General Pressure Washers
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When it comes to those hard to clean surfaces, nothing beats using a pressure washer. For example, if you need to repaint your house but because there is chipped paint and debris needing to be removed, you dread even getting started. You have tried to use your garden hose and have stood on a ladder scraping everything by hand but without much success. The perfect solution is to buy or rent a pressure washer, which ranges from 10 to 50 times more powerful than your garden hose. Additionally, because a pressure washer pushes water through a very small nozzle, you will use up to 80% less water than with a garden hose. Best of all, there will be no more scraping by hand!

A power washer is capable of cleaning all types of surfaces. For example, you can use one to clean mold and mildew off your deck, tar off your car, mud and debris off the driveway, animal waste from a kennel, cooked on food from the barbecue grill, strip paint and debris from a house, and so on. When looking at different pressure washers just remember that while a cold-water washer is less expensive, it is also not as effective as one that produces hot water. Therefore, while the hot water washer is more expensive, it is worth paying the difference.

To determine if you should buy a pressure washer or just rent one, consider the amount of use the machine will get. If the washer would be used, only for an occasional project than renting might be the better option. However, if you paint houses for a living, then the investment in a pressure washer would be the better choice. Another consideration is portability. For example, a gas-powered washer is by far the most portable option but because it is run on gas, thus producing carbon monoxide in high levels, you can only use it outside. For indoor use, you can use an electric washer but because you need electrical power, you will have some limitations if used outdoors.

With a pressure washer, the entire job will be easier and you will literally cut the time involved in half. If you choose to buy a pressure washer, be sure you consider the size of the area where the unit will be stored. To help you with your decision, the following information is important:
  • Cleaning Unit (CU) � The rating of the CU is the water pressure multiplied by the amount of water flow with the highest number providing more power

  • Gallons per Minute (GPM) � This is how the flow of water is rated. The best option is a pressure washer that offers both GPM and PSI so you have both flow and pressure.

  • Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) � This is the measurement of the water�s pressure. The higher the PSI, the more cleaning ability the washer provides.

  • Horsepower (HP) - This is how the gas-powered pressure washers are measured

  • Amperage (Amps) - For electric washers, the measurement is based on amps with the higher amps being more powerful

  • Direct Drive / Belt Drive � These are methods in which the pump is operated with the belt drive pumps being more efficient and durable

  • Pump � Each pressure washer has a pump. Some are designed with a plunger pump since they provide high pressure and are compact.

  • Nozzle � This is the tip of the wand, which can be adjusted to meet different cleaning needs and angled for reaching into tight spaces
Since pressure washers are very powerful machines, there are definite safety considerations. For instance, you always want to use the appropriate nozzle. One not meant for wood can literally damage the surface of your home. Additionally, be sure you use only chemicals recommended by the manufacturer of the pressure washer you buy. When cleaning up to high places, rather than stand on a ladder, you should simply use the right nozzle from the ground. Finally, always wear safety goggles, long pants and sleeves, closed toe shoes, and never point the wand at a person or animal.
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