The day may come when your hot water pressure washer isn’t quite heating like it used to. You may notice a decrease in the water temperature, it may take longer for the machine to come up to proper operating temperatures, or you may begin to notice more load on the motor and pump than usual.
These are all fairly typical signs your coil may need some attention.
What Causes Hot Water Pressure Washer Coil Issues?
Mostly one thing. Hard Water.
The source and quality of the water you’re running through your machine will directly determine the performance and life, you can expect from your pressure washer.
If you’re not sure if your water is hard, you can do a couple things. One, you can order a simple testing kit from Amazon, usually running $10-20. Or you can simply ask your local Alkota Dealer. Most dealers are aware of hard water issues in their region and can help with questions.
So, if you're lucky enough to have hard water, what can you do to protect your pressure washer coil?
When it comes to coil maintenance, we preach preventative! Taking some steps to treat the water you use before it goes through your machine can make all the difference.
The first option is to switch to a treated or softened water source. Water softener units work by filtering hard water through a resin that attracts hard water ions. Once the water is filtered it is ready for use. Water softeners also require salt to recharge the resin so it can continue to collect hard water ions.
Cons - Water softener systems can be very expensive. They also require replacement of salt, and regular maintenance, adding to the expense. You will be limited to using your machine at your soft water source- so using your machine on the road or off site will not have the soft water benefits.
Pros - Water that is ready to use and should have little to no scaling issues on your coil.
Another option is a Scale filter Attachment - this is a pre-treatment chemical bowl that will treat water before it enters the machine.
Pros - these filters are affordable and portable. You can hook it up to a local water source, to treat it.
Cons - disposable and limited life. Depending on how often you use your machines, you can go through a lot of filters and chemicals, adding up in costs.
The third most common treatment is a Pre-treatment of your water source. This usually only applies to machines running off tanks or pre-filled containers. Adding chemicals to help soften the water before it runs through your machine.
Pros - Easy. Simply add the proper amount of chemical to your water source.
Cons - limited to tank supplied machines.
A fourth option is a regular treatment of your coil with a product such as Scale Stop. Alkota provides a chemical blend that helps prevent scale and soap build up, and slows the growth of scale crystals. Helping you to run your machine longer, and prolonging operation life.
Signs of Problems
We understand it is not possible to always know the condition of the water you're using. Our machines are going to work, but you’ll need to pay attention to your coil before problems build.
Common Symptoms of Coil Problems
- Poor Machine Performance - Lack of pressure, lack of maintaining temperature.
- Rough running pump or motor.
- Increase load. Motor or electric motor is straining or working harder to keep up.
- Extra pressure on the pump - pump load increase and pressure as well.
- Release valves are blowing from excessive pressure.
- Other (non-Alkota) units may see soot build up on the coil from improper burning.
Coil Repair Options
There are a couple options for coil fixes.
First would be a chemical descale. This procedure uses acid, pumped through the coil to loosen and detach scale build up from hard water. This service is often provided at service dealers.
Second is a coil replacement. This is the costly option, and can take your machine out of commission longer. If this is the case, we highly recommend you start implementing some preventive measures when you get your machine back.
Moral of the Story
Prevent the scale. Check your water sources, regularly keep your coil in top shape with preventative maintenance tips found above.
We hope you found this article helpful. If you have questions about hot water pressure washer maintenance or repair tips, please let us know.