Maintaining Your Sprayers
Thorough cleaning after every job will keep your sprayer in tip-top shape.
by John Strieder
a relatively simple machine. But in order to keep it working at full strength, you have to treat it right. Proper care and maintenance will have a profound impact on how long your sprayer lasts and how well it works from week to week.
Daily maintenance means, first and foremost, cleanup after a paint job. “The biggest thing is the cleanup,” says Tom Tonnessen, technical service manager for Titan Tool Inc.
First, your system must be flushed with either water or an appropriate solvent, whichever is compatible with the material you were spraying. Hot water cuts latex better than cold, and adding soap, such as dishwashing liquid, can help too. But never mix water-based paint and paint thinner in your system — they will jell, creating a nasty mess. When following paint with thinner, flush with hot water first.
When you begin your flush, catch the excess paint from the hose in a clean bucket. You can reuse it. When you see clear liquid start to come through the hose, switch to a new bucket. Continue to flush until the stream from the hose looks fairly clean.
Remove the spray tip and drop it into a bucket of water to soak, then spray water or solvent through the gun to flush it out too. Don’t forget to switch the machine back to “prime” to drain and flush the fluid from the return hose.
Filters should be cleaned every job. There are typically three: in the gun itself, between the pump and the hose, and one called a “rockcatcher” on the end of the pickup tube that keeps larger contaminants in the paint from getting sucked into the machine. Pull out the rockcatcher, and, especially if you suspect contamination, the other wire mesh screens as well. Rinse them, using a brush if necessary.
Dip the tip of the gun into solvent to clean it, but don’t submerge the whole gun. Some of the internal seals are made from material that will degrade when washed with solvent.