How to Troubleshoot an Electric Power Washer

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Electric power washers use water under pressure to blast surfaces clean.
Electric power washers use water under pressure to blast surfaces clean. (Image: wet cobbled road close up image by Piter Pkruger from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Electric power washers use water under pressure to blast surfaces clean. Problems with the pressure—either none, or not enough—can affect the cleaning functionality of the electric power washer. Kinked and split hoses and failing connections are the most common causes of pressure issues. A blocked nozzle can also create problems. Troubleshooting an electric power washer can be accomplished with a few steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper clip or piece of thin wire
  • O-rings
  • Plumber’s wrench

Plug the power washer into the household electric receptacle. Avoid using inadequate household-type extension cords. They don’t provide enough power. Use extension cords designed for heavy-duty applications. Look for identifying adjectives on the extension cord packaging.

Verify the household circuit breakers haven’t tripped if there’s no pressure at all. Take a look at the home’s central power distribution point and try to identify any tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses. Throw the circuit breaker or replace the fuse if necessary.

Take a look at the nozzle and see if you can identify any obstructions if pressure is low. An uneven spray pattern is a good indication that the nozzle may be blocked. Poke a thin piece of wire into the nozzle and see if you can dislodge the obstruction. Try a replacement nozzle if you have one. That way you will identify the problem through elimination.

Remove kinks from hoses. The more water that’s allowed up into the electric power washer from the supply, the more water will be available to distribute.

Look for any leaks in the electric pressure washer. Hoses can rupture and fittings can fail. You can tape hoses with duct tape that’ll give you a temporary reprieve but they really should be replaced. Change out any o-rings—they’re the rings between connections. Remove the connections with a plumber’s wrench and discard cracked, inflexible rings, as they’re too old and may be causing leaks.

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