The Anatomy of a Steam Cleaner
Helpful real information and facts from the best source in the USA
While the internet is an amazing gateway to a world of information and exciting possibilities, it can also become a forum for inaccurate information about products and/or the companies or person that sell them. Many advertise information that confuse and are geared only for marketing and their bottom line sale.
Do not make a decision based on inaccurate information or "marketing hype"
Research is a challenge in itself, we will attempt to answer basic questions in a limited format. As you get to know our company, products and history we promise to educate, inform and invite you to get to know us with honesty, integrity, helpful insight and accountable facts. We are a full service company, with full service knowledge and support for the life of your purchase.
Boilers, Heating elements, components and on...and on
They all have the best... or do they? Here is the bottom line in the world of steam cleaners. There are two main origins of steam cleaners, Italy being the primary source. Italian made steam cleaners all come from the northern region of Italy from approximately 4-5 factories. They all use primarily the same components, boilers, heating elements and components. Design varies internally, and of course there are different features such as Continuous fill or Combination steam cleaners such as our Steam/vac/inject models. Many claims of special parts, upgraded components or technologies are all a large part of the buyers confusion, and often a tool to hype and overvalue a product to get you to buy from them!
more information please feel free to follow links for detailed information or contact us and we will be happy to go into depth on any question you may have.
What is the difference when I look at a machine with 58 psi or 100 psi?
The main difference is temperature / pressure. Typically homeowners or light commercial users should look for at least 65 psi (4.5 bar)"298 boiler" and above if looking to purchase a "low moisture" Vapor Cleaner. While some of your jobs will require to maximize your pressure, much of your cleaning will require you "turn it down" instead of up. More is not always better! Our lab tests indicate that if you are using for sanitizing our 75psi (5bar) 315 machines or using 120 psi 340 boiler temp, the kill rate is achieved 100% of 99.9% at 72psi so no further results are achieved with higher temperature machines. Higher temperatures / pressure machines do not provide better results in most instances but occasionally is desired. Higher temperatures with direct contact can also damage surfaces if not careful.
Replaceable heating elements - is this something I should look for?
Quite simply, ALL steam cleaners today have replaceable heating elements. There are typically 3 types of heating elements, the external heating plate which is most widely used of the past few years and the lowest cost, the tubular screw in heating elements with gaskets that screw into the side of the boiler and internal heating elements within the boiler which are the least likely to fail. For Detailed accurate information please read...Heating Elements - Do they really Fail?
Hose Length - Does it matter? Absolutely!
Quality manufacturer's design their standard hose length for optimal pressure and temperature to maintain the standards of sanitizing and cleaning to meet test results and specifications. A 8 - 9 ft hose is the length is optimal. Extending length beyond what a machine is designed for can compromise temperature and pressure necessary for sanitizing and optimal cleaning. We have clients that need the longer hoses for specific cleaning up to 14 feet, but not without an understanding that basic science cannot be adjusted. The temperature will decrease the farther the steam must travel, the moisture content will rise and the pressure will decrease. Websites stating that they have hoses that are capable of overcoming this loss is unfounded and simply not true and misleading the buyer. Read...Steam Hoses - The long and short of it!
Plastic, Stainless or Painted Metal
Most models on the market today are plastic or stainless. Plastic is an fine option as all of our portable appliances are plastic these days. Stainless is as durable, acceptable, and quite often required within the commercial marketplace. From a manufacturing standpoint, stainless steel is the most expensive material to use when designing this type of equipment therefore going the extra step in constructing a quality piece of equipment inside and out. There are a few painted metal models available. Remember "non-stainless" steels may rust in a long term, but a well cared for machine can endure the test of time.
Temperature = Pressure
We know that you see different temperatures and pressures advertised by various steam vapor cleaner retailers, which becomes confusing and is typically overstated and not properly advertised. Looking at the saturated steam tables will simplify this for you. Here are standard measurements that you should see:
Pounds Per Sq. Inch /Pressure Bar (European measure) Average Internal Boiler Temp
50 PSI 3.5 281 F.
58 PSI 4 293 F.
65 PSI 4.5 298 F.
72 PSI 5 311 F.
87 PSI 6 327 F.
95 PSI 6.5 335 F.
I have read I "absolutely must have the ability to regulate the steam temperature" is that the adjustable pressure regulator?
Yes, any steam cleaner should have a pressure regulator to regulate the output of steam when applying to a specific job. However, it is absolutely impossible to regulate the " temperature" in a steam cleaner. You can not turn the temperature up or down, only the pressure.
What function does a pressure gauge have?
Machines offering accurate read pressure gauges will either show Bars, PSI or both. A pressure gauge will help you to be assured that your machine is functioning properly. While any product with or without a gauge is certainly fine, it is a nice feature if available. There are a large number of brands that have gauges, but do not offer an accurate read.
Continuous Fill vs. Single Boiler Cleaners
Either machine can meet your cleaning needs. Continuous operation means there is an additional reservoir that enables the user to never have down time or a pressurized cap system. Single boilers fill directly into the boiler and when the machine runs empty of water it will need to be refilled and heated. Look for a small boiler when purchasing a continuous fill as this heats quickly and maintains excellent pressure as the and steam for those Commercial and/or heavy cleaning jobs. A favorable design, as the boiler normally remains 90% full at all times adding approximately 1 - 2 oz per injection of water into the boiler. This dilution rate will keep pressure or temperature unaffected. Please read more on our Continuous Fill FAQ’s page to gain more information and dispel the statements being made by companies that do not offer such a machines yet warn consumers away.
Hand Nozzles, buttons, switches or triggers – Just what is the difference and are they safe?
Absolutely, all "steam vapor cleaners" on the market must adhere to strict guidelines or they would not achieve their CE, ETL and / or UL certifications required. Wiring in the internal insulation of hoses range from 3v to 12v - equal to a battery. There are 3 basic designs of the nozzle handles on the market. Button, switch or trigger. All are clearly functional in their own design but you may want to look closely at the type of cleaning that you will be doing when considering your purchase. We strongly recommend for arthritic, fibromyalgia, lupas or similar conditions restricting function to call us as we can offer alternative hoses and switches to ease the challenge and offer steam cleaning availability.
Steam Vapor vs. Steam Vapor/Extractor
This is a decision based primarily on what your needs are. Hard surfaces, combination cleaning, personal priorities apply when making this decision. Do not however, hold true to companies that state you cannot clean carpet with a Steam Vapor "Extractor" System. Yes, you can! With the proper machine and process, websites that state this is impossible do not have our machines! Vapor Clean steam extractors have the added feature of heated liquid injection with extraction that no other machine in the USA can offer. Basic dry steam cleaners with extractors do not have this ability. Please call us for more information at 800.758.3141 and read the consumer reviews on our equipment.
Mono-block (detachable hose) systems vs. attached hoses
Detachable hoses make far more sense and mean less repairs. These days only steamers made in China do not have detachable hoses so the point is less important than years ago. Unless your buying one of those. Storage is easier, and if you have to send in for repair, quite often it may just be a switch on the hose. Why send the whole machine in for service? Mishaps occasionally occur, we have had to replace chewed hoses (new puppies), crushed nozzles (spouse backed over it with the car) and so on......Pulling cleaners by the hoses of direct wired machines can put stress on the connection eventually loosening the connections and wiring of attached hoses. Detachable hoses "lock" into place thus relieving the stress and potential repairs.
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