How to use a Pressure Washer correctly


As we have said before, pressure washers are very useful for cleaning almost anything, from terrace furniture, facades, windows, concrete floors or outdoor tiles, vehicles and endless cleaning activities.

Depending on the type of work and its frequency, we will need different models. For most domestic work, a pressure washer, also known as high pressure washers, will be sufficient, with 115 bar pressure, but for more complicated tasks we will need machines that have at least 180 bar pressure. The pressure at which the water comes out is a fact that must be taken into account when buying a pressure washer, but the second factor is the flow rate of the water it expels. A pressure washer or high pressure washer is useless if it does not expel enough water afterwards to remove the most adhering dirt.

We may also have doubts between buying one and renting it. Here again it depends on the frequency of use, if it is for a specific job and you are one of those who go to the car wash to wash the car, do not hesitate and rent one, however if you are going to use them with certain frequency you need to buy one and have it in property to use it whenever you think necessary, it will be more profitable.

Types of pressure washers and how they work

Pressure washers or pressure washers regardless of whether they have a combustion motor or an electric motor, have a pump that is in charge of pressurizing the water that comes from the garden hose to which you have it connected until reaching figures of from 100 to 200 bar or even more depending on the model you are using. The higher the pressure of the pressure washer and its water flow, the descaling tasks will be more affordable to carry out, taking less time and effort. Both models, both with a combustion or electric motor, require a constant and stable supply of water. If we intend to buy a high power pressure washer, before buying a pressure washer.

Electric pressure washers with a pressure of between 130 and 150 bar with an approximate water flow of between 360 and 450 liters per hour will be the best option for light cleaning tasks such as cleaning cars, motorcycles and garden furniture. If we need a little more power we can go to the next level where we find pressure washers with pressures between 160 and 200 bar with water flows between 450 and 600 liters per hour, these pressure washers are the most versatile and will be of great help to us for all kinds of jobs, even those where dirt is really embedded, such as rough garden pavements, trucks and agricultural machinery such as tractors, cleaning large areas of soil with paving stones, curbs and a long etcetera.
Undoubtedly, there is a very large leap in performance and price from some models to others. Acquiring brands such as Makita, Bosch, Karcher or Nilfisk are safe bets.

Karcher especially, is the great specialist in this type of machine and probably has the widest range.

As for pressure washers with combustion engines, they are intended for very high working pressures and deliver a very large volume of water. Its use, as is logical, is intended for industrial work and places where there is no electricity supply nearby. One disadvantage is that they are larger, heavier, and more difficult to transport, not to mention gasoline consumption, and that unlike electric ones that require minimal maintenance, combustion engines require more maintenance.

How to start a pressure washer or pressure washer

When we start a high pressure cleaner or pressure washer, regardless of whether it is electric or with a combustion engine, we must pay special attention to the fact that the water supply supplies a sufficient flow rate to the characteristics of the pressure washer. If we have doubts about whether our water point offers the necessary flow we can always make a simple calculation using the typical 12-liter plastic cauldron, if we need less than 60 seconds to fill a cauldron of water it means that our tap will provide no less 900 liters of water per hour, more than enough for a domestic pressure washer.

The most appropriate hoses to connect a pressure washer are kink-proof, “non-twist” hoses in the manufacturer’s specifications, with an internal passage of not less than 3/4 and if possible equipped with quick connectors at both ends to connect to the faucet and our pressure washer.

We have to pay special attention to the water with which our pressure washer will work, if we have doubts if it can contain residues we must install a filter in the hose to avoid very serious damage to the pressurization pump. These filters for pressure washers are very economical and will avoid problems of high repair cost, being able to work with complete peace of mind.

Tips for putting the pressure washer into operation.

Before putting our pressure washer into operation, it is mandatory that the water pass from the irrigation hose, completely fill the pressurization pump and exit through the gun nozzle. Today most of the high pressure cleaners have the “Total Stop” system, which prevents the machine from being in constant operation when the gun trigger is not pressed. This is achieved through a valve in the pressurization pump that when reaching a certain pressure causes the electric motor to stop. If the pump is not fully charged with water, there is air inside it and it usually happens that the operation of the pump is erratic and gives violent blows, causing damage. To avoid this we must proceed as follows:
Tighten and tighten all connections between the pressure washer and the faucet and check that air cannot enter the water line.

Open the garden tap where we have connected the hose and the pressure washer and without starting the engine but with the trigger of the pistol actuated let the water run for at least a minute.
We will proceed to start the pressure washer, paying attention to pressure washers with combustion engines to let it be warm before starting to work with it.

Adjust the nozzle of the lance looking for the type of spray that best suits each job, you can choose between a wide fans to a direct jet that is the most aggressive. Different pressure washer models have interchangeable lances with turbo nozzles for deeper cleaning.

Cleaning techniques

It is recommended to carry out tests in inconspicuous places to verify that an excess of pressure or the spray mode does not cause damage to the materials to be cleaned. This is important on delicate surfaces such as wood, plastics, and especially in vehicle cleaning, since excessive pressure can tear off the paint.
We should never clean a surface with a direct jet of water since in this way the dirt will come out in all directions, it is best to acquire an angle of attack of approximately 45 ° to remove the dirt and in turn move it off the surface, leaving totally clean.
When cleaning facades of houses we have to put special caution and common sense in the area of the windows, working at minimum pressure since the glass could break with high pressures.

Better if we use detergents

Specific detergents for pressure washers help us achieve better finishes by producing a soapy water solution that will clean much more thoroughly and with a better drag of dirt. Cleaning of cars and other delicate objects, we have to do it with accessories for pressure washers such as brushes and specific detergents.
Detergents to generate the soap solution and brushes increase the effectiveness and considerably reduce cleaning time. If we are going to buy a pressure washer for domestic use and especially for vehicle cleaning, it is very important that we focus on models of pressure washers that include these brushes and accessories for the application of detergents as standard.
To avoid damage to pressure washers, never use detergents that are not specific for use with these machines, since their density and formulation can cause damage to the materials of which the machine is made.
The application of detergent must always be on wet surfaces, so before turning the nozzle of our lance to dose the detergent we must wet the entire surface well.

Precautions and safety tips:

All pressure washers offer a very high pressure force and can cause serious damage if not used properly and with due care.
To work safely please follow these tips:

Never point the lance of your high pressure cleaner at people or animals and under no circumstances put your hands in front of the nozzle, the high pressure of the water jet could pierce your skin and cause serious cuts.
Never use pressure washers in jobs that require the use of ladders. The recoil and power of the water jet could unbalance you and cause you to fall. To do this, always work from a firm structure such as a scaffold with safety rails.
Always keep a safe distance of at least 2 meters from any electrical point, extension cords and electrical appliances.
Before disconnecting the hoses, turn off the pressure washer, close the faucet, and press the trigger on the pressure washer to remove pressure in the system.

The storage of the pressure washer after use is very important, we must know that the pressure washer circuit must always be empty, especially if our machine is to be kept in a shed or garden shed exposed to the cold of winter, if the circuit it contains water and it freezes can cause irreparable damage.