Portable buffer tank possible?

I have searched and tried to find something related to portable buffer tanks. Im stepping up my machine before end of the year (for tax purposes). I cant do a dedicated trailer for set up… i have a small enclosed trailer but a water and chem tank arent in the cards.

I will going to a min of 4 gpm… but have been thinking about 5.5 @ 2500 machine. I will need a buffer tank. Even at 4 gpm i would have to keep my current, smaller machine, as backup and for use when house spigots are too low…

I have done research on hudson valve, plumbing, etc… i just simply dont understand set up/what size buffer tank i could get away with???

Also thinking of making portable hose reel with an extra frame i have, not sure how efficient that would be?

I want to hook up to house spigot when possible, but understand the insurance of buffer is real. Not sure if im looking to far into this but i dont wanna cut myself short… i do 95% residential but have been subbed out for some commercal work which i have not needed hot water for and will stay cold. I dont do much flat work for resi/comm, but need to be able to do so and not sure 2500 would cut it.

Are you a full time or part time washer?

By the standards here, part time. Im a teacher so from April to June and Sept to Nov, im only weekends and evenings when able… June through August full time.

When you run a buffer you are not disconnecting the machine from the tank you just run the homes water to the tank, than pull form the tank. Trying to do so would take to much set up time.A hudson valve simple prevents the buffer tank from over flowing and stops the water.

The size buffer depends on what the average gpm the houses in your area is. A 4-5.5 gpm machine most of the time wont need that big of a buffer. You could get a way with a 20 gal buffer if you wanted to.

The 5.5 machine will be faster in every way, but will need to run a buffer at all times. 2500 psi is fine for concrete. I run my machines at about 1800 psi and driveways turn out great.
Seeing as you dont have or want a dedicated trailer than a 4gpm with no buffer would be the best option for you.


I am just not understanding…if you are thinking of continuing this business…why the refusal to get a dedicated trailer? Why would you want to build hose reels as you can get some that would serve you relatively well for not a lot of money.

Do you not want to invest the little bit of money to make this a viable business, for you?

Do you have insurance?

As I said…I don’t understand where you are wanting to go with this.

How much room is in your enclosed trailer? You can make a buffer tank out of a 55 gallon drum… or maybe go smaller, like Donte said. Or, like he also said, just stick with a 4 for now.

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With the enclosed trailer i am able to store equipment and keep some what secure… i dont have the ability to store an open trailer during winter out of the elements nor somewhere that i would feel comfortable being in plain sight.

Not to mention tow vechile thay is not necessarily optimal for large holding tanks and a full trailer set up… 4 cyl Tacoma. My 5x8 enclosed is about as much as i would really want to tow regularly.

That being the case…4gpm is your only viable option.

Although, a slightly larger enclosed trailer would give you many more options.

I most certainly do want this to be a viable business… this year has exceeding my expectations and is why i am wanting to increase my ability to work.

Very grateful to have to had the success i had this year, i was hoping to do 1/5 of the business i did this year, and with a subpar set up. i want to do what i can to make this business be as successful as possible.

And yes licensed and insured.

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Stack two reels, 55 gallon drum (or less) buffer, 5 gallon downstream tank, pressure washer, surface cleaner. If you get creative, you can probably make it work.


Thats where i get confused… with a 55 drum, im not understanding how to get it set up to be a portable buffer tank?

Simply plumb from drum to inlet?

Sounds like you are off to a good start.

If you want this to be a viable long term business…might be time to treat it as one and make some sound business decisions. You know the potential is there…make decisions based on that.

Buy a larger enclosed trailer and get setup so that you can get some work done and not expend so much time and effort with an inadequate rig…no sense in working against yourself.

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Creative i can certainly do… functionality is where i lack

.no sense in working against yourself.

I agree… have the winter to figure it out, trying to get an early start.

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Yes. You can put a hudson float valve in it too. Cut out a square big enough to put your arm in on the top, then drill a hole and put a 1" bulkhead fitting on top with Hudson float valve inside drum, and 3/4" connection on top.

At bottom make another 1" hole and bulkhead fitting, and run it to your pump.

I have an old one i made a while back… when i get time ill take some pics of it, but its pretty straight forward. Hardest part was getting the bulkhead at the bottom screwed together… i think i ran it down on a pipe or something to hold it in place… cant remember right now.

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How much of a pain would it be to purge the lines from buffer to machine everytime to set up? Not sure if im missing something, or just over thinking, but without running machine wont draw from tank.

I know hooking up to the house its as simple as holding the trigger for a while to get the air out.

I really want to step up to the 5.5 machine, but a tank that i can have the ability to disconnect from the machine to transport is the only way i see it possible.

A gallon weights 9lb
A 10 gallon water container will wright 90lb
And will give you 20min work if you have a 5.5gl pump and a spicket of 5gl
Besides your pump have to be able to suck the water from the buffer tank not all pumps can do that.

From 4 to 5.5 not much if a difference…8 yes

Portable(ish), obviously wouldnt be able to tote around a 35-50 gal tank thats full. An empty tank is rather light.

From 4 to 5.5 is 30% increase or so?? Im not a math guy but that would have to be noticeable.

I clearly wudnt be running off the tank alone, it would be filled with home spigot as working.

I fail to ser why portable?
Just get longer hoses.