If you're a new homeowner, chances are good that you have little to no experience with power washers. However, these are incredible tools to have around the home. You can use them to quickly and efficiently wash your siding, your fence, your deck, and even your outdoor furniture. Read on to learn how to find the best pressure washer for your needs and how to use it effectively.
Buying the Right Pressure Washer
There are two basic types of pressure washers: gas and electric. Electric pressure washers are generally designed for light use and will do a decent job of cleaning patio furniture, walkways, and the like. Since they have to be plugged in, they're not ideal for big jobs, like pressure washing the siding of your home. Gas pressure washers are usually more expensive than electric ones, but if you have big jobs you plan to tackle, this is your best option since they offer more power and don't require you to drag a cord behind you.
When purchasing a pressure washer, pay close attention its advertised PSI. Light-duty pressure washers that only create about 1500 to 1900 PSI are suitable for light jobs like cleaning patios and driveways, while heavier duty ones offering around 3000 PSI can help tackle tougher jobs like removing stains from garage floors. If you can afford to do so, purchase a pressure washer with an adjustable PSI, so you can adjust the pressure to suit a wide array of cleaning tasks.
Tips For Power Washing Various Areas and Items
All pressure washers work slightly differently, so you'll need to follow the instructions that come with yours to hook it up to a water source and figure out what button or lever to press to spray the water. Regardless of the model you choose, there are a few tips you should follow whenever you're pressure washing anything:
- Always wear eye protection when using your power washing. The force of the water stream could blind you if you're accidentally hit in the eye.
- Stand to the side of the area you're cleaning. Start by cleaning the area furthest from you, and then work towards yourself.
- Keep your power washer away from electrical sources like power lines and appliances.
Pressure washing your patio furniture saves you from having to scrub it. With your pressure washer on the lowest setting possible (1500 PSI is ideal), start by spraying the top of the piece of furniture, and work your way towards the ground. Stand back from the furniture a few feet. If you still notice caked-on grime after power washing the whole piece, you can turn the pressure up slightly and re-address just those areas.
If you're washing a wooden fence, you'll want to use a lower pressure like 1500 PSI, so you don't contribute to splintering or loosening any paint. However, you can use a higher pressure on metal fencing. Reaching the undersides of fence beams can be challenging. Resist the urge to stand "below" the fence and try to reach these areas, as this could cause you to spray yourself with the high-powered stream of water. Instead, stand a few feet back from the fence and crouch down, spraying upwards at an angle to reach the bottom of fence rails.
To reach the highest parts of your home, you may have to climb on a ladder. Always do this with a friend present, and make sure your ladder is firmly anchored on the ground so the force of the pressure washer does not push it away from the side of the building. Make sure you aim the water across the siding in the right direction so that it does not get under the seams where the siding overlaps. Use a medium PSI around 2000.
Floors, Patios and Driveways
Patios, floors and driveways are easier to pressure wash than they are to scrub. You should not, however, pressure wash concrete that has begun to crumble or crack, as this can make matters worse. Use a high PSI (around 3000) for concrete and a medium PSI (around 2000) for wood. Always make sure you wear heavy boots so you don't injure your feet with the powerful water stream.
Once you get used to using your power washer from a retailer like Ben's Cleaner Sales, it will become one of your most valued pieces of equipment. With the tips above, you'll be able to clean things around your home safely and effectively.