Management

Chapter 3: Training Once, Training Twice...

Now that your new employees are hired and ready to work. It’s paramount that they are trained consistently and up to your high standards. They are the face of your company out in the field when you are not around. In order for your company to maintain a reputation of high quality services, they need to be trained to do things right.

 

  • Document how to do the work step-by-step.
  • Train each employee the exact same way.

 

“When you go out and actually do the work yourself, it can be helpful to document how you're doing it, step by step.  You can also find a resource that can systemize and be able to create the training for you,” says Michael Hinderliter, a leader in the Texas Power Washing industry and employer.

 

Write it down, take pictures, make videos, maybe do a screen grab. Whatever works best for you and your specific job/industry is the best way. Make sure you document every part of the process. A new employee won’t intuitively know where to find things or where things go, so make the process as simple as possible to follow.

 

Ask yourself these questions when making training resources:

  • What are the exact steps, as detailed as possible, to do this job?
  • Where do I get the resources needed?
  • How do I utilize the tools needed?
  • What constitutes an emergency? Who do I report to if there is a problem or concern on this specific project?
  • What did I wish I knew the first time I did this?

 

This is when details matter, no matter how mundane or obvious they may seem to you. Now is also the time to note any shortcuts that are tempting and spell out in your training documents why they are a ‘no’ for your company. (Especially when they are concerned with safety procedures or procedures regulated by law.)

 

Hinderliter says, “No matter how you approach it, you need to take the time to train each employee in the same method, so that as the next guy comes in, they're all learning the same way of doing it.”

 

If you don’t standardize your training procedures you risk your company standards slipping. If every employee just trains the next one, then shortcuts get taken and some employees may never actually learn the “right way”.  This leads to discipline, work integrity issues, and major headaches for you later on.

 

“It's always good to have someone train with a supervisor so that as they're going through the process, that supervisor can watch them and tweak what they're doing, so they get that corrective action as they're performing the service,” explains Hinderliter.

 

He continues, “If they get off track, the supervisor brings them back on track, and if they've got questions, they can answer those questions, and monitor the way they perform.”

 

Remember that your training processes and documents are not set in stone. They are a living document and should be updated consistently as industry standards, technology, or work place practices change. Whenever you update your policies ALL employees should be re-trained.

 

Stay flexible and be open to suggestion. We know you worked really hard to make a comprehensive training program but be open to ideas on better ways to do things from employees and outside resources.

 

Remember, these keys to successfully training a new employee whether it’s your first or hundredth.

 

  1. Document EVERY step of the process.
  2. Train every employee the same way and be sure they are using your training processes each time.
  3. Re-train ALL employees any time a process or policy changes.
  4. Training documents will need to change as innovation and law changes in your industry.

 

Finding and Keeping Great Employees in a Hectic Industry

Bad Hires by the Numbers

Your employees are your team. They wear your company name and represent its values and ethics, especially when you aren’t present. With so much at stake, the responsibility of finding the “right” team members can be daunting. As a business owner, you need people who not only represent your company well but also fit with your company culture, have good work ethic, and exhibit the technical skills required to do the job. In this 4 part series, “Finding and Keeping Great Employees in a Hectic Industry,” we refer to Michael Hinderliter a 30 year veteran in the power washing industry for expert advice on recruiting workers and best practice for keeping them for the long run.

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Soft Washing is the Best Way to Take Care of Your Property.

When you’re choosing the best way to take care of your property, why is soft washing the obvious choice? Powerwash.com doesn’t have an answer for you - We have several. With powerwash.com as your provider...

Soft washing is comprehensive


Thanks to the use of low water pressure and specialized equipment, it can be applied effectively to several aspects of your property. From roof cleaning to home washing and exterior washing, this technology provides an effective avenue to meet your standards.

Soft washing is specialized


Although soft washing addresses many parts of your property, it doesn’t take a “one solution fits all” approach. Powerwash.com provides a specialized equipment and cleaners to meet your needs. As the #1 choice for pressure washers, we take pride in bringing you an inventory that will fit your job description. Guaranteed.

Soft washing is the least abrasive


It is the gentle cleaning choice - for you and the property you serve. By using low water pressures, you’re avoiding the force that comes with power washing. This means that technicians are spared from harm, and siding and landscaping is, too.

Powerwash.com is committed to helping you get the best results effectively. From training videos to guides and manuals, you’ll always have the tools you need to dive into your next pressure washing project with confidence. We also provide regularly updated information on the standards, regulations, and laws that are guiding your washing endeavors.

Soft washing is quality-driven


We want you to get powerful results through a seamless washing process. With our combination of top-tier equipment, support, and customer care, our customers always have the resources they need to get the best outcome.

Soft washing is innovative


The business is constantly evolving. From our groundbreaking products to our Power Wash University, Powerwash.com is committed to helping your property get access to the best service and the strongest results. Combining refreshed professional expertise with industry-leading equipment, we bring top quality to your home or business.

Soft washing keeps up with your needs


From a constantly-evolving inventory to monthly specials, Powerwash.com is focused on bringing you the best in the industry.

With Powerwash.com, soft washing is the effective accessible way to achieve your roof cleaning, house washing, and exterior cleaning needs. Get the tools you need to succeed and tap into our network today.

The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit Could Help Your Pressure Washing Business Save Big Money!

Small business Health Care Tax CreditWith all of the discussion about whether or not the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) is good for our country, you might have missed one of the benefits to small businesses: a tax credit for companies that pay for their employees’ health care. This small business health care tax credit is great for our industry, known for small crews: the fewer employees you have, the better the tax credit.

According to the IRS website, for tax years 2010-2013, small businesses (fewer than 25 employees) can receive a maximum credit of 35 percent of health insurance premiums paid. For tax years 2014 and on, the maximum credit is 50 percent. The small business health care tax credit is available to eligible employers “for two consecutive taxable years.” For 2014, you must pay insurance plan premiums purchased through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace or qualify for an exemption to be eligible.

Unfortunately, as most things tax related, figuring out if you qualify for the small business health care tax credit is, well, complicated. First, the credit is based on the average income earned by full time employees. You can add together part-time employees to create an average based on full-time wages. For example, if you have 10 part-time employees, you add up their income and divide by 5. According to BloombergBusiness.com, “the credit applies fully to companies with 10 or fewer full-time employees who earn on average below $25,000. It phases out as the number of employees rises to 25 and wages go up to $50,000.”

You also need to pay a “uniform” 50% or more toward employee, self-only health insurance premiums. As previously mentioned, for 2014 and onward, plans must be purchased through SHOP marketplace for your state. SHOP helps small businesses get better coverage by pooling them together for higher purchasing power, plus it makes dealing with insurance easier – fewer administration woes, less time spent on it.

Before you grab your calculator, or add more hours to your accountant’s 2014 tax efforts, go to https://www.healthcare.gov/shop-calculators-taxcredit/ for a preliminary check on your eligibility. You can estimate total wages but you will need to know how much you paid in premiums. The actual paper work is much more complicated than filling out five blanks on an online form. You need to send Form 8941 completed with your tax documents. (Here is the instruction form, in case you need it.) As a result, only a small percentage of employers have bothered filing for the small business health care tax credit.

The Government Accounting Office found that 170,300 employers claimed the tax credit in 2012 out of 4 million eligible small businesses, as reported in usatoday.com. Many business owners don’t know about the small business health care tax credit and those who do find filing for it cumbersome at best, or simply not worth the effort because the credit is too small. Those employers who shared their stories with usatoday.com prefer to give their employees a defined contribution and send them to the individual market place for health insurance.

The intention of the tax credit is to entice small businesses to use the SHOP marketplace, which will ultimately keep insurance premiums low for everyone. With a complicated process to qualify, that may not happen.

Still, if you find you could qualify and you decide to apply, you are not penalized if you are turned down. Other than the time it took for fill out the form.

Competition is Good!

Wouldn't it be great if you had no competition? Then you could provide pressure-cleaning services to everyone in town and reap massive financial rewards.

Not so fast. Competition is good! It helps motivate you to work harder to reach customers and can teach you a thing or two so you can keep beating the competition.

How does competition help your business?

1. Piggyback Marketing

Getting clients, and keeping clients, takes educating them. You need to explain to them, for instance, why should your customers pay you, the expert, to do the job rather than any person with a power washer. That kind of education takes money and time.


Your competition has the same problem, and when they educate the public you benefit from it. That's called "piggyback marketing" and it helps you sell your services. The more people in your location know they need a specific kind of service you offer, the more clients you will have.


2. Learn How to Zag

In marketing, the worst brand you can have is being everything to everyone. Firstly, it's impossible to cover all of that ground and secondly, no one believes it. The best way to sell your business is to have a clear brand that's different from the competition - a niche, per se. You zag when everyone else zigs. For instance, you present your company as one that "provides excellent service" while your competition focuses on "low prices." Does that mean you can't be price competitive? No. It just means people in the community know you as the one that provides great service. It gives you a specific focus for how you share your business and how the community relates to you.


This kind of marketing planning and execution often falls to the way back burner because it doesn't seem closely related to sales. As a small business, you are hyper-focused on providing services and finding new clients. However, having a clear brand helps you find new customers by helping them find you: when they feel they "know" you, they are more likely to hire you.


Once your competition puts the pressure on, you are forced to let your community know, "Hey! We are different and here's how!"


3. Get Creative

Competition also forces you to get creative about sales, specials, incentives and general advertising. It takes money to make money, but it's hard to let go of that money! If you've been dragging your feet in this area while your competition is going all out, you'd better get walking.


Your community offers endless opportunities to advertise and will make it easy for you to  spend your marketing dollars. Coupon packages, online specials, mailers...it can be overwhelming. Finding out what provides the best return on advertisement investment takes trial and error, a necessary education to get ahead of your competitors.


Need help with marketing tips and tools? Get The Pressure Cleaning Bible: Marketing bookby Steve Stephens! It gives you an excellent education in marketing and advertising specific to the pressure wash cleaning business.

How do You Learn About Your Competitors?

1. Find Your Competition

First you need to find new businesses cropping up. If you lose a bid, ask the person politely who gained their business. "Do you mind telling me..." usually does the trick. Periodically do a Google search in your service area for new businesses. Not all companies are Internet savvy so don't be surprised if you can't find them. Try the online Yellow Pages instead if nothing comes up. Keep your eyes open for new trucks, mailers and promotional signs on lawns, too.


2. Sign Up For Their Newsletter

Keep tabs on your competition by reading their weekly or monthly newsletter. You'll read about new sales, blog posts, services, hires, and anything else they think helps sell their company. If you want to run head-to-head with other pressure washing companies, getting and reading their newsletter is vital. Consider using an alias email that dumps into your company inbox.


3. Examine Their Flyers

Do you get competitors' mailers? Don't toss them; check them out. How do they look? Are the photos clear and useful? How are they selling themselves? Can you do better? Are they doing something you like? You'll be surprised how much you can learn from this simple exercise. Perhaps your mailers need a small tweak to get your point across based on what another company is doing. Use them to expand your marketing knowledge and practices.


4. Don't Get Overwhelmed

With all of this examination of the competition, be careful not to copy them. Present your company as unique compared to your competitors as opposed to following in their footsteps.


Also, resist the temptation to go crazy and advertise everywhere, spending lots of money on unnecessary ads. Find what works for your company and stick with it. Just because the competition is in the newspaper or advertising on Facebook doesn't mean that's a good idea for you. Be wise about where you put your ad dollars and you will see a great return.


Rather than lament new pressure washing businesses in your community, use them to bolster your marketing and advertising. Soon enough you'll be blowing them away.

Grow Your Business with Co-Employment

Growing a company includes hiring employees but most small companies find it difficult to make that transition. Adding employees increases daunting paperwork for payroll, taxes, insurance and benefits. Most job seekers who are dependable and enthusiastic need more than a paycheck: they need a full benefits package to ensure they can afford to work for you. Small companies end up feeling burdened, both financially and administratively, by the expanded human resource-type work growth brings, which defeats the purpose of hiring in the first place.

Co-employment companies remove the roadblocks of adding staff by handing all of the HR duties your company needs on your behalf. The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) defines “co-employment” as “the contractual allocation and sharing of employer responsibilities between a professional employer organization (PEO) and its client.” You do all the hiring and training while the PEO takes care of the HR responsibilities.

This arrangement is different from employee leasing because you have permanent staff you hire yourself. With leasing, a temporary staffing service sends you their employees, regardless of ability or interest in the industry. You take the time to train someone in pressure washing or soft washing only to have to train a new person the next day. When looking to build on your business, this kind of transiency doesn’t work.

Co-employment means you share employment duties with a PEO. You hire, train, schedule, and generally manage your staff on a daily basis: the kinds of tasks that will expand your business and increase profits. A PEO manages the areas you don’t have time or structures to deal with; personnel-related functions like providing health benefits, paying wages, managing employment tax responsibilities, workers compensation needs and the like. Because the PEO is managing many other companies’ workforces at the same time, they can offer better packages than a small business can by negotiating with insurance and workers comp companies. They also have the management systems in place that would take days for you to organize on your own, like payroll administration.

While it might seem like you lose control over you employees, the exact opposite is true. Because you are not bogged down by HR needs, you have time to manage your team the way you want. Employees prefer a PEO because they receive better overall benefits. They are not part-time employees or contractors with a PEO involved. An existing HR department is supported by the expertise of a co-employment relationship rather than being replaced by it.

PEOs often require a minimum number of employees, anywhere from three to ten. They generally charge by adding a percentage onto payroll, not including basic company overhead costs like FICA, Medicare and unemployment insurance withholding. Some rates might be steep but PEOs can bring down rates in other areas like workers comp, saving you money. Shop around for the best rates and abilities. Look for a company that has been in business a while to ensure they stay in business as they handle your company.

Professional employment organizations are an excellent solution to growing your company without having to be an expert in human resources, giving you the freedom to do what you do best: provide your customers with excellent pressure washing services.

Are you in Compliance with the New OSHA Safety Data Sheet Regulations?

Where chemical manufacturers, distributors and importers had previously provided OSHA Safety Data Sheet RegulationsMaterial Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) for their downstream users, the Hazard Communication Standard has been revised and now Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) must be provided. This is important for you to know as the owner of a power washing company since your employees handle hazardous chemicals.

While the information in the SDS is largely the same as the MSDS, the SDSs are required to be presented in a 16-section format that makes the information easier to read and understand. It includes properties of each chemical, physical, health and environmental health hazards, protective measures and safety precautions, plus other details important to those interacting with the chemicals. Each section on the SDS has a clear heading with the information in bullet points for clarity.

OSHA states in its brief, “Employers must ensure that the SDSs are readily accessible to employees for all hazardous chemicals in their workplace.” SDSs can be on a computer or in a binder, for example, but employees must be able to access them without leaving their work area. OSHA suggests designating one person to be responsible for obtaining and maintaining the SDSs. The information sheets can be requested from the manufacturer.

Other changes made to the Hazard Communication Standard:

  • Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.

  • Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.

  • Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by December 1, 2013 on the new labels elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding.


For more information on SDSs and to become familiar with the format go to http://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3514.pdf.

To learn more about the overall changes to the Hazard Communicaiton Standard, go to http://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/

To see an example of MSDS sheets go to http://www.powerwash.com/products/msds-sheets

 

Pressure Washing In Cold Weather Hints and Tips



    • 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 cardboard box helps protect the pump. If you cover the entire wash rig with a tarp you can protect the entire rig if it’s 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 extension 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 this 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 theft 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 un-insulated. Insulating the garage and garage doors offers 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. Re-circulate 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 Mark Demko, Larry, or Robert for technical 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 ceramic 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.Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride are also use for melting ice. However, these products leave an oily residue and present a "slip" hazard. Magnesium Chloride is a naturally occurring salt that is mixed with anticorrosive agents and sprayed on roads prior to winter storm to prevent ice from forming and bonding to road surfaces. There have been some health and corrosion issues with Magnesium Chloride which is used primarily in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Utah, and Washington.Rock Salt presents a maintenance and corrosion issue. And the dyes in some ice melting chemicals can stain shoes, side walks, door frames, carpets, etc.

  • Aluminum brightening and acid cleaning do not work well below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember the sun, direct sun light will raise surface temperature several degrees.

  • You can pull open trailer wash rigs with water tanks down the highway in freezing temperatures by putting your wash wand into your 500 gallon water tank and firing up the water heater and recirculating the water as go down the road. If you are only going a short distance or if the temperature is not very cold (like 15 to 20°F) it may not be necessary to turn on the water heater. In this case this procedure will also work for cold water pressure washers connected to water tanks.

  • Keep your water supply hoses flowing with water, water out of the ground will be about 50 degrees Fahrenheit in most areas. If your water supply or high pressure hoses run across the cold ground they will freeze in a few minutes in sub-zero temperatures.

  • 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 of 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.

  • Protect yourself in cold weather with: 1) rain suits, 2) over shoes, 3) hard hats with rain troughs to keep water from going down the back of your neck and with face shields to protect your eyes and face, 4) thermal underwear, and 5) gauntlet gloves with jersey inserts. Turn the gauntlet back so that water will not run down you arm. 6) Keep extra dry gloves available.Exercise caution as ice may form on your gloves, hard hat, shoes, etc.Winter clothing generally arrives at stores in September. If you wait until cold weather occurs your store may be out of the items you need. Plan ahead and buy while the selection is the greatest.

  • On days you cannot wash do sales calls and equipment maintenance. Call Powerwash.com at 800-433-2113 and order spare parts. Plan ahead and save time.

  • Below freezing work: vent-a-hoods; in-plant cleaning; produce warehouses, limo garages, inside factories, automotive garages, car dealer repair shops, de-icing of: aircraft, oil field drilling rigs, refineries, manufacturing plants with outside water piping, etc. Look for anything that will be inside cleaning with a pressure washer.

  • You can drain your water hose by disconnecting it at each end, laying it out in a straight line, and then walking down the hose passing the hose over your shoulder.

  • Be careful where you point your spray: door locks, brake drums, door jams, and steps will freeze after you spray water on them. If you use 180 degree to 200 degree Fahrenheit, hot water evaporation will help minimize the icing problem. Sometimes you can minimize the freezing by opening and closing doors and operating the locks. Also you can spray with WD-40 with the long red needle adapter into door locks and mechanisms. Put some WD-40 on a rag and wipe on the rubber weather seals of the doors.

  • Sheathing Wax added to the rinse water like W-200 Spray Wax will help the water slide off faster, thus speeding the drying process, and reduce icing. Depending on the temperature a leaf blower may also help in blowing off the water to reduce icing. This also can increase the freezing rate if not used properly.

  • When washing reefer trailer make sure the units are running, this will help minimize icing.

  • Avoid washing in the shade. Direct sun light heats up skin temperature rapidly. Try to have the fleet owner park vehicles in the sun. The hottest part of the day for Deck Cleaning is 11:00 am until 3:00 pm.

  • If you walk on a lot of ice, use boot chains or shoes with spikes. Remember ice is really slick. Caution: The force from the surge of pressure at the trigger gun from a pressure actuated unloader can slide you backwards on ice or knock you down! While the force at the trigger gun from flow actuated unloaders may slide you backwards.

  • Mount your pressure washing equipment in an enclosed trailer, Bobtail Truck, or Step Van and insulate the inside.

  • Start your washing activities later in the day after the sun has had time to warm items up, like after 10:00 a.m.

  • Drop a small electric water pump (like those used for waterfall displays) with a 3' hose attached into the water tank. Water in motion will delay the freezing of the water tank. Also small submersible water heaters work good in water tanks for keeping the water above freezing.

  • When traveling short distances you can disconnect your pressure washer from the water tank and only antifreeze the pressure washer, hoses, etc. Put a plug into the water tank. When you arrive at the job site remove the plug and use a screwdriver and knock out the ice.

  • Where practicable cover exposed piping with heat tape. Freeze-protect outside faucets with heat tape or freeze proof valves.

  • You can remove ice from house gutters by heating up the gutter from bottom and sides then removing the ice by hand in 3 to 5 foot sections. Average size home can be done in about an hour.

  • Use indoor fittings with garden hose hook up for the sinks when outside faucets are frozen.

  • If at all possible never travel with your water tank half full. The surging of the water can push you out into an intersection or make you lose control under slippery conditions. Always check the brakes at the beginning of each day!

  • Common add on businesses for supplementing income during the winter months: 1) window washing, 2) New construction cleanup of houses for final walk-throughs, 3) snow removal, 4) chimney cleaning, 5) carpet cleaning 6) yard work and maintenance cleanup, & 7) indoor painting.

  • The best way to keep air lines from freezing is to have one continuous line with a moisture filter at the Compressor. Be sure and drain the Compressor Air Tank regularly to remove the condensation.

  • Window washing can be done in the winter time in below freezing weather. Be aware of the following: Double pane windows freeze faster than single pane windows because single pane windows get heat from the inside; use warm water but not hot water because you may crack the window from thermal stress; add 1/2 to 1 gallon of windshield washer fluid or methanol to a 5 gallon bucket of wash water.

  • Window washers commonly add "Methanol" to their wash water to keep it from freezing. This solves the water freezing problem but not the hand freezing problem. Some Power Washers also use this technique and add Methanol to their wash water. They purchase the Methanol from their Oil or Diesel Fuel Supplier or a Solvent Specialty Company by the 55 gallon drum. How much to add. Depends of the ambient conditions. Start out at about 5% and adjust from there.

  • Winter Storage of Pressure Washers:A. Antifreeze your pressure washer per instructions above. Use automotive antifreeze for storage of your pressure washer. I have personally seen units stored over 5 years with automotive antifreeze with no problems except to clean and free up the pump inlet valves.B. Get a Fuel Stabilizer from an auto parts store and add to the fuel tank to keep your fuel from turning into varnish and having the gaskets in the carburetor go bad.C. Remove the spark plug wires; spray WD-40 into the carburetor while turning over the engine to coat everything with oil.D. Remove the spark plugs and spray with WD-40 into the cylinders or put in some "Marvel Mystery" brand oil. Turn over the engine a few times to coat the cylinder walls.E. Change the engine oil, oil filter and fuel filter. If you do not change the engine oil the sludge will collect on the bottom of the oil pan and solidify. If there is any water in the fuel filter it may freeze and break.F. Top off the Fuel Tank to keep moisture from condensing inside the fuel tank. This will cause rusting of steel fuel tanks and water in the fuel.G. In the spring put in fresh fuel, replace the spark plugs, and start it up. If it is hard to start spray WD-40 into the carburetor intake the same way you would starting fluid. This gives an easier ignition than starting fluid.H. Disconnect the battery to avoid a trickle discharge.I. In the spring de-lime the coils with Scaleaway De-liming Acid and add "Red Devil Soot Remover" to your Diesel or Kerosene for your burner. Put a trickle charge on your battery for a couple of hours assure a full charge before starting with WD-40 to establish fuel flow.

  • Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning. When finished have one person turn on the fan on while a 2nd person sprays deicer 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.

  • Sealing Decks: You need 12 to 24 hours of drying time above 50°F before sealing a deck. Use a moisture meter to be sure the deck is dry enough. Follow the manufacturer recommendations of your Deck Sealer you are using. Some Contractors have cut off dates like October 31 of each year to stop sealing wood (Decks, fences, roofs, etc). Decks will be warmest from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm.

  • At what temperature do you quit washing? This is a safety issue. 1) Is it safe to drive on the roads? 2) Can you arrive at the job site safely and without the equipment freezing up? 3) Will you have a safe surface to walk on? Will you be on a roof? Sidewalk? Ice or Snow? Scaffolding? 4) Can your employees drive to work OK? 5) Will the freezing of the waste wash water be a problem? 6) Can the washing be done safely? 7) What will other traffic be like and how skilled are other drivers? What are the chances of a traffic accident?

  • When removing large chunks of ice from vehicles use your zero degree nozzle to cut the ice into small sections. Then direct your spray to break off these smaller sections. This is faster than simply melting the ice. Caution: Beware of flying chunks of ice!

  • Preventing your Bay Doors from Freezing:A. If you have steel rollers change them to magnum type rollers.B. Install proper weather stripping around the door.C. Make sure the door is well lubricated and serviced.D. Insulate the door with Styrofoam panels is not insulated.E. Install a heater at the threshold of the door.H. Keep only one door open at a time to avoid a creating a wind tunnel.

  • Keep pressure hoses and airlines in the cab of the truck to prevent freezing on the way to the job if needed.

  • 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.E. Caution: We have had Contract Cleaners add gasoline to their kerosene and diesel fuel in order to make the burner hotter. This has resulted in a melt down and failure of the burner assembly. If you need more heat increase the size of your burner nozzle one or two sizes.

  • Hair Dryers and Heat Guns are safer than torches when thawing things out.

  • Tips for pouring concrete:A. Order concrete made with hot water and increase the cement content by about half a bag. Exact amount will depend on the conditions and thickness of the concrete.B. Order air-trained concrete. This provides additional protection against freezing.C. Order low-slump concrete to ease finishing.D. Do not pour concrete on a frozen surface. This includes frost, ice, and rebar that is covered by frost or ice. When poured on frozen ground the concrete will settle as the ground thaws.F. Surfaces and concrete can by insulated with straw, plywood, insulating blankets, or fiberglass insulation between 4 or 6 mil polyethylene sheeting. Polyethylene sheeting alone may be OK if the temperature does not get much below freezing. New concrete should be protected from freezing to avoid cracking or flaking off.H. Place extra insulation around the edges. Faster cooling here can cause cracking. Make sure the concrete cools slowly over two or three days.I. Calcium Chloride flakes or pellets may be placed under the insulation to produce heat. Caution: Calcium Chloride tends to discolor and produce efflorescence.J. Under severe conditions a heat enclosure may be required for several days before the ground is thawed out. Caution: Excessive direct heat can blister the top layer of concrete and cause personal injury. Make sure the enclosure is properly vented.K. Concrete needs to be at least 55 degrees at pouring and 50 degrees for two days.














By: Robert M Hinderliter, Powerwash.com, 2513 Warfield St., Fort Worth, Texas 76106-7554. email: robert.hinderliter@powerwash.com ; URL: http://www.powerwash.com ; Phone: 800-433-2113; Fax: 817-625-2059.
Copyright 2011. Powerwash.com. All rights reserved.
 

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