Purchasing a Carpet Extractor

There are two main types of carpet extractor:

  • Self-contained. These are suitable for both obstructed and unobstructed areas. When equipped with the proper accessories, self-contained units can reach even the tightest spaces.
  • Walk-behind. These units are suitable for wide-open cleaning areas of 5,000 sq. ft. or more. Walk-behinds can also be adapted for use in tight spaces by simply attaching the necessary wand to the unit.

Average Square Feet per Hour

Questions You Should Ask About Any Carpet Extractor

When you look for a carpet extractor, pay particular attention to:

  • How easy it is to fill and empty the machine.
  • How easy it is to move the machine up and down stairs.
  • How well the unit cleans.
  • How easy it is to maneuver.
  • How easy it is to complete routine maintenance tasks, such as replacing spray jet nozzles.
  1. Does the unit have a foam-sensitive shut-off mechanism?
    A machine that vacuums liquid should have a foam-sensitive float shut-off valve to protect the vac motor from moisture. The float will shut off the flow of air if the recovery tank overfills with water or foam. This will prevent water from being pulled into the vac motor -- a major cause of premature wear, and vac motor burnout.
  2. How easy is it to empty the machine?
    The recovery tank is emptied either by opening a hose connection or by lifting the recovery tank off the machine and pouring. Water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, so a recovery tank that contains just 5 gallons of water will weigh 40 pounds. Some operators will have trouble lifting a full recovery tank to empty it.
  3. How easy is it to clean the spray jets?
    Spray jets have very small openings, so they can become clogged by dirt particles or cleaning chemical residue. So it is important that they be easy to remove and rinse. Try to avoid machines that require you to turn the machine on its side to get to the spray jets. And look for machines that allow you to remove the jets by hand, without requiring tools. That way, your operators will be able to address the problem right away -- even if the machine is filled with solution, as is so often the case.
  4. How easy is it to access the pump and vac motor?
    Even the best cared for machine will eventually need its pump and vac motor replaced. So easy access to these items can reduce maintenance costs significantly. Look for one-piece extractors with a clam-shell design that allows you to access the internal components with the removal of just a few screws.
  5. Is the machine easy to maintain and repair?
    A neglected machine is a breakdown waiting to happen. At NSS, we do everything possible to help you properly operate and maintain your carpet vac. And, perhaps most important of all, our nationwide network of NSS quality distributors and service centers is available to all our customers. In the U.S. or Canada, call our Support Services line at 1-800-677-1663 to find the service center nearest you.
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