What Is Soft Wash?
Soft wash can be described as the perfect bridge between pressure washing and pest control, in that the objective is to clean surfaces and eradicate living organisms – algae, lichen, mildew and mold. The Valley Industries BatchPro™ Softwash & Disinfecting Sprayer System, which includes a Comet P40 diaphragm pump, gives you the ability to adjust chemical concentration, based on the level of infestation and the surface material being cleaned, to ensure that you get results as quickly and efficiently as possible. The BatchPro™ completely isolates the chemical from fresh water so that you don’t risk damaging vegetation when pre-soaking and rinsing a job site. And finally, the soft wash sprayer is able to handle the corrosive nature of chemicals, which in this case is sodium hypochlorite.
The BatchPro™ bridges the gap between pressure washing and pest control in a way that no other sprayer has before. The BatchPro™ was designed to bring the best of batching and metering together into one easily operable system. Featuring a Comet P40 diaphragm pump on the batching side, and an Everflo Soft Wash Bleach Pump on the metering side.
Batching & Metering – What’s the Difference?
Batching allows you to keep fresh water separate from the mixed sodium hypochlorite. Using a semi‐hydraulic diaphragm pump on a gas engine means ultra fast pre‐wetting and rinsing, and a spray distance of 40‐50 feet, keeping ladders and roof walking to a minimum. These pumps also last much longer and are easily rebuildable when compared to electric pumps.
The downsides to this system are that the solution being sprayed must bypass back into one of the tanks, contaminating its contents. This results in the need to carry a premixed batch and focus on specific jobs. In addition, the added noise may limit spray time in certain neighborhoods with noise restrictions, but the boost in productivity should more than make up for that.
Metering allows you to keep fresh water, sodium hypochlorite and soap in separate tanks, giving you the ability to dial in a specific solution for various job types, such as roofs, siding or driveways. This can potentially lead to more jobs in a smaller geographic region and less money spent on drive time.
Electric pumps with a pressure switch are ideal for metering, as they can suck the amounts of each chemical needed and simply turn oﬀ when the trigger on the wand is released. Additionally, the electric pumps used for metering are quiet and can be used in residential neighborhoods that have noise restrictions during early morning and late evening hours.
The disadvantages are that electric pumps do not last with sodium hypochlorite and do not oﬀer the flow and pressure required for quickly pre‐wetting and rinsing. Therefore, either a booster pump or pressure washer is typically added on top of the already expensive equipment. In addition, minimal spray distance means more ladders and/or walking on roofs.
Which Option Is Right For Me?
In the end, there is no wrong answer. It comes down to job selection, crew size and equipment budget. One company may choose to focus on roofs, using a 4% or 5% batch, while another may want the versatility of cleaning roofs, siding or driveways. Experience level may also play a part. One business owner may trust his crew to dial in the proper solutions, while another may want to stick with one set of instructions.
When it comes to cost, electric pumps are much less expensive, but they don’t last as long or perform as well. Some operators prefer to just switch out defective pumps and consider it a cost of doing business, while others prefer to replace valves or fittings once in a while in order to have the performance and productivity of a gas engine unit.
Regardless of whether you decide to meter or batch, soft wash is in high demand. Pressure washing companies, lawn care companies and window cleaners are cashing in on their existing routes or expanding into this booming market, where there is no end in sight.