Pressure Washing Techniques

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Pressure washing techniques differ according to the surfaces being cleaned. Using the wrong technique on a particular surface could cause more harm than good. A thorough understanding of pressure washing will help you understand the proper technique involved in cleaning a particular surface. Surfaces can be properly cleaned by knowing what chemicals and how much water pressure to use and what techniques are available for best results. In inexperienced hands, a pressure washer can easily cause damage to property and injury to you or those around you.

Cleaning Agents

  • Cleaning any surface with a pressure washer becomes much more effective when using a cleaning agent. A simple solution of household bleach, dish soap and water can work effectively. The cleaner will help emulsify dirt, mold and mildew, making the washing job easier. Make sure to rinse off any plants and shrubs after the cleaning process.

Low Pressure Washing

  • With the aid of cleaning agents, the pressure can dialed down. By changing the nozzle of the pressure washing wand to one with a bigger diameter, the pressure will be lessened without sacrificing overall water flow. Less pressure means less risk of causing damage, as too much pressure can force water behind vinyl sidings or splinter wood. It can also pierce skin and thus cause injury.

Cleaning With Hot Water

  • How water cleans better than cold water. A burner can be added to a pressure washer to provide hot water. The cold water runs through the pressure washer pump as in normal cleaning, then continues through a series of coils in the burner. Burners can run on diesel fuel, kerosene or propane, depending on the unit. Imagine rinsing a plate in the sink using cold water rather than hot. But be cautious on surfaces such as vinyl siding: Water that is too hot can warp the vinyl. Use water heated to less than 100 degrees on cold vinyl.

High Pressure Washing

  • Using high pressure for washing is the most common technique; after all, that's why the gadget is called a "pressure washer." Most pressure washers will put out 2,500 to 4,000 pounds per square inch. This would be extreme pressure on vinyl siding or a wooden deck, but can be effective on concrete that is in good shape. Using a turbo or rotary nozzle will be more effective than using the standard fan-shaped nozzles. A surface cleaner would be an even more effective tool. The surface cleaner, which looks like a floor buffer, can clean a much wider path with one pass. It can save you time on large cement areas like patios and driveways.

Increased Water Flow

  • Using a bigger pressure washing unit will increase the cleaning efficiency. A pressure washer with a larger pump will put out more water flow. This flow is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). The more GPM a unit can handle, the more expensive it is. Water flow is where all the cleaning speed and efficiency comes from, not the amount of pressure; for example, a four GPM washer would clean twice as fast as a two GPM washer.

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