Truckmount Carpet Cleaner
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (June 2009)|
A truckmount carpet cleaner is a carpet and upholstery cleaning unit that is generally mounted to the floor of a van or trailer. Its cleaning method is hot water extraction. The operator would park the van near the premises, connect the vacuum hose and solution line hose into the machine, bring the hoses into the building, and connect a carpet cleaning wand to the end of the hoses.
Benefits to the operator and the client
Typical small machines start off at 16 horse power and range up to 60 horse power. Van powered Power Take-Off (PTO) units are available on the market.
Truckmount units heat their water by one of two methods:
This heating method uses heat naturally generated by the normal operation of the engine and in some cases, vacuum pump components of the system. Typically, water is routed through a heat exchanger, which consists of two separate sections. In one section, the heat is routed. In the second section, the water passes through. The two sections share two sides of common surfaces inside the exchanger; therefore heat is transferred from the "heat side" section with higher temperature to the "solution side" section with lower temperature.
There are two basic kinds of heat exchangers. One, named, "shell and coil", has fluid passing through a coil of tubing which is contained in a "shell", or container, through which heat is routed. The other, called "shell and tube", contains several parallel tubes running from one end of the "shell" to the other. In the shell and tube configuration, heat travels through the parallel tubes and water travels through the shell.
This heating method uses a separate water heater that uses either propane or heating oil as the fuel source to generate heat. This type of unit is usually less expensive to purchase but ultimately more expensive due to the weekly cost of the fuel.
Traditionally, truckmount carpet cleaning machines have been more powerful than portable carpet cleaning units. Recent changes in technology have allowed portable manufacturers to approach the previously unsurpassed power of truckmount carpet cleaning machines.
The primary advantage of a truckmount lies with the user. The quick setup and relatively easy use of the truckmount makes it preferable among most professional cleaners. Regrettably the cost, usually between $10,000.00 to $35,000.00 US, is prohibitive for many professionals. Currently it is estimated that only 28% of professional carpet cleaners use truckmount carpet cleaning machines.
Most carpet manufacturers recommend a regular cleaning by hot water extraction, which is the method for carpet cleaning that is employed by the truckmount units.
Main components of a truckmount
A petrol or diesel fueled engine powers a high pressure pump and vacuum blower by direct drive. The engine will generally have a starter motor fitted alone with a pull starter and an alternator that charges the battery and supplies 12 volt DC current to all the electrical components. An on demand electrical fuel pump is bolted to the fuel tank or the machine and supplies the carburetor or injectors on the engine with a fuel tank that is normally fitted to the chassis of the van to supply the fuel pump.
The vacuum blower lifts the dirty water from the carpet.
The high pressure water pump pumps heated water and chemical onto the carpet.
A heat exchanger or a water heater are fitted to the machine to heat the water up through the exhaust manifold system. Instead of a heat exchanger, some machines have a thermostat-controlled boiler that runs on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
A chemical injection system is in place that injects carpet cleaning chemical into the solution line on the low pressure or high pressure side, depending upon the model of the machine.
Most machines have a mixer tank/water box which is a holding tank to store water for the high pressure pump on demand.
Some machines have a magnetic water softener fitted to prevent buildup of minerals to protect the plumbing components. Some systems in America fit a deionizer to the plumbing to purify the water in order to protect the plumbing components and to give greater cleaning effect.
A waste tank, fitted to the floor of the van, holds dirty water picked up by the suction hose powered by the vacuum blower.
A Vacuum hose connects to the carpet cleaning wand, delivering the dirty water to the waste tank, and a solution hose that pumps high pressure water and chemical from the high pressure system to the carpet cleaning wand.
Cleaning tools connect to the vacuum and solution hose. Cleaning attachments such as upholstery tools for upholstery cleaning, and power heads and rotary tools for carpet, can also be used to further increase productivity and enhanced results on certain carpet types and soil conditions. The attachments to the machine are also an important factor in delivering the right amount of solution and also the extraction of the solution. A well equipped operator will often have a large percentage of the cost of the machine invested in accessories, in order to achieve optimum results.
A main water tank is often fitted to the floor of the van. It holds fresh water, supplying water directly to the high pressure pump or the mixer tank. When such a water tank is installed, an on-demand supply pump is bolted to the main water tank, supplying water to the mixer tank or high pressure pump.
Where limited space is available, and a fresh water tank cannot be fitted, the machine will still retain its demand tank, but it will be fed from an outdoor "garden" water tap via a separate supply hose reel. This, of course, requires that the property has an external cold water tap, which can be hard to find on some commercial sites. However, by carrying a range of different fittings, a tap key (for taps that have their handle removed to avoid unwanted water usage), and enough hose on the reel, the cleaner will usually be able to handle this situation.