Power Washer Basics
man power washing the interior of a fence located in the backyard of a toronto home

Power Washer Basics

Posted: 07/26/17 11:43 PM - Category: Power Washing

A power washer can be a great tool for a range of different outdoor cleaning jobs. The high-pressure water makes it easier to remove tough grime and debris from a surface, and it can save you a lot of time. You can use a power washer for cleaning your deck, washing a fence, removing dirt from siding, cleaning a vehicle and a whole lot more.

Before you start using a power washer, there are some things that you need to understand about these machines. Without an adequate understanding about how a pressure washer works, you might have a hard time getting the results that you need. When in doubt, you can always hire professional pressure washing services to take care of everything for you.

Gas or Electric?

One of the first things you need to know is that there are different types of pressure washers. You’ll find models that offer a different range of features, but the biggest difference is in the power. In addition to that, you can also choose between electric power washers and gas-powered models.

Electric power washers are the machines that many homeowners will buy for use around the yard. These are light-duty machines, and the power generally tops out at around 2000 psi. They can be good for jobs like cleaning deck furniture or for washing a car, but they don’t have the power to handle most of the tougher jobs.

For the tougher jobs, you are going to need a gas-powered pressure washer. In the category of gas-powered pressure washers, you’ll find machines that offer a wide range of different pressure washing options. You have your medium-duty pressure washers that top out at about 2800-3000 psi, but you also have the heavy-duty pressure washers that can go to beyond 3000 psi. These heavy-duty machines can do things like strip paint or remove tough stains from surfaces.

Different Nozzles for Different Jobs

If you are going to use a pressure washer, it is important to understand the different nozzles that come with the machine. The nozzles control the narrowness of the spray and this has a direct impact on the power with which the spray will contact the surface that is being cleaned.

In general, a power washer will come with a set of colour-code nozzles, and the different colours represent different settings. Most sets will have nozzles that range from zero to forty degrees, with zero being the most powerful nozzle. In the set, red will be the 0 degree nozzle, green will be 25 degrees and white will be 40 degrees. You may also have a black low-pressure nozzle that is good for applying detergents.

an image depicting a variety of power washer nozzles, each colour coded to visibly display the spread pattern the nozzle creates, text explains the various uses for each nozzle

If you are talking about different ways that you could use these nozzles, it would depend on the power of your pressure washer. With a medium or heavy-duty machine, you could use the red nozzle to remove a tough stain in your driveway. The lighter white nozzle could be good for jobs like removing dirt or grit from your driveway.

You’ll also find some pressure washers that do not come with the changeable nozzles. Instead of having the nozzles, these machines will have an adjustable wand that offers the range of different settings. With these models, you just turn the nozzle, and it adjusts the strength of the spray. Along with that, you may find that some machines have changeable wands. It could be an extension wand for cleaning something that is high up and you have some wands that are angled for getting hard to reach areas.

Pressure Washing Chemicals

Pressure washers can also use a range of detergents to increase the cleaning capabilities of the machine. Some power washers may have a detergent tank that is for adding different cleaning chemicals, and there are some machines where you can use a siphoning tube to introduce a cleanser to the water.

As a point, it is important to note that there are many jobs where cleaning with water will be enough. However, there are many jobs where the high-pressure water is not going to be enough to get the job done. Among the different types of detergents and chemicals, you can find degreasers, car washing solutions, rust removers and more.

Control Your Spray

Pressure washers are powerful machines, and you need to know how to control the spray of the machine before you start using it to clean. Without a proper understanding of the how to use the machine, you could damage the item you are trying to clean or you might find it hard to get the results that you need.

The use of a pressure washer is not something that you are going to master in an afternoon, but there are some general pointers that can help you out as you get started. As a starting point, you always want to use the lowest pressure nozzle that will get the job done. You can always move up to another nozzle if the surface does not get clean, but you cannot undo damage that was the result of using too much pressure.

As an additional point, you should always test the spray out on a small area of the surface that is going to be cleaned. This will give you an idea if it has enough pressure for the task at hand, and it is a good way to avoid causing any unnecessary damage. Finally, you always want to keep the nozzle moving to avoid the potential for damaging the surface that is being cleaned.

There is no doubt that homeowners can do their own power washing. This is especially true for the light-duty jobs where the risk of damage or injury is relatively low. That said, there are some benefits to hiring a professional power washing service.

The technicians from a professional service will have experience with the machines, and they are also likely to have better equipment. A professional power washing service can save you the time and the hassle that comes with power washing, and they should be able to get better results than you would on your own. Along with that, hiring a professional will be a good way to avoid the potential for damage that can happen when an inexperienced person uses a pressure washer.