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How to properly select, install, use and maintain dispensing systems for cleaning
Cleanliness is Key
Cleanliness is an important factor across facilities of all types, from restaurants to retail stores to offices to schools. By removing the often hard-to-see germs that rest on surfaces, cleaning helps supports a healthy environment and reduces the spread of harmful bacteria. Cleaning also improves the look of highly visible areas within facilities, such as mirrors, windows, countertops and floors. With happier guests and occupants, organizations can maintain a positive brand image.
To simplify cleaning and sanitizing, many organizations install dispensing systems that house essential and frequently used cleaning chemicals. Dispensing systems offer numerous benefits, including:
- Enhanced sustainability
By dispensing the right amount of chemical each and every time, dispensing systems eliminate the overuse or underuse that often occurs when employees conduct cleaning. Thus, chemicals don’t end up being wasted and potentially hazardous chemicals are not dumped into sanitary sewers or other places where they can have a negative effect on water supplies. According to the Dispensing Equipment Alliance (DEA), a closed dispensing system can save up to 99.9 percent of waste packaging, compared to ready-to-use (RTU) product packaging that would otherwise end up in landfills. Additionally, greenhouse gasses are also reduced because less fuel is needed to ship chemicals in concentrate form than heavy RTU products.
- Cost savings
With automatic dilution, gone are the days of employees playing the guessing game and using too much or too little chemical to complete the cleaning tasks at hand. The DEA also found that dispensing equipment reduces cleaning costs up to 30 percent by accurately diluting the proper amount of chemical. These systems allow businesses to cut out any unnecessary waste and support the bottom line.
- Safer workplaces
By automatically mixing concentrates with water, workers are in less direct contact with potentially hazardous chemicals and don’t have to strain to carry heavy ready-to-use containers. Another added benefit is that properly diluted chemicals can help to reduce the risk of dangerous slip-and-fall accidents because surfaces are cleaned properly and thoroughly and don’t leave a slippery residue.
- Increased productivity
According to the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA), each time a cleaning professional refills chemicals manually, it can take up to 20 minutes while dispensing equipment requires a fraction of that time. Dispensing systems also allow employees to be more productive because they do not need to be trained to learn how to manually measure chemicals. Additionally, because cleaning is done right the first time with the proper amount of chemical, workers don’t have to spend extra time fixing areas that were not properly cleaned. These time savings result in reduced labor costs.
- Cleaner environments
When cleaning chemicals are consistently diluted to the manufacturer’s specifications, it allows the concentrates to work at their full potential. Overly rich mixtures can leave unpleasant, sticky and even slippery residues on surfaces. Too much chemical can even damage surfaces, which can impact the image of a facility and result in costly repairs. When overly weak mixtures are used, surfaces may still have germs remaining. Accurate chemical dosing is one of the easiest ways to create cleaner, more satisfying-looking environments that employees, occupants and guests will enjoy.
For facility managers considering installing one or multiple chemical dispensing systems for cleaning and sanitizing purposes, it’s important to understand how to properly select, install, use and maintain a system. Doing so will help organizations maximize the benefits and lifespan of each unit, and promote cleanliness for years to come.
Selecting a System
There are numerous types of chemical dispensers, and proper selection is key for several reasons. First, using the appropriate system guarantees the correct dilution, thereby improving cleaning results. Second, the dispenser should be selected based upon the current and future cleaning requirements to ensure that the system can continually meet employee and facility needs. For example, some systems are designed to dispense one type of chemical, while others can hold two or even four different types, which can improve cleaning efficiency. Lastly, when dispensers work seamlessly, this enhances user satisfaction. And when employees like using a dispenser, they are more likely to use it and clean often and thoroughly.
When choosing a dispensing system, it’s important to consider several factors, including:
- The number of chemicals that will be used
To guide selection of a dispensing system, make a list of the top chemicals used within the business since some dispensers are designed to handle only one to two chemicals while others can handle multiple. Be strategic and think ahead to whether more chemicals may be added in the future to get a better sense of which model is the right fit.
- How the dispenser will be used
It’s important to determine the main use(s) for the dispenser to guide selection. For instance, will the dispenser be used to fill bottles and buckets? Or to fill larger equipment such as auto scrubbers? Dispensers may also be used for foaming and rinsing purposes. Make sure dispensers are well suited for the application, or they may not function properly or efficiently.
- Water flow and pressure requirements
Water flow and pressure can vary from building to building and even from one area in a facility to another. Facilities without pressure regulation can run into the issue of inconsistent dilution rates. To manage high water pressure, look for a dispensing system with a component to regulate the pressure and eliminate dilution variance by controlling the amount of water allowed into the unit.
To help narrow the search for the best dispensing system, facility managers should look for certain qualities and capabilities such as easy locking buttons, technology that enables perfect dilution rates every time and extra space for maintenance and tubing purposes. The system should also be easy to personally install and user friendly to save on installation fees and enhance productivity. Some chemical dispensers even allow for custom branding to help organizations promote their brand and maintain a professional image. Other customizations include multiple flow rate options or closed-loop systems.
Installing a System
Dispensing systems must be installed where water is available, and should be placed in an easily accessible area that makes sense for the facility and its employees. Facility managers unsure of the number of systems needed should take a closer look at the amount of square footage that needs to be serviced. If it would be inconvenient for employees to use one system, consider installing a centrally located flagship system and then one or several other satellite systems. For instance, it may make sense to have multiple systems if the facility has numerous floors or is especially large. It’s also important to consider how often the system will be used.
When installing a dispensing system, consider the following tips:
- Follow the proper plumbing codes
ASSE 1055 is the plumbing standard that covers all chemical dispensing systems. Following this code helps prevent chemical back flow into the water supply which can be harmful to the environment. Facilities should also research and follow local codes which may be in addition to ASSE 1055.
- Consider dispenser placement in relation to the chemical
It’s important not to install the dispenser lower than the chemical and to install it as close to the chemical as possible. If the chemical is higher than the dispenser, it’s possible that chemical can be siphoned out, which would result in too much chemical being used, driving up costs and resulting in poor performance and decreased productivity.
- Make it look professional
Select a dispensing system that is sleek and modern looking. Lines should be organized for a successful installation and to help maintain a professional appearance at all times, even if dispensers will not be visible to a facility’s customers or occupants. Using wire ties to keep lines organized and straight ensures there is no confusion or mix-up about which line connects a certain chemical to the dispensing system.
- Conduct training sessions
To get the most out a dispensing system, employees should understand how to properly use it. Hold a hands-on training session so that employees are aware of the location of all systems, can practice using the dispensers and have the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback.
Using and Maintaining a System
There are a number of things that employees should keep in mind when using a dispensing system. First, the water flow should be on during use and off when the system is not in use. Although dispensers minimize direct impact with potentially harmful chemicals, it’s important that workers wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to further enhance safety. Lastly, employees should report any possible issues, like no chemical draw, to management as quickly as possible to facilitate troubleshooting.
Regular maintenance ensures great cleaning performance and limits chemical waste, loss of productivity and added costs. Facility managers should keep the following maintenance tips in mind:
- Regularly maintain the filter
Systems generally have a filter or strainer washer on the water inlet to ensure that particles in the water line don’t get into the water valve. Filters need to be regularly cleaned, with the frequency dependent on the water conditions at the site.
- Replace metering tips
Metering tips regulate how much concentrate is mixed with the water, so it’s crucial that these are functioning properly. Facility managers should replace metering tips on a regular basis so that the dilution ratios are always accurate and don’t impact cleaning results.
- Replace tubing as needed
Over time, tubing can become brittle or yellow, depending on the types of chemical being used. Facility managers should replace this tubing as needed.
Systems for Success
Hydro Systems is the world’s largest independent manufacturer of proportioning and dispensing systems. The high-quality equipment is used across a number of applications, including cleaning and sanitizing, animal health, irrigation and laundry, and features user-friendly designs and minimal maintenance.
With a wide variety of models from which to choose, Hydro’s dispensing systems meet the needs and specific requirements of facilities. Consider the following innovations when looking to purchase a reliable dispensing system:
- Pressure regulating chemical dispensers
Hydro Systems’ dispensers utilize AccuPro technology which delivers dilution accuracy regardless of fluctuations in water pressure. AccuPro pressure regulation technology eliminates dilution variance by controlling the amount of water allowed into the unit, never allowing it to “lean out” of the desired dilution target.
- Multiple product dispensers
AccuMax Quad Diverter Valve (QDV) dispensers from Hydro Systems allow employees to dispense multiple diluted products at multiple flow rates into spray bottles, buckets and other containers. The QDV systems also eliminate the possibility of chemical carryover through the use of patented diverter technology. The AccuMax 4P from Hydro Systems is capable of storing up to four chemicals at once and can accommodate most 2-3 liter bottles of cleaning solution, which are stored behind locked enclosures to protect employees and customers.
- Foaming and spraying dispensers
Looking for equipment that automatically dilutes and dispenses concentrated cleaning products in foaming and spraying modes? Hydro Systems’ HydroChem makes switching from one function to the next incredibly easy. Plus, in addition to simplifying cleaning and sanitizing, the system more effectively cleans because the automatically diluted solution is mixed more accurately and consistently than manually mixed solutions.
- Durable dispensers
Certain environments are more demanding than others, and require the installation of more durable dispensing systems. The Streamline Series dispensers from Hydro Systems are built with stainless steel cabinets to improve resilience against chemical corrosion. The cabinets are also easy to clean and resistant to water and heat damage, making them a great option for commercial kitchens and industrial applications. Just like all other Hydro Systems products, the equipment automatically dilutes solutions to the proportion called for by the concentrate manufacturer.
Chemical dispensers offer businesses a variety of benefits related to cleaning. These include improved environmental friendliness and cleanliness, cost savings and increased productivity and safety. With numerous types of dispensing systems on the market, it’s important for facility managers to do their research before making a purchase. The above tips on selection, installation, use and maintenance will help simplify the process and ensure organizations can more quickly implement reliable systems and reap their benefits.