There are probably at least a few of you reading this article who currently, or have in the past, run the bucket brigade for carpet cleaning. Portable extraction machines typically need to be filled with cleaning solution and then emptied of the dirty water. This is usually accomplished with 5-gallon buckets - hence, the bucket brigade.
When I moved to truck mount cleaning I certainly did not miss the sore arms, shoulders, and back that resulted in carrying hundreds of buckets full of cleaning solution on any given day. But I did miss another opportunity that was available when dumping the dirty water. I can hardly count the number of times my customer would see me dumping the dirty water and exclaim, "Ugh! That came out of my carpet?" The customers would be so impressed with the soil we were removing that I would go out of my way to make sure she would see it. I remember pouring it into the toilets and purposely not flushing (at least until the end of the job) so they could see the level of dirt we were removing.
We miss this opportunity with truckmount extraction. At least a partial remedy to this is the use of a clear pre-filter that can be placed in or just outside the customer's home.
This filter serves a couple of purposes. One of the most important and often overlooked uses, as explained above, is to show the customers the large amount of dirt you're removing from their carpet. This helps your customer realize her carpets needed cleaning even more than she realized and based upon what she is seeing, she should have the cleaning done sooner next time. It also enforces the concept that you are good at what you do, and the money she is spending with you is worth it.
The second reason for using a clear pre-filter is pretty obvious: it's a filter. Many truckmount vacuum filters are located in the waste tank. Removing and cleaning these can often be a smelly, messy chore best avoided. The clear pre-filter gives you the option of keeping the gunk out of your tank and collected in an easy-to-clean external filter. The filters are available with a filter sock that is most effective at filtering small and large debris, but will also fill up rather quickly and need to be cleaned or emptied on every job. A stainless steel filter allows some of the smaller particulate to pass into the waste tank to be dumped with the dirty solution, but captures most of the lint and larger debris before it gets to the waste tank.
I've heard it suggested that using an inline filter will reduce the airflow available for extracting the carpet. This is absolutely true. However, unseen dirty filters in the waste tank will do the same thing and can go undetected for days. Our testing has indicated that the minimal airflow reduction caused by a clear pre-filter does not affect cleaning efficiency or water removal to any detrimental effect if the clear pre-filter is inspected and cleaned often.
The use of this innovative gadget will make a positive impression on your customer, save you time, and help your expensive equipment last longer and perform better.