During the winterization process some contractors will fill the plumbing with antifreeze; however, after cleaning the machine thoroughly, Loutzenhiser suggests contractors run windshield wiper fluid through the plumbing instead of antifreeze. He says washer fluid serves the same purpose (prevents freezing inside the pump), it’s less harsh and more cost effective than antifreeze. Once the windshield wiper fluid has been run through the plumbing, dry fire the pump to remove the excess and leave ball valves ¾ open.
Ford’s unit has a water tank, so he flushes the water out filling it with a mix of windshield wiper fluid and water. “We run the mix through the pump system, and it acts as antifreeze,” Ford says.
Completing Standard Maintenance
Along with properly cleaning the tank of the sealcoating equipment, it is also essential to complete standard maintenance on other parts of the unit. “You have to check your tires, grease the bearings on your axles, check your brakes for wear, and check the spray wand hose,” Loutzenhiser says.
Ford completes maintenance on the engine and carburetor. “It is important to drain the fuel from the unit,” he says. “You also need to change the oil so that the engine won’t spend the winter sitting in dirty oil. When the engine is running, we spray Fogging Oil into the carburetor intake where the air filter is. The spray provides a film that coats the inside of the engine to protect it from moisture that can create rust.”
Another part of the unit contractors must check is the filter pot. “If the filter pot is neglected, on the first job of the season you will have a bunch of sand that has collected inside the strainer or filter and it won’t pump,” Ford says. To prevent this, Ford suggests contractors drain out the filter, clean it, and store the filter pot dry.
Contractors must also remember to drain the water from the air tanks. “If there is any water left in the air tanks it will create condensation, and it will damage the air tanks,” Scacciaferro says.
It is important for contractors to follow the steps to winterize their equipment because if they don’t follow all the steps many problems will occur. “A lot of times they let their material freeze inside the tank and inside the plumbing,” Loutzenhiser says. “When sealer freezes it crystallizes and contractors have a substance in their tanks that is now a solid – they will have to chisel and shovel it out.” These issues can lead to costly repairs.
Seal-Rite has about four cases a year of contractors who don’t properly clean their equipment at the end of the season. “You’ll only make the mistake of letting sealer freeze inside your system one time,” Loutzenhiser says. “You’re talking about thousands of dollars of damage. You could have to buy everything on the rear of the system — a new pump, all new plumbing, and a new filter pot.”
Another benefit to checking the equipment thoroughly is finding what repairs need to be made before the spring rush. “A lot of times we see contractors who want their parts shipped over night in the spring,” Loutzenhiser says. “At the end of the season you can put your machine through its paces and find any issues that need maintenance.”
It can also be beneficial to contractors to complete these repairs before the start of the season due to more cash flow in the fall.
By completing proper maintenance, contractors can preserve their equipment and save money. “In the industry we are always telling our potential customers that maintenance will save money in the long run,” Ford says. “If a little bit of time is spent in the fall winterizing a good amount of money can be saved in the spring.”