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Everything You Need to Know About Pressure Washers: The Ultimate Guide

We live in an era where we’re always on the go and never have time to do all the outdoor cleaning projects we want. That’s why pressure washers are such a godsend! 

These devices can help you with everything from sprucing up your deck to getting rid of stubborn stains on your siding. 

If you don’t know which one will work best for your project, this blog post is here to clear it up for you. 

Everything You Need To Know About Pressure Washers

Here’s some fun stuff on pressure washers you might not know.

Pressure Washer History

In 1926, Frank Woldert II unintentionally created the first pressure washer. When he had to remove oil and grime from his garage floor, he found that a steam mop was the only thing that would get it clean.

He utilized steam to push hot water through a hose since he was a gas-fired water heater maker by trade.

He discovered that the grease and grime cut better than they had in the past. However, his innovation went largely unnoticed.

It was only when Alfred Kärcher created the first high-pressure washer in 1950 that they became popular cleaning equipment. Today, there are several different types of pressure washers to choose from.

Types of pressure washer

Several types of pressure washers have different features depending on your needs.

Electric Pressure Washer 

Electric Engine: 1300 to 1900 psi

Home use: Car washing, outdoor furniture, grills, plastic play sets, small decks, and patios.

Look for: A great deal of performance and versatility for various purposes. Compact size and lightweight, flexible high-pressure hose; pro-style steel spray wand; onboard detergent tank; onboard storage for spray gun; wand; nozzles; hose; and power cord

Gas Pressure Washer 

Gas engine: 2000 to 3100 psi (2 to 2.5 gallons per minute)

Home and shop use: Decks, patios, siding, fences, vehicles, boats.

Look for: Overhead cam, overhead-valve engine with an axial cam pump that can handle higher pressures and aluminum or brass head; heavy-duty frame; big wheels; poly-braided or steel-braided high-pressure hose; pro-style steel spray wand with quick-connect coupling; and a variety of spray tips.

Battery Powerd Pressure Washer 

PSI: 400-1000 PSI (1 GPM)

Home and shop use: cleaning patio furniture, patios, and small vehicles. 

Look for:  Lightweight machine.

Pressure Washer PSI and GPM

Pressure washers are devices that use water under high pressures for cleaning. A large amount of force can be applied to the dirt with this device, which is why it’s so important to choose the correct PSI and GPM when using a pressure washer.

A pressure washer is a must-have for those who want to thoroughly maintain their home or business. The PSI and GPM are two factors that determine the performance of your pressure washers, so it’s important to know what they mean before purchasing one.

The higher the PSI, the more force the water will have on the surface you’re cleaning. If too high, it can damage many surfaces.

The GPM means gallons per minute. Choosing the correct one will depend entirely on how you need to use it and how often. However, it’s essential not to select the wrong one because it can waste time, money, and effort.

The higher the GPM, the faster the cleaning process is. The lower GPM takes more time but cleans better with less damage.

All About PW Nozzle 

Importance of Nozzles During Pressure Washing

Choosing the wrong nozzle or spray tip for your pressure washing job could result in several problems and potentially costly damages. Concrete damage-scarring is familiar with improper tip use. High-pressure water intrusion can also cause mold and mildew issues down the line.

Different pressure washer nozzles are required for different kinds of jobs. Because the more you restrict the water flow, the more you increase the velocity. For example, a 40-degree nozzle provides around 400 gallons per minute (GPM) at 2000 PSI, while a 25-degree nozzle provides 800 GPM at the same pressure. 

The best way to know which tip you need is by consulting with your local home improvement store or a professional. In addition, you can contact an independent contractor who has experience in high-pressure water cleaning and select the most appropriate nozzles for specific jobs.

What They Are and How to Choose Them

0° (red): Shoots a powerful jet of water toward the surface, about the size of a palm. Although it is not advised on many surfaces because of its strong blasting force, it removes heavy accumulation or rust from machinery.

15° (yellow): At low pressure, the nozzle creates a 15-degree wide sheet of water spray. It is frequently used for paint removal from wood, masonry, or metal and as a pre-striping technique.

25° (green): Creates a 25-degree wide sheet of water spray at the nozzle, delivering less surface pressure to lift soils without harming surfaces beneath it. It also gently cleans glass and other delicate materials with minimal risk of damage.

40° (white): Most people enjoy using this pressure washer for delicate surfaces and light cleanings, such as windows or automobiles. It generates a 40-degree water stream, typically utilized for fragile surfaces and light cleaning.

65° (black): The soaping black tip nozzle has a larger aperture to reduce velocity and improve hose pressure, which draws clean detergent into the line as you apply soap to the surface.

Pressure Washer Accessories

  • Attachments
  • Spray Guns
  • Hoses
  • Hose Reels
  • Nozzles
  • Regulators.
  • Adapters
  • Filters
  • Pumps
  • Ball Valves
  • Surface Cleaners
  • Brushes
  • Telescoping Wands
  • Water Brooms
  • Sandblasters.
  • Detergents, Soaps

What can you clean with a Pressure Washer?

Pressure washers are popular among a large number of individuals. I’ve seen people use them to clean everything from car seats to window blinds, and they’re even used to clean air conditioner filters.

According to a September 2014 report from research firm IBISWorld, the sector employs 182,073 individuals in the United States. It generates $9 billion in income, pressure washing. According to the study, the most popular activities are as follows:

  • Cleaning windows
  • Drain, duct, and gutter cleaning
  • Pool cleaning
  • Garage floors and driveway washing
  • Cleaning Outdoor Furniture
  • Cleaning Lawn Mowers, Mountain Bikes, Trailers, and Boats
  • Cleaning Cars and Trucks

Things you should never pressure wash

A pressure wash can serve a valuable role in home maintenance, but don’t get carried away! Pressure washing can do more harm than good. The following list contains a few items you should never pressure wash:

  • Electrical Panels and Meters
  • Asphalt Shingles
  • Air Conditioners
  • Old Mortar
  • Lead Paint
  • Living Things (humans, pets, or plants)
  • Windows

Pressure Washing Tips For Applications

Here are a few easy methods to get the most out of your pressure washer:

1. Pressure washer tips for cars: Spray the car with water, spray it down with dish soap or shampoo, and then use the pressure washer to rinse your vehicle off. It will eliminate all the dirt and gunk left on your car.

In general, a pressure washer with a pressure range of 1200 to 1900 PSI is considered the optimum setting for washing your car. The majority of pressure washers can be adjusted to this level. 

When it comes to car cleaning, make sure you’re using the correct nozzle. Use a 25-degree or 40-degree nozzle to clean your automobile correctly. Keep the pressure washer’s tip away from your vehicle at all times.

2. Pressure washer tips for boats: If you own a boat or a yacht, you may apply Teflon to the bottom of it to make it glide more smoothly across the water.

The pressure washer should have at least 2000 PSI and GM of 1.3 or more significant because grime can get trapped in cracks and nooks. Therefore this amount of pressure washer is required to remove it.

3. Pressure washer tips for patios, sidewalks, and driveways: Pressure washing sidewalks, patios, and driveways will eliminate all dirt and grime accumulated over time. Pressure washers are perfect for cleaning pavers, flagstone, and concrete.

The pressure washer should have around 2000-3000 PSI, GPM of 3, and 25 degree+ nozzles.

4. Pressure washer tips for gutters: Pressure washing your gutters is an easy way to clean your gutters out without actually having to get on a ladder yourself. Pressure washers are also great at eliminating algae build-up in the gutter system.

Let me tell you that an electric 1,500-PSI should be enough for most house projects. Anything with a 3000+ pound frame would cost money and need more upkeep (not just because it’s bigger but also because of the additional electrical requirements). If you have other items that need a higher power supply, go for it!

5. Pressure washer tips for downspouts and drain pipes: Pressure washers are also great for cleaning out your downspouts and drain pipes. You can add some Teflon to the end of the hose that attaches to your pressure washer and run it down through your drain pipe system; this will ensure everything flows smoothly.

6. Pressure washer tips for fences: Pressure washers are great for getting rid of all the dirt and grime accumulated on your fence over time. Pressure washing will also brighten up the color of wood or metal fencing.

You’ll need at least 1800 PSI to clean a wood fence thoroughly.

Choose the correct size of your tip. Lower pressure is preferable with more comprehensive tips. For example, if you use a 25-degree tip on wooden fences, you’ll risk making gouges in them. A 40-degree point is safer.

7. Pressure washer tips for houses: Pressure washing houses is an easy way to get rid of dirt, mold, or algae. Pressure washing also works wonders for getting rid of the mold that builds up near your gutter downspout.

You must then assess the strength of your pressure washer. Stick to a PSI of 2800 and a GPM (gallon per minute) rating of 1 to 3 for standard operating procedures.

Remember that the higher these figures are, the more costly and less portable your pressure washer will be.

What kind of nozzle should you choose? A turbo or a 50-degree adjustable nozzle is the most incredible nozzle for cleaning your home. According to a diamond certified specialist, using a turbo nozzle is more effective than employing a soap nozzle.

8. Pressure washer tips for decking: Pressure washing decking is an easy way to get rid of dirt, grime, and algae without having to scrub your deck. Pressure washing decks also work to brighten the color of the wood, making decks look brand new again.

If you’re not sure how to properly clean your deck, then there are a few essential things you need to know. First, to avoid this, keep the pressure as low as possible. Avoid using a pressure washer with more than 1,000 PSI (pounds per square inch) when cleaning your deck.

Use a 16-inch gap and a 15-degree (yellow-colored) or 25-degree (green-colored) nozzle for this method.

9. Pressure washer tips for driveways: Pressure washing driveways is an easy way to get rid of dirt, grime, and algae. Pressure washing also makes the color of your driveway brighter without having to spend a lot of time scrubbing or waxing. Pressure washers are also great for getting rid of those pesky algae that grow in driveways over time.

How much psi do I need to clean my driveway? The pressure you’ll need to clean your driveway is usually about 3000 PSI. If possible, look for a pressure washer with a high flow rate of 3 GPM or more. It should be enough to clean your driveway adequately.

Pressure Washer Safety Tips 

Pressure washing can be dangerous, especially if you haven’t done it before. Pressure washers can exert more than 100 pounds per square inch of water pressure, with enough force to push through skin, bone, and organs in seconds.

Exposing yourself or anyone else to the high-pressure stream also risks lacerating your eyes or stripping off a layer of your skin.

Pressure washers that produce a stream diameter larger than 0.4 inches require a pressure washer permit in most states and cannot be operated without a hood or safety glasses.

Pressure washer permits are unnecessary for smaller models used on patios, decks, or outside areas as long as the model has a non-adjustable tip with a 0.04-inch orifice diameter.

Pressure washer safety glasses prevent debris, water, and other objects from damaging your eyes. Still, they can fog up during operation, preventing you from seeing clearly while the pressure washer is in use. In addition, you should wear gloves when using any power equipment to avoid abrasions.

How to Maintain a Pressure Washer

Pressure washers have a limited lifespan, but proper maintenance can extend it.

Manufacturers recommend routine inspections and specific maintenance procedures. For example, keeping the pressure washer pump in temperatures below 0°F, it even more essential to maintain it. 

On the other hand, gas pressure washers require more maintenance than electric ones, such as changing the air filter, oil, and spark plug. For step-by-step instructions on some typical maintenance procedures, see our how-to article on Pressure Washer Maintenance.

Things to Consider Before You Power Wash 

Consider the time of year and the climate

Most power/pressure washing occurs in the fall or spring. Check the weather forecast if you get a few warm days during winter. Shooting water into cracks and crevices is OK in warm or cold weather.

But if you’re expecting sub-zero temperatures within a few days to a week of pressure/washing, be aware that water might freeze and expand, damaging everything you’ve cleaned. So before you wash, make sure the temperature won’t drop below freezing.

Consider the size of the area to be cleaned and the sort of surface as well

Since the significant or only distinction between the two procedures is heat, you should think about the size of the region you’ll be cleaning and the sort of surface that you will clean.

The significant advantage of utilizing hot water is a considerably more efficient and effective deep clean than cold water. Therefore, hot water is a superior cleaning alternative for larger areas. A power washer is also the better option if the space you’ll be cleaning has a lot of salt, mildew, moss, or grass.

The differences between residential and professional detergents, soaps, chemicals, and cleaning solutions

Not all cleaning chemicals are created equal. The difference between cleaners may be the key to cleaning or demolishing your power/pressure washing. Power/pressure washers may use different types of chemicals.

These chemicals are classified depending on their function and the sort of surface you will use them. Cleaners remove dirt, sanitizers eliminate the majority (99.999 percent) of germs in 30 seconds or less, and disinfectants destroy all organisms within 30 minutes.

Every surface is unique, so you’ll have to clean it differently. Depending on the need, every surface necessitates its approach, nozzle sizes, pressures, and even specific chemicals. If you’re not a professional, stick to purchasing pre-mixed cleaners designed to keep certain surfaces clean – for example, “Krudkutter” for the house.

There are several detergents for driveways, concrete, and wood. Make sure you’re using the right cleaner for the task. You can clean things with only a power wash and water, but hot water and soap, and pressure improve the cleaning of any surface dramatically.

When do you use power washing vs. pressure washing?

Power Washer for the Heavy-Duty Option

  • For broad areas like extended or massive driveways,
  • Use it where you have a lot of dirt, grease, moss, or weed build-up on smooth surfaces due to mold. The hot water here may loosen entrenched filth the same way hot water cleans dishes and floors better than cold water. It also destroys mold and moss while preventing their return.
  • Use a power washer on hard surfaces that can stand up to heat and pressure.

Pressure Washer for the Safer for Surfaces Option

  • Use on small patios, decks, and driveways.
  • Use in situations where a more challenging surface is required, such as wood decks, siding, and tiled surfaces.
  • Use on masonry, concrete, and brick surfaces.

Final Verdict on Everything You Need To Know About Pressure Washers

The Pressure Washer information presented in this article is designed to help you save time, money, and effort. Pressure washing can be a task that involves lots of manual labor. Pressure washers are not something to take lightly, but you will know what pressure washers 

are capable of doing with this guide.

Pressure washing can help you make your exterior look new; it can also protect the value of your home. Pressure washing is an excellent method to use when you’re trying to increase curb appeal and deter burglars from breaking into your home.

I hope this post aids you in pressure washing your home and other locations with ease.

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Brett Tyler

Brett Tyler

I’m Brett Tyler, an entrepreneur, but more importantly (well, to me at least), a tool head. I’m passionate about all sorts of machines and how they work – it’s in my blood.

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