Not all areas of your property can be cleaned with just a brush and hose. Sometimes, the job requires more power. Both gas and electric pressure washers connect to your garden hose and emit a stream of water strong enough to tackle tough cleaning jobs. When used correctly, a power washer can guarantee a quick and efficient cleaning of anything from siding and gutters to decks and sidewalks. Before starting your next project, use these simple tips to get the most out of your device.
Wear Safety Gear
Since a pressure washer is very powerful, it's important to take the proper safety precautions while using it. Make sure to protect your eyes with safety glasses, and consider wearing earplugs if the machine is too loud.
Pick the Right Nozzle
Each job requires different power washer nozzles. Individual tips yield varying water pressure levels and spray patterns. Generally, wide nozzles create a fan-shaped spray that is best used with detergents. Medium-sized tips work well during routine cleaning projects while narrow nozzles emit a jet stream, which is normally used for washing away stubborn stains.
Check the Water Supply
Confirm your water supply can deliver enough gallons per minute (GPM) for your pressure washer. A washer typically requires about 1 gallon per minute to emit 1,000 pounds per square inch (PSI). Connect the garden hose to the machine and turn on the water supply before turning on the pressure washer.
Create an Even Clean
Start within a small area and work from the bottom up. Use long, overlapping strokes but don't stay in one spot for too long. This motion should help prevent streaking on what you're washing. Remember to hold the nozzle at a 45-degree angle away from the material's surface. This should help keep debris from flying toward you.
Watch Your Aim
Be conscious of where you're spraying the water. When cleaning your house, never aim the wand at cracks, into overlaps of vinyl siding or between pieces of siding. You could cause damage or leaks by driving the water deep into these spaces.
Understand the power of the machine you're working with in relation to the material you're intending to clean. A gas-powered pressure washer typically has much higher PSI ratings than electric models, giving you more cleaning power. However, this additional power can create a greater chance of harming the item being washed, especially when using a nozzle that provides a direct jet stream.