's at the bottom of the machine but it's important. If it's dirty, simply unscrew it, clean it out, and put it back on.
7. Check your tires.
While you are looking at your bowl filter, take a look at your tires. For air-filled tires, ensure they're filled properly (typically 50 lbs. psi). For foam-filled tires, ensure they aren't overly worn, or broken. This is important because if your machine is sitting low because of deflated or broken wheels, it will affect pad pressure, your ability to remove your pad drivers, and the effectiveness of your squeegee. Don't ignore them!
6 Things To Do After Scrubbing
1. Drain, clean, and dry the tanks.
Check for obstructions in the tank itself and the hoses, and use a pressure hose to spray them out. Leave the tank and the recovery drain valve open so they air dry. Once a week, clean the tank with a sanitizing solution, to prevent mold, mildew, and odors.
2. Check the squeegee blade.
Wipe it off with a rag and see if it's damaged or worn down. If so, turn it or replace it.
3. Check the vacuum hose for obstructions.
It's extremely common for these to get clogged and it's an easy fix.
4. Check the vacuum lid gasket.
Clean it with a mild cleaning solution and be sure to rinse it thoroughly. A clean gasket ensures good suction.
5. Charging the batteries.
Be sure to prop the lid open and keep it propped open so your batteries have a vent. Most machines have a little lever for this very purpose. If this is not done, it will damage the wiring inside and create a fire hazard.
6. When loading your machine into a van or trailer.
Make sure the battery is disconnected and the key is off! This will prevent your motor from burning up if you accidentally strap down the forward/reverse control (which is often a bar or a button).
Don't Neglect Your Batteries: It Will Cost You!
The deep cycle batteries in your floor scrubber represent a significant investment. They are generally very reliable, and so after many cycles of charging, using the machine, and then recharging them again, it might be easy for us to take them for granted. But if they are at or near the end of their lifespan, you can save yourself a lot of problems and money by knowing how their condition will affect other important parts of your machine.
When do batteries need to be replaced?
As batteries age, you will notice the run time on your machine will gradually go down. For example, if you could run your scrubber for 3 hours a year ago before having to charge it, and now you can only run it for 2 hours, your battery's life cycle is near the end.
Remove the caps on the top of your battery and look inside the cell. If you see a substance that looks like grayish lint, that is sulfate. It's a good indication that it's time to replace the batteries.
Are the battery cables green or corroded? This may be an indication that your battery is ventilating gas, as a result of boiling the liquid inside every wet cell within the battery.
What happens if you keep using failing batteries?
Your charger will have to work harder, longer, and hotter to recharge your batteries. This shortens the lifespan of the charger, causing it to fail sooner, and it can take much longer fully charge a battery.
Longer charging periods actually cause the liquid in the battery to boil. Normally, batteries are ventilated to allow these gases to escape safely. However, these gases are what cause corrosion or green coloration on battery cables, over time. A buildup of corrosion prevents the gases from venting, causing the battery to overheat, leading to explosions, which destroys the battery and usually damages other parts on the machine.
Failing batteries may result in error codes on the scrubber display. You may experience intermittent problems or issues that will waste your time as you try and figure out what is wrong, and could lead you to incorrect conclusions about the source of the problem. Or in some cases, your machine could simply stop working altogether.
All systems in your scrubber are designed to run at a specific voltage and amp load. Just one bad cell in one battery can upset this balance and cause unnecessary wear on major components of your machine. Take the vacuum motor as an example. If your batteries can't meet the amp load required by the vacuum motor, it will overheat, the wiring will overheat, and soon the vacuum motor will need to be replaced.
Pay attention to how efficiently your batteries are charging; don't just set it and forget it. Watch for other indicators that it's time to replace old, failing batteries. There are some simple things you can do to maintain your batteries and monitor their condition. Give us a call, we're glad to help!
Need new batteries? We offer FREE SHIPPING to a terminal near you, when you order 4 or more batteries.
Unsure of which batteries fit your machine? Just use our battery finder.
Don't Neglect Your Charger: It Will Cost You!
When does a charger need to be replaced?
- Do you hear excessive noise when it is running? You may hear something that sounds like howling or buzzing. This could mean that the internal fan is failing or broken.
- When you plug in the charger, do you see a spark or an arc, or hear a popping noise?
- Do you smell burning wires or something hot?
- Does it seem like your batteries don't last as long as they previously did?
- Does your charger show an error code or flash a light indicating an incomplete cycle?
What happens if you keep using a failing charger?
- The charger could melt itself.
- The charger could melt the outlet it is plugged into.
- A charger is designed so that the rate of charge decreases over a period of time, by reading the current charge level of the batteries and adjusting accordingly.
You might think of it this way: Imagine pouring hot coffee into a mug. When you begin to pour, you might pour faster, but as the cup fills up, your rate of pour slows down. At the very end when the mug is almost full, you will be pouring much more slowly than you were when you first started. In the coffee scenario, if you never slowed up at the end of the pour, the worst that could happen is maybe some spilled coffee or a burn. However, when it comes to a charger that is not working properly because of age or malfunction, the consequences could be much worse! If the charger can no longer control its charging rate, it could give too much too quickly and destroy your batteries. Or it could take so long to charge the batteries, the batteries could overheat.
Listen and look for the symptoms of a failing charger. Chargers are cheaper than batteries, so when it's time to replace your charger you can feel good about your investment. Need a new charger? Give us a call, we're glad to help!
Don't Neglect Your Vacuum Motor: It Will Cost You!
The vacuum motor on your floor scrubber plays an important role in cleaning the floor. Let's face it, without it you would just be pushing around a river of dirty water! But here's the thing, like all components on your machine, vacuum motors only live so long. Eventually, they get old, draw excessive power and get hot. If the vacuum motor on your scrubber has reached the end of its life span and you ignore the signs, it will cost you!
When does a vacuum motor need to be replaced?
- Put your hand over the end of the vacuum hose; is the suction weak? By "weak" we mean that the suction offers little to no resistance. If you can easily pull your hand away, that's a bad sign.
- Do you notice a howling or whining sound when you switch the vacuum motor on and off?
- Does the vacuum motor smell or feel hot?
What happens if you keep using a machine with a failing vacuum motor?
- A failing vacuum motor will draw excessive amperage from the batteries, causing them to drain faster. You won't be able to run your scrubber for as long as you did previously, before having to stop and recharge. Even worse than losing time, don't forget that deep cycle batteries also have a limited life span. There are only so many times that you can drain and recharge them. When you have to recharge your batteries more than normal due to a poorly functioning vacuum motor, you will reach the end of your battery's life time much quicker. In other words, if you replace your vacuum motor right away, you make your batteries last longer!
- If you notice your vacuum motor isn't performing as it should and you keep scrubbing with it, you run the risk of overheating it. If that happens, the wiring to the motor could melt, or the wire harness could melt. That's more parts to buy in addition to a new vacuum motor.
- An old, failing vacuum motor can quickly become a dead vacuum motor, and will put an abrupt end to any job. This can be extremely frustrating to you and your customer.
Don't waste time and money by ignoring a failing vacuum motor; pay attention to the warning signs. Need a new vacuum motor? Give us a call, we're glad to help!
How To Maintain Your Propane Buffer
Following the 7 steps below every day will save you time, money, and frustration. The first two steps are the most important, and the most overlooked.
- Make sure your propane tank isn't overfilled. This is very important! If the tank overflows just one time, it could ruin the fuel regulator. Don't risk it!
- Check the engine oil level. Never skip this step! After wiping off the dipstick, set it back in place but do not screw it back in. Then take it out and look at the oil level. If you tighten the threads, you'll get an inaccurate reading.
- Check the bonnet filter on the engine and rinse it out with soap and water if it's dirty. Dry it by shaking it, then put it back on. Some prefer to do this at the end of the night, so that it will dry out and be ready for the next job.
- Check the paper filter element. Tap it to remove light dust, but if it's really dirty then replace it. Check the little pre-filter that is over the paper filter; it should be cleaned just like the bonnet filter.
- Check the wire harness for exposed or broken wires.
- Inspect the pad and pad driver. The pad should be clean and at least 1/3" thick. Do a quick check of the dust skirt and boot for any tears or damage.
- Check the belt tension. Simply grab one side of the belt and twist it. If it twists more than a quarter of a turn, it needs to be tightened.
What Should I Do When...
My Squeegee is Leaving Streaks
With a little investigation, this is a very fixable problem. Here's where to start checking.
Look at the squeegee blade.
If your squeegee looks like any of these pictures it is time to flip it over and start using one of its newer edges.
Are you putting down enough water to get the floor clean?
It takes more water to clean the floor in the winter months than it does during the summer months. You need enough water on the floor to keep the dirt suspended, so the squeegee can gather it and the vacuum can suck it up. If you don't use enough water, you will simply smear the dirt around with the squeegee. Yes, we know, if you use more water, then you will have to empty and refill sooner and more often. The good news is the floor will actually be clean when you walk away.
Is the vacuum hose clogged?
Check for obstructions at the bottom where it connects to the squeegee bar, and also at the top.
Does the squeegee bar need to be adjusted?
The squeegee bar needs even contact with the floor at all times, or you will see streaks. Check the little castor wheels on the sides of the bar; they are adjustable. They can move the bar up and down. If they are even, then you can check the bar itself which is also adjustable. On many machines, the squeegee bar attachment bracket, (the part that connects the bar to the machine) can get bent up. If this happens, there is no way to adjust the bar; you must bend that connecting piece back into place.
Tip: Remove the squeegee bar attachment bracket before loading the machine into a vehicle or trailer. It only take a second, and saves you time and frustration later on.
Still have streaks?
Give us a call, we're glad to help!
How Our Machines Are Refurbished
Buying a used, refurbished floor scrubber can feel a little bit like buying a used car. If you are going to invest in a used machine, you want to feel confident that you are making a good investment. We want to give you that confidence, so let us explain what we do to a floor scrubber when we refurbish it.
1. Initial Evaluation
For the used scrubbers that we purchase, their journey begins when they arrive at our warehouse in Vinton, Iowa. We remove the scrubber from the pallet and make sure it wasn't damaged during transit. Then, we unhook the battery cables and take out the batteries. The old batteries are set aside to be recycled. All of our scrubbers are sold with brand new batteries. Then it's time for a full inspection. One of our experienced technicians evaluates the machine. If it meets a list of requirements, it qualifies to be refurbished; otherwise we don't refurbish it.
We never, ever sell a machine that we wouldn't use ourselves.
2. Tank Check
The tank is filled with water to check for leaks. If a leak is found and is repairable, we repair it. If we can't repair it, the scrubber is not refurbished.
The scrubber is thoroughly cleaned. All of the electrical components, including the computer board, control panels, and the charger are removed. Then, the deck and squeegee bar are removed. They will be washed separately, because they usually need more effort to clean. To clean the machine itself, a detergent and hot pressure washer are used. If a tank has lime buildup, an acid bath is used to remove it. Wax is usually a problem, so we work hard to get it all off by scraping or even using a torch to burn it off. We get everything as clean as possible, so that our technicians can do their job at the next step.
4. Refurbish All Electrical and Mechanical Components
The scrubber is now clean, so all electrical and mechanical components are now evaluated, so that the scrubber will be restored to full operating condition.
- What is the condition of the transaxle? Do the wheels turn properly?
- Do the brushes turn freely?
- Does the computer controller function properly?
- What is the condition of the vacuum motor?
- Does the potentiometer work?
- Castor wheels
- Squeegee assembly
- Drive wheels
While one technician focuses on the body, transaxle, and electrical aspects of the scrubber, another technician focuses solely on the squeegee bar, the pad drive motor, the scrub head deck, and the charger.
The squeegee rubber is replaced as well as any little wheels it may need. Then it's cleaned again, and may even be repainted if needed. The pad drivers are carefully tested to make sure they function. If they don't meet our standard, they are taken apart. Any worn out parts are replaced with new ones. If the motor is beyond repair, a motor from another machine may be used, or a new one may be ordered. Next, new skirts are installed on the scrub head deck. The tech checks the pad drivers and the pads themselves. The deck is cleaned again and may be repainted if needed.
After these evaluations are done, the machine is re-assembled, and brand new batteries are installed. The scrubber is tested in our shop, and minor adjustments are made, so that the machine performs exactly as it should. All of our technicians are experienced floor care professionals; they know exactly how a machine should perform.
Our goal is to make the machine look as good as it possibly can. A variety of chemical cleaners and cleaning techniques are used to tediously spot clean everything. Repainting is done to all areas of the machine. Finally, the plastic body itself is detailed, to remove scrapes, scratches, and gouges. New decals are carefully applied.
At this point, the floor scrubber works great, looks great, and even smells great. It is photographed, added to our site, and moved to our warehouse until it is sold.
6. Verification at Time of Purchase
When a refurbished machine is purchased, we do a final test before shipping the machine, to ensure that nothing has changed while it was stored in our warehouse.
One of the technicians does a thorough, real-world test scrub on a rough concrete floor, which is an excellent way to evaluate the scrubber's performance. This test lasts 20 minutes.
Next, another technician will test the machine again, so that two technicians verify the machine is ready to ship. Once both techs are satisfied, the new batteries are fully charged with the charger that will go with the machine.