Power Washer Guide

No one wants to have the grimiest house on the street, but washing the siding is awfully time-consuming. It used to be that if you had a big outdoor cleaning project like the patio and driveway to do, you would just rent a pressure washer for the day.

But these days you’ll find dozens of affordable power washer models from which to choose. And since you’ll own your own, you’ll also find a lot more uses for it around your garage and in the yard! A power or pressure washer can help cut your cleaning time drastically, and it has the added benefit of using approximately 80% less water than a garden hose.

With more power and no need for electricty, more expensive gas pressure washers are worth the cost if you plan to use one often for various projects like scrubbing your patio and walkways.How a Power Washer Works

Power washers use a combination of water pressure and water flow to remove dirt and grime.

This combination allows for easier, more efficient cleaning in comparison to a bucket, hose, and elbow grease.

Detergent and heated water can also increase the cleaning power of a pressure washer.

Selecting a Power Washer

Power washers come in gas and electric models. Gas power washers are generally more powerful but can only be used outside due to the carbon monoxide emissions.

Gas power washers are also generally more expensive in comparison to electric power washers. Electric power washers are generally smaller, more portable, and less powerful than gas powered models.

The easiest way to compare power washers is by looking at their cleaning power (sometimes abbreviated as “CP” or “CPU”). Cleaning power is calculated using water pressure (PSI or pounds per square inch) and water flow (GPM or gallons per minute). The higher the water pressure and flow, the greater the cleaning power: CP = PSI x GPM

Lower-end washers will have a CP around 4000, mid-range washers around 9000, and higher end washers can top out at over 16,000 CP.

With attachments, you can use your power washer in a variety of outdoor cleaning tasks.Uses for a Power Washer

Sure, you can use a pressure washer to strip grime from your home, but is that enough to justify the purchase? There are other uses for power washers that you may not have thought of, such as:

  • Cars & Trucks
  • Boats & Jet Skis
  • ATVs & Motorcycles
  • Driveways & Sidewalks
  • Decks & Patios
  • Fences
  • Gutters
  • Pool Areas
  • Barbeque Grills

Tips on Using a Power Washer

  • Inspect the area to be washed. Remove any furniture, loose decorative items, or anything else that could be damaged. If you are pressure washing a house, look for any loose siding, cracks, or crevasses where water can get inside. It’s advisable to fix these problems before washing to prevent water damage to your home.
  • Consider using a detergent specifically designed for power washers. This is particularly important if you are working in areas with plants, animals, or children. Make sure that what you are using is safe.
  • Don’t run the washer without the water supply. This will damage the motor.
  • Test the washer on an inconspicuous area before moving on to the rest of the project.
  • Select the right nozzle for your job. The nozzle will affect the flow rate and water pressure. Adjustable nozzles are often the best choice.
  • Don’t get too close! You could damage the object you are cleaning. Start by standing about ten feet away from the object, spray over the surface a few times, and then stop. Check to see if the area is clean and look for any damage. Adjust your distance accordingly.
  • Brush attachments can help loosen caked-on dirt and ground-in grime.
  • Don’t spray directly at windows, plants, vents, electrical boxes, or light fixtures. The water pressure could damage them.
  • Never aim the washer at people or allow children to use the washer.
  • It’s advisable to wear goggles or safety glasses to protect your eyes from any flying debris.
  • When cleaning siding, make sure to point downwards to avoid breaking the siding off or getting water underneath it.
  • Spray back and forth, not up and down.
  • Start at the top and work downward to prevent streaks.
  • Squeeze the trigger before storing the washer to relieve the pressure in the hose.

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