Four Things You Need To Know Before Using A Pressure Washer

Posted on: 29 September 2015

Pressure washing can remove embedded dust, dirt, grime, and opportunistic vegetation such as algae, moss, and lichen. Renting a pressure washer is an excellent way for homeowners to get their home exteriors clean and looking good. However, those inexperienced with using pressure washers may inadvertently cause damage to their homes and its immediate surroundings as well as injury to themselves and others. Following are four things that you need to know before renting a pressure washer for use on your residential property.

Cover Your Plants Before Pressure Washing

Even if your foundation plants, lawn, flower beds, and other nearby vegetation won't come into direct contact with the stream of water from the pressure washer, they can still be harmed by the process. For instance, if you are using a fungicide, pesticide, or a bleach solution in the pressure washer to aid in the destruction of algae and other unwanted microorganisms, these chemicals may harm your plants if the water splashes on their foliage or seeps into the ground to their root systems. Even if you're just giving the outside of your home a quick going over with hot-water, nearby plants may nonetheless be harmed. Remove potted plants from the vicinity and cover the others -- including your lawn -- with plastic. Be sure to uncover them after you are finished power washing the side of the house where they are located, because plants require optimal air circulation to survive.

Cover Yourself While Pressure Washing

Never use a pressure washer without wearing protective gear. You'll need to wear a long-sleeved shirt, waterproof footwear with closed toes -- knee-high rubber rain boots work well -- long pants, gloves, and ear and eye protection. Don't be tempted to skimp on protective coverings even if it is a hot day outside. Pressure washers can be hard to handle for those with little experience, and hot, hard streams of water can cause significant injury. Anyone who is in the area as a helper or observer should be similarly attired, and children should be kept strictly out of the area. Pets should be kept indoors -- the stream of water will probably either frighten them or they will mistake it for an opportunity to play.

Keep it Cool With Vinyl Siding

Pressure washing is an excellent way to get vinyl siding spic-and-span, but keep in mind that too much heat may cause it to buckle and warp. Err on the side of caution when pressure washing vinyl siding by keeping the water temperature below 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don't Overextend Yourself

When inexperienced homeowners decide to take on pressure washing tasks that are best left to professionals, people can end up exhausted or injured, and the surfaces meant to be cleaned may end up damaged. Pressure washers are powerful tools that should be respected as such. Keep in mind that it isn't just the direct stream of water that can cause injury to you or to nearby people and objects but also the displacement of rocks, sand, and other debris that occurs when dirty surfaces are being pressure washed. For instance, if you have decided to pressure wash your driveway, stray bits of asphalt, pebbles, and other small, hard objects will probably be flying everywhere. Using too high of a setting on a pressure washer on the side of your home may dislodge paint chips. Professionals know what settings work best for certain situations and conditions, so if you've got a pressure washing job that you aren't certain that you're up to, consider hiring a professional, like those at Ben's Cleaner Sales, rather than attempting it yourself.