There’s not a lot that can go wrong with a wall-mounted chemical proportioner, say jan/san distributors. Barring any physical abuse, these units will continue working for decades. Nevertheless, like any piece of equipment, they require routine service and cleaning to ensure error-free operation.

Some distributors offer periodic maintenance of these products following installation. But many rely on building service contractors to check the machines regularly and keep an eye out for potential problems that could lead to inaccurate dilution ratios or even permanent damage.

“Preventive maintenance is too expensive for a distributor to do,” says Steven Bergholtz, senior facility consultant for AmSan in Huntersville, N.C. “You’re paying a guy to drive around, and at the end of the day if there was nothing for him to service, it probably wasn’t a good business decision. Each customer has to have a certain amount of responsibility, and if there’s a problem they can just give us a call.” 

Technicians at T. Frank McCalls Inc. in Chester, Pa., will often check chemical proportioning units while they are on a service call for another product. 

“It’s not cost-effective to send a technician out and not charge the customer,” says Andrew Parker, vice president. “But if we get a call, and he’s going to be there anyway looking at vacuums or autoscrubbers, he’ll check the proportioners while he’s there.” 

Bob St. Lawrence, vice president of sales and marketing for Lafferty Equipment, Little Rock, Ark., believes in educating BSCs so that they can be more proactive when it comes to servicing chemical proportioners. 

“For years your chemical supplier would provide a proportioner, and they never had any information about it,” he says. “That left you with an end user who didn’t understand the product, so he didn’t know about maintenance. He also had this feeling that somebody else needed to take care of it.” 

According to St. Lawrence, that mindset has changed. Nowadays, more and more distributors are educating customers about their wall-mounted proportioners so that they can take care of basic maintenance themselves. St. Lawrence provides end users with detailed instructions.

“We put control in the end user’s hands, and of course they have access to us for information,” he says. “There’s no reason for a piece of equipment to fail under these conditions, unless there’s abuse.”

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