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Air Diaphragm vs. 12 Volt vs. Gas Powered Pump Systems??

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Have you wondered what the real differences between the Air Diaphragm pumps, 12 Volt pumps and gas powered diaphragm pump systems when compared to each other for softwashing?  We sell all three types of pumps.  Each pump type has a spectrum of applicable markets that I carefully match them with.

 

As all of you know Sodium Hypochlorite (SH), basically attacks just about everything organic or everything with a Carbon molecule.  For that reason, SH is ideal to use for softwashing to eradicate health threatening black streaks, mildew and airborne spores.  However, SH is very corrosive and can be a challenge to handle.  SH degrades into salt and water very quickly. Ultraviolet rays, heat and organic material will cause SH to break down.  Chris Tucker taught me to use the Chemical Compatiblity index at ColeParmer.com (http://www.coleparmer.com/Chemical-Resistance) for information on how a product will hold up when exposed to SH.  

 

The Air Diaphragm pumps are the ONLY pumps that allow the operator to COMPLETELY CONTROL

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Have you wondered what the real differences between the Air Diaphragm pumps, 12 Volt pumps and gas powered diaphragm pump systems when compared to each other for softwashing?  We sell all three types of pumps.  Each pump type has a spectrum of applicable markets that I carefully match them with.

 

As all of you know Sodium Hypochlorite (SH), basically attacks just about everything organic or everything with a Carbon molecule.  For that reason, SH is ideal to use for softwashing to eradicate health threatening black streaks, mildew and airborne spores.  However, SH is very corrosive and can be a challenge to handle.  SH degrades into salt and water very quickly. Ultraviolet rays, heat and organic material will cause SH to break down.  Chris Tucker taught me to use the Chemical Compatiblity index at ColeParmer.com (http://www.coleparmer.com/Chemical-Resistance) for information on how a product will hold up when exposed to SH.  

 

The Air Diaphragm pumps are the ONLY pumps that allow the operator to COMPLETELY CONTROL

You got that right Lori :)

Those UDOR Gas Powered Roof Cleaning Pumps are a terrible product, I have a few in pieces in my parts shed! 

A few are still using 12 volt pumps, but most have wisely switched over to air.

Great to hear from you again, please say hello to Mom and Dad from me, ok ?

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In theory, with the right pump, an Air pump will last a lot longer than 2-3 times. Service them, change the diaphragms when they need changing and a good pump should last years and years. Materials like PVDF (Kynar) and Hastelloy are pretty much impervious to chlorine breakdown as well as ultraviolet light degradation. Only mechanical stresses should hurt them and that can be controlled. The air pumps are designed to work in very tough environments running extremely caustic materials thru them so the truth is, roof mix is a cakewalk. I have one pump, a 3/4" Kynar All Flo, that does nothing but pump straight SH from our drums into the mix tank at 15 GPM. It is washed out after every use....mostly... and doesn't seem to care. Try doing that with a Fatboy or Pentaflex.

Can they break? Yes. Usually the air end will go as it tends to be ignored in a mobile application for air purity and moisture control. After this, diaphragms and seals. However, these things can be rebuilt and they are not that difficult. I put an air end rebuild kit into one of my big 1" Hastelloy pumps this morning. Took half an hour. Guys were not dumping the water from the compressor and it wore a seal. Popped the air end off, replaced the seals, put in a new Piston for good measure and back up and running.

That being said, the electric pumps, when they go out....they can't be rebuilt cost effectively, but the entry level price is low....though most folks forget to add in the cost of the deep cycle battery, relay/pressure switch spares and accumulator tank. And the electric will simply never match the flow rates or flexibility that an air pump delivers. An air pump has a higher price but a far lower cost as the six electric pumps I just recycled prove.mthose six pumps and all the frustration of being down...I could have bought one 3/4"or 1" Air Pump.

As for the gas pumps....I've heard too many horror stories.

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I have been using a Fatboy for years and so far it has worked for me. However on some tall roofs it is a challenge to reach to the peak. I have been contemplating on upgrading to a diaphragm pump next year. I almost hesitate to ask this because I don't want a 100 different opinions but those of you that have had a lot of experience with various pumps and are considered an authority on pumps, exactly which diaphragm pump would you recommend for roof cleaning? I'm not going to bother reading the hundreds of thread on pumps because again I will get a 100 different opinions. Thanks.

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I run an ARO 1" aodd pump rated at 39 gpm. With the custom nozzle from Master Industries it will shoot over 70'  Over 2 years old and never had any problems or stalling. I also have a 1" hasteloy pump that i use also. Either one will do a great job. I did crack the outlet manifold, but they replaced it under the 5 year warranty that I didn't know it had.

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I run 1" Hasteloy pumps and a 3/4" Kynar transfer pump.,

I would go with a 1" pump. Might seem like overkill but everybody who has gone to the bigger pumps are very very glad of the flexibility. Also, they are built heavier and last longer. With a 1/2" pump, you are pretty much running it at its Max. With a 1" or bigger pump, you are running it 50% or less.

Brand wise...one of four.

ARO. Great pumps, Built really well, but somewhat of a dizzying array of products and the company is a corporate maze so ordering parts is not easy.

All-Flo. Smaller company,easier to get parts and service on. I have one of their 3/4" pumps and it is a workhorse. Lori at PWP sells them.

Yamada. Chris from Apple runs their 1/2" NDP-15 pumps. Good, solid, reliable. They make a 1" version called the NDP-25.

Graco/Husky. If I buy another pump, it will probably be a Graco 1050 or 1590 pump. Very impressed with their engineering. Not as bad as ARO to deal with but not as easy as Yamada or All-Flo.

Pump Body Materials...

Hasteloy. Very very expensive metal that is pretty much impervious to SH. Heavy but bulletproof. Very rare as they are bloody expensive new.,

Kynar...also known as PVDF. Totally impervious to SH and UV light. Most expensive of the plastics, but will last the longest.

Polypropylene. Not impervious to SH. not impervious to UV. But CHEAP! You can buy one, rinse rinse rinse and replace the fluid section every few years. Drawback is that when it goes...it might really go and spray Roof mix everywhere. Did I mention Cheap? Gary's ARO is poly.

Aluminum...avoid unless you want to experiment with interior coatings.

Stainless. I would avoid unless you can get it coated.

Diaphragm/Valve materials...

You want Teflon or Viton diaphragms. You want Teflon or Kynar valves and seals.

You want BALL BALVES. The flap valves are designed for pumping aggregates suspended in liquid.

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Well, everyone has their favorite air diaphragm pumps. Wilden is also another great air pump, in fact, Jim Wilden invented the air pumps, and everyone copied them, when his US Patent ran out.

If there was one pump that "built Apple Roof Cleaning" it would be the 1/2 inch Kynar Yamada.

 

As far as you go Dave, a Fat Boy will actually outshoot a 1/2 air pump by a little, UNLESS you have a bigger air compressor then a Rigid.

But, if you really need a roof cleaning pump to shoot, then get you a 1 inch one, with a 12 horsepower air compressor.

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Well, everyone has their favorite air diaphragm pumps. Wilden is also another great air pump, in fact, Jim Wilden invented the air pumps, and everyone copied them, when his US Patent ran out.

If there was one pump that "built Apple Roof Cleaning" it would be the 1/2 inch Kynar Yamada.

 

As far as you go Dave, a Fat Boy will actually outshoot a 1/2 air pump by a little, UNLESS you have a bigger air compressor then a Rigid.

But, if you really need a roof cleaning pump to shoot, then get you a 1 inch one, with a 12 horsepower air compressor.

 

Wilden is a good pump, but most of the ones I see are big...not that there is anything wrong with a big pump, but they are also seeming built out of non resistant materials. That being said, if I saw a Wilden that was appropriate for SH, I would snap it up. 

 

As for distance, my experience is just opposite. Our little 3/8" pump gets as far as a Fatboy while the 1/2" I tried was definitely superior. That being said, we are also typically pumping with a decent amount of lift and using a 3/4" spray line which makes a big difference. Also, the Air system will remain consistent thru out the day, where the electric will vary due to battery voltage. Trick with electric is to buy the biggest honking deep cycle you can afford and then use really large wiring, bypassing the teeny tiny lines they have the pump wired with until the last possible moment. 4 Ga made a huge difference on our pumps. 

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To "Max out" a 1" pump, you typically need in the 40-50 CFM range of airflow. A compressor at this size, typically the air reserve isn't as important. Usually you are either looking at a VERY beefy truck mount like a 53 CFM MaxAir or a big Quad head Polar Air...or yiu are getting into an Air Screw compressor like a VMAC. These are all big ticket items with the MaxAir being the cheapest at $3800 and going up from there.

The question is...do you NEED to max out your 1" pump? A 1" Pump riunning off a 20 CFM compressor is still going to give you 17-20 GPM of fluid flow which is 4-5 times what a Fatboy will do. And since you are running it at half speed, it is going to last. If you really really need that much material movement. And you have a tank that will give you the run time to support 45-50 GPM (this will empty yiur 100 Gallon mix tank in about 2 minutes), then I would probably go to a 1.5" or even 2" pump and a 50 CFM range air rig so you are not riunning the pump wide open. Keep in mind you will need a minimum 3/4" or even 1" spray line for that much flow.

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To "Max out" a 1" pump, you typically need in the 40-50 CFM range of airflow. A compressor at this size, typically the air reserve isn't as important. Usually you are either looking at a VERY beefy truck mount like a 53 CFM MaxAir or a big Quad head Polar Air...or yiu are getting into an Air Screw compressor like a VMAC. These are all big ticket items with the MaxAir being the cheapest at $3800 and going up from there.

The question is...do you NEED to max out your 1" pump? A 1" Pump riunning off a 20 CFM compressor is still going to give you 17-20 GPM of fluid flow which is 4-5 times what a Fatboy will do. And since you are running it at half speed, it is going to last. If you really really need that much material movement. And you have a tank that will give you the run time to support 45-50 GPM (this will empty yiur 100 Gallon mix tank in about 2 minutes), then I would probably go to a 1.5" or even 2" pump and a 50 CFM range air rig so you are not riunning the pump wide open. Keep in mind you will need a minimum 3/4" or even 1" spray line for that much flow.

 

It never ceases to amaze me that people will cough up 5 to 10.000 dollars for a hot water pressure washer, to bid on 50.00 driveways with, and yet get cold feet when asked to spend some money, for a state of the art roof cleaning system.

Truly, a 1 inch air pump, with a 25 CFM or more air compressor, is a wonderful tool to have!

Only the few of us who have, or have had "such animals", can truly appreciate what they can do.

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I don't see any need in my roof cleaning work for a pump that pumps over 10gpm. But then again 9 out of 10 roofs I do are clay/concrete barrel/flat tile roofs. When I'm spraying these I have to mist it to control the runoff and I maybe pump 2gpm out of the tip, anything more ends up on the ground. So my 1/2" air pump does all I need it to. No it cant spray 70' but I don't need it to. Maybe the steep roofs up north that have to be cleaned from the ladder is a different story. Does anybody on here actually need that much output from a pump?

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I don't see any need in my roof cleaning work for a pump that pumps over 10gpm. But then again 9 out of 10 roofs I do are clay/concrete barrel/flat tile roofs. When I'm spraying these I have to mist it to control the runoff and I maybe pump 2gpm out of the tip, anything more ends up on the ground. So my 1/2" air pump does all I need it to. No it cant spray 70' but I don't need it to. Maybe the steep roofs up north that have to be cleaned from the ladder is a different story. Does anybody on here actually need that much output from a pump?

Yes. We use the capability all the time. Went from FatBoy to 3/4" to 1" and never will I use anything smaller for primary cleaning. Anybody doing steeper/larger roofs, anybody dealing with tonnage of moss, anybody doing larger multi-family residential or bigger commercial projects, anybody who wants the capability when they really need it, anybody doing Cedar which needs tonnage of rinsing..and anybody who wants the greater reliability of a big pump which just loafs along will benefit. It will be that 10th roof you get to that you just can't reach without renting a lift...or which is so large that rinsing takes 2X as long which will usually push you over the top to getting a bigger pump.

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I don't see any need in my roof cleaning work for a pump that pumps over 10gpm. But then again 9 out of 10 roofs I do are clay/concrete barrel/flat tile roofs. When I'm spraying these I have to mist it to control the runoff and I maybe pump 2gpm out of the tip, anything more ends up on the ground. So my 1/2" air pump does all I need it to. No it cant spray 70' but I don't need it to. Maybe the steep roofs up north that have to be cleaned from the ladder is a different story. Does anybody on here actually need that much output from a pump?

A big pump i very similiar to a "muscle car" running 600 HP. You don't need all that HP all the time, but its great to know its there when you need it. How many times could a big pump cancel out moving your ladder due to increased distance?  There are alot of reasons to have one, but until you try it you won't understand. Good luck!!

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To each his own. I walk all of my roofs so I never move the ladder, I don't deal with any moss, I don't do cedar because there are only a few in s fl, and I don't rinse. So what I have works for me and what others have work for them. As long as what we have works for us and makes money it doesn't matter to me what the other guy has. My typical roof is 2000-4000 sqft tile roof black from GM, not steep shingle covered with moss.

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Kevin,

What do you think about this compressor for a 1" AODD pump? BTW I left you a message asking to purchase one of your pumps.

This is what I would say regarding the Harbor Freight Compressors. When you build an air rig, the compressor is the heart of the system. You can buy a HF Comptessor or you can buy a compressor which is guaranteed and proven to last. Quincy, Ingersol Rand and Eaton would be my choice.

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This is what I would say regarding the Harbor Freight Compressors. When you build an air rig, the compressor is the heart of the system. You can buy a HF Comptessor or you can buy a compressor which iscearranteedcand proven to last. Quincy, zinger sol Rand and Eaton would be my choice.

Agree. Some things at HF are great, but most aren't.  In my experience the same holds true of Lowes - their Kolbalt line is junk!

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Agree. Some things at HF are great, but most aren't.  In my experience the same holds true of Lowes - their Kolbalt line is junk!

I know Chris has had good luck...but my experience has been not so great with any of their motorized stuff. I have a HF Power washer in my shed I bought for around the house projects...third one since the first two failed immediately. After a year and a half it has also failed after being used...twice. And now is out of warranty. 

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It never ceases to amaze me that people will cough up 5 to 10.000 dollars for a hot water pressure washer, to bid on 50.00 driveways with, and yet get cold feet when asked to spend some money, for a state of the art roof cleaning system.

 

 

You got that right....truer words were never spoken

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