The dangers of pressure washers is evident right in their name. Consumer models can easily reach pressures around 2800 psi, while commercial units can reach upwards of 4000 psi. That’s roughly the same kind of pressure you’d get if you could balance a Honda Civic on a quarter. The extreme pressure involved means that it’s easy to do a lot of damage in a relatively short period of time if you don’t take proper precautions. That’s not even accounting for potential water damage if your project is not properly prepared. Luckily, most of these potential problems are easily avoided with a little patience and some expertise.
Potential dangers of pressure washing
As we’ve already said, the pressure involved in power washing is immense. If not done correctly, you can expect:
- Stripped paint
- Shredded window screens
- Loose and dented vinyl siding
- Loose brickwork from cut mortar
- Damaged seals on windows, resulting in clouding and water damage
- Splintered or cracked wood
- Algae, mold, and mildew growth from water build up beneath siding
If the potential for damage to your home’s structure isn’t enough, you also have to consider potential damage to your body! Thousands of injuries and even some deaths are attributed to pressure washing each year. Usually, these come from irresponsible use while on ladders. Trying to control the pressure washer wand while still maintaining balance is an accident waiting to happen. Don’t let a simple home-beautification project lead to major repairs or expensive hospital bills. It simply isn’t worth it.
How to prevent problems
So, improper pressure washing can get you into a lot of trouble. But how do you do it the right way? The simple answer is: don’t use so much pressure. More specifically, only use as much pressure as you need for the job. The truth is, most jobs don’t actually require that much pressure. In fact, the gallons per minute (GPM) rating of a power washer is often more relevant than the pressure rating. GPM measures how much water the washer is able to output in a minute. While pressure is important to break up caked-in dirt and grime, a high volume of water is what helps actually flush that water away.
Hard and porous surfaces like concrete driveways and sidewalks are good candidates for high pressure washing. These surfaces are subjected to a lot of dirt, and their porous nature allows that dirt to clump and stick. Luckily, they’re also strong enough to hold up to the abuse of a high pressure. For softer materials like wood, shingles, painted surfaces and vinyl siding, a “soft wash” is more appropriate. With this technique, there’s a larger focus on volume than pressure, and cleaning solutions are used to help break up dirt without damaging surfaces.
Calling in the Experts
Of course, most problems can be avoided by just hiring professionals. While some simple household jobs can be done easily with consumer grade gear and little experience, you shouldn’t be afraid to call in the experts when you need to. Bigger jobs are often more complicated than they seem, and more dangerous jobs like roof cleanings are just not worth the risk of doing yourself. At Washh, we have the equipment and experience required for jobs big and small. As a fully insured and bonded service provider, you can also rest easy that no harm will come to your property, and if it does, it will be dealt with swiftly. Contact us online or give us a call at 704.321.8000 for a free quote.