You probably bought a pressure washer thinking you are going to clean your driveway or your house and this pressure washer is going to make the job so fast, but once you get going, you realize that its very slow. You are just cleaning an inch wide spray and its taking about an hour to wash a small area compared to the size of the job. The guy at the hardware store said it was a good pressure washer but all in all it's a lot more than you expected.
Pressure washers are great tools to have for cleaning a multitude of outdoor surfaces around your house. Being able use it when you need to, and get the job done quickly is the whole reason you got the pressure washer in the first place. In this article, I am gonna cover everything you need to know about cleaning speed, and how to maximize your cleaning speed.
The Basics Of Pressure Washing Performance
When using a pressure washer, you expect a certain performance, especially if you have used a nice pressure washer in the past, or even used one at a self service car wash. The power has a distinct feel that you can remember, not quite enough to throw you off balance but enough for you to feel the back force from the pressure. You want your power washer to clean fast and you want to know its got enough power to do just that.
PSI - The Force Behind Pressure Cleaning
PSI or Pounds per Square Inch is a measurement that is used to rate pressure washers performance. This is basically the number used to determine how forceful the water is sprayed. This measurement is based on the capability of the pump. Of course if you got a great pump with a small engine that's not rated for your pump then ultimately you will never get its peak performance.
The PSI of any pressure washer will vary from another. Most commercial pressure washers are rated from 3000 to 4000 PSI. For homeowners looking to pressure wash their own home or driveway, a pressure washer with at least 3000 PSI will do the job. Power washers with less than 3000 PSI are generally not strong enough to wash a house because it may lack the power to spray water at the peaks of the house or other harder to reach areas.
GPM - The Flow Rate
GPM or gallons per minute is the flow rate of the water that is pumped through a pressure washer. The flow rate is more important than you think. Most big box stores will promote certain pressure washers based on the PSI but never seem to talk much about the flow rate. Ultimately, the more water you can have flow through your pressure washer the faster it will be able to clean.
If you are going to be doing any pressure washing for larger surfaces like your house or a big driveway, you are going to definitely want a power washer with a pump that has a decent GPM rating. Commercial power washers are usually between 4 and 8 GPM while residential power washers are generally 2-3 GPM. As a professional who is in the field washing houses day in and day out, I would recommend getting at least 3.5 or 4 GPM rated pump to wash your house, driveway, and vehicles.
Factors Affecting Cleaning Speed
Cleaning speed can be a sensitive topic because there are a lot of factors that actually affect your cleaning speed. Your cleaning speed can be influenced by your water supply and the hoses that you use, the pressure washers' cleaning units, the use of specialized attachments, and the use of cleaners and detergents. All these factors will play a vital role in your cleaning speed. Let's talk about each one a little closer.
Water Supply And Hoses
The first factor to consider is your water source. If you are a homeowner you will more than likely have a water spigot connected to your city or town's water supply via underground piping. For more rural areas, you may have water supplied from a well or a spring. Typically water pumped in from your city or town is pumped into your house fast enough to handle a 4 GPM machine.
If you are running your power washer on a well, it may not have the same capabilities as water pumped by the city. Also it is possible to run a well dry, and not getting water to your pump can ruin it in a matter of a minute. Proceed with caution if you are using a higher rated GPM or plan on using a power washer for an extended period of time.
When it comes to hoses, most garden hoses that people have are the 5/8" sized garden hose. Which is fine for watering the flowers, or washing the car, but if you are waiting to get the most out of your pressure washer I would recommend getting at least 3/4" size hose to ensure you're getting a good amount of water. If you really want to go for over kill, a 1" hose. I personally use 3/4" hose to balance between performance and sheer weight of rolling up a thicker and heavier hose.
Cleaning units is a term that is pretty well known among the pressure wash community. It refers to the speed at which your pressure washer is able to to clean. Cleaning units may sound like a weird term to refer to cleaning speed but its the measurement we go by when trying to determine a machine's performance.
You can calculate cleaning units by simply multiplying your gallons per minute rating and your PSI. The larger the number the faster your unit will clean. I personally believe anything under 10,000 cleaning units will not be good for starting your own business or washing 2 story houses. The machines we run are 14,000 cleaning units.
Specialized cleaning attachments
There are many specialized cleaning tools that can affect how fast you can pressure wash. Some of these tools include turbo nozzles, surface cleaners, and shooter tips. These can all play a factor in the cleaning speed depending on the surface you are trying to clean.
A turbo nozzle will allow you to do curbs much quicker than just a fan tip. A surface cleaner will allow you to clean concrete, especially large areas of it, in way less time than using a fan tip. Shooter tips will allow you to reach tall parts of a building from the ground, which also speeds up cleaning many tall surfaces.
Cleaning Chemicals And Detergents
To optimize your pressure washing speed, you have to have a good knowledge of pressure washing chemicals, as well as how and when to use them. For washing houses, chemicals are very necessary to clean your house fast and effectively. Knowing what concentration to spray certain chemicals and knowing which chemicals will clean specific stains is a skill that takes time to learn from either training or user error over the years. Once you have a better understanding of how to use chemicals for specific cleanings, you will increase your power washing speed dramatically if you aren't use to using any chemicals.
How To Choose The Right Pressure Washer
Selecting the right pressure washer is essential for achieving optimal cleaning speed. When choosing a pressure washer, consider the following:
Balancing PSI and GPM: Finding the right balance between PSI and GPM is key. Ensure it matches your specific cleaning needs. I recommend going with 3GPM and 3000 PSI as minimum ratings for each. if you choose something rated higher, it will just clean faster.
Engine Power: Consider the power of the pressure washer's engine. Higher power can lead to faster cleaning. Honda is the king when it comes to pressure washing engines. We love our honda GX390. It never lets us down but it may be a bit bigger than most homeowners may want.
Portability: The ease of maneuvering your pressure washer is crucial, especially for residential users. We personally use pressure washers that are on carts or frames that have wheels. We could run a higher powered machine, but anything bigger than our current machines would need to be placed on a skid which would inhibit our portability.
Maintenance Tips for Consistent Cleaning Speed
To maintain consistent cleaning speed and prolong the life of your pressure washer:
Regularly Clean Filters: Clogged filters can reduce both PSI and GPM. Regular cleaning is essential. Filters may be located near the pump or the spigot or even before the wand. The filter we clean for cleaning speed is primarily the filter for the pump intake.
Check for Leaks: Leaks can diminish the pressure and flow, affecting cleaning speed. Repair any leaks promptly. Hoses can be repaired by yourself if its a garden hose. if you have a leak in your pressure line, you should have that repaired by a professional.
Store Properly: Protect your pressure washer from the elements when not in use. Proper storage can extend its lifespan. Be sure to winterize your pressure washer pump during the winter months and be sure to use fuel stabilizer if you dont plan on using your pressure washer for a while.
In conclusion, when it comes to pressure washing, achieving efficient and speedy cleaning is a goal that many homeowners and professionals aspire to. The title of this article, "Pressure Washing Fast: The Key To Cleaning With Speed," reflects the very essence of what a pressure washer is supposed to offer. However, as we've discussed throughout this piece, there are several key factors to consider to make this a reality.
First and foremost, understanding the fundamental aspects of pressure washing performance, such as PSI and GPM, is essential. These metrics determine the force and flow of the water coming from your pressure washer. Achieving the right balance is crucial, and for most residential applications, a pressure washer with at least 3000 PSI and a GPM rating of 3 or higher will get the job done efficiently.
Moreover, various factors can influence your cleaning speed, including your water supply, hoses, cleaning units, specialized cleaning attachments, and the use of cleaning chemicals and detergents. These elements are all pieces of the puzzle that, when properly utilized, can significantly enhance the speed and effectiveness of your pressure washing tasks.
When choosing the right pressure washer, it's essential to consider the balance between PSI and GPM, engine power, and portability. Finding the right combination of these features will ultimately determine how fast and effectively you can clean various surfaces around your property.
To maintain a consistent cleaning speed and extend the life of your pressure washer, be sure to follow maintenance tips, including regularly cleaning filters, checking for leaks, and proper storage. These steps will ensure that your pressure washer remains a reliable and efficient tool for years to come.
In the end, pressure washing fast isn't just about having the most powerful machine; it's about understanding the nuances of your equipment, the surfaces you're cleaning, and how to maximize your cleaning speed. With the right knowledge and tools, you can transform the arduous task of cleaning into a swift and satisfying experience, all while enjoying the benefits of a sparkling home and well-maintained outdoor spaces. So, as you embark on your next pressure washing adventure, remember that the key to cleaning with speed lies in your understanding and application of these principles. Happy pressure washing!