The Pressure Washer – An excellent tool for exterior painting.
Pressure washers will blast away many years worth of dirt and grime in less time and with the least amount of effort. You have a lot of choices with these machines. From gas or electric, PSI and gallons per minute to hot or cold water washing. A versatile pressure washing system can be as complicated as you want.
A Pressure Washer Can Do More Than Wash Your Home
With the right combination of power, nozzles, attachments and cleaning solutions you can clean almost anything.
- Wash your car.
- Remove stains and discoloration from a wood deck.
- Wash the driveway/sidewalk.
- Wash a fence prior to staining or painting.
- Roof maintenance.
- Clean outdoor furniture.
- Clean your boat or ATV.
If it can be taken outside chances are it can be pressure washed.
The major problem with pressure washers is that a good one can be expensive.
Inexpensive machines that can be purchased at local retail outlets are built to last not much longer than the warranty period. These units will probably need to be repaired when you need it the most. The extra cost of a good machine will pay for it’s self with many reliable years of use.
Choosing the correct unit for your needs is critical. Here is a few things to consider.
- 1500 psi is plenty for most general cleaning jobs. But power washing your home or deck will require more pressure. Typical deck cleaning prior to staining will need a minimum of 2000 psi and washing your home before painting might need even more pressure.
- You have a choice between gas or electric. I like the gas machines for overall performance and portability. Gas power units provide more pressure at higher volumes and generally perform better. Since this type of equipment will be used out doors, a gas powered pressure washer will be handier and be easily moved from area to area.
- Most come with 50 ft. of hose. Do you need more? Make sure the unit can handle more hose.
- Many cheap models have only one nozzle tip fixed to the wand. That’s the long tube attached to the gun. Tips will need to be replaced when they ware out. Replacing the entire gun assembly will be more expensive than replacing just a tip.
- There are many tip and accessory options on the market. Most machines come with 4 tips as standard equipment.
0° Degree – The spray pattern is straight and will damage most surfaces including wood.
15° Degree – Excellent for tough jobs. Best choice when power washing your home or wood deck prior to painting or staining.
25° Degree – General purpose cleaning, such as removing dirt and dust from your home.
40° Degree – Light duty cleaning.
- Name brands are more expensive, but parts are easier to get. Repairs are inevitable with any power tool. Make sure the brand you choose can be repaired locally. This service is normally provided by your local paint retailer.
- Most brands can inject chemicals into the water stream. Generally, the chemical stream is under a lower pressure than with water alone. These chemicals can be soaps, degreasers or specialized wood deck cleaners.
- There are many accessories for power washers on the market. These items range from flexible wands for washing your car, concrete floor washers to sand blasting units. Some accessories require very high pressures and volumes from the pressure washer.
- Since a good, name brand, power washer is expensive. Consider sharing the expense with a good friend or neighbor.
100 Hours or Less Per Year
For home use you’ll want a smaller machine. Most homeowners won’t need a powerful commercial unit. A gas or electric power washer producing 1500 to 2000 psi will be adequate.
Smaller machines will require less water volume from the water spicket. Typical needs for most machines are 3-5 gpm. Always try to provide more water than the pressure washer actually needs. This way there will be no damage to the pump and the unit will operate at maximum efficiency.
To check your water volume, use your garden hose to fill a 5 gallon bucket within 1 minute. Measure the amount of water in the bucket. This is your water volume, gallons per minute.
This machine could become one of your favorite tools. With a wide array of accessories available, a pressure washer can find many uses around your home or shop.