Before you paint your house or deck, a good pressure wash will clean off loose dirt, stains, and, in some cases, even flaked paint. Even if you're not painting, sometimes the old place can use a little freshening up, especially under porch coverings where Mother Nature can't reach.
Pressure wash under awnings or you can power wash
siding to remove grit and dirt. Power wash decks before staining. A
good pressure wash will clean your sidewalks and driveway, removing
unsightly stains and sun-baked grime. Look at the difference in the picture below. One part of the sidewalk has been pressure washed; the other has not.
Power Washing - Before You Power Wash
To top it all off, power washing is fun for adults and teenagers. Don't allow young children to operate a pressure washer and keep little kids out of the way. If you can write your name on a sidewalk with a pressure washer, imagine what it can do to your skin.
You can purchase a power washer from a hardware store or big box store, discount store, or large general merchandise stores. Or, you can rent a pressure washer from an equipment rental business, your local hardware store, or chains like Lowe's or Home dePot.
In any case, remember to read all pertinent instructions. Operation may vary with different products.
As with any power tool, take appropriate precautions. The power washer emits a very powerful spray. Also, you are using electricity so it's safety first!
It's Electric! - Safety Precautions When Using a Power Washer
Only use extension cords that are intended for outdoor use. Such cords are marked as being "Acceptable for use with outdoor appliances - store indoors when not in use."
- Use extension cords with an electrical rating not less than the rating of the power washer.
- Make sure the extension cord is not damaged.
- Keep the cord away from sharp edges.
- Do not yank the plug out of the receptacle or pull the plug out with wet hands.
- Connect to an outdoor power supply that is protected by ground-fault circuit interceptor.
- Never direct spray toward electrical wires or outlets or toward the machine itself.
- Avoid spraying lights - you can cover them. Do not carry the pressure washer by the cord.
Operation of a Pressure or Power Washer
Read the instruction manual that come with the pressure washer.
- Stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings.
- Keep small children and pets out of the work area.
- Use both hands when operating the wand in order to maintain control of high powered machines.
- Do not touch the nozzle or water spray while operating the power washer.
- Wear safety goggles to protect eyes from flying debris.
- Disconnect the plug from the outlet when not in use and before you detach the high power hose.
- Do not allow the high pressure hose to knot or kink.
- Place the power washer as far away as you can from the cleaning site so as not to spray the machine.
- Do not cover the machine during operation to ensure air circulation.
- Familiarize yourself with correct operation of the controls before using the power washer. Try it out. You can adjust the spray nozzle to shoot a pinpoint of water or a fan.
- Do not stand on unstable support. Do not stand on a ladder in order to reach high spots. If you need to power wash a second story, make sure the pressure washer has a high PSI rating.
- Before connecting the power washer to a garden hose, flush out the hose to remove debris or dirt.
- Move all loose or breakable objects away from the area to be cleaned.
- If pressure washing a house, start from the top down, let gravity help out.
- Mold or mildew stains should be treated with a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 3 parts water) before power washing. Spray the bleach with a bottle sprayer. Do not use bleach in power washer as bleach damage the machine. Allow the bleach to work out the stain, then rinse with the pressure washer.
Power Washer - Power Rating
I used a Powerwasher Pressure Washing System (Model H100 Plus) with a 1300 PSI rating. The machine was convenient because it is light, easy to operate, and has a long hose and electrical cord. It had enough power to write my name on the sidewalk and did an excellent job of cleaning the sidewalk and first floor of the house. Do to it's low PSI, the water spray dissipated before reaching the second level of the house. As you can see from the picture, it was weak enough to use one handed.
For houses, building, sidewalks, and decks, locate a pressure washer with 1800 - 2500 PSI.
A lot of smaller pressure washers don't last long because the smaller pumps are only rated for 50 hours.
Of course, the stronger, better built pressure washers will be more expensive to buy. You can find a small one with a low PSI rating for $140.00 or so. As the PSI rating gets higher, so does the price. It may prove more economical to rent a pressure washer for a big job.
Gas powered machines are also available and are more powerful than the electric models. Of course, more power increases chance of personal injury or damage to things in and around the cleaning area.
However you choose to go about the chore of power washing, the job itself is fun, and the rewards are great - your house, deck, driveway, and sidewalk will look fresh and beautiful.
Power Wash Your Roof
© 2009 Dolores Monet