How to use a high pressure washer
Pressure washing is a great way to clean and restore all kinds of surfaces around the exterior of your home. Here’s what you need to know to get started with the pressure washer.
In this guide, I’m going to tell you about the basics of buying a pressure washer, what kinds of jobs a washer is good for and how to apply a washer to various surfaces. I’ll wrap up by talking you through a few examples of a pressure washer in action.
When do I need a pressure wash?
A washer is useful for cleaning any exterior surface that has caked-on dirt, grease, plant residue or other material across a large surface area.
To prevent injury, avoid pressure-washing anything living, whether it’s people, animals or plants. If you’re pressure-washing near plant beds, use garbage bags or other plastic coverings to keep the spray from damaging your plants.
Since pressure washers are mainly used for larger or dirtier jobs, it also doesn’t make a ton of sense to use them on very small areas, unless it’s a stain that you just can’t get rid of. If it takes longer to pull the machine out and set it up than the amount of time you’ll be using it, consider cleaning by hand.
High-Pressure washers come in two varieties: gas and electric. The price can range from about LKR 20,000 for a low-end consumer-grade model up to thousands for larger commercial units.
The specs associated with machin are pounds per square inch and gallons per minute. Psi tells you the force of the spray. GPM tells you the volume of water passing through the spray wand.
If you want to save time and backache cleaning off your sidewalk, deck or patio, or maybe you’re looking for an easier way to wash the car, look for a high-pressure washer with specs under 2,000 psi and 2 GPM. You should be able to find one at your local home store for between 20,000- 30,000.
It’s important to remember that washers are not toys. You will definitely want to wear protective gear and avoid spraying other living things, such as pets, plants or pesky neighbours. For comparison, a standard garden hose probably has a psi of about 60, fire hoses start around 100 psi, and a medium-duty pressure washer can have a maximum pressure of 2,800 psi. Make sure to put on eye protection when you use a wahser Ear protection isn’t a bad idea either for any loud, gas-powered model.
The trick to getting such high psi from a normal garden hose connected to your pressure washer is the pump. Each washer, electric or gas, has a pump that pressurizes the water before sending it to the spray wand.
How do you hook up a pressure washer?
The washer itself has one connection for a standard garden hose to bring water to the pump and another connection that connects the pump to a high-pressure hose that has the spray wand on the end of it. Most units have some type of siphon hose for detergents, and any electric washers will have a power cord.
The spray wand of your washer should come with different interchangeable tips that allow you to customize the angle of spray for each job. Changing the angle of the spray also changes how hard the water will hit the surface. The sharper the angle, the less direct pressure on whatever surface you intend to spray.
Assuming you have correctly set up your pressure washer, there should be no real limit to the amount of time you can run an electric model. If your unit is gas-powered, the tank capacity will be the limiting factor for run time.
What’s the difference between a pressure washer and a power washer?
A pressure washer uses water at ground temperature. A power washer uses a heating element to heat the water before spraying it out. Because of the heat, power washers are more suited to removing stains containing living bacteria, like mould. Most residential washers are pressure washers and not power washers.
You can use almost any type of liquid soap or detergent with a washer, although there are washer-specific detergents for jobs of all types. Your pressure washer will have a siphon hose or basin of some type, which you fill with the desired soap. Make sure any detergent cutoff valves are on, and then you can run the washers as you normally would.
For a gas pressure washer, add a fuel stabilizer following the instructions in your manual. Also, follow the manual for instructions on how to clear any detergent. Finally, run a pressure washer pump saver through your washer by connecting it to the hose inlet. The engine doesn’t need to run during this step, nor do the spray wand or high-pressure hose need to be connected. Once you see the white foam coming from the high-pressure hose connection, you’re done.
For an electric pressure washer, you can omit the fuel stabilizer step.
Anytime you start a new cleaning job, test with the spray wand tip between 2 to 3 feet from the surface you intend to clean. Give a quick test spray, to an out-of-sight area if possible, to confirm that you won’t damage the surface. Even then you probably don’t want to get much closer than afoot. Getting the spray tip, especially a high-pressure tip, too close to a surface can even damage the metal.