Be your connectors hard or soft, there are solutions for you. But more and more, I see professionals moving to the hard plasticized connectors.
When I order tacos for lunch, I’m always asked, “Would you
like that in a hard or
soft shell?” You may find yourself getting the same question
from your local distributor when you say, “I need a 2-inch cuff for my hose.”
“Well,” he answers. “I can get you that in the soft pliable
cuff or the hard locking connectors. Which would you like?”
More and more, I see professionals moving to the hard
plasticized connectors, locking cuffs that give a sure connection for just
about any carpet cleaning hose configuration.
To the best of my knowledge, there are currently four
different brands of these types of connectors:
Cool Cuffs by Wanders
Snap N Lock by Masterclean
Cuff Lynx by Mytee
Flash Cuffs by Hydro-Force
Instead of trying to wade through a morass of “this is
better than that,” I asked representatives of each company to simply tell me
about the advantages of using their version of a hard locking connector over
the typical vinyl cuff and barbed connector system, and then let their
customers (and my readers) decide for themselves what makes the most sense for
Durability seems to be a consistent theme. “Our connectors have an 8-year track record
of proven durability,” Wanders’ Joe Bristor said. “Anyone who has ever used
vinyl cuffs has experienced frustration as the cuffs age and stretch, and then
won’t hold onto the barbed connecters or the cleaning equipment. This won’t happen with the new hard
“We’ve driven a truck
over these, and they don’t break,” Hydro-Force’s Jared Twitchell said of his
company’s connectors. “We’ve thrown them full force at the concrete after
freezing them in sub-zero temperatures, and they just won’t break.”
Working in cold weather with the old-style cuffs has caused
many a nightmare for the professional cleaner. What is pliable in hot weather
can become immovable and impossible to work with when it gets cold. Almost all
hard connectors snap or screw together with ease no matter the temperature.
Depending on the manufacturer, hard connectors are designed
to fit different brands and sizes of hose. They will also attach to
truckmounts, portables, filters and most wands to give professionals as much
flexibility as possible. Sal Muscarella with Masterclean says that his
connectors “include the hose-to-hose connection, the starter that attaches to
the 2-inch Leaf Trap inlet, and the 2-inch-to-1.5-inch hose reducer.”
We all understand the importance and keeping the vacuum flow
at the maximum level. When you use the old-style barb connectors, by inserting
it between hose sections you cause restriction because it reduces the inside
diameter of the hose at that point. In studies I have both seen and been a part
of, it has always been shown that increasing air flow to your wand will
decrease drying times. Leaky hoses,
cuffs that leak, and restrictions in your hoses must be reduced to speed up the
dry times and keep your customers happy.
We are seeing more
professionals incorporate the new connectors in their unique hose runs where
they use 2.5-inch hose or run two 2-inch hoses to the door of the home before
reducing back to a single 2-inch run. If you are curious as how you might try
one of these set ups, most local distributors have the products in their
showrooms and are more than willing to put on a demonstration for you.
When discussing air flow with Mytee Products’ John
Lebarbera, he reminded me that “the swivel assemblies on most hard locking
connectors are so much better than those available on the vinyl cuffs. They
have a much better seal so leaking air, and loss of vacuum just isn’t a
“Working in the winter is hard enough,” Lebarbera said. “I’m
glad I can make it just that much easier by reducing the strain of working with
stiff vinyl cuffs.”
Everyone who’s been in the business for any length of time
has experienced having sections of vacuum hose coming apart and upsetting the
flow of the job as you work to get it back together. If you’re like me, you’ve been hit in the
head one too many times when reeling the hose into the truck, having the hose
come loose between sections and whipping back to smack you solidly where your
hair used to grow.
Our early solution to this problem and still a viable option
to keep vinyl cuffs together: the Vac Strap.
It’s a simple Velcro strap invented by a carpet cleaner to keep the hose
sections together. But to achieve a
more compact and sure connection, consider using one of the new hard locking
connector sets. It is practically impossible for them to come apart unless you
want them to. You can drape a hose over the balcony 10 stories up, and the
better connectors will hold all the hose weight and more; fact is, the hose is
more likely to fail and split before the connector.
We all owe our thanks to the inventors of these time- and
hassle- saving connectors. When looking
for them at your local distributor, consider durability, ease of use,
flexibility in meeting different applications, and availability when choosing
the connector system that is right for you.
Gordon Hanks is the CEO of Bridgepoint Systems. For more information call (800) 658-5314.