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A professional-grade carpet extractor is a must for building service contractors who clean a variety of floor types. It's vitally important to choose the right carpet extractor for the types of jobs you'll be doing.
Here are some things to consider when purchasing a carpet extractor.
Type of Extractors
There are two primary types of carpet extractors – a canister extractor or a self-contained extractor. The canister/box-and-wand style is more maneuverable and great for cleaning smaller or tight areas. The wand also helps you when cleaning upholstery and hard-to-reach areas. But this style doesn't offer a rotating beater brush that extracts more dirt from carpets. A wand extractor requires the operator to physically agitate the carpet. For an agitating carpet brush feature, you'll need to opt for the self-contained extractor. This type agitates more dirt from carpets and cleans larger areas much quicker. But these may not be as portable and, depending on the specific model, may not have a wand attachment for cleaning furniture.
Vacuum Motor Options
In general, a bigger motor will provide better extracting performance. There are two types: two-stage and three-stage vacuum motors. Three-stage motors are better for extraction than two-stage motors primarily because of increased water lift. Increased water lift means less time until the carpet is dry and can be opened up to foot traffic – usually a key need in most facilities.
Heaters & Tank Capacity
While it's possible to extract dirt particles from carpets without using heated water, many professional cleaners prefer this method and research shows hot water breaks down oily residue better and helps detergents work more effectively. Therefore, an on-board water heater is an important consideration for carpet extractors. A heater is often an option on canister extractors. If your carpet extractor does have a heater, fill your tanks with the hot water from the tap. You should also consider the size of the water collection tank. Smaller tanks will require more frequent emptying, thereby lessening operator productivity.
Carpet extractors are usually available as corded or as a battery unit. Battery extractors save time since operators are not required to locate multiple power sources during cleaning sessions. There's also no cord to become tangled during operation, in furniture, fixtures or cause damage to wall corners. Plus, battery-powered carpet extractors lessen the risk of trip-and-fall accidents that might occur during operation.
A carpet extractor's pump sprays cleaning solution onto the carpet. The pump's PSI (pounds per square inch) determines with how much pressure the solution is sprayed. Some extractors have adjustable PSIs that allow operators to change the pressure depending on the type of fabric or amount of soil while some only spray at pre-set levels.
Your facility's unique needs may dictate the type of carpet extractor to purchase. First, refer to the specific carpet manufacturer's recommendations on extraction. Carpet in your building may have specific cleaning guidelines. Also consider:
- The building's geographic location (Does snow and ice get tracked in frequently?)
- The amount of foot traffic (Is the carpet located in a high-volume area of the building?)
- The presence of food and therefore spills (Do I need to clean carpet in a carpeted dining or break room?)
- The type of business (Is this a high-visibility retail facility where image is key?)
Be certain to select a vendor that offers ongoing customer support and access to OEM parts. You may need help troubleshooting problems or even onsite training to ensure your carpet extractor works as it should. As you are weighing the pros and cons of specific models, ask about after-purchase support.
Carpet extractors are a necessity for professional cleaners who want to ensure their buildings look great. These tips will help you determine the type of extractor that's right for your needs.