Pest Control Equipment Preflight Checklist – Save Time, Save Money

Posted by Andrew Greess on Jul 27, 2009

Pest Control Equipment - Important tips.

Every pilot has a checklist and goes through a pre-flight routine BEFORE taking his or her plane into the air.  The checklist helps the pilot find problems on the ground, where they can be more easily and safely resolved.

I believe technicians of  pest control equipment should do the same thing.

Before getting into the truck and heading to the first stop, a few minutes spent checking equipment can save time and money, as well as preventing downtime that impacts productivity and profitability, and hinders your ability to provide timely service to Clients.

Here's the key point.  If you are going to have an equipment problem, I believe you are better off having the problem at your office (or at home if the vehicle is taken home), rather than in the field.  At the office, you are better prepared to make a repair, clean up a chemical spill, find a replacement part, substitute a piece of equipment, make a management decision on how best to proceed, etc.   Conversely, in the field, repairs are more difficult, time-consuming and expensive, and the impact of a chemical spill can be disastrous.

I recommend you create a custom Pre-flight Checklist based on your Company's truck and equipment.

First, some Caveats:

If exposed to freezing temperatures, let equipment warm up so any ice will thaw.  Running frozen equipment will cause damage, leading to leaks, downtime and increased repair expenses.

Follow label directions.  Do not apply pesticides incorrectly when testing your sprayer.  If you don't want to spray product as part of your test, spray back into the tank (for power sprayers) or into another sprayer (for manual sprayers).

Here are some ideas to get you started on your Checklist:

  • Manual Equipment (hand sprayers & backpacks)
  • Pump up your sprayer.
  • Does the sprayer hold pressure?
  • Are there any leaks?
  • Does the sprayer spray properly?
  • Does the sprayer shut off properly?
  • Is the spray pattern intact?

Power Equipment

Check your filter.  Clean it, if necessary.  Check o-ring for swelling which may prevent an airtight seal.

Pull 20-30 feet of hose off your reel and inspect for wear.  Most hose leaks occur in this area.

Gas Rig:

  • Check to ensure engine has gas and oil.
  • Inspect pull cord for wear.
  • Inspect belts for wear.
  • Ensure there is water in the tank, so the pump is not damaged by being run dry.
  • Start your rig.  Let the rig build pressure.
  • Check your pressure gauge for proper operating range.
  • Listen to pump and motor for abnormal noises.

Check for leaks.

  • Check all hoses.
  • Check pump
  • Check all fittings and clamps for leaks.
  • Check tank output fitting for leak.
  • Check hose reel swivel for leaks.
  • Check spray gun for leaks.

Use the gun to spray material back into tank.  Again observe the system for proper operation.

Rewind the hose on the reel to test the reel for proper operation.

Test any electrical components for proper operation (e.g., electric pump, electric rewind hose reel)

Other Equipment & Supplies

  • Ensure enough extra gas for the day's stops.
  • Ensure enough chemicals for the day's stops.
  • Ensure label/msds for the products on truck.
  • Ensure enough supplies for the day's stops.
  • Ensure proper PPE (personal protective equipment) on truck.
  • Ensure spill control supplies on truck.
  • Ensure required equipment on truck.

Add items to the checklist that are appropriate for your company.

Technicians should report any problems or exceptions they find to their supervisor.

Supervisors should have a vehicle inspection checklist that includes all the items on the technician checklist plus additional items that are critical to your company's success.

These few minutes in the morning spent checking equipment, will prove to be the most productive of your entire day. Please email me any comments about successes or failures you have had with checklists in your company.