A power washer uses a pump to create a high pressure water spray. It is a very efficient way to clean the outside of your house or building. They can be rented by the day. Tool rental companies or paint stores are generally where they are available.
Be sure to have the operation of the power washer thoroughly explained by someone. It is even better to have power washer safety and operation demonstrated by an employee of the rental company. A power washer spray is very strong. It can cause damage if not operated correctly.
Pressure washers are designed with many different PSI and flow rates. PSI stands for pounds per square inch. This refers to the amount of force that is exerted on a square inch area.
Gas or Electric
Electric power washers are for use outside your home or anywhere that electricity is available. They are safer to store because they have no gas tank.
Gas power washers are useful for remote locations where there is no electricity. For heavy duty clean up a gas powered washer may be needed because they come with higher PSI ratings.
If using an electric washer, simply hook the hose up to it and plug it in. You are limited in your movement by the electrical cord. Be careful not to trip over it. Gas power washers have the benefit of independent movement, and better maneuverability.
Hot or Cold Water
Power washers come in either hot or cold water models. Washers made for residential use tend to use cold water. The high pressure is strong enough to remove most dirt and buildup. Cold water washers are much lighter than hot water washers. This is because there is no water heater attached.
A hot water washer does wash more effectively than a cold water washer. The heat of the water will help dissolve the bond between the surface being washed and the dirt or grime. Hot water is more capable for removal of oily or greasy substances. If you need to wash heavily soiled surfaces then a hot water washer is the way to go.
Cold water washers are less expensive than hot. They are also more common and available in more models.
It is important to know what precautions you need to take when operating a power washer of any type. You should always wear goggles or safety glasses when using a power washer. The high pressure spray can cause serious eye injury. This could occur from the direct spray as well as the back splash. In addition you may want to wear gloves and long pants. In case you accidentally drop the sprayer or trip.
- Before starting to wash close all windows tightly. The direct spray from a power washer is strong enough to break them. Be careful around any glass surface when using a power washer.
- Turn off the power to any outside lights or electrical outlets. To prevent damage to lighting fixtures cover them with plastic and seal the plastic around the base with duct tape.
A power washer can damage aluminum or even steel siding. Be very careful how you spray it. You should always wash from the top down. Do not let water spray up and under your siding. A power washer is strong enough to rip the siding off of your house. Besides the obvious damage this can also cause personal injury from the falling or bending siding.
Begin by holding the power washer about three feet from the surface you wish to clean. Move closer until you feel that the spray is strong enough or that you can see that the dirt is washing away.
- Remove lawn furniture, plants and any other items light enough to be blown away. If in doubt, move heavier items away from where you will be spraying.
- Cover all shrubbery and landscaped areas. Use a tarp and hold it down with bricks. Do not spray directly into any area where the turf is loose.
- Stay far away from any power lines or electrical devices.
- Avoid power washing in windy conditions.