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Technologies - Car Washes and Outdoor Cleaning Equipment
Commercial Car Washes: Conveyor and In-bay

conveyor car washOf the two main types of commercial carwashes, conveyor or in-bay, the conveyor system uses less water. Conveyor systems (where the car moves through a series of cleaning operations) use approximately 44 gallons of water per vehicle and lose 17% of that to evaporation and carryout. In-bay systems (where washing equipment is rotated around a stationary vehicle) use approximately 72.5 gallons per vehicle and lose 33% of the water to evaporation and carryout. Regardless of the type of car wash, recirculating (recycling) systems are an inportant part of any water-wise car wash. These systems take soapy run-off water, clean it, and send it back for use on another vehicle.

Commercial Car Washes: Self Service Car Washes

Self-serve vehicle washes use less water than commercial car washes or washing vehicles at home. Typically, self-serve vehicle car washes have an equipment room where water is mixed with cleaning agents which then come out of a wand or brush. Because customers are unsupervised, they often discard oil and debris in the wash troughs making water recycling difficult. Self serve car washes can save water by using pressure nozzles with flow-rates less than 3 gpm, deionization equipment rather than water-softening or reverse osmosis systems for "spot-free" rinse options, and reuse of expelled water if reverse osmosis systems are in place. The expelled water could be used for the wash cycles or to irrigate landscapes.

Washing Vehicles at Home

soap and bucketWashing a vehicle at home can use 80-140 gallons of water, which is more than the amount used at a commercial car wash! If this option is chosen, using an automatic shutoff nozzle will greatly reduce water waste. Also, washing vehicles on grass or gravel prevents water from running down the street (where much of it evaporates and the rest picks up contaminants) and into storm drains (where it delivers the contaminants).

Automatic shut-off nozzle
automatic shut off nozzleAutomatic shut-off nozzles have a lever on the back which, when depressed, allows water to flow out of the hose. When released, the water stops, thereby preventing water flow when it is not needed.

Water Broom waterbroomWater brooms use air and water pressure to clean surface areas, and are excellent for use on concrete and asphalt surfaces. They use about 2 gallons of water per minute (gpm) compared to the 8-18 gpm used by a traditional hose nozzle. Using a water broom instead of a hose or power washer to clean surface areas can reduce water use by more than 75% well as require less labor and time.