Spring Cleaning Tips: The Pressure Washer
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Spring Cleaning Tips: The Pressure Washer

The key to efficiently performing your annual Spring Cleaning duties lies in your ability to get the most productivity from the resources you have available. Knowledge about the multiple uses of certain tools and power equipment is the first step towards making this goal a reality.

The signs of Spring come in the form of warmer weather, blooming Bradford Pears and bustling activity in the garages of homes across the country in preparation for Spring Cleaning. For the homeowner, Spring means it's time to catch up on all that home maintanence that was neglected during the winter months. Preparing flower beds, grooming the lawn, raking the leaves, cleaning the gutters, the list can go on for quite some time. These Spring rituals can take weeks to bring current without assistance, and can be too costly for some homeowners to outsource. I am one of those homeowners. However, I enjoy these activities and take pride in maintaining my home, as should every homeowner. 

The key to efficiently performing your annual Spring Cleaning duties lies in your ability to get the most productivity from the resources you have available. For the Do-It-Yourself homeowner on a budget, the goal would be to get as much done as possible while spending as little as possible. Knowledge about the multiple uses of certain tools and power equipment is the first step towards making this goal a reality. 

The Pressure Washer is a piece of equipment that every homeowner should invest in. If used to its full capability, the Pressure Washer can save you thousands of dollars in maintanence costs and extend the life of the exterior structures on your property. 

Choosing the Best Pressure Washer

Craftsman Pressure WashersThe local home improvement stores typically offer a dozen or so different models of pressure washers, both gas and electric models. I prefer the gas models for several reasons such as power and durability, but mainly because electricity and water don't get along very well. Call me crazy, but operating an electric machine while stading in water doesn't sound like a good idea. The electric models are designed to prevent any type of electrical shock, but I still recommend you go with a gas model.

Pressure washers are categorized by their power rating which is measured in Pounds per Square Inch (psi). This rating describes the force exerted by the water flow as it leaves the nozzle. Different models are available for various types of applications, with power ratings ranging from 750psi up to 30,000psi. The risk for damaging the surfaces you are cleaning increases significantly with the high end power rated models. I would recommend a power rating of 2,300psi to 5,000psi for the typical homeowner. 

Some pressure washers also come equipped with special nozzles and the ability to intermix chemicals and cleaning agents into the discharge. This feature allows you to knock out two tasks at one time, and should be something you look for when choosing the best pressure washer. 

Last, I would definately recommend you go with a reputable brand name pressure washer. The longevity will far surpass that of a generic brand machine, resulting in a greater return on investment. My personal preference would be the Craftsman brand of pressure washers from Sears. However, there are a number of excellent alternatives available such as:

Various Uses for the Pressure Washer

Pressure Washing

  • Concrete Surface Cleaning (Sidewalks, Patios, Driveways) - There is no easier way to remove weathering from concrete than the use of the pressure washer. This process requires small, steady strokes back and forth across the surface, and takes some time, but can completely bring new life to your driveway and sidewalks.

Pressure Washer

  • Home Exterior Cleaning (Siding, Brick, Dryvit) - One of the most common uses of the pressure washer is for cleaning grime, mildew and weathering from the exterior of the home. One great way to expidite this process is by pre-soaking the area with a 50/50 bleach and water mixture. I like to use a pump up sprayer for this. Start with an area of about 20 square feet, spray with the bleach mixture, allow about 2-3 minutes for it to work, then spray it clean with the pressure washer. The bleach mixture will not discolor your siding or brick, and will remove all of the grime instantly. This same process can be applied to gutters and garage doors. Be sure to thoroughly flush the surrounding flower beds and any part of the lawn exposed to the mixture with clean water to avoid damage to plants or grass. Do not pressure wash painted surfaces, the pressure can and will remove old weathered paint.

Pressure Washer

Pressure Washing

  • Fence & Deck Cleaning (Wood or Iron Privacy Fences, Wood Decks) - Pressure washing a weathered non-painted wood fence or deck will bring the appearance back to its original look. Pressure washing iron fences makes easy work of removing grime and mildew. Special attention needs to be given to painted fences, as the pressure can remove paint.
  • Lawn Furniture Cleaning (Non-Painted Wood/Iron benches, tables, chairs) - As with the other applications, pressure washing wood or iron lawn furniture is an effective method to bring new life to old items.

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Comments (1)

There is no question that the pressure washer is one of the handiest power tools that anyone can invest in but they are also one of the most dangerous ones to use if the proper safety precautions are not taken. They develop enough pressure to forced chemicals through the skin and into your body and, depending on the chemicals involved can cause blood poisoning or even kill you. They can blind you. when you invest in a pressure washer, invest in the proper safety gear--goggles, gloves, heavy work pants, work gloves and safety shoes. Above all else, get instructions in how to use it safely.