Early summer is one of the best times to give the outside of your house a little extra attention. With the damage that was done over the past fall and winter seasons, your home could use some cleaning and beautification. An inexpensive and easy to use tool to help you out with this is a pressure washer. Pressure washers can be either gas powered or electric. The tips provided here can be used with either style of washer.
The first thing you should understand are the pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI) associated with your unit. The higher these numbers are, the more powerful the pressure washer will be. Typically, a pressure washer will range between 1,800 PSI up to 3,000 PSI or greater. Luckily, if you are using a high PSI machine, you can regulate the angle of the water stream, thus controlling the pressure coming out of the unit. This is done with using different nozzles.
Most pressure washers use a standard array of nozzles. Different nozzles can be used for different functions around the house. The nozzle types are:
- Red: Most Powerful Spray (0 degree)
- Yellow: Strong and Focused Spray (15 degree)
- Green: Medium Spray (25 degree)
- White: Lowest Intensity Spray (40 degree)
For most of the tips provided, it is not recommended to add a cleaning agent to the stream of water.
Cleaning Patio, Porch, Driveways, and Sidewalks
One of the most noticeable projects you can take on with a pressure washer is the cleaning of concrete surfaces. For this project, using the green tip is recommended. The nozzle produces a strong spray which is easily controlled based on how close you are to the surface you are cleaning. First sweep large debris off the surface you are looking to clean. Then, after starting the pressure washer, use controlled passes back and forth, trying not to respray the area already cleaned. Depending on how dirty the surface is, it should be easy to see where you sprayed versus where spraying still needs to occur.
Cleaning fence panels can be a challenge depending on what your fencing material is. If your fence is plastic or metal, then continue to use the green nozzle that was used for the surfaces mentioned above. If your fence is wood, you should switch to the white tip nozzle. The spray of water is less intense and will not remove stain or paint. Also, depending on the age of your fence, the wood may be brittle. Use caution even with the white nozzle, spraying from a greater distance than you think, and slowly move closer as you determine the effectiveness of the stream. Start at the farthest panel and work your way along the entire fence line.
Depending on how the sun hits the sides of your house, as well as the vegetation around your home, you may notice green splotches on your siding. This is easily removed by using the white tipped nozzle. Using a left to right and back left spraying pattern, start at the top of the area you are cleaning and work your way down. Be careful as you near the bottom of the area. You can easily disturb the ground and kick up dirt onto your recently cleaned surface.
Washing windows in the one exception where using a cleaning agent is recommended. The pressure washer should have a hose that you insert into a bottle of cleaning detergent specifically made for pressure washers. Using the white nozzle only and setting the power washer to cleaning mode (so the cleaning agent is mixed with the water), carefully spray the windows from a greater distance than your other projects. You should plan this project when you know that it will rain shortly after, so that the windows get rinsed and excess cleaner is removed.