When scraping the inside of the tank the dried sealer often comes off in big chunks, which can be removed by hand. Smaller chunks fall to the bottom of the tank, so use a 5-gallon bucket to put those pieces in.
Working in enclosed spaces is tricky, so proper ventilation is essential, as are rubber boots, coveralls, and good gloves. Humphries says a respirator is not necessary, though a mask and goggles should be worn.
Protect pump and plumbing
Once the tank is cleaned contractors need to turn their attention to the unit?s pump and its entire plumbing system. Humphries says these are the parts of the sealcoating system that can experience the most damage over winter if they?re not taken care of properly.
?If sealer freezes in the plumbing it will crystallize and take on a consistency a little thicker than peanut butter,? Humphries says. ?If that happens you will have to take every single piece of plumbing apart and physically remove the thick sealer out of every piece by hand.?
Or replace the entire plumbing structure. To avoid that time-consuming, difficult, and costly process, find the lowest point on the plumbing system and remove the plug (or open the drain valve).
Bechtel recommends completely disassembling the pump, allowing all water to drain out, and leaving the pump disassembled throughout the offseason. With the pump disassembled it?s easy to examine components for wear and repairs and replacements can easily be made.
Among the components to take a close look at and repair or replace are the leathers and the ball valves. ?The single biggest killer of leather seals is flushing sealer and sand out with water. The sealer leaves and the sand stays,? Humphries says. ?The next time you start the pump you have raw sand scratching the inside of the pump and premature wear on the leathers. You should not wash the pump and plumbing out until you introduce raw sealer through the pump first to remove the sand.?
Pump leathers generally will last through between 150,000 and 200,000 gallons of sealer, but Humphries recommends replacing them during the offseason instead of waiting until they require repair in mid season.
The ball valves also should be checked and replaced if needed. ?The main key to longevity of ball valves is to regulate the material through the pump. If you?re regulating material through the ball valve the material is coming into direct contact with the ball valve, bouncing off the side of the ball valve at 80 to 100 psi,? Humphries says. ?When that happens the material blasts a hole in the side of the ball valve.?
The anti-freeze alternative
Manufacturers know many contractors don?t like to take their entire pump and plumbing system apart, so another option is to fill the system with antifreeze. Pour roughly 2 gallons into the basket strainer then turn on the pump to distribute antifreeze throughout the system.
Though not all manufacturers make this suggestion, most do because it provides an extra level of protection for the equipment for relatively little extra work. Humphries cautions when putting the anti-freeze in make sure to keep the recirculating valve turned off going into the tank so you don?t put antifreeze into the sealer tank.