It doesn’t matter if you don’t see dirt or grime on your exterior, it does not mean that it isn’t there. It is not a sign of your home’s maintenance abilities that the dirt has accumulated. It happens. Your house is constantly exposed to the elements, whether you like it or not.
You don’t have to watch your home get dulled by grime. You can clean your exterior with a pressure washer.
It sounds easy, right? But, don’t panic. Be careful.
If you don’t have the right knowledge, pressure washers can cause serious damage. Before you start, it’s crucial to do your research. If you have never used a pressure washer before, this is the place for you.
This guide will explore:
- There are many types of pressure washers
- What type of power washer do you need?
- What type of nozzle should you use?
- Safety tips for power washing
- How to clean certain surfaces
Are you ready to start your own project? For a quick course on power washing, continue reading.
Do you prefer an electric or gas pressure washer?
The pressure washer works by attaching a hose to a pump that increases the water pressure. The pump can be powered either by gasoline or electricity.
Both options have their pros and cons.
Gas Pressure Washers
The PSI (pounds per square inch) or GPM (gallons per minute) of gas-powered washers are typically higher than those powered by an electric motor. They clean surfaces faster because they have more power.
The pros and cons of gas pressure washers
- Gas-powered pressure washers are capable of producing a wide range in PSI and GPM levels. They clean more effectively and faster than electric models. You also have more options.
- The cordless gas pressure washers can be used for cleaning. You can still use the gas pressure washer even if you are far from a power outlet.
Cons of Gas Pressure Washers
- Even small gasoline engines require regular maintenance. If you intend to store your machine for a long time, you will need to change the oil regularly.
- Electric engines can be louder than gasoline engines. They also emit emissions. You should not use a gas-powered pressure washer indoors, or in covered areas.
Pressure washers with electric motor
In some cases, electric washers are more convenient than gas-powered counterparts. You don’t need to worry about gas fumes.
The pros and cons of electric pressure washers
- The electric pressure washers don’t emit any harmful emissions. You could also use an electric pressure washer indoors if you needed to. However, you will need hearing protection and a reliable method to remove water.
- You don’t need to worry about oil changes or other maintenance issues with an electric engine.
Electric Pressure Washers: The Cons
- An electric pressure washer cannot provide the same power as a gas-powered model. An electric pressure washer is more efficient if you have to clean large areas or are particularly dirty. You may not get the results you expected.
- Electric pressure washers require power outlets and are therefore not as portable as gasoline models.
Which size pressure washer is best?
You will need to decide about the size of your engine, regardless of whether you want an electric or gas pressure washer.
The engine’s size determines how powerful the unit, just like any other engine-powered machine. A smaller engine won’t be able produce the same water pressure and gallon-per minute output as a larger engine.
Pressure washer engines can be divided into four categories.
Pressure washers for light-duty use
Water pressures below 2,000 PSI are achievable with light-duty pressure washers. A light-duty electric pressure washer will suffice if you are only planning to clean an occasional outdoor item, small deck or patio.
Pressure washers of medium-duty
Are you looking to clean the siding, driveway and fencing of your home? A medium-duty pressure washer is what you need. This size pressure washer produces water pressure levels of between 2,000 to 2,800 PSI.
Pressure washers for heavy-duty use
A heavy-duty pressure washer is a good choice if you are planning on cleaning large concrete areas or reaching a second floor. Heavy-duty pressure washers can reach pressure levels between 2,900 to 3,300 PSI.
Professional Pressure Washers
Are you planning to do a lot more pressure washing? Are you planning to prepare your exterior for a painting job? Consider investing in a professional-grade pressure washer if you are. This extra-heavy-duty engine can handle large jobs that can take several hours to complete. These power washers can produce water pressure levels up to 3,300 PSI or higher.
No matter what pressure washer you choose to use, make sure to also take into consideration the GPM.
Which Nozzle Is Best for You?
The machine’s overall power is determined by the engine size. However, the angle of water flow is determined by the nozzle that you choose.
Because it influences the water stream’s ability to do certain things, angle is crucial. A narrower angle spray will produce more power than a larger-angle spray.
Nozzle Color Coding
Pressure washer nozzles can be easily color-coded.
Red tips are the narrowest angles, which is zero degrees. This tip can cause a lot damage so be cautious. Do not use a red-tipped tip nozzle too close to any surface.
Yellow tips make a spray with an angle of 15 degrees. This nozzle is great for pressure washing concrete around your home.
A green tip can produce a 25-degree spray. This nozzle is ideal for household pressure washing. This is the nozzle you should use to clean mildew from your deck or patio furniture.
A white tip is the easiest nozzle to use. It sprays at 40 degrees. If you are planning an exterior cleaning day, the white tip is best. For siding and windows, a white-tipped nozzle works well.
A black nozzle produces a 65 degree spray angle. This spray is so light it won’t usually remove dirt or stains. This nozzle is best used when you only need to wet a surface.
Attachments & Specialized Nozzles
You can clean more efficiently by using an attachment designed for your job. These are some of the most popular attachments for pressure washers.
The attachment utilizes a spinning bar to spread the high-pressure water stream over a wider surface than a single spray. This attachment is useful for cleaning large sections or concrete like driveways.
A rotary tip, also known as a turbonozzle, produces a zero-degree spinning water stream. This tip is particularly useful in removing tough stains and grime buildup.
Broom Pressure Washing
A pressure washing broom works in the same way as a surface cleaner attachment. It divides one water jet into multiple jets to provide more power and larger cleaning areas.
A wand that expands will allow you to reach higher surfaces without the need for a ladder.
Attached to the pressure washer is a soap/detergent reservoir that adds cleaning solution to the water jet. Make sure you use the correct nozzle for this task. Too strong a water stream can force soap onto the surface. This can lead to damage.
How to Pressure Wash
Pressure washing can make your house look messy and dangerous. It is important to prepare properly.
Safety Tips for Pressure Washing
These are safety tips that we recommend to beginners and professionals alike.
Eye & Hearing Protection
The pressure washers can be very loud. The high pressure water can cause debris and water to spray back at you. Wear eye and hearing protection.
Use both hands
You should hold the wand with both your hands until you feel confident with the pressure washer.
Do not get too close
To minimize damage, keep the spray tip at least 18 inches from the surface being cleaned.
You shouldn’t pressure wash
Don’t think about power washing siding or any other painted surface that was applied before 1978. Instead, contact a professional power washer.
Pressure washing can cause old paint to flake off. Lead paint from before 1978 could contain it. Inhaled lead paint dust and chips can be dangerous if inhaled.
You must ensure that you are protecting yourself, your family and your pets first and foremost.
Use a pressure washer to clean wood
A great way to revive your fence or wood deck is pressure washing. It’s also a quick project that you can complete in one weekend.
Here are the essentials.
- Gas-powered pressure washer – You can also use an electric power washer but it will take more time
- For a 25-degree spray, a green-tipped nozzle
- Choose the wood sealer that suits you best
We recommend that you perform a spot test if this is your first experience with a pressure washer before starting your project. Decks and fences are usually made from soft woods like pine and cedar. It is easy to remove more of the deck’s surface than you intend.
These are our top tips to get results that you can be proud of.
- Use the pressure washer’s wand to move in an even, up and down motion.
- To ensure the best cleaning, don’t let the spray sit in one spot. You may need to do several passes on the same spot as you get the hang of it. This is a better alternative to being too aggressive and damaging wood.
- Do not stop spraying in the middle or center of a board. Wait until you reach the top or bottom.
- Don’t spray in the middle or on top of boards.
- To avoid lines appearing, use overlapping strokes.
After pressure washing is done, seal the wood to protect against the elements. Let the wood dry for at most one day.
Concrete Cleaning with a Pressure Washer
Concrete stains and mildewed areas are easy to spot. However, everyday dirt buildup can be difficult to see. For example, you may not know how dirty your driveway is.
Here are the materials you will need to pressure wash concrete driveways, walkways, and patios.
- High-GPM pressure washer
- For a 15 degree spray, use a yellow-tipped nozzle
- Concrete cleaning solution
- Use a stiff scrub brush
- Protection gear–goggles, gloves, minimum
- Concrete sealer
Concrete cleaning requires a high-pressure water stream. It is important to keep your hands clean from any debris or concrete pieces that may be floating around.
This is how to safely and effectively pressure wash concrete
- Before you begin, thoroughly sweep and brush the surface.
- Pretreat driveways stained by oil, grease or other fluids by using a stiff brush to clean them with concrete cleaner solution.
- Use the correct nozzle when pressure washing the surface. The narrowest spray will provide the best cleaning power.
- Add soap to the detergent reservoir of the pressure washer to remove stubborn stains. Then switch to the “soap” nozzle.
You may need to repeat the process for tough stains. After you are satisfied with the concrete, allow it to dry completely before applying sealer.
Although this is not a mandatory step, it’s the best way for concrete to look good over the next few decades.
A Pressure washer is a great way to clean siding
Vinyl siding is susceptible to mildew and dulling. A thorough pressure washing is the best way to brighten your home’s exterior.
These are the essentials for completing the task.
- Gas-powered pressure washer
- A nozzle with a green or white tip
- A soap nozzle
- A stiff-bristle, long-handled brush
- House exterior cleaning solution
Take a look at the exterior of your house to get started. Watch out for cracks and loose siding.
Before you pressure wash, make sure to patch up these problem areas.
These steps will help you get started cleaning.
- Attach the soaping tube to the pressure washer’s wand, and then fill the detergent reservoir.
- You can use the pressure washer to apply soap on the siding. You may need to treat any areas that are particularly dirty.
- To rinse the siding, switch to either the white-tipped or green-tipped nozzle. These nozzles can produce a stronger stream of water at a higher pressure, making it easier to clean the siding and remove soap stains.
This job can take up to a few hours depending on how big your house is. Do not rush, especially if you have to use a ladder. It’s okay if the job takes several days or even weekends. Safety is the main consideration.
You will likely need to wash your siding once every two years depending on how the weather changes.
The bottom line
Pressure washing in nj can be a satisfying way to clean and maintain your home.