Bridgepoint Systems / June 2015
Proper use of soft water and acidic rinses will limit the buildup of scale, but descaling of the equipment will still be necessary. Whenever a switch is made to an acidic rinse from primary use of an alkaline rinse, hard water or soft water in a truckmount system, there usually is some release of scale or sediment build up. If descaling has not been done on a regular basis it can result in clogging of quick connects or jets. Before a switch is made to an acidic rinse, an evaluation or discussion needs to occur about the presence of last step chemical injection, soft water, descaling habits, and previous rinse agent. Descaling prior to the switch may be necessary in some circumstances. Generally changes will have less impact to a traditional last step chemical injection system. Cleaners who add the chemical to their water tank may have more issues than the traditional last step chemical injection. Truckmounts which do not use a last step chemical injection system need to be more closely monitored when a major change is made.
Remember that 60% to 70% of the United States is affected by hard water. Scale from hard water will show up as a white or very light grey or light yellow build up on any of the surfaces where the water flows or is stored. One of the causes of scale buildup is heat. A couple of common minerals in water are calcium and magnesium. Water hardness is measured by the amount of calcium and magnesium found in the water, (hardness is measured from 1 to 10).
IMPORTANT: Hard water scale buildup is significantly increased by water temperatures at or above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The hotter the water is, the more calcium and magnesium come out of solution and forms “limescale” solid deposits that coat and build up on the insides of components such as heat exchangers, pumps and tanks as well as tubing, hoses, valves, fittings, and filters that makeup the solution and water systems of all most all cleaning machines and equipment.
Hard Water scale can quickly build to the point of causing 50% to 70%
or more loss in water temperature and water pressure, requiring significantly more fuel to be used to produce the same amount of work. More severe scale buildup can completely plug and irreversibly damage expensive components. Scale buildup causes cleaning chemicals to become significantly less efficient.
Soft water provided by a properly maintained water softener system has proven to be a good answer. If you have a water softener, check water hardness daily using water hardness test strips and service your softener as often as needed. If you don’t own one, you are encouraged to consider purchasing one, they are relatively inexpensive and simple to maintain. Regular descaling is often necessary depending on the heat of the machine, the condition of the water and your choice of rinse solutions.