Periodic cleaning of concrete helps to extend the value, beauty and service life of the surface. Commercial buildings and outdoor concrete surfaces such as parking lots and walkways take a real beating from dirt, grime, oil, grease, gum and pollution. Without a professional cleaning and maintenance program in place, your once brand new commercial property can take on a dirty, run-down appearance that is not good for business.
How to Get Your Property Looking New Again
The combination of our professional cleaning expertise and modern pressure washing and surface cleaning equipment consistently deliver outstanding commercial exterior cleaning results for all types of business properties. A pressure washer is the ideal tool to clean and sanitize large concrete surfaces. To clean concrete effectively, use a power washer with a pressure rating of at least 3000 psi and a flow rate of at least 4 gallons per minute (gpm). Although higher pressures may be required to remove tough contaminants such as paint and heavy tire-skid marks, most power-washing contractors agree that 3000 psi will do the trick for almost all cleaning jobs.
Once an adequate water pressure is established, flow rate determines the cleaning speed, especially how fast contaminants are flushed from the surface.”You can blast at 10,000 psi, but if you have a flow of only 2 gallons per minute, you’re going to have a pile of mud sitting there. Heavily soiled concrete, therefore, requires higher flow rates. Several contractors recommend a power washer with a volume output of 5 or 6 gpm. When cleaning vertical surfaces, higher flow rates are not as critical because gravity helps contaminants flow from the surface.
Adjust the Nozzle
Cleaning speed also can be increased by using a rotary nozzle instead of a standard fan nozzle. To produce a fan pattern, standard nozzles deflect the water on an angle, which slows the water down. Rotary nozzles spin an undeflected water jet in a circular path, so the water leaves the nozzle with greater speed. Turbo nozzles have been one of the most important accessories developed. These efficient tools provide the power of a zero-degree pattern. The circular motion also adds extra agitation to cleaning tough jobs like caked-on mud. They are designed to provide a 200% cleaning efficiency over a 25-degree flat fan nozzle. The precision ceramic orifice and matching seat, along with the high strength forged brass housing; provide a long life accessory with no gears, teeth, or bearings. When the nozzle or seat wears, you can replace parts easily to extend the life even longer. Select the proper nozzle for each type of spray application.
Wheel Mounted Power Washers
To improve cleaning speed on large flatwork areas, many manufacturers offer wheel-mounted power washers that resemble a lawn mower. Within the metal housing are nozzles mounted on spinning bars. Workers using standard power-washing wands can clean roughly 900 square feet the first hour but the workers tire and and become less productive as the day progresses. Using a walk-behind washer, workers can clean 3,000 square feet per hour and maintain that productivity throughout the day.
Hot or Cold Water to Clean Concrete?
Cold pressure washers are ideal for removing dirt. However, if the surface you are cleaning is mixed with oil or grease, a cold water pressure washer won’t clean as well as a hot water pressure washer. Think of it like washing greasy dishes in the sink. No matter how much soap you use, you are only smearing the grease around in cold water. Add hot water, and it cuts through the grease and oil in no time. The same applies to cleaning with a pressure washer. If oil or grease is present in any form, you will need a hot water pressure washer to remove it quickly. Cold-water power washers are cheaper, lighter, and simpler to use than hot-water units, which require a heavy heating coil and burner system to heat the water. Whereas a cold-water unit may cost $2,000 and weigh 200 pounds, a comparable hot-water unit often will cost more than $3,000 and weigh more than 400 pounds.
Municipal Codes and Disposal Requirements
Depending on the power-washing chemicals used and the contaminants removed from the concrete, water runoff may be prohibited from entering storm sewers. Municipal codes vary greatly depending on the location. Some regulations, for example, require all discharge to be hauled to a waste-disposal site. Check with the local Environmental Protection Agency office for information on disposal requirements.
Avoiding Equipment Breakdowns When Cleaning
Power washer maintenance also includes keeping the parts of the unit clean and in good condition. The spray wand is a very important part of the pressure washer. If it gets clogged or does not spray correctly for some reason, then it will cost you a lot of extra time and may even prevent you from getting the job done at all. All power washers require routine maintenance because the high-pressure water wears out seals, O-rings, springs, and other components. The screen is what keeps debris from entering the water pump and causing damage. It also helps to keep the hoses from becoming clogged. The O-rings is what keeps all the connections secure preventing leaks. Replace these parts as needed. Power washer maintenance for water pumps is fairly simple. Aside from keeping debris out of the water pump the oil is the main issue. If you have a unit that requires oil changes, do this once a year or after using it for approximately 50 hours. Always use the oil that was recommended for your unit.
Pressure Spray, Inc. supplies pressure washers to many commercial and municipalities in the Greater Cincinnati area to help them maintain their grounds and buildings. We are more than happy to share our years of knowledge and experience with your grounds and maintenance staff.
Contact us (513.874.4484) for a free consultation!
Pressure Spray Inc. (PSI) has been serving municipalities in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana for over 30 years. Municipalities widely recognize us for our high-quality products and reliable, efficient, and consistent customer service. Our seasoned staff know the the needs of municipalities inside and out and are trained to match your cleaning needs with the most ideal cleaning equipment available on the market.