Everything You Need To Know About DIY Power Washing and pressure washing: Tips From A Pro
Hopefully, you have found this article because you decided to start pressure washing or power washing for yourself. Either to start a business or maybe even as a weekend warrior who likes to do their own work. I plan to get you all the information you need to get started, which will be helpful. Power Washing and pressure washing information, unfortunately, isn’t something that you can just readily access online. Professional companies mostly do not want to give that information out because they charge for the service, and most people don’t know anyone with experience handling this type of equipment. I plan to give you all the information to help you along the way.
Equipment: What do I need?
The power washing or pressure washing equipment you will need as a DIYer or weekend warrior will differ from someone starting a professional power washing business. As a homeowner looking to keep up with their home and maybe help out some friends and family, there are plenty of suitable power washers on the market. When searching for a pressure washer, I recommend the Simpson brand as they are high quality and preferably one with a Honda engine. You want to look for something with at least 3500 PSI and at least 3 gallons per minute. The PSI is critical. You want to ensure you have enough power with the machine to clean the things you want. I think buying a cheap pressure washer is a waste of money. You will become frustrated that it is not cleaning how you want it to, and you will either give up or buy a more expensive unit. 3500 PSI is enough pressure to clean anything around your home, and going with a much higher PSI will not benefit you. Higher PSI models are more for commercial cleaning that will have no use case around your home. Save yourself the money and stay around 3500 PSI. By going with a higher quality model, they last much longer and start quickly. There are a lot of power washing accessories on the market. The accessories will not be necessary for someone who is just looking to clean their home a few times per year. It will take you a little longer without them but only using them a couple of times per year won’t make the cost worth it.
Professional Power Washing Business
If you are starting a professional pressure washing business, my advice is simple, go with the best equipment you can comfortably afford. There is a lot of information online regarding commercial power washing equipment, but the main thing that will determine what you will buy is the price. Everybody starts somewhere, so whether you purchase a full-blown power-washing trailer or a $300 machine, they will both get the job done. The main difference is the time it takes to finish the job. The guy with the $300 machine might take an entire day, whereas the guy with the $45,000 trailer might only take 2 hours. When you are just starting out, I recommend buying quality equipment and upgrading as you make money. As a business, you are also going to need to purchase accessories. One super helpful accessory is having your own high-quality garden hose. If you go to a customer’s house with the plan to use their hose, it could be old or have holes, affecting and potentially damaging your machine. This can delay your job and getting paid. Other accessories that I think you must have when starting would be a surface cleaner and a 100 ft power washing hose. You will need a surface cleaner to clean concrete, such as sidewalks, patios, driveways, and garages. You will need the extra hose to reach places like roofs and for doing house washes, but more importantly, it will keep you from having to move your pressure washer around constantly. This will save you a lot of time.
Starting Out: How do I use This Equipment?
You know all those stickers you get on things that say read the owner’s manual? Seriously…..read the owner’s manual. The power washing equipment I have recommended is heavy-duty and contains great force. If you are unwilling to take the time to operate your equipment correctly, then pressure washing is not for you. With that being said, there are some tips I can give you for starting. First, start with the pressure as low as possible and work your way up. It will take time and experience to learn how much pressure to use when washing various things. Honestly, it is very common for inexperienced people to cause some damage. I recommend starting with cleaning items that are pretty easy as you learn the differences in pressure and how to use them correctly. A sidewalk or a driveway is a great starting place with very low risk.
Pressure Washer Wand Nozzles/Tips
When you buy a pressure washer, they typically come with tips. The number of tips and the kind of tips you get will depend on which pressure washer you purchase and what is included in that package if any. You will need at least one tip to operate a pressure washer. If none were included with the pressure washer you purchased, you could buy tips individually. The tips are what distribute the water from the wand. They help control the pressure of the water as it comes out but, more importantly, the width of the spray. The wider the width, the more distance the water is being distributed and decreases pressure. The smaller the width, the more concentrated the spray, which increases the pressure. Let’s go over the different tips and what they are commonly used for.
The black tip is mainly used for rinsing and applying cleaning agents. On a power washing machine that allows you to distribute cleaning agents and chemicals with that machine (some don’t), this is the tip you would do it with. The black tip triggers your machine that is applying an agent and starts the suction from the attached hose that you would stick into whatever cleaning agent you are using. It will mix the cleaning agent with water and distribute it through your wand. Not all cleaning agents can be sprayed this way. If it is a more potent chemical, you would not want to run that through your wand. A handy tool you can purchase called an X-Jet allows you to spray more potent chemicals without running them through your hose and wand.
The white tip is one of the tips that I use the most. It is the widest spray, so it offers the least pressure and is mainly used on more delicate surfaces and for rinsing. When using the appropriate chemicals for cleaning, a rinse is mostly all that is needed afterward. The cleaning agents do the majority of the work.
The next step up in pressure from the white tip and the other one that I use most frequently. The green tip is a great place to start if you aren’t spraying anything delicate and is usually enough power to clean most things. It is excellent for cleaning dirt, debris, and mud from places like patios, sidewalks, and driveways. You can even use this tip for removing dirt from vehicles but make sure you start a decent distance away so you don’t peel off any paint.
The next step up in pressure from the green and a more condensed spray pattern. From here on out, you need to be careful what you are spraying, how close you are to what you are spraying, and how long you are spraying it. You can cause damage with this nozzle if you are not careful. This tip will be used on hard-to-remove stains on things that can handle the force of the pressure. You can use this nozzle on concrete and things of that nature. Do not spray delicate items like windows or paint unless you want it removed.
The most substantial pressure with the most condensed spray pattern. You can etch concrete with this nozzle and enough PSI. I typically only use this tip for long-range as the distance eases the pressure as it travels. If I can clean a second story without a ladder or climbing with this nozzle, then I much prefer that then the alternative. Water and ladders don’t usually make for a great time.
Many different chemicals and cleaning agents are used when pressure and power washing. I will not advise or recommend what you should utilize if anything. Can you wash it with just water? Absolutely. Do you need to use chemicals to clean? Absolutely not. Can using them make your job easier? It, without a doubt, can. If you choose to use chemicals and cleaning agents, thoroughly research what you are using and how it responds to what you are putting it on. Also, think about the vegetation around what you are washing. Strong chemicals can and will kill vegetation. There are plenty of eco-friendly cleaning agents that you can research on the internet if you choose to use them. If you would rather not take the risk, don’t use them.
Hopefully, this article provides insight into power washing and how to pressure wash safely and effectively. When I started a pressure washing business, I tried to think of things I would have liked to know as a beginner and put everything into one place. One of the most critical aspects of power washing and pressure washing is to get the experience of doing it. Start cleaning things that are hard to damage on your home or a friend’s or family’s house, and practice. When you first start, it can be kind of scary, but that’s because you are dealing with a powerful tool you have never used before. After using it a couple of times, you will have confidence in operating it effectively. Please contact Az Pressure Wash and Windows if you would rather hire a professional to power wash or pressure wash for you in the Scottsdale area. We power wash Scottsdale and the surrounding Phoenix metro areas.