How to Clean Spray Foam Insulation Systems

shutterstock_563560888Regardless of how long you have worked in the insulation space, the quality of a Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) insulation job is highly dependent on well-functioning spray foam insulation equipment, from the transfer pumps to spray guns.

In fact, while it is often a time-consuming task, performing required maintenance on your spray foam insulation system is essential.

Heated hoses are vital to the consistent flow of SPF, which renders a better foam. However, the substances often leave buildup over time. Consequently, spray foam insulation systems’ hose lines must regularly be flushed out to encourage the smoothest possible process.

Key Maintenance Points

By following various steps, you ensure that your initial investment in a spray foam insulation system will remain a smart one. Regular maintenance and care help provide peace of mind that your SPF equipment will continue to perform safely and appropriately.

Here are several factors to consider regarding caring for your spray foam insulation system:

The Importance of Power

  • SPF equipment requires electricity and compressed air. Be certain the air and power supply will generate adequate pressure to drive the system. SPF experts recommend that the air is clean and dry. Otherwise, you risk a poor mix.
  • Always check the power supply going to your spray foam machine with an amp clamp meter each day. This approach is a simple operation that will forestall issues resulting from inconsistent power.
  • Also, be sure to confirm the voltage going to the machine, comparing it with the required voltage noted by the manufacturer. For instance, when the voltage is too low, it can cause heat issues and sometimes damage the motor. If you are using a generator, check that the generator does not run out of fuel while the machine is in operation. Most manufacturers have lights on their machines to show when power is correct. Finally, when the power is off, check the plugs, switches, and coils from time to time for any loose connections.

Transfer System To-Dos

  • The transfer system feeds the chemicals from the drums to the proportioning pumps. We suggest that contractors store their materials at the proper temperature per each manufacturer’s specific recommendation.
  • Some spray foam insulation systems require mixing both before and during application. Ensure your drum mixer is clean and free of buildup that can break loose during operation.
  • Transfer systems include the transfer/drum pumps, air hoses, material lines, filters, and monitoring equipment. Make sure to clear these pumps of any solid material when you exchange drums. We suggest adding a dab of grease to the air inlet monthly to keep the motor lubricated.
  • Proper cleaning of the transfer system reduces the chance of debris buildup in the equipment’s heater. Heaters are equipped with temperature sensors and should be checked from time to time for loose connections when the power is off.
  • Always check your system’s air hoses and material transfer hoses for leaks or bulges. Many failures occur at fitting connections. Inspect the entire length of the hose.

The Heart of the Matter

  • A proportioning pump has two goals: pressure and ratio. The pump utilizes ball checks and seats to accomplish these tasks. If you suspect that a larger-than-normal particle has fouled the pump, it may prevent the ball from seating properly against the check bevel, resulting in problems. So, when introducing new material, always check the Y-strainers.
  • SPF preparations require precise pressure and temperature to react to provide maximum yield. The heart of the system, a drive system connected to pumps of equivalent volume, creates pressure and pushes the chemicals through a rapid heating system. The key is to inspect the filter, check the hydraulic oil level, and change the hydraulic oil when the recommended time arises.

Spray Guns, Heated Hoses, and More

  • SPF professionals say the spray foam gun is where all of the magic happens. The process involves mixing two components at the precise ratio, pressure, and temperature levels. Most spray guns are air purge. What does this mean? It means there is an airstream exiting the gun nozzle when it is not spraying foam. Always leave this element on during normal operation and check for any condensation.
  • Be sure to inspect and clean the filter screens in the gun daily, or when material pressures are off-balance. You can treat your SPF gun’s exterior with silicon mold release to prevent material buildup and make cleaning a simple job.
  • The heated hose system often takes the most abuse of your SPF equipment. In many cases, it is hauled across job sites, around corners, up walls, and through tight crawl spaces. Before starting a job, take the entire hose off its vertical hanging rack before turning on the heat. Otherwise, you will place undue stress on the length that is on the frame supporting the weight of the bundle and may severely damage it.

Check Out Our Resource Center

Intech Equipment & Supply offers today’s SPF contractors a one-stop resource for all essential spray foam insulation systems and machinery required to keep projects running smoothly.

Visit our Sprayfoam Resource Center for more information.