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Thread: Cold weather KEC tips

  1. #1

    Default Cold weather KEC tips

    This is a repost from the Grease Police Forum that we post up every year when it turns cold to help greasers keep going:


    IT IS THAT TIME OF THE YEAR .. this was posted by deloc a few years ago .. time to start think about it.


    DO NOT LET YOUR WASHER FREEZE! If possible, store your pressure washer in a warm place. Automatic bathroom or "Milk House" electric heaters work well in small areas like small garages and inside of enclosed vehicles (vans, bobtails, trailers).

    For Natural Gas and LP Gas water heaters the pilot lights provide heat at the base of your heater coils. Block off the stack to capture additional pilot light heat.

    Heat lamps or 500 watt halogen light next to the pump under a tarp or carboard box helps protect the pump. If you cover the entire wash rig with a tarp you can protect the entire rig if it not too cold for too long.

    Automatic kerosene (torpedo heaters) & Natural Gas heaters will protect larger areas. Connect these to automatic thermostats. Thermostats on short plug-in extention cords are about $35.00 at your local hardware store.

    Infrared LP gas heaters also work well. Heat from these heaters can be quite intense so watch for fire hazards.

    Water Tanks can be kept from freezing over night by installing recirculating water pumps to keep the water moving. Install a water filter to clean your water as it is recirculating.

    If you heat the inside of an enclosed vehicle (Bobtail or Van) with snow or ice on top you may melt the snow or ice. When the water runs down the sides of the vehicle is may freeze again locking the doors and windows in place making it difficult to gain entry.

    An enclosed vehicle (van, step van, bobtail, enclosed trailer, etc.) offers protection against thieft in addition to weather protection. Insulate the inside of your vehicle for additional protection against the cold weather. If you store your vehicle inside of a heated garage short travels of an hour or less can usually be made without the pressure washer freezing.

    A lot of garages and garage doors are uninsulated. Insulating the garage and garage doors offer additional protection against the cold weather. Light weight styrofoam panels are easily attached to garage doors.

    Caution: Do not put combustibles next to your heat source, or items that could melt.


    If your washer is going to freeze, the best way to protect your washer is with automotive anti-freeze, RV anti-freeze, or windshield washer fluid (Note: Be sure and check the freezing point of the fluid you are using. Some windshield washer fluids do not protect below freezing). Fill up your empty float tank with anti-freeze then start up your washer and push out the water with anti-freeze, (Note, most hot high pressure washers hold about 5 gallons). Remove your spray tip from your wand and insert it into the float tank. Recirculate the anti-freeze for 2 minutes while turning the Trigger Gun on and off to force antifreeze into the by-pass line of the unloader. This will protect your pump, coils, hoses and plumbing. This should protect everything except the chemical line hose which you will need to do separately while recirculating the antifreeze.

    Use a 5-gallon jug to capture the anti-freeze for reuse. If you start out with 5 gallons of pure antifreeze it should last you all winter if you recapture it each time. If you have any questions on this call Joseph, Tedd, Jerry, Keith, Rachel, Larry, or Robert for customer toll free support at : 800-433-2113.

    If your unit does not have a float tank, use a 5-gallon bucket and insert the water intake hose into it.

    For pressure washers without float tanks that are hooked to water tanks you can install a 3/4" or 1" 3-way ball valve (T-valve) with a short piece of hose in the inlet water line to introduce the antifreeze with. This way it is not necessary to disconnect the water line from the water tank.


    The next best way to protect your unit from freezing is to blow out the water with air pressure. Be careful with this method. Water will collect in low places and still break your washer. This is especially true if you move your washer after blowing out the water on vehicle mounted pressure washers. The vibration will collect water droplets in low places, especially in the heater coils.

    The packing and the valves in the high pressure pump may not completely dry when blowing out the water with air. If you start up the pump before it thaws out the valves may stick closed and the packing may stick to the cermanic plungers and tear it up.

    An emergency supply of air is the "canned air" sold at auto supply stores for emergency tire inflation.


    Your washer will freeze going down the highway with a reported air temperature of 35 degrees Fahrenheit. That is because of the cooler temperatures in low places. Remember that air temperature varies normally 2 to 6 degrees in a given region going up and down high and low places.


    In calm air hot water washing can be done to 15 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. It depends on how your customer can tolerate ice on the ground or pavement (See the next item). In blowing wind hot water washing can be done to about 34 degrees Fahrenheit. If possible wash in direct sunlight to take advantage of thermal heating.


    If your wash water runs across sidewalks or driveways and freezes, salt or sand these areas down for safety. Always carry a bucket of rock salt or sand for your customer's safety. Note: Rock Salt will give the people a rough surface to walk on for better traction.







    The average ground water summer to winter water temperature variation is about 30°F. Most oil fired high pressure water heaters raise the inlet water temperature 120 to 140°F with the burner running continuously. With the reduction inlet water temperature in the winter you need to increase your fuel nozzle one or two sizes. Then in the spring you need to change the fuel nozzle again and reduce the fuel nozzle by one or two sizes.


    Chemicals work slower in cold weather. Plan on using more chemicals and extra dwell time for the chemicals to work.


    Do not let your chemicals freeze. Store in a dry, warm place. Liquid chemicals will usually separate upon freezing.






    Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning. When finished have one person turn on the fan. Then leave the fan on. This assures that the fan works and is not out of balance when the morning kitchen crew arrives.
    Use fall protection equipment when on roofs. You may want to hose down the roof and melt the ice and snow.




    If you suspect that your pressure washer is frozen proceed with caution:

    A. Try to rotate your pump by hand to see if it will turn freely. Practice this during warm weather so that you will know what the resistance feels like and you can recognize a frozen pump. Disconnect the spark plugs when doing this to avoid the engine accidently starting.

    B. Do not turn the burner on until water flow established. Frozen controls may allow the burner to fire without water flow. This could result in a steam explosion.

    C. It will take about 12 hours in a heated area to thaw out a frozen pressure washer.

    D. Failure probability due to freezing is: 33% chance of no damage, 33% chance of delayed failure which will occur in 90 days, 33% of immediate failure.
    Industrial Cleaning Solutions
    www.icshood.com
    703-402-9888

  • #2

    Default Cold weather KEC tips

    Thanks for the thread , any. KEC guys here?


    Text me anytime for question 480-522-5227

  • #3

    Default Re: Cold weather KEC tips

    Yep Ron still here...

    Those are nice advices for people still operating during winter time like a lot of you guys in the states... Unfortunatly here in Eastern QC I have to shutdown from November 15th to approxumatly April 15th because of the cold weather turning in! All my equipment is in a heated garage and it's the good time of the year to service all the equipment. I would say I'm on holiday for 5 months, I mean not working 60-70 hours a week like the rest of the year! It's a good time for me to work on new projects and meet potential customers...
    Stephane Gamelin

  • #4

    Default Re: Cold weather KEC tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Entretien S.G. View Post
    Yep Ron still here...

    Those are nice advices for people still operating during winter time like a lot of you guys in the states... Unfortunatly here in Eastern QC I have to shutdown from November 15th to approxumatly April 15th because of the cold weather turning in! All my equipment is in a heated garage and it's the good time of the year to service all the equipment. I would say I'm on holiday for 5 months, I mean not working 60-70 hours a week like the rest of the year! It's a good time for me to work on new projects and meet potential customers...
    Why are you shutting down? We work down to 12-15 degrees below zero. You have to work slower and take special steps to keep the equipment warm but it is very do able. Not trying to slam you in any way but if you can keep working and making a living you should look into it.
    Industrial Cleaning Solutions
    www.icshood.com
    703-402-9888

  • #5

    Default Re: Cold weather KEC tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexy View Post
    Why are you shutting down? We work down to 12-15 degrees below zero. You have to work slower and take special steps to keep the equipment warm but it is very do able. Not trying to slam you in any way but if you can keep working and making a living you should look into it.
    You're right about the special steps that needs to be done working in cold weather... I know about them I used to live in Montreal and we were cleaning pretty much all year long since the weather was permitting it... I can tell you that in general in Quebec all the KEC guys are shutting down for the winter (mid-november to mid-april) because of the weather... Of course some of you will say that fire hazard can happen anytime of the year and you would be right about it but if they were rules or laws like you guys have or somebody to enforce the cleaning needed at least once a year I think the situation would be a lot different and we would have to work during winter. I can tell you that last winter I had only 1 call to do a cleaning and I did it in January. The phone stops ringing as soon as the first snowflakes are starting to fall! It's not that I don't want to work it's because there's no cleaning to do or those that could be done can wait until spring to be done! Another thing is insurance companies: they don't want us on roof playing with water during winter even if all precautions are taken. Too much risk for them, if an employee gets hurt or customer's equipment get frozen they won't cover anything!
    Stephane Gamelin

  • #6

    Default Re: Cold weather KEC tips

    That is sad that all that work is left on the table. Only thing that shuts us down is ice and lightning. Other than that we go all year long. We have a anti fall program that involves a fall harness and line for the people on roofs or tie offs if there is a roof over 2 stories.( look at the MSA harnesses and falltech make a good shock absorbing lanyard to tie off ) Also look into wearing snow cleats but be careful on engineered roofs they will punch holes if you walk on a open section.

    As I said temps can also dictate when you can work but if you can plan the job ocrrectly the last thing you do is pull the supply and pressure lines and then start right up clean and then reel them right back into the van you can work in cold weather. Might be a good advantage you can work to keep you in buisness.
    Industrial Cleaning Solutions
    www.icshood.com
    703-402-9888

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