8 Crucial Facts to Know When Buying a Pressure Washer

Pressure washers are excellent at removing stains and grime, stripping paint, removing mold and mildew and other jobs. However, there are things to know about this powerful piece of equipment before it’s bought. Following are eight crucial things to know before buying a pressure washer:

1. Is There Enough Water Pressure?

The water source needs to be under enough pressure for the washer to work the way it should. In some cases, a private well does not provide the kind of pressure that the machine needs. A homeowner should have their plumber check the water pressure.

2. What Kind of Job Needs to be Done?

A homeowner can buy a washer with an axial pump for small jobs. Washers with these types of pumps are easy to both use and take care of. A power washer that’s used every day is best fitted with a triplex pump. These pumps need more maintenance than the axial pumps, but can be repaired if they break down.

The kinds of jobs that are done around the home also determine how much water pressure is needed. Water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch. Here is a list of certain jobs and the psi that’s usually needed for them:

  • 1300 to 1800 psi:
    • Washing the car
    • Cleaning window shutters
    • Spot cleaning
    • Cleaning grills
    • Cleaning lawn furniture
  • 2000 to 3000 psi:
    • Cleaning decks
    • Cleaning walkways
    • Cleaning siding
    • Removing tough stains and grime
  • 3000 to 4000 psi:
    • Removing mold and mildew
    • Paint stripping
    • Removing graffiti

Pressure washers that deliver 2000 psi and above are gas powered. The buyer may also want to consider the gallons per minute, or gpm that the washer brings as well as the pounds per square inch of pressure.

3. Check the Power Source

Along with adequate water pressure, a washer that runs on electricity needs adequate power to run. Some electric power washers need a circuit of at least 20 amps. Electric power washers do not deliver as many pounds per square inch as gas powered washers, and they do need to be hooked up to a power source.

4. Buy the Right Attachments

It may be tempting to buy all manner of color-coded nozzles, wands and brushes for the power washer, but the homeowner should stick to those they really need. Buying a slew of attachments can be expensive, and to bring one home that’s not going to be used is a waste of time and money.

5. Be Careful of Cleaners

As with attachments, there are a great variety of cleaners and detergents for pressure washers. The homeowner should get the one that’s best for their washer and best for the jobs to be done.

6. Know How to Use the Pressure Washer

Homeowners are often startled by how powerful a pressure washer is. Even one with what seems like a low psi can tear the shingles off of a roof or break a window. Experts recommend that the user test a small area of the surface to be cleaned first, and use the gentlest nozzle.

7. Find a Place to Store the Power Washer

Ideally, the power washer should be stored in a shed or in its own area of the garage. The tank of a gas powered washer that’s going to be stored in an unheated space should be filled with antifreeze first.

8. Make Sure the Washer Has the PWMA Logo

A pressure washer with the PWMA, or Pressure Washer Manufacturers’ Association logo has been tested and certified by that association.