A pressure washer is a powerful tool that removes dirt, grime, mildew, and more from surfaces. However, it’s also dangerous if not used properly.
Make sure you wear ear protection, closed-toe shoes, safety goggles, and gloves before firing up your pressure washer. Start in an out-of-the-way area and gradually move in closer until you can safely clean the surface you’re working on.
When using a pressure washer it is important to remember that this machine produces a powerful spray of water that can cause serious injury if used improperly. This is why it is essential to take some time and think about your surroundings before turning on the machine.
Start with making sure that you are wearing proper personal protective equipment. This includes long pants and sleeves to protect your skin from the high-pressure water, debris and chemicals as well as closed-toe shoes or work boots to keep your feet safe. Wearing safety goggles will also be useful to shield your eyes from the mist and other flying particles. Finally, ear protection will protect your ears from the noise of the pressure washer.
It is also important to understand the power of the pressure washer and to never point it at people, animals or property. This can result in severe injuries including amputations. If you are worried about accidentally pointing the nozzle at someone, it is recommended to have a spotter who can watch traffic to make sure that cars or pedestrians do not come into your line of fire.
In addition, it is a good idea to clear your workspace of any obstacles or clutter that could become projectiles when sprayed by the nozzle. This includes furniture, toys, and other objects that could be moved by the force of the water. You should also close and cover exterior electrical outlets, light fixtures, air conditioning units, and doorbells if they are in the area that will be sprayed by the pressure washer.
Lastly, be sure to keep the pressure washer at least six feet away from any electrical outlet or connection in order to avoid electrocution. This is because water conducts electricity and can shock someone if they are touching an electric wire while it is in contact with water.
Finally, it is a good idea to only use a gas-powered pressure washer outside and in a well-ventilated area. Operating a gas-powered pressure washer in a closed or partially-closed room can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if the engine is running while you are inside.
Adjust the Nozzle and Spray Pattern
As spring brings a return to outdoor cleaning chores, a pressure washer is often the go-to tool for quickly eliminating dirt, mildew, mold, and other debris that collects on patio furniture, decking, siding, vehicles, sidewalks, and driveways. Pressure washers combine mechanical force with chemical cleaners to scrub and wash surfaces, but even the best power washer can cause damage if you use it incorrectly. Using the right nozzle size for the job prevents over-spray and potential surface damage, and knowing how to adjust the nozzle and spray pattern is key to getting the best results.
Nozzles are available in a variety of sizes and spray patterns, and many come color coded to help you select the proper nozzle for each task. The nozzle size determines the water pressure output, and the spray pattern determines how far the nozzle will reach. Choosing a nozzle that is too large will over-spray and potentially damage the surface being cleaned, while a nozzle that is too small won’t produce enough pressure to do the job.
The standard set of nozzles that come with your pressure washer has several different colors. The color indicates the angle of the spray fan pattern and how much water pressure is produced. Green nozzles are great for most jobs, providing a wide spray angle that combines powerful cleaning action with reasonable surface coverage. White nozzles provide slightly less power and a narrower spray pattern, but still suitable for most surface cleaning jobs. Reserve red nozzles for the most heavy-duty cleaning, as they provide a very narrow spray angle with the highest water pressure of the standard set.
You can also purchase adjustable nozzles that let you easily switch between spray patterns while the power washer is running. These can be a godsend if you have multiple surface types to clean, as you can change from a wider spray pattern to a narrower one without having to stop the machine and start all over again. Some nozzles can be adjusted from 0 to 65 degrees, which gives you plenty of flexibility.
Work in an Organized Fashion
There’s something satisfying about blasting away accumulated dirt, mildew, moss and other nastiness from your outdoor surfaces with the power of high-pressure water. However, it’s easy to get carried away and damage your property or injure yourself if you don’t take the time to carefully plan your work.
Pressure washers are useful for cleaning a wide range of outdoor surfaces, including patios, driveways, car parks and garden furniture. They combine the mechanical action of powerful water spray with chemical cleaners in their onboard tanks (or sometimes by siphoning the cleaner out of a bucket). For best results, use one that offers a wide range of settings to vary the power and spray pattern. If you’re planning to tackle delicate surfaces such as wooden decking, it’s a good idea to start off with the lowest setting and then gradually increase the power as needed to avoid any accidental damage.
You’ll also need a supply of clean, fresh water to fuel the machine and ensure it doesn’t run out of pressure mid-task. Check your model’s tank capacity and hose length before buying to make sure they will cover the areas you’re likely to be cleaning. Some models have a built-in tank while others connect to your existing hose. It’s worth considering whether you’ll want to add attachments such as a surface cleaner or soap injector, especially if you know you’ll be using the machine regularly.
Finally, it’s important to choose a model with an easy-to-operate trigger gun and a clear display that shows the current PSI and flow rate. Ideally, you’ll also find a model with a sturdy handle and wheels, which will help you move it around before and after your cleaning tasks as well as manoeuvre it while in use.
If you’re looking for a general-purpose pressure washer, a gas or electric-powered model with a PSI of around 2000 should be sufficient for most light to medium-duty jobs. If you’re washing stubborn stains or need to remove lead paint, on the other hand, you may need to invest in a more powerful model with a higher PSI of around 3000.
Take Your Time
Dirt, mildew, mold, and grime tend to accumulate on any outdoor surface that’s exposed to the elements. Getting rid of this nastiness doesn’t have to be difficult, however. A good pressure washer can make short work of all kinds of surfaces, from siding and patio furniture to sidewalks and driveways.
Before you begin washing, make sure you have everything you need. Move any outdoor furniture or decorations you don’t want to get wet away from the area, and close any windows and doors in your home that might be hit by the blast of water. It’s also a good idea to cover any air intake vents in your house to prevent debris and dust from being drawn in by the powerful stream of water.
Next, inspect your pressure washer before starting to make sure it’s in working order. Look for loose parts or connections that may have come loose during storage or transportation, and make sure the hose is in good condition and has no leaks. Check the pressure rating (in pounds per square inch, or PSI) and the flow rate in gallons per minute (in GPMM), too. The higher the PSI, the more power the machine has to blast away dirt, but a lower GPMM can be better for some materials that could be damaged by too much water pressure, such as windows and soft woods.
Finally, if you’re using detergent with your pressure washer, be sure to add the proper nozzle and mix the solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some machines have a special soap reservoir that attaches to the wand and delivers cleaning solutions into the jet stream of water, while others can be used with standard garden hoses. If you’re planning to use detergent, consider purchasing a longer spray wand that will let you reach high areas without the need for a ladder.
When you’re ready to start washing, take your time and do the job right. Rushing can lead to injuries or damage to surfaces that you might not have been able to see with the naked eye, and it can also result in a subpar finished product.