Many of the pest control equipment & weed spray equipment problems we see in our repair shop are significantly worse than they need to be. In too many instances, spray techs have ignored problems in the hope that they will go away. As a business mentor once told me, “hope is not a strategy”.
Spray equipment problems can be a serious safety issue because they often become chemical spills or chemical exposure for the technician.
Common Equipment Excuses
Here are some of the most common excuses we hear from technicians about why they waited to get a spray equipment problem fixed:
- I didn’t know it was a problem
- I was too busy to get it fixed
- I thought my boss would get mad if I told him about it
- I know money is tight, so I didn’t think we should spend money on repairs.
I Don't Like to Use ALWAYS or NEVER, but....
Much like the slow drip of your kitchen faucet, spray equipment problems ALWAYS get worse. They do not get better and they do not go away. Small problems ALWAYS become big problems. Big problems ALWAYS cost more, and ALWAYS take longer to fix (or to clean up in the case of chemical spills).
Another issue is that these problems almost always occur during your busy season when you can least afford the downtime.
Here is another spray equipment caveat:
Water (or oil or any other fluid) that is anywhere is it NOT supposed to be, is ALWAYS a problem and should not be ignored.
Common pest spray equipment problems that get worse with time:
- Backpack sprayers and compressed air sprayers. Leaks, lack of pressure and other small problems become major rebuilds because the tech ignored the problem or used force on a sensitive piece of equipment.
- Power Spray Rig pumps. Most power spray pumps have some way of telling the operator the pump requires attention. For example, gear pumps and roller pumps will begin to leak. Diaphragm pumps have a reservoir that shows the oil has turned a milky white. In each of these cases, if the pump is serviced promptly, a repair kit is usually all that is required. If the problem is ignored, we see many instances where the pump is a total loss.
- Engines (or any piece of equipment) leaking oil (or other fluids) is a problem and must be dealt with promptly.
- Hoses, fittings, o-rings and gaskets often begin a slow leak. If ignored, leaks become serious problems resulting in significant downtime and chemical spills.
Easy steps to take to prevent equipment problems from getting worse:
- Regular technician training to explain proper equipment operation techniques and trouble signs. Remember, just because you trained him on day one, doesn’t mean he is still doing it the way you want him to do it.
- Encourage technicians to report, rather than live with, spray equipment problems. The equipment doesn’t need to be obviously broken or leaking. Technicians know their equipment better than anyone. If it doesn’t look right or sound right, techs should tell their supervisor.
- Thank techs for reporting problems. If you scold a tech for reporting a problem, future problems will not be reported.
- Supervisors and managers should spot check trucks, inspect and test equipment.
Quick pest control equipment inspection tips:
- Cleanliness? (filthy equipment can be a good indicator of abuse and other problems)
- Clean filter? (clogged filters cause a lot of problems)
- Fluids near or under equipment?
- Operating pressure set too high? (high pressure can reduce equipment life)
- Equipment properly secured? (unsecured equipment can become damaged)
- Regularly clean out backpacks & compressed air sprayer to prevent debris from damaging systems.
- Regularly check and clean filters to prevent system damage.
- Perform preventative maintenance during slow periods to prevent problems and downtime.
These few simple steps will reduce equipment problems, repair expense, downtime and missed appointments. Employees, managers, owners and customers will appreciate the effort.
For a more detailed inspection checklist, visit: https://www.qspray.com/preflightchecklist/