A pressure washer is a fantastic tool, and is exactly what you need to clean things like dirty brick patio, weathered wood (if you are careful), and other hard to clean surfaces. You have to be very aware though because a pressure washer can harm the surfaces you want clean, and even yourself if you are not very careful. Here are some basics of how this amazing tool works.
A pressure washer takes the low pressure water of a garden hose, and boosts the pressure way up with a special pump. The pump is powered by a gas powered engine, or sometimes by an electric motor. The business end of a pressure washer is the spray wand. You attach special tips that concentrate, or spread out, the high pressure stream of water.
Before you turn on a pressure washer, be sure to read the entire owner's manual. It contains very important safety information. You can either hurt the machine, yourself, or things you are trying to clean. Once you are sure what you are doing, and know that you can run things safely, you can begin your job.
You should make sure, when you are using a pressure washer, to wear all kinds of protective gear. You need safety glasses or goggles, ear muffs or plugs, and of course, work gloves. You have got to protect your eyes, your hearing, and your hands from this machine. Always remember to be careful.
You may have seen the multi-colored tips that are used when pressure washing. The red one is a 0 degree tip, and is the most concentrated stream of water. Be really careful when using a 0 degree tip. The yellow tip produces a 15 degree wide spray pattern. This is my favorite tip for heavy duty cleaning. The green tip is a 25 degree tip and is best for general cleaning. The white tip produces an even wider spray pattern at 40 degrees. Use it for light duty cleaning. The black tip is the safest one to use. It produces a really wide spray pattern of 65 degrees. I like using this one when applying the special cleaning detergents to surfaces just before I get ready to pressure wash.
If your pressure washer is gas powered, remember to check the oil before running it, make sure you've got plenty of gas and you are good to go. Many of these machines have reservoirs to add cleaning solutions. This is a convenience. Before firing up the machine it is always a good idea to just do a quick visual check of the hose. If it is all curled up funny it can whip around and possibly hurt someone when the pressure fills the hose suddenly.
You will be surprised at the power of a pressure washer. Getting mold and mildew off of old bricks is no big deal. If you get too close to the surface, or stay in one place too long, you will damage the surface. Water under pressure is probably one of the strongest forces out there. I love it when I get a chance to use one of these bad boys. They are really easy and fun to use. As with any power tool, just use it safely and your job will be done before you know it and without any ill effect.
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