Is it possible to power wash snow? This is a question many homeowners ask during the winter season, particularly those who live in cold states. Below, we discuss whether or not you can remove snow using a power washer.
Can You Power Wash Snow?
The winter season is a generally conflicting time of the year. Although it brings joy and holiday cheer, the wintertime also comes with freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. This had led a lot of homeowners to wonder whether it is possible to pressure wash snow or pressure wash ice.
But, first, it is important to learn the difference between power washing and pressure washing. Pressure washing is the use of a high-pressure water spray to clean surfaces. The force of the water coming out of the spray is strong enough to blast away dirt, dust, debris, mold, and even loose paint.
Power washing, on the other hand, is essentially the same as pressure washing but with a heating element. While pressure washers use unheated water, power washers use hot water. This removes dirt, dust, and other pollutants more effectively. It is also better at removing oil stains and grease.
Because of the heating element, homeowners sometimes turn to their power washers to remove snow and ice. But, is power washing ice and snow even possible? Does it produce effective results?
Things to Keep in Mind When Power Washing Snow
On paper, it does sound like a good idea to power wash snow. After all, hot water can melt snow and ice quickly, resulting in a smooth and clean surface. However, there are some things to keep in mind before breaking out that power washer for winter cleaning.
For one thing, it is important to take note of the temperature and weather conditions. In freezing temperatures, power washing snow and ice away may be counterproductive. Power washing uses water — hot water, but water all the same. Once the leftover water cools down, the freezing temperatures can solidify it and turn it into ice. And what you are left with is a frozen driveway or walkway.
Due to this, you want to make sure you power wash ice or snow when temperatures are quite high. You should also do it when there is sunlight so that the sun can quickly dry the runoff. If you can’t meet both of these conditions, it is best to just use a snow blower, shovel, or a deicing agent to remove snow and ice from your property.
Can You Power Wash Snow Off Your Roof?
Power washing snow is an easy case to make when you are talking about your driveway or sidewalk. But, when it comes to your roof, even on a warm and sunny winter day, power washing may not be the best answer. While you certainly can power wash snow off your roof, the general recommendation is that you should not. And there are a couple of reasons for this.
Your Roof Could Collapse
First, water is heavy. With all that snow and ice on your roof, adding water to the mix will weigh it down even further. A gallon of water weighs about 8.34 pounds or 3.78 kilograms. As most residential power washers pump out 2.5 gallons of water per minute, you are adding 20.85 pounds of water weight every 60 seconds.
Furthermore, that water does not just run off as soon as it hits your roof. When you have snow up there, the snow will absorb the water first. This leads to a heavier weight on your roof, which can cause it to collapse. While this does not happen often, it still remains a possibility.
If your roof collapses, you will likely need to find a temporary place to stay as roofers fix the damage. And that is probably the last thing you would want to do during the holiday season.
Your Roof Could Take Damage
Second, power washers can inflict damage on your roof. Depending on the roofing material, your roof may not be able to take the high pressure of the water. If there is ice on your roof, you may feel tempted to use a smaller-sized nozzle to effectively break through the ice. But, small nozzles tend to spray water more forcefully because they restrict the flow of water. One wrong move or a second too long, and you’ve got yourself a severely damaged roof and a costly repair bill.
What to Remember When Power Washing During the Winter Season
There are other ways to effectively remove snow and ice from your property. But, if you insist on using a power washer, make sure to take the following considerations:
- Protect Yourself. Ideally, you would power wash snow and ice on a warm and sunny day. But, even on sunny days, you can still get cold in the winter. As such, you should suit up for the cold weather to avoid the risk of hypothermia. Additionally, you should wear protective gear. Keep in mind that power washers are very strong and can hurt you.
- Use a Deicer. Believe it or not, you can use a deicer with your power washer. Window washer fluid, in particular, works great because it has a lower freezing point and evaporates more quickly than water. If you find that the surface is still wet, though, sprinkle some rock salt, kitty litter, or sand over it to absorb the moisture.
- Proper Care. Cold temperatures can cause any leftover water in your power washer to freeze over. When that happens, the ice can damage your machine and hoses. Make sure to drain your power washer with each use. You should also run hot water through your hoses once each day to make sure it does not freeze and crack.
Call the Professionals
There are a number of risks involved when you power wash snow. To avoid damage and ensure great results, it is best to seek help from a professional power washing company. Professional technicians have more experience and knowledge as well as better equipment that can facilitate an effective and efficient job.
Washh offers reliable pressure washing and power washing services to residential and commercial properties. Call us today at 704.321.8000 or contact us online to get a free estimate!
- 7 Ways To Prepare Home Exterior For Winter
- What’s The Best Time To Pressure Wash A House?
- 7 Do’s And Don’ts Of Pressure Washing In Winter