Using a consumer pressure washer does not require extensive training. However, you do need to have the utmost care when doing it to avoid injury or accidental property damage. Avoid these six commonly found mistakes pressure newbie washers make to make your life easier and safer.
Forgot to adjust the spray angle
When you pressure wash, you approach the surface you want to wash at an angle. The goal is to remove the dirt from the surface so it can be washed away. When you spray directly on a dirty surface, you simply push the dirt deeper into the area you want to clean.
This especially applies to porous materials such as wood or concrete. For very stubborn stains and ingrained grime, it may be necessary to move the nozzle to attack from different directions, but there should always be an angle to “scoop ” off the grime. If you don’t spray at an angle, you could end up with recoil debris flying around.
Wet dirt on your face is never fun, and some of it might end up in your eyes if you’re not wearing goggles. This brings us to the next common mistake…
No use of safety equipment
Pressure washers may look like oversized spray guns, but they’re definitely not toys. A narrow stream of water jetting at thousands of pounds per square inch (PSI) cuts meat almost as efficiently as a saw.
To make matters worse, the high pressure can drive water and debris deep into the tissue, often leading to infection. Another common mistake that comes up on hot summer days: wearing open-toed shoes. Sandals may be more comfortable, but a little carelessness could land you in the hospital. Forgetting a pair of goggles is a big mistake.
Using the wrong nozzle
Choosing the right pressure washer nozzle tip is an important step in improving safety and efficiency, but many people make mistakes. There’s a lot of advice on what you can and can’t pressure wash.
Generally speaking, as long as you use the right nozzle, you can pressure wash just about anything! The nozzle changes the angle and spread of the spray, affecting the PSI leaving the rod.
Larger angles produce less pressure. When in doubt, be sure to do a test run on some scrap , or in an inconspicuous or easily groomed area.
Spray up against the siding
When you pressure wash the side of the house, never point the injector at the side trim. The siding channel is diluted from the roof to the foundation. It is intentionally left open at the bottom to allow water that penetrates its barrier to drain harmlessly.
A spray from below forces water into the gap between the siding and the house – a surefire recipe for disaster.
The best solution is to stay on the ground and use a fixed or telescopic extension pole. Don’t climb ladders. The kickback of a high-pressure wash can knock you to the ground. Look for extension rods that have a sharp downward angle or a slight bend. This way, you can spray from top to bottom or alongside walls.