Pest Control Spray Equipment Preventative Maintenance is Free Money

Posted by Andrew Greess on Nov 11, 2012

Pest control spray equipment is subject to harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures, long operating hours and less-then-gentle handling by technicians, age and wear.  All of these factors  will eventually take their toll on your pest control sprayers. A good preventative maintenance (PM) program will reduce pest control spray rig repair expense and employee downtime.

General guidelines:

1. Consult equipment owner’s manuals, or contact your equipment provider for proper operating conditions, maintenance schedules, etc.  Lack of proper maintenance can void manufacturer’s warranties.

2. Train your staff on the proper use of equipment.  Our repair shop finds:

In an effort to get their job done quickly, technicians tend to run motors and pumps too fast, and at too high an operating pressure, which will reduce equipment life.

Technicians do not check equipment before starting it up.  Instruct your technicians to check line strainers (filters), belts, hoses, etc. before starting equipment.   Teach them to identify problems before they occur.

Train your technicians to report problems instead of just ignoring them.  If the pump sounds like it has a problem, it probably does.

3. Track damage/repairs/problems by truck, technician and part to identify problems and training opportunities.

4. Instruct your equipment provider to install the equipment so that it is easily accessible for maintenance and repairs.  If equipment isn’t easy to service, it is less likely to be serviced.

Next, create a Preventative Maintenance program based on your equipment, technicians, use and Organization’s operating philosophy.  For example, if maintaining productivity and avoiding cancelled stops are top priorities, your program may call for replacing certain components at specified intervals, rather than replacing worn or failed parts.

To ensure you don’t miss anything, take a structured approach to developing your PM program.  Our suggestions below follow the flow of water from tank through filter, pump, hose and gun.

Here are some highlights to get you started.

1. Tank

Clean your tank periodically for chemical buildup and debris, which will clog lines and starve your pump.  Most pumps will sustain serious damage if run dry for more than a brief time.

2. Line Strainer

Check and clean your line strainer (filter) to ensure that no debris gets to your pump. When you can no longer rinse out the filter, replace it.  Replace the filter o-ring periodically before it swells and no longer creates an airtight seal.

3. Pump

Service your pump according to manufacturer specifications.  Your equipment provider stocks pump repair kits.  Service your pump just before or just after your busy season to be sure the pump is ready for next season.  If you wait for your pump to fail before servicing it, you can expect longer downtime and more costly repairs.

4. Engine

Service your engine according to manufacturer specifications.  Like the engine in your personal vehicle, changing engine oil is the best thing you can do to extend engine life.  Periodic tune-ups can keep your engine running and your technicians productive.  Replace the pull cord before it breaks.

5. Hose Reel

Service the hose reel swivel periodically to prevent leaks.  Check the reel tensioner and locking pin for wear.

6. Spray Gun

Spray guns can be rebuilt with repair kits available from your equipment provider. Servicing the spray gun can help reduce chemical spills and technician chemical exposure.

7. Check hoses

Check the spray hose and all supply hoses for excessive wear and damage.  Check clamps and connections to ensure good fit and an airtight seal.  Be sure to check any o-rings, gaskets, washers, etc. Failure to do so can result in large spills, especially if the technician is at the far end of 200 feet of hose when the leak occurs.

A good preventative maintenance program is your best friend for reducing pest control equipment down time and improving productivity.  Dollars spent on PM will reduce time lost due to unplanned equipment downtime, reduce spills, boost productivity and profitability and contribute to happy customers.