A Fuller’s HTHV-equipped car wash tunnel.

Car washes — in order to be profitable — have to keep their doors open whenever they are open for business. Otherwise, customers might think they’re closed and drive away.

Keeping the doors open is not always easy to do in the cold winter months, but car wash organizations generate 40 percent of their revenue during the winter months, so making sure the facility is open — and known to be open — for business is critical.

Fuller’s Carwash (www.fullerscarwash.com) in northern Illinois found a solution that allows them to properly heat their facilities to service customers even on the coldest Chicago days. The 60-year-old company operates 20 tunnel car wash facilities. Fuller’s has been using high temperature heating and ventilation (HTHV) equipment to heat their facilities since 1988 and has the equipment at all 20 of their facilities.

“Customers know you’re open and washing cars when they see your doors open,” said Doug Fuller, president of Fuller’s Carwash. “To do that, you must be able to heat your facility such that your equipment doesn’t ice up and the tunnel stays warm. That’s why we use HTHV equipment. The units heat our entire tunnel, allowing us the benefit of keeping our doors open, which lets our customers know we are ready to wash their vehicle.

“With the HTHV equipment, we get a constant 160° F discharge temperature. Combine that with the superior air distribution achieved by the unit’s high-speed blowers, and we get warm air circulating throughout our tunnels. That’s what allows us to achieve maximum throughput. And, it’s all about throughput,” said Fuller.

“We want the ability to run as many cars as possible through our tunnels on the coldest of days. That’s when our customers expect us to be open. When you can achieve your maximum throughput, you are also realizing maximum revenue.”

The warm temperatures in their facilities also prevent ice buildup on the equipment. “There’s nothing worse than having ice buildup on the brushes that are touching the cars. When that happens, you have to shut down your facility,” Fuller said. “No cars running through your tunnel means no revenue and even worse, you end up with disappointed customers who rely on us to clean their cars.”

Whether it’s a tunnel car wash facility, or another high-bay building, HTHV heating technology is the most energy efficient solution to heat these structures. To learn more about the energy efficiency of HTHV technology, go to www.cambridge-eng.com/energy-modeling to read the Energy Modeling Report: Energy Performance Comparisons of Warehouse Heating Systems. This third-party report outlines the considerable energy savings of HTHV products when compared to other systems.

Randy Niederer, LEED AP, is director of marketing for Cambridge Engineering. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and a Master’s degree in business administration. Randy has spent the past 12 years in the HVAC industry. As part of his responsibilities at Cambridge, Randy works with utilities to establish rebates for customers using energy efficient direct-fired HTHV technology.
For more information, visit www.cambridge-eng.com or call (800) 899-1989.