For heavier duty cleaning projects, renting a pressure washer can save time and get the job done right. By combining a motor and a pump, pressure washers provide a powerful stream of water that blasts away muck and grime from driveways, decks, fences, siding and even cars. Pressure washers, also called power washers, allow you to clean large areas and remove dogged dirt quickly and easily.
Determine the appropriate pressure. Pressure washers are rated by water pressure, expressed as pounds per square inch, or PSI. A typical garden hose delivers about 40 PSI; pressure washers range from 1400 to 4000 PSI. Use a pressure washer rated 2000 PSI or less for smaller surfaces and general cleaning. For removing grease and grime, choose a pressure washer between 2000 and 3000 PSI. Use a pressure washer rated 3000 PSI or more for stubborn stains and stripping paint.
Gauge the need for accessories. Most pressure washers come with accessories, such as extension wands for reaching high places or water brooms for large flat areas. The surface or item that you're pressure washing should determine the accessories you need. Each brand of pressure washer has its own unique accessories, but most manufacturers make accessories for common tasks.
Assess the size of the project. PSI indicates the amount of power a pressure washer can deliver, but gallons per minute, or GPM, determines the area that a pressure washer can clean and how quickly. A higher GPM means more surface area in less time: a 3 GPM model with the same PSI as a 2 GPM model can clean approximately 60 percent more surface area in the same amount of time. The GPM of most pressure washers is between 2 and 4; a 2000 PSI, 3 GPM pressure washers will clean approximately 8 to 10 square feet per minute.
Identify several rental agencies. National home improvement retailers, such as Home Depot and Lowe's, rent pressure washers. National equipment rental agencies, such as United Rentals, have local offices throughout the county. Online aggregators, such as RentalHQ.com, are useful for identifying local rental companies according to ZIP code.
Call for rates and availability to identify a dealer with a pressure washer that has an appropriate PSI and GPM for your project and compare costs. Ask what accessories are available for rental and if these require separate rental.
After locating rental agency that has a pressure washer appropriate for your project available, calculate how long the project will take based upon the GPM of the model you will rent.
Reserve the pressure washer over the phone with a credit card for the length of time you need. When you go to pick up the pressure washer, review the rental contract to confirm the terms of the agreement are acceptable before signing.
Tips & Warnings
- Typically, lower PSI pressure washers (1400-1700) are electric-powered and higher PSI models (1700-4000) are gas-powered.
- Rental rates vary widely and different agencies rent equipment by the hour, day or week. An accurate estimate of how long the project will take ensures you won't pay for unneeded rental time.
- Rental agencies will charge you from the time you leave the store until you return the pressure washer; don't forget to consider travel time to and from the store when you calculate how long you'll need the pressure washer.
- For onetime or occasional projects, renting a pressure washer makes sense, but it's worth considering buying one if you'll use it repeatedly. Pressure washers range in price a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending upon the model.
- If you rent from a company that is closed on Sundays, you might be able to get a one-day rate for Saturday through Monday morning.
- Confirm the rental agency's policy for returning the pressure washer late or extending the rental period if you need more time.
- Inspect the pressure washer you will rent carefully and note any damage on the rental contract before signing.
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