Hand Pump Sprayer
Summary: High on the list of pest control equipment required for professional pest control companies is the hand pump sprayer. The materials that go into the sprayer have changed greatly over the years, but the hand pump sprayer remains the most effective way to put down pest barriers.
The hand pump sprayer is still the symbol of the pest control industry. This device is forever associated with any depiction of a pest control serviceperson treating a house or business. It is always the spray tank in one hand and the spray wand in the other. The great bug hunter stalking his prey and, upon discovery, shooting a stream of toxic liquid twenty feet across a room, landing on and instantly killing a poor, hapless bug.
The pest control, or pest management industry, as it prefers to be called, is often guilty of this scenario. The hand pump sprayer is a compact, versatile tool that can be used to apply many different effective products. In the hands of someone with a lot of experience, I suppose you can shoot an accurate stream of spray from five feet, or so. But, professionals also know that a bad image can cost them a valued customer, so the smart pro knows that more accurate, close-up treatments look better and are certainly less likely to splash chemicals on non-target surfaces. That said, let's take a look at the choice of hand pump sprayers available to pros and non-pros.
The compressed air sprayer works by manually lifting a pump handle that is attached to a metal rod. The rod has a leather, rubber or plastic cup-like attachment on its end. This device is enclosed inside a hollow metal tube that extends down and inside the spray tank. As the rod is forced down, air inside the hollow tube is forced out of a one-way check valve at the bottom of the tube. The escaping air pressurizes the inside of the tank, forcing liquids up a metal outlet tube that is attached to a hose leading to the spray nozzle. When the nozzle shutoff valve, known as the trigger, is depressed, the pressurized liquid sprays out of the nozzle tip.
The most popular professional hand pump sprayer, or compressed air sprayer, manufacturer is the B&G spray equipment. In the late 1940's the inventors, Bill Brehm and George Gilmore, came up with their original concept sprayer. They marketed their product directly to the pest control industry and today, the B&G sprayer remains the top choice for pest control pros. It is not the least expensive way to go if you are looking to use a pump sprayer only occasionally. The B&G is built to last and is made of high grade stainless steel, brass and chemically resistant gaskets and hoses. Plus, B&G has developed a host of different size tanks, spray nozzles, spray wands and guns and a load of useful accessories. You can expect to pay well over two hundred dollars for a fairly standard one gallon pump sprayer. Plus, these things are not as simple to maintain as they appear on the surface. Depending upon the materials you are applying, you will have to replace filters, check valves, rings, seals and hoses regularly. Nothing lasts forever and lots of the internal parts of the B&G are made of soft brass.
Keep in mind, the professional applicator needs equipment that provides a dependable spray pattern, no-leak shutoff valves and rugged durability. The average homeowner who intends to do some occasional spraying in the garden or basement does not need to own a B&G spray unit. There are many reasonably priced compressed air sprayers that will do the trick. Let's look at some alternatives.
The Chapin sprayer, developed in 1902, offers lots of different hand pump sprayers, plus their line includes metal and poly sprayers selling as low as six dollars for a half gallon garden sprayer. Now, you get what you pay for and these low cost sprayers are not meant to last a lifetime. In fact, you can anticipate buying a new one every year. Do not expect any precision in the spray pattern from an inexpensive model from any manufacturer, either. The spray will come out of a cheap nozzle in a pattern similar to a standard garden hose nozzle. If you require some precision in your spray application, you will need to spend more. The cost is more dependent upon the nozzle complexity than the tank. A plastic nozzle with a twist adjustment will never provide the same pattern that you can get with a brass nozzle applicator. With that in mind, Chapin offers their Premier Pro line, a poly sprayer for about fifty dollars. You can move into a stainless steel one gallon sprayer for about $120.
Solo offers a wide variety of polyethylene sprayers in prices that currently range from about $20 to $50. These high density poly units carry a five year warranty, but you still need to maintain them with occasional replacement parts. Solo is also well known for their backpack sprayers. Again, their nozzle quality varies. If you plan on doing mostly outdoor applications where the spray pattern is not critical, Solo provides some good choices.
I have mentioned nozzle spray patterns several times. The pattern choices provided from a quality nozzle provides the pest control professional with a selection of spray patterns that are important to successful treatments. For example, the typical Tee Jet 4-Way Multi-jet nozzle gives the pro four choices. The refined or small pin stream is for treating cracks and crevices. There is little to no chemical runoff on treated surfaces. There is a larger pin stream for treating areas where more chemical runoff is desired such as when chemicals are applied along basement concrete walls. There is a flat fan spray pattern for treating larger surfaces like walls and floors and cone patterns that produce larger droplets that prevent the materials from drifting in the air in windy conditions.
If none of these patterns are important to your application needs, go for the most cost effective sprayer. However, if you are planning on treating around expensive fabrics or other sensitive areas, spend the money for the best spray nozzle and hand pump sprayer you can afford.