The Top Ten Common Questions About Pressure Washing
If you’re considering hiring pressure washing services, you likely have a few questions. There’s a lot to know about the technology and the process. Pressure washing uses highly pressurised spraying water to blast away all kinds of dirt and residues. These include algae, grime, mould, loose paint, and chewing gum. We can even make short work of construction debris, including dust, paint, and glue residue.
We can effectively pressure wash many different surfaces. These include fences, masonry, buildings, concrete, pavements, driveways, patios, and even some vehicles. We are always happy to give you our advice and opinion about the best ways to clean any of your services.
In addition to water, it can also be helpful to use added chemical cleaners. These include specific soaps, sanitisers, disinfectant, and detergents. In some cases, natural ingredients such as baking soda, citric acid, or baking soda can also help blast away stains. Again, we’re always happy to assess your specific service and provide our expert opinion on how best to get it clean.
We love answering questions from our clients. Here are ten of the most common questions about pressure washing
- How Do Pressure Washers Work?
So, does pressure washing just mean scrubbing a surface with a lot of “elbow grease?” No way. Pressure washers are highly specialised mechanical devices that exude pressurised water. Before we understand how a pressure washer works, it’s essential to understand why water and detergents are so effective, both separately and combined.
- Why does water get things so clean? Water is packed full of molecules that have a slight electrical polarity. This means that one end of the molecule has a positive charge, while the other has a negative charge. As a result, water molecules stick to dirt molecules. When the water rinses away, it takes the dirt along with it.
- How does detergent work? You’ve already got your ‘sticky’ water molecules, but the solution gets even more effective when you add a detergent. The chemical compounds in soap work to break down grime and grease. They free the dirt molecules and help wash them away.
However, even when you have the powerhouse team of water and detergent working together, tough grime and dirt will refuse to budge. That’s when a pressure washer becomes extremely useful. Pressure washers blast a narrow jet of water at a surface. The highly pressurised water travels so fast that it generates kinetic energy and can knock the dirt out of place. Think of it like countless small hammers chipping away at the build-up of dirt and grease. Because it is water, it won’t damage most hard surfaces (but we always perform a test if this is in doubt).
2. What are the parts of a pressure washer?
To really understand how a pressure washer works, you need to know about the machine’s different parts. Simply put, a pressure washer is a water pump connected to and powered by an electric motor. First, you feed water into the machine via your tap, and the pump accelerates the water, expelling it at high pressures and high speeds. Think about it like a very sophisticated water gun!
You’ll find the following parts inside of your pressure washing machine:
- Water inlet – The water inlet is a hose that connects the pressure washing machine the water supply (usually an exterior tap on your home). The inlet includes a filter to prevent the device from becoming clogged with grit and debris. Not only can debris damage your washer, but it can also come shooting out of the nozzle, damaging your property.
- Electric motor or gas engine – In most cases, domestic pressure washers use mains power. However, larger commercial pressure washing machines are powered by petrol engines, similar to those found in lawnmowers. Many professional pressure washing companies have both types of machines in their arsenal.
- Water pump – The water pump is the most important component in any pressure washing machine. The engine pulls the pump mechanism in one direction after its sucked in from the tap, and the water sprays out at a rate of between 4 to 8 litres per minute.
- High-pressure hose – This hose connects the washer to the cleaning attachment or nozzle. You can’t use any old tubing for this function – high-pressure tubing is reinforced with metal mesh and has a safety margin of 300%. This means that if the pressure washer is 2000 psi, the high-pressure hose should be a 6000 psi rating.
- Cleaning attachments – Some pressure washing machines come with additional cleaning attachments, such as rotating brushes, spinning wands, and other scrubbing tools.
3. What’s the Difference Between Power Washing and Pressure Washing?
Before now, you may have assumed that power washing and pressure washing are interchangeable terms. However, they are two different machines and two different cleaning methods.
Difference between the two methods is that a power washing machine uses heated water. However, the pressure washer does not use heated water, just the power of the supercharged water itself, with added detergents if necessary. If you plan to clean a particularly grimy, mildewy, greasy, or salt-encrusted area, you may find that a power washer’s heated water is more effective.
When should you power wash vs pressure wash?
Now that you know the difference between power washer and pressure washing, it’s common to want to tackle everything with the hot water option. After all, a good steam cleaning sounds like a great idea for most surfaces and materials. You’d rather take a nice hot shower than a cold one!
However, power washing is not the best option for all surfaces. For instance, brick, concrete, and masonry to much better with pressure washing and targeted detergents. As the name suggests, power washing tends to be too powerful for certain materials. Pressure washing is a far better solution for softer surfaces, such as wood, siding, and tiles.
With all that said, make no mistake – a pressure washer in the hands of a professional is more than capable for most commercial and domestic jobs. If you have any questions or concerns about whether pressure washing or power washing is best for your surfaces, we are always happy to help. Our skilled team is glad to answer your questions.
4. What are the Most Common Uses for Pressure Washers?
Whether you’re planning to hire a professional or you are going to use a pressure washer yourself, you might be wondering where to use it. Where will your pressure washer have the most impact? Here are some of the most common places to use your pressure washer.
Your fence runs the length of your property and is often a vistor’s first impression when they visit your home. As a result, you’ll want to take care to keep it clean and tidy. Fencing is one of the most popular services to clean with a pressure washer, and is a great first project when you initially get your pressure washing machine. Of course, it’s always a good idea to leave really dirty or extensive jobs to the professionals
- Home Exteriors
Pressure washers do an excellent job cleaning home exteriors, particularly if you live in a brick home or vinyl sided home. You’ll be amazed at how fresh and vibrant everything looks after a blast with the pressure washing machine.
If you are considering a paint job, make sure you first hire a professional to thoroughly pressure wash your home exteriors. They’ll make sure that any new paint is applied on top of a clean surface. You might even discover that maybe you don’t need a new coat of paint after all!
- Wood or stone decking
It’s really common to use your pressure washer to clean your wood or stone deck. There is something extremely satisfying at aiming the nozzle at your decked area and seeing all of the dirt, mildew, and moss vanish. This is far more than just an aesthetic task – mildewy and oily decks get very slippery in the cold and rain. Pressure washing it all away ensures that everyone stays safe.
- Pavements, Walkways, and Front Steps
Speaking of slippery surfaces, pavements, walkways, and front steps can all become treacherous in the rain, ice, and snow. You can prevent a lot of accidents by getting rid of slippery mildew and dirt. In addition to keeping everyone safe, you’ll add a ton of kerb appeal to your home – it’s amazing what little pressure washing can do!
- Garage Floors and Driveways
Your driveway is a large expanse of space in front of your home, and when it gets dirty or covered in oil stains, it really devalues your kerb appeal. Pressure washing your driveway and garage floors tackles stubborn oil stains and get everything spic and span.
Pressure washers are not just for the outside of buildings or pavement surfaces. They work wonderfully on cars and trucks. You will likely need to use a scrub brush attachment with your pressure washer to get everything completely clean. If you’re using detergents, make sure to check that they are safe for use on vehicle paint.
- Patio and Garden Furniture
A pressure washer makes short work of the slimy mildew and mould that can build up on plastic, vinyl, or wood garden furniture. Simply remove the cushions and aim away – your tables, chairs, and benches will be sparkling clean in no time at all.
- Barbecue Grills
We don’t recommend that novices try this one at home, but you’ll see a lot of people on social media using their pressure washer to clean their barbecue grill. If you don’t do this correctly, all of your food is going to taste like soap in the future. If you are using a propane barbecue, which are quite uncommon here in the UK, you could easily damage the electrical components inside. However, if you know what you’re doing and you take great care, you can get your grill sparkling clean in no time at all.
- Sporting Gear and Garden Equipment
Many of us have sporting gear and garden equipment that we leave outside or in the shed all year round. As a result, it can become mildewy or spotted with dirt and mud. I am your pressure washer at lawnmowers, bicycles, boats, and even surfboards. We’ve also seen excellent results blasting birdbaths and other concrete garden fixtures. And why stop there? You can also use a pressure washer to clean power equipment, such as chainsaws and other motorised garden tools. Just make sure you follow the instructions and take care not to damage the electrical components.
5. Should You Hire A Professional Pressure Washer, or Do It Yourself?
This is one of the most common questions we receive. Many people are enticed by seemingly affordable pressure washers on the market. As a result, they decide to tackle the project on their own. But is this a good idea?
We always recommend that you consult with a professional before you make the decision. In most cases, it makes sense to hire a professional pressure washing company. After all, you might spend the initial outlay on the pressure washing machine, only to find that you don’t use it that often. When you work with a professional company, they have state of the art equipment that is in good repair and ready to go.
In addition to cost, you can’t put too high a price on safety. A professional pressure washing company knows how to clean all of the hard-to-reach places on your home and property. They’re trained in how to climb ladders and scale walls to clean gutters while operating a pressure washing machine. It’s simply a much safer option.
Finally, a professional pressure washing company has the skill and experience required to do the job right. They know when to use detergents to tackle specific mould and mildew. They’ll get everything clean without damaging your paint, windows, exterior ornamentation, brickwork, and tiles. When you take on the job yourself, you risk doing costly damage to your home.
6. How Often Should You Pressure Wash Your Home?
This is a common question that does not have one singular answer. Instead, it depends on a number of factors. These include:
- How old is your home?
While newer homes can handle the extreme jets of a power washer or pressure washer on a seasonal basis, older homes may need a different solution. When misused, a pressure washer can end up damaging old bricks and causing water leaks. Always consult with a professional when cleaning older brick homes with a pressure washing machine.
- Where do you live?
Some locations attract more dirt and grime than others. For instance, if you live near a motorway or A Road, your home will attract far more fumes from the heavy traffic. Over time, these fumes leave a greasy slick of black residue all over your home. Alternatively, if your home is beneath a thatch of trees, it will more frequently become spattered with tree sap and bird droppings. In these cases, you’ll likely want to pressure wash your home regularly. Many people do so on a seasonal basis.
- What home improvements are you interested in?
If you’re planning a new paint job or other home improvements (or you’re planning to list your home), it’s a good idea to pressure wash first. You can blast away loose paint, excess dirt, and grease that will prevent the new paint from adhering smoothly. This helps everything look better, and ensures that the new paintjob lasts for as long as possible. Just make sure that you let the water dry completely before applying in any new paint or material.
7. What Time of Year Should You Pressure Wash Your Home?
We get questions from clients wondering what time of year they should pressure wash their home. In most cases, the best time to pressure wash your surfaces, driveway, pavements, and patio is at the end of each season.
These are the benefits to pressure washing during each season:
Winter – Get rid of mould, moss, and mildew at the end of winter to make sure your house is looking its best for the spring months.
Spring – As you get ready for the summer months ahead, the spring is the perfect time to power wash your barbecue, garden furniture, driveway, and patio.
Summer – At the end of summer, power wash your property to remove dust, bird droppings, and tree sap.
Autumn – Give your property a power washing at the end of autumn to remove moss, decomposing organic matter, and leaf mulch.
8. What are the Top Pressure Washing ‘Don’ts’?
These are some of the most common pressure washing ‘don’ts.’
- Don’t get too close to metres and electrics
- Don’t get too close to other people, animals, and your plants
- Don’t ever bring your pressure washer inside
- Don’t ever scale a ladder or stand on the roof with a pressure washing machine, as the power can force you off the edge.
- Don’t try to remove lead-based paints with a pressure washer; it must be removed and disposed of by a professional
- Don’t pressure wash your windows, as they may break
- Don’t pressure wash old mortar, as it can become weak and degraded
- Don’t pressure wash your gutters – the water can pull them down
By hiring a professional, you can avoid the most common mistakes that people make when pressure washing their property.
9. What Questions Should You Ask a Pressure Washing Company?
As you’re getting ready to hire a pressure washing company, it’s time to ask a few key questions.
- What level of pressure do you use? Pressure washing is not a case of ‘more is better.’ With the correct technique and mild detergents, reliable companies will use lower pressure water to clean your home and property. This prevents damage and prolongs the life of your investment.
- Do you pressure wash windows? This is an important question – and the right answer is always “NO.” Even at low pressure, your windows could shatter. A reliable company will offer a separate window cleaning service.
- Can I see some reviews and testimonials? A trustworthy company should be able to provide you with positive reviews and testimonials, as well as before and after photos.
- Do you guarantee your work? Any reliable company will offer a guarantee on their work. This proves that they are confident in their skills and materials. Steer clear of any company that is unwilling to discuss a guarantee.
10. How Do You Prepare Your Home for Pressure Washing?
You’ve hired a reliable pressure washing company, or you are getting ready to attempt the job yourself. Here is what you can do to prepare your home:
- Shut all doors and windows securely – Ensure that you tightly close any opening into which water can seep. You can truly end up with a disastrous flood if you pressure wash the door or window that isn’t properly secured. Doublecheck all of your house’s windows, doors, and vents. There is a hole or vent anywhere on your home, let the professional pressure washer know in advance.
- Move your belongings out of the way (or cover them) – anything that is left in the path of the water is going to get soaked. Make sure that you move any garden furniture, garden equipment, and even your car.
- Close the covers on exterior plugs – It can be easy to overlook your exterior plugs. Unplug every lead, remove all electrical appliances and garden equipment, and close your plug covers.
- Keep kids and pets in the house – Did you know that the force of a pressure washer can break the skin? Keep your kids and pets safely inside the home, or take them out for the day.
- Protect your plants – pressure washing will destroy your pot plants. Move them out of the way to keep them safe. If you have landscaped garden beds that abut your home, wrap them with sturdy waterproof plastic.
There you have it – our top 10 most common questions about pressure washing. If you have further questions, or you just want to chat about your specific needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.