Carpet cleaning equipment tips
Professional carpet cleaning services generally use only a few different pieces of equipment to serve their customers. Nevertheless, these items must be chosen with care to ensure the quality of the work. Like commercial washers, carpet cleaning machines go through heavy use and need to be of high quality to weather the wear.
Carpet Steam Cleaners
A carpet steam cleaner delivers a high-pressure stream of very hot water to the carpet. The carpet is then beaten with four to six rollers which remove set-in dirt. Though they are called steam cleaners, this is technically inaccurate because water must be heated to a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit to vaporize, and that temperature will cause irreparable damage to most carpets. The temperature of the water in most carpet steam cleaners is between 150 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit, though the temperature in the machine's heated tank may exceed the 212 degree threshold.
Steam cleaners which operate at higher temperatures remove not only dirt and stains, but will also sanitize and remove allergens, mold, germs, spores and bacteria. Expect machines with these capabilities to cost roughly $1,000 to $1,500.
Lower-end carpet cleaning products do not have heated tanks. The water delivered to the carpet will only be as hot as what was initially put into the tank. Many carpet cleaning supply locations will rent these machines to customers.
In the middle range, commercial canister steam cleaners have a smaller capacity and, though heated, do not reach very high temperatures. Commercial-quality machines of this type usually begin around $600.
Carpet cleaners also use machines known as extractors. Extractors pull dirt from carpets before washing the debris off the rollers. This introduces much less water into the carpeting, which means drying takes much less time. Extractors vary in the size of their tanks, hose lengths and the amount of pressure they exert for the extraction. Some units also have heated tanks. Small units are often used for auto detailing. Prices range from $800 to nearly $2,000.
Drying carpets after cleaning is accomplished with fans. Dryers are among the least expensive pieces of carpet cleaning equipment, ranging in price from about $100 to $500. Most units blow air across the carpet surface, carrying moisture away. Better models can be placed in multiple positions while in operation, or stacked for superior air movement. One newer design draws air from above and distributes it in an aggressive and powerful 360 degree stream.
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