Have you shopped for a pressure washer recently? Today these power tools play an important role in cleaning everything from sidewalks and driveways to lawnmowers, automobiles, bicycles, decks, and home exteriors. Before you select a pressure washer for domestic use, you’ll want to consider a number of issues: safety, water consumption, power source, mobility, and nozzle control issues.
Handheld pressure washers utilize sprays of water ejected through a nozzle at controlled speeds, angles, and pressures to perform an array of cutting and dirt removal tasks. Perhaps because they lack a visible cutting blade, these powerful tools sometimes appear deceptively harmless. However, just like any other power tool, they merit respect. Anyone employing a pressure washer should adhere to basic safety protocols to prevent serious injuries or property damage.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported pressure washing mishaps sent over 6,000 people to hospital emergency rooms in the United States during 2014. Before purchasing one of these tools, make sure you learn basic rules for its safe operation. Some of the most important include:
- Never use a higher PSI (pressure per square inch) than you require for a particular cleaning task;
- Never point a pressure washer nozzle at a person or an animal;
- Always wear recommended safety gear when using your new pressure washer;
- Remember a sufficiently forceful pressure washer spray can cut through materials, including shoes and boots;
- Don’t attempt to use a pressure washer while balancing on a ladder, a footstool or any other unstable perch.
People who clean successfully with pressure washers quickly learn the best settings to use to remove embedded dirt from the pavement, machinery, automobile tires, siding, wood, and other surfaces. If you have any doubt about the correct setting, most manufacturers recommend starting at a low PSI and increasing it gradually only if necessary; taking this precaution will help prevent property damage. Pressure washers generate a lot of abrasive force. While exceedingly useful in cleaning away embedded or sticky debris from various surfaces, these tools will also damage some materials if operators inadvertently use too high a PSI setting.
One of the most fundamental decisions you’ll need to make when you select a new pressure washer relates to the issue of water consumption. While most professional-grade power washing machines include substantial standalone water tanks, models designed for everyday consumer use typically attach to outdoor faucets. These tools won’t produce the same high levels of PSI. However, they do offer sufficient power for most household cleaning assignments. The water usage will depend upon the settings you employ and the length of time you spend power washing.
One crucial related consideration concerns cleaning up excess water. While not usually an issue for people who rely on handheld domestic pressure washing machines for household cleaning purposes, full-time pressure washing companies frequently include expensive systems to collect and dispose of excess dirty water from job sites. They typically require this capability to comply with Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The users of professional-grade pressure washing tools sometimes remove old paint or clean away residues from commercial transportation tanks.
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As you choose a pressure washer, you’ll likely want to consider your preferred power source. The majority of low-cost models rely on electricity. It powers an electric motor operating the machine’s pump. You can select washers in this category which plug into electrical outlets, or ones with battery packs.
Some manufacturers also sell domestic pressure washing machines for the consumer marketplace powered by gasoline engines. This design typically will achieve higher pressures, but will also generate more noise during use. Whenever you select a corded variety (either gas powered or electric motor powered), always exercise caution so as not to cut through the power cord accidentally while pressure washing.
Pressure washer buyers face another important decision, also. You’ll want to consider mobility issues when you use your machine. The length of the power cord limits the range of these tools.
Today many manufacturers sell extended cords to enhance utility. Most also include wheeled carts or dollies or incorporate wheels into the pressure washer design. Different brands also vary significantly with respect to the weight of handheld pressure washers.
Nozzle Control Issues
Finally, as you explore your available purchasing options, consider paying close attention to nozzle control issues. A limited number of brands utilize a single nozzle and allow the user to adjust the angle and speed of the spray. However, the majority of manufacturers rely on a set of interchangeable nozzles which contain pre-set spray angles. The color code these attachments so operators can clearly determine the angle (red for 0 degrees, yellow for 15 degrees, green for 25 degrees, white for 40 degrees, and black for low pressure). You’ll want to remember to turn off the water flow whenever you change nozzles in order to obtain a secure attachment.
As a rule of thumb, the more limited the angle of spray, the more concentrated the stream of water ejected through the nozzle. Most manufacturers supply recommendations concerning the use of specific PSIs with different materials. Many popular pressure washers in use today will achieve a PSI of 3,500 to 4,000, so this equipment does offer a lot of power! (Since a typical manually operated plastic spray bottle ejects water at between 12 PSI to 18 PSI, most consumers rarely require water pressures in the 3,500+ PSI range for basic cleaning tasks.)
Pressure Washer Convenience
By thoroughly understanding the process of pressure washing and learning your new machine’s capabilities, you’ll discover you obtain both convenience and remarkable cleaning power from this tool! Keep safety issues in mind at all times for optimal results. By selecting a brand with the water consumption, power source, mobility and nozzle control features you prefer, and you’ll increase your chances of acquiring a useful cleaning asset to help perform a myriad of important projects.