Here are the critical maintenance factors for hand sprayers and backpacks:
- Clean the filter. This is the most impactful maintenance task you can do to reduce problems and extend sprayer life. Check the filter before every use.
- Clean out the backpack. Debris and chemicals can build up in tank, pump, hoses and tips. Clean out the tank periodically, and flush the sprayer with clean water.
- Clean tips. Use an old toothbrush and mild dish soap. Don’t use needles or any other metal objects that will damage the tip.
- Replace worn tips. Worn tips apply more product, which costs you money.
- Preventive maintenance (PM). Don’t wait for your sprayer to fail and cause you to lose productive time. Perform the required preventive maintenance. PM saves money. Every year, tear down the backpack, thoroughly clean all components and replace O-rings and worn parts.
- Make sure your employees understand proper use and maintenance. Periodically review proper procedures because employees forget or look for shortcuts that will cost you money.
- Emergency repair kit. Some parts, such as O-rings and gaskets can be replaced easily in the field. Prepare a small emergency repair kit for each technician so they can perform simple repairs and continue their route.
- Eyes open. Despite the best training, technicians don’t always follow company procedures. Conduct ride-alongs to observe employees’ equipment use in the field. Conduct truck inspections to ensure equipment is maintained properly.
- Proper storage. Make sure trucks are set up to provide a secure sprayer storage. We often see damage caused by sprayers bouncing around, being stepped on or damaged by loose equipment.
- Report it. Make sure technicians are comfortable reporting problems. Too many times we see techs working with equipment that needs service. Instead of asking for help, they push the equipment past the breaking point, turning a small repair into a significant rebuild.
- Track equipment failures to see which parts are failing, which replacement parts should be stocked or which equipment isn’t appropriate for your service program. Track failures by technician to identify training opportunities.
Hand sprayers and backpacks are critical to a company’s success. Invest the time to train employees and properly maintain equipment. Follow up to ensure it’s done. This will keep employees productive and on schedule, your customers happy and your repair expenses to a minimum.