I am writing this article because I'm sure you've all seen the big carpet cleaning semi that's been around for the past couple of years. Well you know the age old saying: "It's not the size, it's how you use it :)". Well it certainly applies to the carpet cleaning industry. Uneducated cleaners will often claim that the bigger the cleaning machine, the "deeper & more thorough" cleaning will be achieved. This article is a bit of a read, but spend a couple minutes to read the entire page. It will help you get a better understanding of the equipment that carpet cleaners use.
Bigger isn't always better. That's why I feel that what I call a "Brute Force" attempt to clean a carpet is just a means of compensating for lack of education in the cleaning industry. You see, carpet & upholstery cleaning is based more around chemistry than pushing more water & heat into fabrics. These huge truckmounts are designed for cleaning large commercial jobs with multiple operators. Not for a single operator cleaning that $5,000 oriental rug in your dining room.
These giant truckmounted carpet cleaning trucks are impressive. As a individual being in the business for over a decade, I can appreciate these setups. Some of them are really a work of art. A local owner that uses one could use it as a show truck. It's definitely an impressive setup. Is it practical for this area? Unfortunately, no. As much as I can respect such a setup I have to address why it isn't the best way to go in a smaller community like ours.
The 1st issue is the fact that these CAT diesel powered truck mounts are designed for multiple operators. The hardest task a truck mounted carpet cleaning unit has is extracting the water from the carpet. The bigger the engine the bigger the blower can be and this is what will allow for more water lift.
As you can see on the truckmount setup pictured that 3 operators can work off of one machine. Great for large commercial work, not so great for single operator doing residential cleaning.
The problem is that you can only force so much air down a 2" diameter hose. If someone is cleaning with one of these machines and is only using one 2" hose hooked up to their machine, they are putting a tremendous load on the machines blower because it wants to move more air but is restricted by the amount of air that can be pushed down a 2" hose.
With this extra load on the blower it will run hotter & eventually fail. It also requires the engine to burn more fuel because of the extra load. You can test this principle yourself by attaching a tiny hose (about the diameter of a pen) onto the end of the hose on your vacuum cleaner at home to illustrate the load it puts on the motor. It can only suck so much air through that opening & you can hear the motor on your vacuum cleaner struggling because of the resistance.
Does your big truck cleaner use a "4 to the door" setup?
A solution to maintain high CFM (air flow is measured in Cubic Feet a Minute) would be to run 2 2" vacuum hoses to the front door of the house, then use a 'Y' splitter to connect a lead hose to. This will reduce the air drag over an extended stretch by doubling the hoses. A "4 to the door" setup (2 2" hoses from truck mount to the homes front door) is necessary when running these big trucks to prevent excessive wear & tear on the blower. I've run a 4 to the door setup on larger commercial jobs where long hose runs of over 150' are necessary. If an operator isn't using this setup on jobs that require over 150' of hose from the truck to the area being cleaned, I don't care how big the truck is, the air pressure in a single 2" hose is going to max out & you'll be left with carpets that take a long time to dry.
Did you know these super sized truckmounted carpet cleaning machines are designed for large commercial jobs like multi-story office buildings & movie theater seating. These trucks have the capability of having 6 or more workers clean movie theater seating all at the same time with a single truckmount. So if 1 guys shows up with a giant Caterpillar Diesel Truck Mount machine, you really need to ask him how the machine can bend the laws of physics to push more air down a single 2" hose than a regular sized truckmounted machine can.
At Reilly's Carpet Cleaning, we run the industries best selling truck mounted cleaning machine on the market. It's the most used truckmount in the industry because it's reliable, has great performance, is cost efficient and it's not some giant gas guzzling machine that cost a fortune to run. It has the perfect balance of power. An entire industry can't be wrong about that.
The truckmounted cleaning machines that Reilly's Carpet Cleaning uses are able to have your carpets dry in as little as a hour*, can maintain heat over 220 degrees Fahrenheit, and can reach water pressure of over 1000 PSI to allow the machine to be used for exceptional tile and grout cleaning.
* There are many factors that affect carpet drying time such as the humidity and the amount of air flow in the area being cleaned.
These giant truckmounted cleaning trucks can achieve water pressures of up to 4,000 PSI. What good does this do? NONE! (OK I lied, that kind of water pressure is good for power washing your deck, not your carpets.) The recommended water pressure setting for carpet cleaning should be between 300-500PSI depending on the # of jets on the cleaning wand and the type of carpet being cleaned.
Also, these trucks can heat water to 270 degrees Fahrenheit at the machine, but by the time the water travels through the hose and out the jets it's more like 200 degree water hitting the carpet (FUN FACT: Up to 40-50 degrees of heat is lost in the small gap between the end of the jet and the top of the carpet fiber).
The Hydramaster truck mount I use maintains a water temp of 230 degrees at the machine and is close to 170-190 by the time the water hits the top of the carpet fiber. These couple of degrees are negligible at this point because the preconditioning phase of the cleaning is what really breaks down the soils. The water used to rinse the carpet is most effective in the 150-190 degree range. If the water is too hot you risk damage to the carpet & injury to the operator.
I hope you found this article informative and it helps you understand some of the technical aspects of the cleaning industry. I do respect the owner/operator that runs one of these large rigs because he's the only other owner/operator besides me that services the Dunkirk & Fredonia area. Like all the articles on ReillyCleaning.com, my aim is to educate and inform the consumer even if they don't decide to hire Reilly's Carpet Cleaning to take care of their cleaning needs.
-Brandon Reilly (owner / operator of Reilly's Carpet Cleaning)