Are You a homeowner looking for solutions around the exterior of your home. Here are a few of your problems:
- Your siding has developed a green tinge lately, hiding the beauty of the original gold color.
- Your entertainment deck’s surface covered with winter dirt, and there are some rust stains where you leaned the snow shovel for four months.
- Your front porch, with its rough concrete texture, is all but impossible to sweep clean.
- And your asphalt driveway is caked with so much mud that you can’t even begin to wash it off with a garden hose.
Four problems and one solution—a pressure washer.
This essential piece of equipment belongs in every homeowner’s tool shed, yet many of you might not own one because you have visions of the industrial-sized models used at car dealerships or the four-wheel types that are pulled by pick-up trucks at construction sites.
You Can Find a Pressure Washer to Fit Your Needs (And Budget!)
Of course, if you happen to be a business owner, there are many choices for you: gas, electric, or diesel; hot or cold water; portable or stationary. And sizes and prices to match your company’s needs.
But you’re probably a homeowner who merely wants to improve the appearance around the outside of your house, so here are a few things to consider while you shop for your first (or maybe even a replacement) pressure washer.
The size of your project that is.
Say you have a large concrete patio and want to clean the entire exterior of your house along with a relatively large driveway. That would be a big project!
Or, you may be looking at washing your 10′ x 10′ deck once a year, which would be a small project.
Choosing a pressure washer that’s right for your requirements is important, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. After you have determined how much you will be using your new tool, here’s what you need to know to find the perfect pressure washer.
First, Two Important Terms
You’ll need to know the language of the pressure washer while you’re shopping:
Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) : Indicates the force, or pressure that the equipment is exerting. The higher the PSI’s, the better chance of removing a stain from the surface.
Gallons per Minute (GPM) : Measures the water flow. More GPM’s means your pressure washer can clean a larger surface area.
The higher PSI and GPM combined the faster it would clean.The amount of power a pressure washer can deliver is measured in PSI. There are 4 categories based on PSI – Low duty (PSI below 2000), medium duty(PSI between 2000-2800), Heavy duty(PSI between 2900-3300) and Extra Heavy Duty (PSI more than 3300). You can choose from these options according to whatever fits your requirement.
Gas-Powered for the Big Jobs
Your search for a pressure washer starts with choosing either a gas or electric model. For the big jobs, such as the one in the previous example, you will be better served with a gas-powered model. Gas models will clean your house, deck, and driveway with less time, effort, and water. These are heavy-duty pressure washers that put out between 2900 and 3300 PSI. They can quickly clean decks, siding, and other large areas as well as remove the toughest dirt and stains
Keep in mind, however, that gas models are noisier and heavier than their electric counterparts, and you’ll need to mix fuel for their two-cycle engines. They also require pull-starting (unless you pay extra for electric start), and they need more maintenance.
Also, you’ll need to exercise caution with these machines since the high pressure could cause injuries or damage to the surface being cleaned.
Prices vary from $250 to $600 for most consumer brands with GPM’s in the 2.2 to 3.0 range.
Electric Models are Sufficient for Those Smaller Tasks
If all you want is a pressure washer for small decks and patio furniture, an electric machine will do the job. Unlike the gas-powered machines, these light-to-medium-duty electric styles are quiet and relatively light, plus there is little maintenance required for them.
Electric pressure washers average about 1800 PSI, and they can produce from 1.2 to 1.75 gallons per minute. Prices begin at $90 and typically top off at around $400.
Just remember that slower cleaning comes with lower pressure, and the electric-powered washers aren’t as portable since you need to be near a power outlet.
Choose the Right Options
There are a few extra you can buy that will pay for themselves in added convenience:
Onboard detergent tanks make using soaps and chemicals more convenient
Adjustable wands let you change spray patterns without changing the nozzle tips
Extension wands allow you to clean your second story without a ladder
A Word about Safety
When used correctly, pressure washers do not pose a significant safety threat. Keep the following precautions in mind, however, to ensure that you have a safe experience with your new pressure washer:
- Always wear goggles or safety glasses.
- Do not work barefooted.
- Use hearing protection with gas models.
- Keep pets and children away and don’t point at them.
- Point the nozzle away from your legs and feet.