When it comes to deep-seated dirt and grime, nothing beats your good old brush and a pressure washer. Between the two, however, the latter requires less time and effort, making it one of the most sought-after household cleaning products on the market today.
Whatever surface you may be dealing with—water, wood, concrete, and many others—you can rely on the pressure washer to wash, clean, and make your problematic area sparkling clean again.
Being that these machines are a good investment, owners must be aware of the proper maintenance measures to prolong their lifespan. This article will let you understand what these machines, and you’ll find out what to do and what not to do with your pressure washer.
The Basics Of Pressure Washer
Like their more powerful relative, jetters, power washers make use of a sturdy motor to propel water that’s many times stronger than the force emitted from a regular hose.
For instance, the latter is estimated to emit 40 pounds of force per square inch of area, or psi. In comparison, pressure washers can shoot out water with psi levels of at least 1,000, or as high as 4,000, for most industrial applications.
These machines can either be powered by gas or electricity. Lower psi deliveries from electricity-driven washers make them great for washing cars and regular cleaning jobs. For more stubborn dirt and heavier working demands, such as removing molds, use the former. However, gas motors tend to require more maintenance work than electric machines
The Dos Of Pressure Washing
Pressure washing is one of the most effective and easiest ways to clean your home, that is, if it’s used properly and accordingly. These are the things you need to keep in mind to optimize the capacity and lifespan of this workhorse:
1. Understand How The Power Tool Works
To avoid misusing the power tool, always make it a habit to read the instruction manuals. Focus on how to operate the equipment and perform a quick test run before your first use or prior to your spring cleaning duties.
For instance, the higher pressure your nozzle has, the farther it should be against the surface.
Despite proving itself efficient in tackling a wide range of multipurpose household works, a power washer has limitations. No matter its power and capacity, a pressure washer should never be used to replace other basic house works, such as sanding and scraping.
2. Use The Right Pressure
Before you start cleaning, washing, and stripping off dirt, grime, paint and everything else, make sure to check the proper pressure for specific tasks. Remember that applying too much pressure on a surface can damage it. Concrete can crack under too much force, for instance.
Pressure for wood deck should be different from what you’d need on a metal siding. For most works outside of your house, such as clearing your deck and patio, a psi level of 1,400 is typically enough. If you’re removing painting leftovers from your scraping job, adjusting to at least 2,000 psi level is best.
3. Find The Right Angle For Maximum Power
There are nozzle angles that make specific work easier and safer. For stubborn dirt and grime, for instance, keeping the nozzle directly perpendicular to the surface is advisable.
It’s not always necessary to hold the machine at a 90-degree angle to blast out any type of dirt out of your home’s every nook and cranny. In some cases, using 25-degree nozzles works perfectly for your home exterior, where accumulated dirt and gunk need to be removed. On the other hand, a 40-degree nozzle is great for areas that require less pressure, such as in cleaning your windows.
4. Other Quick Operational Reminders: Dos
- Make sure you have adequate water supply to feed your washer.
- Check equipment before use.
- If using a gas-powered machine, check engine oil levels.
- Wear protective gear, such as safety goggles, gloves, and non-slip shoes.
- Before committing to a pressure setting, test a small area first and adjust.
- Store your power washer properly.
- When using chemicals, remember to apply it from bottom to top.
- However, the opposite is true when washing a huge object, like your house. In this case, start washing from top to bottom, so dirt won’t transfer to areas you’ve already worked on.
The Don’ts Of Using A Power Washer
Now that you know how to take care of a power washer, below are some of the things you shouldn’t do to your power tool.
1. Don’t Play With It
A pressure washer may look harmless, but it does have the strength and power to do damages, if used inappropriately. This heavy-duty cleaning equipment can cut through human skin. In few industries that use ultra-high levels of pressure—often reaching 40,000 psi, enough to cut through steel—to clean out residue, few incidents of water blasting injuries have occurred. These types of injuries can be serious.
So, don’t play with your power washer. Wear safety gear, like goggles, if you need to and start on the lower setting to prevent yourself from losing control of the wand once the machine is turned on. Never direct the machine to another person or your pets to keep them safe.
2. Don’t Forget To Change Nozzles
Not all types of outdoor work need the same type of water flow. Similar to finding out which pressure works best, you’d also need to discover the best type of nozzle that fits the job. You can start by keeping in mind that the narrower the spray is, the more forceful it becomes.
Typically, a 40-degree nozzle is used for general cleaning chores, while the zero to 15-degree nozzle delivers intense pressure on small areas, perfect for getting rid of persistent stains from iron, for instance.
3. Other Operational Reminders: Don’ts
- Don’t increase pressure when something can’t be removed. It may be better to brush it off manually than damage the problematic spot.
- Don’t use accessories and spare parts other than what’s recommended in the manual.
- Don’t leave the power washer unattended.
- Never add fuel while the machine is turned on.
- Don’t underestimate the power of pressure washer. It could cause injuries and cut through human skin.
- Don’t use it on glass surfaces as it could crack under too much force.
- Don’t close the nozzle for more than a minute as it could put too much stress on the pumping unit and damage the motor.
- Don’t use strong chemicals as they could destroy the machine.
- Don’t attempt to remove lead paint with it to prevent exposure to dangerous toxic emissions.
The Bottom Line
Not all pressure washers are the same. Some are more powerful than the others, while some are best for general home chores. Before seeking to buy the best one for your household, list down the tasks you need the power washer for to determine whether you need a gas or electricity-driven tool.
And, once you’ve gotten hold of your very own pressure washer, take heed of the best and worst practices discussed in this article to get the most out of your cleaning machine.