DIY: A Pressure Washing Primer

Looking for a quick way to spruce up the appearance of your house? Nothing brings out the sparkle of a house faster than a good pressure washer. The versatility of these machines makes them an ideal, inexpensive way to increase your curb appeal.

A pressure washer uses a pump to boost the pressure of water from a garden hose. Power washers use spray wands, similar to what you would find at a self-service car wash. They have a variety of interchangeable nozzles which provide different spray patterns.

Dust, smoke and pollen can take their toll on our homes’ exteriors. In our dry climate, the buildup can be slow and subtle. It is a good idea to give our houses an occasional rinse, but reaching for a garden hose can be water-wasteful.

The average pressure of a garden sprayer is from 40 to 80 PSI. The PSI of commercially available pressure washers ranges from 1300 to 3000 PSI. This extra pressure will blast away dirt and grime better and faster than any garden hose. While it may seem counter-intuitive, a pressure washer can be a water-saving device. The average garden hose will output anywhere from 9 to 17 GPM (gallons per minute). Most consumer-grade pressure washers only use between 1 and 4 GPM. So you can do more cleaning with less water.

Although you can use soaps and detergents with a pressure washer, the force of the water alone is enough to remove most buildup. Using fewer chemicals is kinder to the environment.

A surface cleaner attachment

There are two types of pressure washers to consider: electric or gas powered. Electric washers tend to be quieter, less expensive and deliver anywhere from 1300 to 2500 PSI. This should be adequate for general outdoors tasks. Gasoline powered washers provide higher pressure (2300 to 3300 psi) and can be more versatile to use.

Around the exterior of your house, a pressure washer is a great way to blast away dirt and cobwebs. For areas of moss and mold, it can get rid of the most stubborn spots. It will also make short work of cleaning rain gutters. They are useful in to freshening up wooden fences and decks. But where a pressure washer really shines is in cleaning concrete. For this type of job, a surface cleaner is a good accessory. This attachment has rotating arms, similar to a dishwasher, which ensures even-coverage.

They are also perfect for cleaning cars, boats and RV’s, using a fraction of the water that you’d use with a garden hose.

Pressure washing can be so satisfying to watch that there are YouTube channels devoted to cleaning videos. There are even pressure washing simulator video games. As fun as they can be, they are not toys. Safety glasses and closed-toed shoes are recommended when working with this much power.

Pressure washing a deck

If you are considering selling your house, a good pressure washing is a must. A thoroughly cleaned exterior will add loads of curb appeal, and make your property stand out. Of course, you can hire a professional to do the work. But if you’re the hands-on type, having your own pressure washer is a good investment that will provide years of service.

Prices range anywhere from $100 to $500 for a typical household washer. There are plenty of online resources to help you decide which model is best, and how to get the best results from your new pressure washer.

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