Power washer noob questions


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Old 04-01-21, 10:08 AM
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Power washer noob questions

I think I need to get a power washer. Costco has a unit that's something above 3,000PSI for $350?

Home depot has cheaper ones / lower PSI.

Wonder what people here suggest?

Looking to clean a redwood (softwood?) deck before staining, clean a concrete driveway and clean a jungle gym made from pressure treated wood before I stain that.

Oh, and maybe clean chair cushions from our deck furniture.

After that, what's some uses for it that they seem to be so popular ? : )

Electric is less maintenance, but lower pressures?

Rental for those uses over several different weekends likely doesn't make sense, right?

thanks!
 
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Old 04-01-21, 10:14 AM
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I've always heard that the units that have the pump behind the engine [as opposed to underneath] were better PWers. More pressure isn't always better. While PWer can aid in cleaning, too much pressure at the wrong time/place can cause damage.

I have a small commercial PWer with a Honda engine and Comet pump. I think it maxes out around 1500 psi. It's plenty stout enough for cleaning houses/decks as part of the paint prep.
 
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Old 04-01-21, 10:57 AM
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It's all about the pressure of the water at the surface you are cleaning. With a lower pressure machine you may need to hold the tip closer to get the cleaning action you want while only cleaning a 4" wide strip. A more powerful machine might allow you to hold the tip further away and clean 8" wide strips to make the job go faster. The danger with higher pressures is if you get the tip too close you will start to cut/blow away the wood. And all it takes is one slip-up and the pressure washer has bored a groove in your deck or blown the paint off something.

Yes, most electric pressure washers are less powerful than their gasoline counterparts. There is only so much power (one horsepower equals 746 watts) you can get from a regular 120 volt 15 amp outlet so electric machines are limited to about 2 horsepower. A small gas machine starts at around 3 or 4 horsepower.

I consider less than 2'000 psi to be good for cleaning. Above 3'000 psi and you have the ability to remove paint from surfaces and etch wood. By the time you get up to 5'000 psi it can be quite dangerous.

For cleaning a smaller deck and to keep on hand for occasional use I'd get an electric. My electric stays at home and gets used often where I only occasionally bring one of the big gas powered ones home when we have a big project.

 
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Old 04-06-21, 01:14 PM
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when using a power washer to clean a deck / wood jungle gym, etc.

do you use a cleaner? Which one?

Or just water under pressure?
 
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Old 04-06-21, 01:40 PM
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Cleaners do help, especially with mold and mildew. I like Clorox Outdoor Bleach (and it's a name I remember) but I've also had good luck with other similar brands. I know some who just use a bleach solution.

I don't use the soap injection feature on the pressure washer as I usually don't want the cleaner diluted so much. I usually mix up the cleaning solution and put it on the surface with a pump up garden sprayer. That way I can easily control the dilution amount and I can spray it on the surface while it's dry (to avoid further diluting the cleaner) and let it sit a while before hitting it with the pressure washer.
 
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Old 04-07-21, 02:53 AM
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Like PD I never use the chemical pick up on my PWer. I apply the cleaner with a pump up garden sprayer which also gives you better control of where it goes. Bleach is my go to cleaner, when I need something stronger I add TSP to the mix. Stubborn areas benefit from a 2nd application or scrubbing with an old broom. Using too much pressure can chew up the wood.
 
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Old 04-07-21, 02:00 PM
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Sorry for the spoon feeding here... what type of ratio water / bleach do you use? Pump sprayer and let it sit for how long before power wash?
 
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Old 04-07-21, 02:12 PM
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half bleach and half water ...... unless it's el cheapo bleach that's already watered down.
You want to rinse [pressure wash] before the cleaner dries.
 
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Old 04-07-21, 02:21 PM
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more spoon feed: if its in the shade, let the solution sit as long as you take it off before it dries?
 
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Old 04-07-21, 03:03 PM
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Generally you want to pressure wash before the cleaner dries. But, bleach will still have done its job killing mold and mildew if you let it dry. It's just harder to remove dirt and residue after it's dried.
 
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Old 04-07-21, 04:54 PM
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I'll suggest 30 Sec Outdoor Cleaner available at most stores.


 
 

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