A Complete Guide to Pressure Washers
If you are looking for a way to efficiently clean many items outside of your home, including your lawn furniture, vehicles, and your home’s exterior, one of the best things that you can choose is a pressure washer. There are a lot of pressure models that you can choose from, but there are a lot of things that you should consider when you are purchasing a pressure washer. Below is a complete guide to buying a pressure washer, and what the difference is between the different types.
Pressure Washer Basics
No matter what type of pressure washer you buy, they all share the same type of functionality. The water enters it at a low-pressure rate. An electric or gasoline engine powers the pump, and this drives the water out through the washer’s hose and nozzle or spray tip at a pressure that’s much higher. This will mean that the cleaning power is a lot higher when compared with garden hoses and lets you clean a lot of outdoor things more efficiently.
Types of Pressure Washers:
Electric – These kinds of pressure washers are good for light, small projects like cleaning vehicles and patio furniture. This type of pressure washer is lighter and quieter than a gas model. An electric pressure washer will start up with just a flip of the switch and will run cleaner when compared with one that is run by gas.
Some manufacturers specify that they have to be directly plugged into outlets with the cord that is provided, without using an extension cord. This should be considered when you are figuring out what you’re cleaning. Follow the instructions of the manufacturer when you are connecting the pressure washer to your power source. If extension cords are able to be used with the pressure washer, make sure you’re only using the kind the manufacturer specifies. You should also make sure that your electrical connections are kept off of the ground and dry. Never touch your plug when you have wet hands.
Gas – These pressure washers give you a lot more power and will work better when it comes to tougher, larger jobs like cleaning patios and decks, and based on the model, exteriors of second story buildings. They can also provide you with better mobility, since they won’t require power outlets. They usually crank using manual pull-starts, but there are models that feature electric starters.
A gas model will require the correct fuel. Make sure you’re following the requirements so that you know which fuel you should use.
Capabilities of Pressure Washers
The output is measured in PSI when it comes to a pressure washer and it will let you know the types of duties your pressure washer will be able to handle efficiently.
· Under 2000 PSI – These are considered light-duty. These pressure washers will work best on cleaning siding and patio furniture along with boats, trucks and cars. They also can handle driveways, patios, decks, fences and sidewalks.
· 2000 – 2800 PSI – These are considered medium-duty. They can handle the same types of cleaning as the light-duty, but they’re best for fences, siding, patios and decks.
· 2900 – 3300 PSI – These are considered heavy-duty. These kinds of pressure washers will work well for a lot of cleaning jobs, such as little sections such as sidewalks, big areas such as driveways, and cleaning jobs like cleaning second stories. They also can help with preparing surfaces for painting.
· 3300 PSI and Up – This is considered professional-duty. These pressure washers are able to handle a lot of the jobs that the other machines can do but can also give more power for paint preparation.
Along with looking at the PSI rating of the pressure washer, you should also look at the GPM of the machine. This is the amount of water that the machine will deliver. Even though a higher PSI will provide a deeper clean, a higher GPM will mean a better clean and a better rinsing when it comes to a surface that is hard to reach. Use both the GPM and the PSI ratings to figure out the pressure washer’s cleaning power. When the pressure washer has a good combined number of both of these, you have a great choice.
A multiple duty pressure washer will let you adjust between high flow for delicate surfaces and extended reach and high pressure for deep cleaning.
Specifications and Features of Pressure Washers
· Amps rating on electric models and cubic centimeters on gas models indicates the pressure washer’s power output.
· Triplex and axial cam are two types of pumps. You are going to find axial cams on most of the pressure washers that are made for homeowners to use. An axial cam pump that is maintenance free can make operation simple. A pressure washer that is made for commercial use often will have a triplex pump, which lasts a lot longer and is more efficient.
· Nozzle tips that are interchangeable determine the flow and pressure. Tips that have narrow sprays provide less coverage and more pressure, and the wider sprays provide lower pressure and greater coverage. There also are some tips that provide low pressure specifically for using detergent.
· Wands that are adjustable let you change the pattern of the spray from wide, which is low pressure, to narrow, which is high pressure, without changing your nozzle tip.
· Interchangeable wands have been preset for various types of cleaning. Using these types of models, you will change your model instead of adjusting or changing your nozzle tip.
· A rotating nozzle combines powerful sprays with circular motions.
· Detergent or chemical injection allows you to use cleaners as well as other kinds of chemicals made for pressure washers, whether it’s from siphoning tube or onboard tanks.
· An onboard detergent tank makes it more convenient to use chemicals with your washer.
· Thermal relief systems and unloaders are two features made for reducing heat and pressure buildup which could damage your pressure washer.
Accessories and Tools for Pressure Washers:
There are some pressure washers that can work well with optional accessories and tools, which can help you get your cleaning work done a lot better and more efficiently.
· Brushes allow you to clean more efficiently and scrub the surfaces that you are cleaning
· Spray tips and extension wands for cleaning second stories can help with cleaning the higher home exteriors.
· Angled wands are perfect to work with an extension for reaching and cleaning gutters.
· A surface cleaner that has spinning jets can help greatly with cleaning sidewalks and driveways.
· Although there are many types of chemicals that you can use for assorted kinds of cleaning, you should only use the kind that is recommended by your manufacturer. Some of the manufacturers have certain chemicals that they approve for use of their pressure washer.
Using Your Pressure Washer
The safety tips are going to vary based on what you are cleaning and when you’re using your pressure washer. These are a few tips you should keep in mind.
· Be sure that you are standing on a surface that is stable, and that you have solid footing and good balance.
· Make sure you’re wearing manufacturer approved and specified eye and hearing protection when you are cleaning using a pressure washer powered by gas.
· Spray guns should never be left unattended when your power washer’s running.
· Always use the right spray setting or nozzle. When you use a spray setting or nozzle that’s concentrating an overabundance of power, it can damage certain surfaces. Check your manual to look at the information on your spray settings and the distance the tip should safely be from your surface.
· Always be mindful of where you’re aiming your spray. You shouldn’t ever point your spray gun at plants, animals or people. Keep it away from power lines, power sources and electrical fixtures.
Make sure you’re always following the chemical, accessory, and pressure washer’s maintenance, safety and use instructions, which includes instructions regarding safety gear.
Maintenance Considerations for Pressure Washers
Your pressure washer needs to be properly cared for so that it lasts a long time and will run efficiently. No matter what model you purchase, you will have to inspect it regularly and care for its pump. If you’re storing it where the temperature goes below freezing, you’ll have to take the steps to stop your pump from becoming frozen. Other types of maintenance will vary based on the model. If you choose a gas model, it will need more maintenance, since it will need its spark plugs, oil and air filter changed.
When you are looking for a way that can make cleaning up a lot easier, pressure washers are a great choice. Hopefully this guide has made understanding the different types a lot easier and will help making the right decision much easier for you. You’ll find that it’s one of the best choices that you have ever made.
About Naples Pressure Washing & Sealing
Doron Nudel is the owner of Naples Pressure Washing, LLC. He’s worked as an exterior cleaning specialist in Naples, FL since 2008. Servicing many areas of Southwest Florida including Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero, and Marco Island.