How to Pressure Wash Like a Pro

Street Cleaners- power washing grafitti

Street Cleaners- power washing grafitti

Pressure washers, whether powered by petrol or electricity, can rapidly and effectively clean just about anything outside. Discover the proper way to use one here.

What they do and the two different kinds of pressure washers

If you’ve never used a pressure washer (also known as a power washer), you’re missing out. They’re so much fun to use and produce such impressive results quickly that you’ll be asking to clean your neighbours’ siding, driveways, and vehicles when you’re done with your own. Almost any outdoor object may be cleaned using a pressure washer, which can be rented or purchased. The information in this post will teach you how to operate a pressure washer properly and safely.

Both electric and gas-powered pressure washers work by using a pump to pressurise water from a garden hose to 1,000 pounds or more before expelling it via a spray wand. Greater pressure, expressed in pounds per square inch (psi), allows for the completion of more demanding cleaning tasks. Both varieties need a constant flow of water (measured in gallons per minute, or gpm). Typically, a washer with a pressure range of 1,300 to 2,400 psi is the ideal option for occasional usage in a household.

Light duty cleaning tasks, such as washing automobiles (Photo 3), outdoor grills, and garage floors, are ideal for electric pressure washers, which provide 1,300 to 1,400 psi and need around 1-1/2 gpm.
Compared to gas-powered washers, they often cost less, are quieter, lighter, and more portable. Many come with built-in tanks for the use of extra detergents. Make sure you only use 12- or 14-gauge extension cables and plug electric washers into GFCI-protected outlets.

Pressure washers are widely available for purchase or rental, and the vast majority of them use gas as their power source. These models may provide water pressure of over 3,000 psi, making them superior to electric models. Nevertheless, gas-powered washers need extra water (2-3 gpm). Larger operations, such as cleaning siding before painting, eliminating “ageing” stains from wood decks, and thoroughly washing concrete, call for industrial-strength pressure washers. Rental businesses often sell additional parts for them, like as chemical injectors and extended spray wands for hard-to-reach areas. Gas-powered washers (home use only) may cost anywhere from $300 to $800, depending on the pressure they provide, the number of functions they provide, and the quality of the engine and pump.

Multiple Spray Nozzles for a Variety of Uses

Less powerful pressure washers (those producing less than 2,400 psi) often only come with a single spray nozzle that can be adjusted from a zero- to a sixty-degree fan pattern. Rotating or turbo nozzles are available as an extra from certain manufacturers, and they may significantly increase the efficiency of your cleaning tasks compared to the usage of a regular, adjustable nozzle.

Individual nozzle tips often come in sets of four or five and are colour-coded for easy identification on heavier-duty devices (three are shown here). For various cleaning purposes, they may generate three different fan patterns: a broad one, a medium one, and a narrow one (for blasting deep stains).

Pull the quick-coupling collar back, push the nozzle tip in as far as it will go, and then release it to use a different nozzle tip in the spray wand. You may verify its secure placement by pulling on the point. When turning on a power washer, always remember to point the nozzle away from people and property.

Putting in a 25-degree nozzle with a 65-degree tip
Nozzle that is angled at zero degrees

Guidelines for Using a Power Washer, Also Known as a Pressure Washer
To start up a washer that runs on petrol:

Remove any obstructions from the filter at the source of entry.
Get your gear hooked up (like this chemical injector).
For the first minute after turning on the washer, run water through it to prime the system and flush out any air.

To release pressure in the water supply, squeeze the spray wand’s trigger.

In order to get the engine going, pull the starting cord.

The first time you use a pressure washer, it might be daunting. Seek guidance from the rental facility or tool vendor on how to use the pressure washer, and keep in mind the following requirements and safety precautions.

Sources of Water

Verify that your water system can provide the required number of gallons per minute for your appliance. You may measure the flow rate of your garden hose by timing how long it takes to fill a 5-gallon bucket, for instance, assuming your pressure washer requires 2-1/2 gpm. The washer requires a garden hose with a standard 3/4-inch internal diameter to be connected to its intake, and the maximum length of the hose is 50 feet. Make sure the water input filter or screen is clear of obstructions to guarantee unhindered water flow. Make sure there are no kinks in the garden and pressure hoses.

Method of Ignition

Water must be running through the washer and out the spray wand before you turn on the washing.

Make sure there’s no leakage in the lines by making sure all hose connections are tight.Before turning on the pressure washer, make sure the spray wand is set at a low or no pressure level to avoid any recoil or kickback. In order to avoid damaging the nozzles, set electric washers and gas washers with adjustable nozzles to their widest fan settings and lowest pressure. At this point, you should take the nozzle tip off of any gas washers that came with them.

Home water faucets should be turned on all the way. Squeeze the spray wand trigger to prime the pump and expel air from the system.

Get the washing going. If it’s a gas-powered machine, brace your foot against a wheel to keep it from moving while you pull the ignition cord. For best results, start the washer and let it run for a full minute to get it nice and toasty. Never let a washer run for more than three to five minutes (depending on the type) without pulling the trigger to protect the pump.

Adjust the pressure and spray settings or swap out the nozzle tips on the spray wand while the washer is running and the trigger is in the “off” position. The washing machine is now operational.

pressure washing decks and yardCleaning Methods That Pack a Punch

To get siding ready for painting, you should wash it. To maximise cleaning power, start with the wand’s nozzle 4 feet from the home and gradually bring it closer to the structure. Use a two-handed grip on the spray wand, pointing it at a 45-degree angle to the siding while continually moving the water stream.

Even while it is effective at removing grime and other buildup, pressure washing is not meant to destroy paint or to eliminate mildew from siding or decks. First, test the pressure setting and spray pattern on an inconspicuous area to ensure the optimum cleaning results are achieved without hurting any surfaces. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind while cleaning home siding:

Cover plants with tarps and use them to corral paint chips that will be blown off the house as you wash it. Chips of lead paint from homes constructed before 1977 should be collected and sent to a hazardous waste site for disposal.

Spray the siding at an angle rather than directly. Instead of wiping away grime, this forces it to get embedded in the surface. To avoid gouging wood or denting metal or vinyl, hold the wand at a 45-degree angle to the siding and at a safe distance.

Concentrate on localised regions at a time. If you don’t want streaks, washing from the bottom up is the way to go. Use lengthy, overlapping strokes to provide a thorough cleanup. Cleaning the siding is best done in a top-down fashion.

If you spray water, make sure the stream is level so you don’t push it up behind the siding. To reach higher areas, an extension spray wand should be used. Use caution while extending a lance. As a result of the “kickback,” it may come into touch with live electrical wires.

Do not use window spray. They may be shattered by the intense force of the pressure.
Detergents allow for easier, more thorough cleaning.

Washing Cars and Vans

Use a brush and some cleaning detergent as an extra cleaning tool. It is recommended to begin with a water rinse, then go on to a detergent wash, and then end with a final water rinse.

You may clean more efficiently in less time if you use detergent and a scrub brush. Find out what kinds of attachments and cleaning solutions are sold or rented with your pressure washer. Bleach and other detergents not intended for use in pressure washers may cause serious harm to the machine’s internal components and should be avoided at all costs.

Only pressure washers with a broad spray pattern may be used to apply detergent. Furthermore, the spray wand pressure setting for electric power washers must be set at low. Detergents should be diluted as directed, and a chemical injector should be attached to the machine if one is provided.

Loosen the grime using high-pressure, medium-spray plain water for the greatest cleaning effects. The next step is to spray the detergent on with a broad nozzle and wait a few minutes for it to soak into the grime. Do not let the surface dry out to prevent the detergent from discolouring or damaging the surface. To conclude, return the spray pattern to a medium setting (or switch to a different nozzle) and flush with clean water. To switch detergents, empty the first one out of the pressure washer, flush it with clean water, and then add the new one.

Use caution while using a pressure washer because of the risk of severe injury from the device’s high pressure setting. To avoid harm, please observe these precautions:

  • Keep your hand away from the nozzle and never aim the pressure washer towards a person, pet, or anything else. A direct hit from the powerful jet of water might inflict severe punctures or lacerations.
    Always use protective eyewear while running a washing machine.Working from a ladder while using a pressure washer is dangerous. The spray wand’s tremendous recoil may knock you off your feet and the ladder if you pull the trigger.
  • When spraying water near power lines, electrical towers, or outlets, keep a distance of at least 6 feet.
  • Water pressure must be released from the system before hoses can be uncoupled, so make sure the machine is turned off, the water faucet is turned off, and the spray wand trigger is squeezed.
  • Turn on the trigger lock while you’re not using the washer or when switching out the nozzle.
    Repairing the apparatus:
  • Putting away a pressure washer for the winter requires filling the pump and internal system with undiluted RV-type antifreeze. To connect a washer to a garden hose, place a funnel at the end of a three-foot stretch of hose (one with a male faucet connection), then slip the coupling onto the washer’s water intake. Turn on the gas engine and fill the funnel with antifreeze until it begins to flow steadily out of the hose. Put a stop to the engine, remove the hoses, and tape up the air intake and exhaust.

Power washers should be brought inside during the winter to protect the pump, hoses, and spray wand from freezing temperatures and other hazards. Otherwise, you should winterize them with RV-specific antifreeze (Photo 6). If you are not going to use your gas-powered washer for at least a month, you should either empty the fuel system or add a gas preservative to the fuel tank to keep the engine from deteriorating.

Resources Needed for This Task

If you want to avoid wasting time and aggravation, gather all the materials you’ll need for this do-it-yourself project before you begin.

Wet wipes Eye protection

In addition to the pressure washer and attachments, tarps and a garden hose that is 3/4 inches in diameter will be required.
Materials Needed for This Task Make sure you don’t waste time and money by rushing to get everything you need for this project. This is a list of them.