Pressure washers make it easy to clean anything from a pavement to a full building. They are designed to wash away dirt, dust, mud, mould, paint, clay and other debris from a surface. The reason pressure washers are so good at what they do is that they employ large amounts of pressure to make washing away even the toughest grime easy.
If you are considering purchasing a pressure washer, it’s a good idea to know exactly what to look for and how to use the machine to its fullest potential so you can get the job done quickly and easily.
How Pressure Washers Work
Most pressure washers that you can buy for home or business use connect to an existing water supply, like your garden hose, for example. Some models do have tanks for storing water. They pressurise the water using a pump & engine, and then release it at high speeds so the force of the water can be used to clean and wash debris away.
A pressure washer has a hand controlled lance that allows you to stop and start the water stream and many models allow you to adjust the water pressure through various methods.
What a Pressure Washer Can Do
The most common use for a pressure washer is cleaning. The water under high pressure makes it easy to wash away even very stubborn dirt and grime and can make a deck, pavement, walkway, brick pathway, building or other surface look like new.
Some types of pressure washes make it possible to combine cleaning chemicals or even sand with water to remove things like old paint or graffiti.
Different pressure washers have different levels of pressure, so some are more suitable to certain tasks. For example, you could use a very low pressure model to wash your car, and a higher pressure washer to clean the grime off building cladding.
Choosing a Pressure Washer
There is a wide variety of pressure washers available, and choosing the right one is important. Choosing the wrong washer for your project can make your job harder and can even cause damage to the surface you are working with.
Electric, Petrol or Diesel
Electric washers are generally more suitable for smaller jobs where you don’t need to achieve extremely high levels of pressure. They are ideal for washing cars and other surfaces that may be more prone to damage.There are both electric and petrol, diesel powered pressure washers. The main difference to keep in mind is that an electric model will require you to have an electric supply nearby while you work, so a fuel powered washer may be more mobile.
Petrol/Diesel powered washers often emit a much more pressurised stream of water, so they work well when you need to remove a lot of dirt or are working to remove something especially stubborn, like old paint.
Mini Power Washers
Mini power washers are smaller, so choose one of these if you are working on a smaller project or a job where you won’t have much space to manoeuvre a larger washer. These washers are designed to clean things like machinery, patios, decks, cars, walls, garage doors and driveways.
High Pressure Washers
High pressure washers are larger and more heavy duty than mini power washers. They are a good fit for removing lots of dirt, grime and oil. They are often fuel powered so they can be set up virtually anywhere.
As the name suggests, hot washer models heat the water they pressurise and spray. You might need a hot water washer if you need to remove a lot of grease or very heavy dirt or grime. Hot water can make cleaning stubborn spots easier.
Self-contained washers include a large tank on wheels to hold water. This makes it possible to work in places where you won’t have a water supply line. Usually these models include an extension hose so you can clean large areas easily.
To choose the right pressure washer for your job, consider how much water pressure you need, if you will have access to power and water supply lines and what you need to accomplish with it.
Tips for Getting the Most from a Pressure Washer
When you buy a pressure washer, read the instructions that came with it very carefully. These pieces of equipment can be dangerous, so wear protective gear including a hard hat, safety goggles and gloves.
Each type of pressure washer works a little differently, and the user manual that came with your machine will include directions for using it effectively and safely. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you use a pressure washer.
Make Sure All Connections are Secure
Before you start using your pressure washer, make sure all hose, for water and air, connections are secure. If there are any leaks, the washer won’t work properly. Of course, also check to make sure the power cord is also firmly attached to the outlet.
Turn the Water Source Completely On
If you use a model that requires you to attach it to a water source, turn the tap to completely open. You can adjust the pressure on the machine, but it will need the taps full allowance of water to work well.
Attach Nozzles While the Pressure is Locked and Off
If you are using special attachments, add them to the nozzle while the pressure washer is off and locked.
Protect Nearby Plants, Equipment and Building Features
Clear the area as much as possible and protect things like plants, equipment, light fixtures and fragile building features with protective sheeting. Be careful not to aim the washer at these items as you work.
Start on a Low Setting
Always make sure the pressure washer is on its lowest setting when you turn it on. This will allow you to slowly increase pressure safely and as needed and will prevent kickback, which can be dangerous.
Hold the Nozzle at an Angle
As you use the pressure washer, do not aim it directly at the items you are cleaning. Instead, hold it at an angle to wash dirt and debris away, rather than against the surface.
Use Up and Down Motions
When you clean a surface, start at the bottom and move upward, and then guide the spray down over the same area to rinse it off. Continue with this motion until you have cleaned the entire surface.
Pressure washers make washing and cleaning all kinds of surfaces a snap. When you know what your project will require you can choose the right washer for the job. Follow these tips to get the most out of your equipment and your project will get done right the first time.