Everything You Need To Know About Pressure Washing

Example of pressure washing

A pressure washer is a mechanical sprayer which uses high pressure to clean objects and surfaces like buildings, roads, vehicles and concrete. These machines can remove many different kinds of dirt including mud, grime, dust and lose paint. This article will give you 17 points and be your guide to pressure washing, from the pros.

Parts of a Pressure Washer

The basic parts of a pressure washer include a high pressure hose, a switch in the style of a trigger gun and an engine which drives water to the pump. The engine can be an electric motor (this type is called an electric pressure washer) or it can be powered by gasoline. The pump on a pressure washer draws water from the source that it is connected to and the power generated by the engine causes the pressure. As can be expected, the pressure washer can only use as much water as the source allows, so an adequate water supply is a must. If you happen to run out of water while the pump is on, this can seriously damage the pump elements.

Where to purchase

You can purchase a pressure washer designed for consumer use rather than industrial use in your local hardware store. These are usually electric or gas powered, with the gas powered pressure washers delivering up to twice the pressure of the electric powered washers. Be aware however that gas powered washers are not suitable for use indoors because of the fact that they emit hazardous exhaust fumes.

History, Uses and Types

Official records state that the first pressure washer was invented by Alfred Kärcher, founder of the German manufacturing company Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG, in 1950. Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG manufactures cleaning systems and equipment and is very well known for its high pressure cleaners to this day.

There are many industrial applications for the use of pressure washers including cutting metal and glass with no dust. Yes, they can be that powerful. Additional uses for pressure washers at very high power include the cleaning of buildings or surfaces where some surface removal is required. Some people use pressure washers on a medium setting to effectively clean graffiti from walls.

Aside from the electric and gas powered pressure washers mentioned, other types include diesel pressure washers, natural gas powered machines, hydraulic pressure washers, high pressure steam cleaners and ultra high pressure washers. In addition, some pressure washers have chemical injectors attached allowing you to use detergent specific to the machine that you have to assist in the cleaning process, while others do not.

Warnings and Considerations

It is very important to note that pressure washers are potentially dangerous machines. Just to give you an idea of the power they can produce, the pressure that is exerted near the nozzle of the machine is enough to strip flesh from bone. For this reason, it is imperative that you follow the manufacturers instructions for the use of the machine and pay very close attention to the safety instructions. Be aware that when aimed directly at tarmac, some pressure washers can actually break up the tarmac due to the high pressure entering and disrupting cracks in the surface.

The Power Washer

A power washer is a machine that is able to clean different types of surfaces using water pressure. These washers have been around for sometime but it is just recently that they became affordable, which has contributed to many homeowners buying them instead of renting them from local hardware stores. A power washer is the ultimate solution to all the hard cleaning roles around the home. This is because it is able to output more water than your garden hose and the water also comes out with better pressure.

Another very good thing with these machines is the fact that they save on a lot of water. Because of the increased pressure, less water is used, which saves you money. These machines multiply the pressure of the water from the hose output which is then concentrated into a stream that has better pressure. These machines come accompanied by a pump which makes sure that the output always has a concentrated stream of water. The water first runs through the pump and then to the power washer through a hose connected to a control handle. The machine also comes with a trigger that allows the user to spray the water in either short busts or in a continuous spray.

Types of power washers

Power washers come in different types. There are those that are gasoline powered and also those that are electric. The gasoline powered ones have between 5-7 horsepower and they have higher and better pressure than the electrical ones. They are not very suitable to be used on places where not too much pressure is needed. For instance, when washing windows, the electric one is the most ideal. There are both hot and cold water power washers. The hot ones are the most expensive and effective. They are able to clean in different areas like oily places and provide very good results unlike their cold counterparts.

The pump inside the machine is the most important thing. These machines are usually rated in PSI (pounds per square inch) and gallons per minute which is used to measure how the water flows. When looking for a washer, it is important to put these factors into consideration. The higher the number, the more powerful the washer will be at the end of the day.

Ordinary washers range from $200 to $500. However, there are still much better and powerful washers which have the ability to remove heavy stains like grease and also the ability to strip paint. However, they are a bit expensive and anyone buying them should be ready to spend around double the amounts listed earlier.

In general, the more expensive a washer, the more effective it is. It is also important to note that the more powerful the washer, the heavier it will be. At the end of the day, what should really determine the kind of washer that you buy is the role that it will be used to play. If it is for industrial purposes, it is very important to buy a powerful one. On the other hand, if it is for domestic purposes, you should just buy the small one.

Power Washing For The Homeowner

If you have ever washed your car at a self-service car wash where you insert quarters in a machine and use a trigger style gun that sprays a high pressure stream of water as you walk around your car, then you are familiar with pressure washing. Portable pressure washers, or power washers, are available for use around the home and basically work on the same principle. A hose connected to the pressure washer supplies the water and an electric or gas motor drives a water pump that produces a high pressure stream of water which is controlled by the same type wand or gun that you used at the car wash.

Uses for pressure washing

The uses of power washing around the home are virtually endless. A partial list would include cleaning driveways, sidewalks, patios, brick foundations or any other brick on the house, decks, vinyl siding, gutters and drainpipes, windows and screens, and car tires and wheels. Any surface that requires heavier cleaning than a simple garden hose and spray nozzle can provide is a candidate for pressure washing.

A pressure washer is particularly useful for outdoor surfaces that have been exposed to tree sap or pollen buildup such as decks and sidewalks or surfaces with grease or oil stains such as driveways. The correct combination of cleaning agents, if needed, and a high powered water stream is the only way to remove these stains. And almost any outdoor surface that you plan to paint or stain will need pressure washing to remove buildup of environmental elements if you expect new paint to adhere to the surface properly. Paint applied to any surface with even a thin film of pollen or mold on it will begin to peel soon after painting.

Types of pressure washers and options

professional equipment

Pressure washers designed for the homeowner are typically powered by either a gas or an electric engine. While other types of engines are available such as diesel, natural gas, or propane, these models would typically be larger commercial units. The electric models will of course require a suitable drop cord that is long enough to go wherever you would like to use the unit. A gas powered model can go anywhere that your hose for the water supply can reach.

The power of a pressure washer is determined by the amount of pressure it can produce to force water through the nozzle and also the rate of water flow. The water force is generally measured in PSI (pounds per square inch) and the water flow rate is measured in GPM (gallons per minute).

Pressure washers designed for home use might typically start in the range of 1000 PSI and 2 GPM and range up to 2500 PSI and 4 or 5 GPM.

A unit at the lower end of the range from 1000 to 1200 psi is useful for cleaning painted surfaces before repainting and washing home siding and wooden surfaces. It is important to remember that these machines produce a powerful stream of water that can cause damage to both your home and to yourself. All washers will have an adjustable nozzle that allows you to control the water stream from a wide fan spray to a small diameter forceful stream. A powerful machine can take chunks of wood out of your deck or remove paint or siding that you didn’t intend to remove if you aren’t careful.

If you will be constantly dealing with oil or grease on concrete surfaces then a more powerful machine in the 1800 PSI to 2000 PSI range may be more appropriate. It will take a machine in this range to remove decades of buildup from an outdoor concrete surface.

Most machines will have a container that allows a cleaning agent to be added to the water flow when desired. This is a useful feature and one you will want to have on your pressure washer.

Some machines also provide a hot water feature. This would normally be needed on the tougher cleaning jobs such as the oily or greasy driveway. A combination of hot water and chemical cleaners is often needed to do a complete cleaning job in this type of situation.

Consider the types of jobs that you will be performing most often and select a machine in the right power range with the appropriate options. It is almost certain that once you begin using your power washer you will continue to find new uses for it.

Electric Pressure Washers

pressure washing

The electric pressure washer is getting more popular because of its efficiency in cleaning surfaces and corners where the removal of stains and dirt is usually a big challenge. This cleaning tool has several purposes. Whether you use it for removing sticky grease and mold from walls or for getting rid of stubborn mud and dirt from vehicle surfaces, the electric pressure washer makes each cleaning task easy and convenient. It’s also an efficient cleaning tool for different items around the house such as furniture, sidewalks, and decks. With its high pressure levels, this household appliance can blast away unsightly particles even from concrete surfaces.

How an Electric Pressure Washer Works
Just like other pressure washing equipment, electric pressure washers work by pumping high pressure output to hard surfaces for washing away impurities and dirt. They are powered by electricity and the pump is their source of pressure which can generate an incredibly high pressure level. Modern pressure washers can even provide up to 8000 psi of output pressure. The difference between electric washers and other pressure cleaners is their power source. An electric motor provides power to an electric washer, while a combustion engine powers the pump of a propane or gas pressure washer.

Advantages of Electric Pressure Washers
The main advantage of electric pressure washers over the gas-powered washers is that they don’t emit harmful exhaust because they are not required to burn fuel to operate. It’s worth noting that propane or gas washers do produce exhaust regardless of how silent they are. Generally, the combustion exhaust emitted by non-electric washers has a negative impact on the environment and to people’s health.

If gas-powered machines are used within a building, their fumes can increase humidity and can be harmful especially when the building does not have sufficient ventilation. Therefore, electric-powered washers are ideal when performing indoor cleaning tasks. These cleaning machines also produce very little noise, typically being quieter than even the quietest fuel-powered cleaners. This feature makes these cleaners an ideal option for cleaning inside the home or a building, especially during business hours.

Disadvantages of Electric Pressure Washers
Electric power washers do have some limitations. One inherent disadvantage of these machines is that they require a source of electricity for them to function. While this is usually not a problem with indoor use because electrical outlets are found in almost every corner, this requirement limits their function when used outdoors. These machines can’t run outdoors if an electrical outlet is not accessible. Since they are required to be tethered to electrical sockets, homeowners are forced to use a long extension cord or a power generator.

Why Choose an Electric Pressure Washer?
When it comes to maintenance, electric washers are generally easier to maintain than their fuel-powered counterparts. They are also lighter which makes them more convenient to operate. Also, they come in varying pressure levels, flow rates and temperature options. Although they have been known to be less powerful than the gas-powered machines, many electric pressure washers these days are powerful enough to tackle the challenges of cleaning, including industrial and commercial cleaning jobs.

Pressure Washer Parts and Accessories

surface cleaner

Pressure washing is something a lot of people do to clean their homes, decks and other things. This is a great alternative to painting and will result in the same look. Getting rid of caked on dirt and dust can make a huge difference with the way a home, deck or cement driveway looks. In order to get started with pressure washing, it’s important to have all the proper pressure washer parts. These are easy to find and are well worth buying for most people and businesses.

What types of parts are needed for pressure washers?
The hose and nozzle are two of the most important parts to have. The nozzle is what makes the spray so highly pressurized. In addition to this, there are also cleaners that are needed and fittings for the nozzle to attach to the hose. There are also pressure washer machines available that make cleaning a lot easier.

Other parts available include unloaders, valves, pressure washer wands, surface cleaners, swivels, spray guns, connectors, filters, strainers, and couplers. All of these items can easily be found at home improvement stores or online. Being able to find them at so many different retailers means being able to find the lowest price out there.

How do you choose pressure washer parts and accessories?
When it comes to choosing a machine and parts, it’s important to know what to look for. Not everyone needs every single part; it depends on what the washer is being used for and how often it will be used. Electric washers are generally easier to use for most people, but they do require a cord to be plugged in. It’s also important to look for a machine that comes with the brushes and nozzles already included. There are different types of these available for all jobs, so choose based on what you are doing.

Extension hoses are great to have for jobs that are going to be high up in the air. These jobs may include high rise buildings, two story homes and any other tall building. There are also trigger gun kits, which make it a lot easier to shoot out water without straining the hands. Turbo nozzles and spray wands are preferred accessories for anyone that needs extra pressure to get into small surfaces.

Sliding brushes can easily attach to power washers and can be used to clean windows. Anyone that is dealing with heavy dirt can use a blaster wand, which is made to get into small surfaces and reduce the volume of buildup that’s there. Since there are so many different washer parts and accessories, anyone can get the job done. A wide variety of companies make these parts and there are always package deals that make the price more affordable.

The right parts and accessories can make all the difference with getting work done. Professionals can use these for jobs, but everyday people can use them as well. Pressure washing can save time and money when compared to painting and building new structures, so it’s worth considering.


Please contact South Coast Pressure Washing for professional pressure washing services