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Everything You Should Know About Pressure Washers

The cleaning power of pressure washers is highly effective in blasting away dirt and grime from the exterior of your commercial building!

It might seem like a straightforward process, but there are a lot of important things to know about pressure washers before you try one out for yourself. Otherwise, you could cause some serious damage! You’d be amazed at how sparkling clean your building can look after using a pressure washer. If you’re interested in getting pressure washing services for commercial cleaning or trying one out for yourself, you’ve got to hear these expert tips and tricks.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about pressure washers.

What Are Pressure Washers Used for?

Pressure washers clean off surfaces using intense water pressure. The power of the pressure washer can take off years’ worth of dirt and grime in a much shorter amount of time than trying to manually scrape or scrub it off. 

They can cover large areas in a short amount of time which makes them great for exterior commercial cleanings such as walls, patios, walkways, siding, and fences. Different types of nozzles make pressure washers also useful indoors. They are good for deep cleaning spaces such as medical spaces and offices to disinfect them. The size of the pressure washer also determines its strength and how long it takes to do the job. 

Never direct a pressure washer at anything living. This is extremely dangerous and could cause severe injury. This includes people, animals, and plants.

Using a Pressure Washer

When using a pressure washer, you first need to know about its power. The PSI (pounds per square inch) and water flow or GPM (gallons per minute) determines the power of the pressure washer. 

The higher the PSI, the more force the water has. If your power washer is set to high it could damage the surface you are washing. The same goes for the GPM. The higher the GPM the faster the cleaning and rinsing process because more water is released. If the GPM is too low, the cleaning process takes longer and you have to turn up the PSI. This risks damaging the surface.

PSI Best Practices

If you are washing a vehicle, patio furniture, or grills the PSI should be between 1,000 to 2,000. Siding, fences, patio, decks, and boats can typically handle a PSI of 2,000 to 2,800. As a general rule, for paint stripping, unpainted metal, and large areas, usually a PSI of 2,900 to 3,300 is used. It’s important to still be careful when using a power washer on any surface. 

Horsepower (HP) is how much power the engine or motor produces and can determine how much pressure and volume it can provide. The pressure washer pump is the part of the pressure washer that receives water from your hose. Your pressure washer also has a bypass valve. This is so that when you let go of the trigger, the water bypasses back to the inlet side of the pump. Try not to leave your power washer in this mode for too long. 

The water gets hot and can cause damage to the pump.

How to Use Pressure Washers

Always begin pressure washing from four feet away from the surface. If more pressure is needed move closer to the surface slowly. Stay aware of where the grime you are rinsing is going or you could make more work for yourself.

If you are working on vertical surfaces apply cleaning solution from the bottom and work upward. Then rinse the surface clean from the top down.

If moving closer doesn’t have the desired effect, you might try a lower-degree nozzle.

What Type of Nozzles Should You Use?

When using a pressure washer you need to choose the right nozzle or spray tip. If you aren’t familiar with which nozzle to use, you could cause serious problems and costly damage. 

One of the more common issues is concrete damage or scarring. It is also possible to break window seals, splinter wood or damage composite decks, and even chip the mortar on brick walls. The power of a pressure washer shouldn’t be taken lightly! Luckily, there are experienced pressure washing services that know how to prevent these kinds of costly repairs.

Pressure Washer Nozzles

Most pressure washers come with three to four color-coded spray tips. The best pressure washers come with a convenient dial that lets you select multiple spray patterns. 

As a best practice, you should use a pin to clear the spray nozzle before using your pressure washer. Each color nozzle tip has a different purpose:

  • Red (0 degrees): This nozzle shoots a direct jet. It is unsafe to use on most surfaces with the exception of rust on equipment and heavy buildup.
  • Yellow (15 degrees): Mostly used for stripping paint either from masonry, metal, or wood.
  • Green (25 degrees): This wide sheet of water spray lifts soil with less pressure and can be used for driveways, patio furniture, decks, vehicles, and more.
  • White (40 degrees): Used for fragile surfaces that require light cleanings such as windows and automobiles.
  • Black (65 degrees): This nozzle is used to pull cleaning detergent into the line so you can have an easy clean with the least pressure and widest spray.

Always refer to your user manual to ensure you are using the correct nozzle for the job.

Expert Clean Up Tips

When you are done using your pressure washer, take time to make sure you store it correctly. You don’t want to damage your expensive equipment.

Make sure you rinse the equipment down before storing it. Certain products used during pressure washing can corrode the pressure washer parts.  Avoid corrosion by choosing pressure washer cleaning solutions that are safe for the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice program offers lists of products to use for all kinds of cleaning projects.

Professional Pressure Washer Service

These are just a few of the important things you should know about pressure washers. Make sure you take precautions before using your own pressure washer and wear protective gear.

In most cases, leaving your exterior power washing up to the professionals is your best option. This ensures that no costly damages occur and that the job is done efficiently and effectively.

If you want to enjoy a sparkling clean exterior for your commercial property, then check out our professional pressure washer services. You’ll be glad you did!