What Do Line Cleaners Do?

It's not as easy as it looks.

We get asked occasionally about what is expected from Line Cleaners - what equipment should they be cleaning?
First off, let's define a proper cleaning company. They:
  • Have commercial insurance ($2m min).
  • Use commercial grade line cleaning solution.
  • Clean with both a caustic every clean and an acid wash every 4 months (and more importantly, knows the difference between the two).
  • Have training - admittedly, there isn't much out there, but there are a few options. MicroMatic and Siebel are the two big ones.
  • Are a legitimate full-time company, isn't a regular with some free time who does this as a part-time gig out of the trunk of their car.
The rule of thumb is that line cleaners are responsible for the inside of the equipment and lines, you (Licensee) are responsible for the outside of all of the equipment.
Another rule of thumb - it should take about an hour to clean 10 lines with static cleaning (the pots to the right) or about 90 minutes if using a recirculating pump (top, right image).

Here is what the Line Cleaners should be doing:

– Run a cleaning solution and rinse water through the lines
– Fill & soak the FOBs with solution and rinse with water
– Soak and scrub the couplers with warm water. (If they soak and scrub in cleaning solution, they must be rinsed thoroughly with water prior to tapping)
– Dismantle, soak and scrub the faucets (taps) with hot water or solution and rinse water
– Replace any washers or worn seals, repair any leaks, and replace broken clamps.

You, the licencee, are responsible for:

– Beer splatter on the walls and ceiling
– Any sticky residual beer or growth on the outside of the lines, FOBs, gas regulators (pressure dials), shelving…anything other than couplers
– Trash that litters the floor
– Water or beer spillage anywhere
– The tower as a whole (faucets excepted)

Where The Wheels Sometimes Fall Off..

Cleaners will sometimes take short cuts.
One example is alternating faucets and couplers at cleanings. This month they clean the faucets, next month they clean the couplers… This is a bad idea.
Half filling a bucket with warm water and letting the couplers soak for two minutes and then give them a quick scrub with a brush takes about four minutes.
Faucets, admittedly, take much longer.
It takes about one minute to dismantle, soak and scrub a faucet. Twenty taps, twenty minutes.
The other challenge, besides time, is that some of the fancy looking faucets are spring loaded and they take about three minutes to clean properly. They are a pain in the ass and nobody likes to clean them. I never did when I was cleaning lines.
It’s easy to talk yourself into skipping it, but they need to be done.

We always say that line cleaning is like going to the dentist.

If you only visit the dentist once every five years for a cleaning, it takes much longer, hurts like hell, and costs a fortune.
If you go frequently, as your dentist recommends, there is much less build up, it gets done faster, and is relatively painless.
When you pay for frequent cleanings, you are paying for the cleaning of lines, couplers, faucets, and FOBs. Make sure you get what you pay for (that’s where we come in).
If your line cleaner skips one component, just like the dentist, it takes longer to clean it the next visit.
“If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, how are you going to have time to do it right the second time?”

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