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New Pressure Washer - Intermittent Pressure


gumbytex's Avatar
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12-13-06, 06:44 PM   #1  
New Pressure Washer - Intermittent Pressure

A little background: I just purchased a 2.3 GPM 2400 PSI Coleman Powermate OHV Pressure Washer. It's the third pressure washer I've purchased; the first was electric and didn't supply enough cleaning power. The second was a 2200 PSI 2.0 GPM Husky PW from Home Depot. It worked fine initially (the Husky) but then after the first use, the pressure became intermittent. I would start it up and when running without the trigger pulled, it would run but would "hiccup" every 3-5 seconds or so, and when I pulled the trigger, I'd get full pressure for a few seconds and then the pressure would decline significantly for a few seconds. I'd then have full pressure again for a bit, then it'd decline again. I assumed there was a problem with the washer, and returned it to Home Depot.

I then purchased the 2400 PSI 2.3 GPM Coleman OHV model that I previously mentioned. It worked flawlessly the first time I ran it. So flawless in fact, that I removed some stucco accidentally! The second time, however, it started having the same exact problem that the Husky before it was having. I'm beginning to think that there's nothing wrong with these washers, and that I'm doing something wrong. I supposed that the pressure drop across my 5/8", 100' hose was too great, and I purchased a 3/4", 50' hose. I tried running the washer tonight with the fatter, shorter hose, and had the same problem again. Now, the connection between my hose and the spigot is by no means perfect; it's leaking a decent amount, so I'm sure I'm losing a bit of pressure there. However, it seems to me that I should be getting enough pressure to be running the washer without any problems. I called the city water department, and they said that the water supply is at between 60 and 90 PSI, and my hose supplies around 5 GPM.

I'm quite frustrated here. I've got a mildew on my stucco, that, darn it, I want to get washed off! This is my third pressure washer and I'm hoping someone can help me out. Since I've had the same exact problem with two pressure washers, I figure odds are there aren't any problems with the washer. Any ideas?

 
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12-13-06, 07:25 PM   #2  
Welcome to the forums

You should check your water pressure at the spigot. It is possible you don't have enough supply for the demand.

I'm not a plumber but I believe both undersized pipes and/or a pressure regulator turned down to low could cause you to have less than the street supply pressure. Loosing water before the pump doesn't help either. You can buy a pressure gauge at any big box - about $10 - I think?


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12-13-06, 09:32 PM   #3  
I agree, I think you have insufficient water supply, even possibly air entering the line. I think I'd have a hard look at the leaking connection first.


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12-14-06, 06:41 AM   #4  
Azis
My thoughts are along with cheese, that the leaks allow air into the lines which simply throw these pumps into a tizzy.
Couple things you might try to confirm. One, try a short small hose with minimum connections. You did little to effect your inline pressure by going to a bigger diameter/shorter hose. Although these rely on volume and not so much inlet pressure. From the spigot you are using, if you can fill a 5 gallon bucket in under a minute, your supply should be ok.
Two try purging all the lines before even starting the PW. Run water through the handle for a good 3 mins or so and see if there is still air in the lines. A steady stream interupted by spurts n spits, indicates there is still air in the lines or entering, thus not purging.

 
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12-14-06, 07:04 AM   #5  
Thanks for the advice! I noticed late last night that the black ring that fits inside the female end of my new hose was lying on my garage floor. I'll put it back in tonight and see if that helps the leaking on the spigot side. My spigots are also not in the best shape; I may try purchasing new spigots. I'll get all my connections watertight before trying anything else.

One more question: when I shut off the PW, I detach the high-pressure hose from the pump and from the wand, so I'm sure air enters the pump. Is it possible there's an air pocket inside the pump that's not being let out, and the pump is cavitating?


Last edited by gumbytex; 12-14-06 at 07:15 AM. Reason: Added inquiry
 
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12-14-06, 10:51 AM   #6  
Azis
It is actually best to store the PW with the pump purged of all the water. The entire system will then return to atmosphere. This is the reason for purging the system before the pump is started.
Either of those 3 new pressure washers come with an Owners or Operators manual?

 
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12-14-06, 11:55 AM   #7  
Yes, they did. The only related thing in the manual was the stated requirement of 4 GPM at 20 PSI.

 
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12-14-06, 12:43 PM   #8  
Azis
http://www.colemanpowermate.com/pressure/care/pw_operators_manual.pdf

Page 6 contains Operating Instructions: Start-up Procedure...

Page 7 contains Maintenance including: Connections and Nozzle

Page 9 contains Common Problems, Cause, and Correction....

 
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12-14-06, 12:50 PM   #9  
Thanks. There's more information in there than I remember there being; guess I should have check it twice.

 
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12-14-06, 01:08 PM   #10  
Azis
Glad to help, and dont be shy about any questions. Just might find it easier to drag that manual with ya stead of your puter

 
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12-15-06, 03:14 AM   #11  
I think the replys above are correct. I have the same problem when I get air in the hoses - usually when I hook everything up in a hurry. I have a very long low pressure hose on a reel that I use, and 100 feet of high pressure hose with the pressure washer.

It works best when I hook up the hoses, turn on the water, and pull the trigger for a couple minutes before starting the engine - until a steady stream of water comes from the nozzle with no air. If I do that I rarely have a problem. If I don't, I get exactly the problem you describe - it usually corrects itself in 10 minutes or so, but it can be really frustrating for a few minutes until the air gets out of the lines.

 
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12-15-06, 04:11 AM   #12  
Posted By: indy-diy It works best when I hook up the hoses, turn on the water, and pull the trigger for a couple minutes before starting the engine - until a steady stream of water comes from the nozzle with no air.
This should be SOP for operating any PW no matter the lenght of supply or pressure hose.


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12-16-06, 03:55 PM   #13  
Thanks a ton, guys. I purchased new spigots yesterday and installed them today; now my spigots are drip-free. I also ran water through the wand for a few minutes before starting it, and made sure there wasn't any air in the pump. Worked like a charm! My house is now mildew-free. Thanks for all of your help.

 
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12-16-06, 09:53 PM   #14  
Great! Glad we could help!


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

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