What is pressure washing? Pressure washing is also called “power washing” and it is the use of a high powered spray of water to remove paint, dirt, grime, mold, dust, and even chewing gum from hard concrete surfaces, buildings and even vehicles.
The Two Types of Pressure Washers and how they work
Pressure washers can be powered with an electric motor or a gasoline engine. Either type of motor will run the water from your garden hose at a thousand pounds of pressure or more as it forces the water out through the spray nozzle. The greater the pounds of pressure per square inch (psi) that the pressure washer has will determine how large a job it can handle. Both the electric and gasoline pressure washers must have a steady and uninterrupted supply of water (called gallons/minute OR gpm). Most home jobs require a pressure washer with psi of 1300 to 2400 psi.
Light duty cleaning jobs, such as car washing, outdoor grills, and garage floors can be accomplished with a 1300-1400 psi pressure washer with 1-1/2 gpm of water. An electric motor pressure washer is best for these types of jobs because they are quieter to run, lighter in weight and less costly as well as being more transportable than a gas pressure washer is. Many electric powered pressure washers have a tank built-in for possible detergent use.
If you are looking to rent or buy a pressure washer, the majority of them are gas-powered. The gas powered pressure washer distributes greater water pressure than electric models, sometimes in excess of 3,000 psi. However, a gas powered pressure washer needs more water—2-3 gpm.
If you have a larger job, as in preparation for painting and siding; the removal of woods aging stains; and the deep cleansing of concrete; a gas powered pressure washer is what you are going to need.
Power washers are available to rent at all tool rental stores; if you wish to purchase one they range from $300 to $800 the price is dependent on the amount of pressure they can give as well as other features and the quality of the pump and engine.
Cautions about Pressure Washers
As wonderful as a pressure washer is, if not used with care serious injury can result. The following safety procedures must be followed:
- Never point the nozzle of the pressure washer hose at another person or animal or place your hand directly in front of it; the pressurized stream of water can actually penetrate or seriously cut your skin.
- Always wear safety goggles/glasses when operating a pressure washer
- Never maintain use of a pressure washer while on a ladder. The power of the spray of water coming out of the nozzle can actually throw you back and off the ladder.
- When taking apart the hoses, always shut down the machine, turning the water off and spraying remaining water from the hose; this allows all built up water pressure to be released.
- Stay at least six feet away when you are spraying around any power lines, electricity or any outlets.
- Make sure the safety lock is on when not in use or while changing any nozzle tips.
As long as you maintain all safety tips of using a pressure washer, you will be able to take advantage of all the wonderful cleaning opportunities the use of a pressure washer has available for all your cleaning jobs.