There’s not much difference between a pressure washer and a power washer. In every sense, these two are the same only that a pressure washer almost always uses normal cold water while a power washer uses high pressurized steam.
Tons of people own power washers and use them for different things. The washers make the cleaning process faster and so much easier. Some of their uses include:
- Cleaning cars, boats, and bikes
- Draining the gutter
- Washing the driveway and parking
- Cleaning home exteriors like vinyl or brick
- Cleaning wood decks, tile patios, concrete floors, and stairs
How a power washer works
The power washer may either be powered by an electric motor or by a gas engine. They have a pump and a spray wand through which water is forced. Higher pressures can handle tougher cleaning jobs. To function effectively, the washer needs a steady water supply.
For regular use at home, a power washer with a pressure ranging between 1,300 and 2,400 psi would be ideal. Usually, electric washers have a pressure range of 1,300 to 1,400 psi and are recommended for lighter chores like washing the car.
Electric washers are generally cheaper and quieter as compared to gas-powered washers. They’re also lighter and, therefore, more portable.
A lot of the power washers that are available for rent are powered by gas. These give higher pressures compared to the electric washers – some have a pressure higher than 3,000 psi. They are ideal for heavier jobs like cleaning concrete pavements.
The price is mainly dependent on the pressure of the washer, its features, the engine’s quality, and the pump’s quality.
How to use a power washer
Power washers are so much fun to use and they give good results, quickly. They force water at high pressure so they can clean surfaces faster in comparison to the conventional garden hose.
However, one needs to be safe when using the washer to avoid any kind of accidents. Power washers seem intimidating the first time you use them but don’t worry we have a few tips and guidelines to help.
Here’s a step-by-step procedure on how to operate a power washer:
- Connect all the accessories tightly and ensure that they’re locked in position so that air doesn’t enter the lines
- Pass water through the machine for about a minute before starting the engine to get rid of any air. You should also make sure that water circulates through the system unobstructed.
- Set the washer on a low-pressure setting to prevent recoil immediately the washer is turned on
- Point the spray wand away from people when starting the power washer.
- Grip the wand by both hands when you’re cleaning. Hold the wand at a 45-degree angle; spraying “head-on” drives the dirt into the surface rather than washing it away.
- For the best cleaning results without damaging the surface, first test the pressure setting on an inconspicuous place.
- It advisable to rinse the area you’re cleaning first to loosen the dirt, then wash with a detergent and finish with a rinse from top to bottom. Never run bleach in the machine or use detergents that aren’t meant for use in pressure washers.
- If possible, store the power indoors when not in use to prevent damage
How much psi do you need to clean a house?
When choosing a pressure washer for use in your home, there are a couple of factors that you should put into consideration like what you’ll be using the versatile tool for and how often you intend to use it. The features such as pressure on the washers vary and you need to find one that matches your needs.
Carrying out different chores around the house requires different levels of pressure. For example, if you want to clean the deck or the exterior of the house you need 1,500 psi. If you want to wash the car, you’ll need 700 psi. To clean the concrete driveway, you’ll need 3000 psi.
If you are looking for a washer to carry out all these tasks, get one that is adjustable and can deliver a force of up to 3,000 psi.
Why pressure washer has no pressure?
When your pressure washer produces low or no pressure, it’s time for some troubleshooting. There’s no need to panic and assume the worst – it’s probably something that can be corrected quickly. Here’s what to do:
- Move the throttle control to “FAST” so that the engine runs at full speed.
- Check if the water inlet or filter screen is blocked, clogged, or damaged
- Check to see if the high-pressure hose or the spray gun is leaking
- Ensure that the water supply pressure and the flow rate are adequate
- Confirm that the pump oil level is not low
If you do all the above and you’re still having problems with the washer, you may have a bigger issue and will need to get the washer checked.
Can you damage concrete with a power washer?
One of the most common uses of a power washer is cleaning concrete driveways and walkways. The results are very satisfactory. But you might wonder: can a power washer damage concrete? The answer is yes. Even though concrete is one of the strongest building materials, it is still immune to wear and tear. If you aren’t careful, a power washer could irreversibly damage your concrete driveway.
To avoid washing away the sand and ultimate deterioration, you need to follow the following instructions carefully:
- Hold off power cleaning if you just recently had concrete installed – for about 1 year.
- There’s no need to wash concrete frequently as it’s highly likely to wear down and be subject to damage
- Clean by standing at least 10 feet away from the area that you’re trying to hit with water
Can a pressure washer cut your finger off?
We are just a bunch of rubber meat bags that a water jet spray can easily cut through. Can you imagine the seriousness of an injury caused by a 4,000 psi pressure washer?
The pressure washer is capable of slicing a person’s finger and blowing it open by forcing air and water into it. High-pressure water injuries can cause compartment syndrome and are often worse than they look; most of them end up in amputation.
It’s always smart to wear protective gear such as gloves when handling pressure washers.
Can you adjust psi on a pressure washer?
The nozzle helps in adjusting the pressure of the water. A smaller nozzle angle has a higher pressure and vice versa. You can also control the pressure by adjusting the pressure of the water the machine generates.
When pressure builds up in the washer, an unloader is used to remove it.
One is able to adjust the pressure depending on the type of surface that he/she wants to clean. Light tasks like cleaning a car require lower pressure while heavier tasks like cleaning a garage floor require higher pressure.
Can a pressure washer kill you?
Cleaning using a pressure washer is fast and easy but at the same time, it can be surprisingly dangerous. When a pressure washer’s powerful spray is misdirected towards a person, it can cause very serious wounds but not death. Lacerations are the most common injury followed by bruises, punctures, and eye injuries.
Follow these tips for safety:
- Wear safety goggles when working with the washer
- Don’t work from ladders. The recoil could destabilize your balance
- Maintain a 6ft distance when working near power lines and electrical outlets
- Always ensure that the safety lock is engaged especially when the washer is not in use
Should you wear a mask when power washing?
Just like you need safety gear when performing other high-risk chores, you should also cover up when using a power washer.
Always ensure that you’re wearing a mask to protect your face from the chemical solution that is placed in the power washing machine. Also, the mold spores could go flying in the air and can cause a fungal infection in your lungs when inhaled.
How long can you run a pressure washer?
To avoid damaging the pump, you should ever run the pressure washer for longer than three to five minutes (depending on the model) while the trigger is off. When the washer is running while the trigger is locked at “off,” adjust the pressure and spray settings, or insert nozzle tips in the spray wand. Now the washer is ready to use.
Can I use hot water in my power washer?
There are two types of washers depending on the temperature of the water. There’s the hot water pressure washer and the cold water pressure washer. Cold water washers are more common and cheaper compared to the hot water washers which have the ability to produce steam.
It’s not a good idea to use hot water in a regular washer unless you wouldn’t mind replacing the pressure washer every now and then.
Even though hot water cleans better, it’s still super wrong to run hot water like 120F water from the residential water heater through a regular washer. The pump tends to get hotter which increases the potential risk of the pump.