Pressure washers can do a bang-up job of getting your home exterior and outdoor spaces clean as a whistle. However, there are precautions you must take if you plan to tackle the job yourself. Here are some do’s and don’ts of pressure-washing.
Do Get Prepared
Make sure you have an adequate water supply to fuel a pressure washer. Time how long it takes to fill a five gallon bucket with water. If it takes two minutes or less, all is good. Next, clean out the inlet filter of the power washer. Check the connections to make sure they are secure.
Do Respect the Power
Don’t underestimate the speed and power of a pressure washer. Although it’s efficient, it can be very dangerous. The powerful stream of water is strong enough to cut through human skin and damage property. Be sure to put on safety goggles and grip the wand tightly so you don’t lose control of it. Start on the lowest pressure setting and clean in a continuous sweeping motion.
Do Switch Out the Nozzles
A pressure washer can be fit with a variety of nozzles. Don’t use the same one for every job. A wide, 40-degree nozzle works well for general washing, such as loosening dirt and cleaning siding. A 25-degree nozzle is best for concrete surfaces. Zero to 15-degree nozzle tips focus on a small area and are good for removing stubborn stains from iron.
Do Angle the Spray
Always clean a surface at an angle. This will lift the dirt up off the surface and wash it away. If you spray directly at a surface, the dirt will be driven in deeper. Use caution on porous materials like wood and concrete. Stubborn stains and ground-in dirt can be removed by moving the spray head around to attack from different directions.
Here are some common mistakes you don’t want to make while pressure washing.
Forgetting Safety Equipment
Pressure washers can be fun to use, but they are not toys. Never aim a steady stream of water at people or pets. Always wear safety goggles. Wear close-toed shoes, not sandals.
Using the Wrong Nozzle
Many people fail to select the right pressure washer nozzle to do the job. Nozzles change the angle, intensity, and spread of the spray. Plan ahead and take proper precautions. If you’re in doubt, do a test run on a piece of scrap or in an area that’s not noticeable.
Going Full Blast
Start with a light touch when pressure washing. A blast that is too direct can damage surfaces. You don’t want to blast off paint or ruin softer wood. For best results, stand 10 feet away from the area you’re cleaning. Move in slowly until the spray is just strong enough to remove dirt.
Pressure Washing Everything
Not all items are suitable for pressure washing. Windows are one. Panes of glass are fragile and won’t hold up to the pressure of the spray. Never use a pressure washer on a roof with asphalt shingles. Gutters are another no-no. Don’t use a pressure washer on an old brick exterior that is chipped and crumbling. Pressure washers are also not appropriate to clean pools, stained, or painted surfaces.
Let Us Do the Power Washing
If you are ready to spruce up your outdoor space, the professionals at Peak Power Wash can help. We can clean your home exterior or tackle your deck, fence, sidewalk, or driveway. We use a technique called “soft wash”, which uses a much lower amount of pressure and reduces potential harm to surfaces. Contact us at 443-686-WASH or visit our website to request a free estimate.