Power Washing Two-Story Homes

Power washing, also known as pressure washing, removes mildew, dirt and debris that dull the appearance on your home's siding. Power washing your house at least once every two years brings out its best appearance. The strong stream of water blasts away the residue without the need for scrubbing, and it's a great way to prepare for a new coat of paint. If you have a two-story home, you'll need to use a ladder to reach the upper areas, or an extension wand. Working with a pressure washer requires a special technique to avoid stripping paint, gouging siding or even causing injury.

Power washing

Photo courtesy of © Susan Leggett

Power washing your home on a clear day without heavy winds for the best results. If you own a pressure washer, you are in luck when it comes to cleaning the siding on your two-story house. In the past, you had to rent and then erect scaffolding so you could reach the upper levels. This took a lot of time to complete. With a pressure washer, you can clean the entire house while you remain safely on the ground.

How to Power Wash Two-Story Homes

To execute this safely, just follow the steps below.

  1. Close all of the windows and doors. Turn off the power to any external electrical outlets or hardware. Remove any furniture from the area while washing the house.
  2. Spray any surrounding plants or shrubs with a garden hose to help protect them from the dripping, cleaning solution. Cover plants with a plastic tarp.
  3. Fill a garden sprayer with 3-parts water to 1-part bleach. Spray the siding with the bleach solution to coat it thoroughly from the top downward. Use a ladder to reach the second story. Affix an extension wand to the power washer, if necessary. Work your way across and around the house. Note: Skip this step if you have painted siding or if it's not excessively dirty.
  4. Attach a maximum pressure spray pattern nozzle onto the end of the wand. In most cases, you simply pull back on the coupler at the end of the wand and then snap the attachment into the coupler.
  5. To reach areas of your home 12 feet and higher, you'll need to use a maximum pressure spray-pattern. Start at the top of the siding and work your way down. Be sure to stand off to the side to avoid getting wet.
  6. Work from left to right starting at the top of the house; overlap each stroke by 50 percent to ensure you remove all of the dirt.
  7. Stand at a safe distance from the home and off to the side so you do not get hit by deflecting water. Pull the trigger on the wand and then move closer to the wall so the water reaches the top-left corner of the house, just below the soffits.
  8. Move back away from the house as you work your way down. This will reduce the spray pressure as you move down and the wand gets closer to the wall. Do this to avoid damaging any fixtures or glass because the high pressure can damage siding.


Telescoping Wand

If some upper level spots are a little stubborn, consider getting a telescoping wand. These fiberglass or aluminum extension poles can extend your spray gun from 12 to 24 feet. Without the telescoping wand, pressure diminishes as it climbs. The telescoping wand maintains the pressure much longer, resulting in a stronger, more concentrated spray.

Pressure Washing Business 101

Pressure Washing Business 101

Pressure washing is a multi million dollar industry in today's residential and commercial world. A pressure washing business requires a relatively small investment as far as equipment is concerned. Pressure washing businesses have become quite lucrative in recent years. They provide pressure washing for a variety of clients, including residential and those in industrial, construction and transportation services. Because they constantly have to go to places of business and residential areas, most power washing businesses are mobile. However, there are some that operate out of a commercial location, and these typically only do pressure washing for vehicles and other small items that can be brought to the pressure washing business.

Get Started

Conduct a survey to help you generate business ideas. Research existing competition in your area. Start at nearby residential areas and assess the situation in what areas is pressure washer needed. Determine the services that you want to offer. Your equipment and labor needs will be directly related to the services you want to provide. Establish your rates by calculating your cost of providing the service in your area.

Choose between commercial or residential markets for your pressure washing business services. Although the residential market is larger, there is more competition for smaller jobs and from do-it-yourself homeowners. Some pressure washing businesses are franchised while others are started from scratch.

Enroll in a pressure washer course if there is available in your area. Pressure washers using the incorrect water pressure can damage wood and siding. A course that teaches you how to avoid damaging a client's property is well worth the investment. Being able to restore wood and ensuring that you are compliant with federal environmental rules, will set you above other contractors in your area.

Next is to purchase the right equipment and vehicles that you need. Review the requirements by visiting the equipment reviews from various pressure washer websites. Generally, you may consider gas powered over the electric, since you won't always have easy access to outlets. If you can afford a trailer-mounted pressure washer, go for it because it will have a large capacity and can be pulled by your truck reducing the wear and tear within the bed of your truck.

For the best results, choose a gasoline-powered or hot-water pressure washer of at least 3,000 to 4,000 PSI. High pressure hoses, a water tank, a variety of detergents and cleaners and an assortment of tips should set you up for most jobs. Practice on your own home and driveway before heading out to perform work for customers. Buy liability insurance before your first job in case you inadvertently damage any property.

Other things to consider are the PSI (pounds per square inch) rating, GPM (gallons per minute) whether you can use hot water. Hot water may allow you to use a lower PSI, making it better suited for certain materials. Your PSI should be at least 2,000, but no more than about 5,000. Other supplies include hoses, chemicals and an X-Jet nozzle.

Monitor Sales and Management

Set Up your own accounting system. Find samples that you can use to track your accounts payable (bills), your accounts receivables (invoices) and your cash on hand from websites. Then evaluate your expenses and write up a price list that will allow you to make a profit.

Consider the time you anticipate you will need to invest with each job, the materials you'll use, and how much you'll charge based on what other pressure cleaners in your area are charging. Your price list may need to be adjusted once you've completed a variety of jobs. Revise your business plan and marketing plan as needed. Develop an inventory monitoring plan. Weather contingency plans and temporary staffing plans may also be required to meet seasonal demands.

How to Market

Join  associations and local chamber of commerce to stay abreast of industry development, sub-contract and bid opportunities and word of mouth referrals. Review your goals and strategies frequently. Get supplier contracts or lines of credit so that you have ready access to the inventory needed to operate.

Check environmental protection laws that affect your business. Some communities also have noise laws that may restrict your service hours. Contact government buildings and schools to get their business. Register your business in the Chamber of Commerce. Post flyers on bulletin boards at home improvement store.

Pressure Washer Killer

Pressure Washer Killer

Pressure washer is a power tool that sprays water at high pressures to clean large, sturdy surfaces such as buildings, farm equipment and roads as well as sidings of the houses and patio. Water is drawn with a hose pipe and the water is pumped out at different levels of pressure according to the requirements of the machine. They are available for all levels of cleaning tasks from weekend projects to heavy-duty commercial applications. It delivers extreme pressure and can cause serious injuries if misused. It doesn't have very long life spans which the best models could last several years. Aside from the life span of its prone to deter by the following intrusions and conditions that might killed their operational performance.  Proper care and maintenance is the key to avoid these pressure washer killer conditions.

Top 12 Pressure Washer Killers


Drawbacks in Using Pressure Washers

Drawbacks in Using Pressure Washers

Drawbacks in Using Pressure Washers. A pressure washer is a mechanical device, usually powered by an electric motor, a gasoline engine, or a diesel engine that uses a pump to generate a high-pressure stream of water to clean surfaces. The pump is a positive displacement pump that forces a specific amount of water flow from the outlet. By restricting the amount of water that comes out of the pump, specific dirt is removed. If you did not restrict the water flow on your pump, you are just cleaning using your garden hose - watering the dirt.

pressure washers

Just like any devices, a pressure washer has its advantages and disadvantages. Advertisements and commercials usually promote their product, so as an intelligent consumer you are to find out its flaws and limitations. Here is a list of its disadvantages.

One if its disadvantage is concerned with its power supply. If you are using an electric-powered pressure washer, then no current means no work done. Another disadvantage of electric-powered pressure washer is it cannot operate away from its direct source of energy. And it must have a built-in ground fault circuit interrupter or else you will have your equipment exploding.  On the other hand, gas-powered pressure washer has no problem with fuel unless there is no fuel at all. And although it encourages mobility on your washer, it exhausts gases which can be harmful to you. They are loud plus the added cost of buying gas, oil and spark plugs. They are more difficult to start.

Delicate surfaces cannot withstand the exposure to high pressure output. The main limitation of commercial pressure cleaner machines is that they cannot be used on soft surfaces. Hence, users must use extra care in using power user into them.

The high pressure output poses a problem for the operators as well. The operators must handle the machine with great care. . Operators should be vigilant enough to protect their own bodies from the powerful output of these machines. Both gas-powered and electrical pressure washers can cause damage to the human body if it is exposed to the output for too long.

To add up, pressure washers would tend to demand higher electricity bill when not use properly. The usual reasons of this happening are running the pressure washer without water, running the pressure washer in extended by-pass and cavitation.


Types of Pressure Washers

Types of Pressure Washers

Pressure washers are classified into following groups based on the type of fuel/energy they consume. Discussed below the characteristics of each type of pressure washer; check what suits your need for a wise purchase:

Electric pressure washer

Electric pressure washer is great and ideal for cleaning patios, small decks, lawn, mowers, outdoor furniture, automobiles etc. It weighs less and creates no exhaust emissions as perfect for cleaning jobs around the house and chores that emphasize cleaning over stain removal. It also runs in quieter than gas engine counterparts. Today, it’s also one of the most portable units in the market. An electric pressure washer is generally easy to start and operate in a range of flow rates and pressure ratings. It’s an economical choice for light to medium duty jobs for indoor and outdoor pressure cleaning. The ease of use by simply plug-it in and start and it's ready to go. While electric pressure washers also do not have a gas tank or exhaust therefore no carbon emissions making it more environment-friendly. The usual false impression with regards to electric pressure washers is that they do not come on models with hot water or high pressure capabilities when in fact a wide range of pressure ratings are made available in the market today. Be warned about the use of extension wires for electric pressure washers which can be a hazard on the work site if left tangled or out of sight. When acquiring an electric pressure washer, the availability of electrical power and general location of use should be considered.

Diesel pressure washer

A diesel pressure washer is a diesel fuel powered washer, it doesn’t rely for electricity for its power hence it offers portability and user convenience when it comes to mobility and site of work. There are a lot of uses in which a business can benefit including but not limited to cleaning of large parking lots and functional areas alike, cleaning numerous number of vehicles in a car lot as its portability allows these wide array of uses. Even the toughest jobs, the diesel pressure cleaners are capable to handle of any structures from top to bottom. These are a few of the many uses that are beneficial to household and businesses.

Why Diesel pressure washer cleaners are considered as an asset within any residential or commercial environment:

  • Without having to be plugged into an outlet, mobility is more flexible where the unit can be transported from area to area.

  • Investment wise, diesel powered pressure washers can last for many years, durability and longevity delivers higher returns on investment.

  • Ideal for work with well ventilated indoor areas and outdoor areas due to its ability to operate independently from a water supply, the washers are able to pull water from tank, a lake, or other source of water.

  • With Diesel powered pressure washers, there are models available with PSI more than 5000 in which in many situations are capable of cutting through toughest jobs such as substances that have hardened on the surface.

  • Because of the increased productivity with diesel, many users opt for this cleaning method rather than more traditional as it cleans highly efficient at a rapid rate. Thus, this allows users to complete more work in a day’s job and can do other task making it more beneficial to a business or house management chores.

Petrol/ Gas pressure washer

Petrol powered pressure washer are most useful for those who don’t have access to electric power supply. It’s the perfect choice for a variety of different situations which features provides ease of use and convenience tackling the toughest cleaning job. The petrol/ gas engine are suitable for even the most heavy duty pressure washing jobs. It can tackle anything from a variety of constructions site work to agricultural work. It can be equipped with features for an increased mobility factor. This type of pressure washer is extremely suitable in many different types of situation. For the early stages of construction work, this can be also perfect choice before the power supply is connected. It’s a perfect fit for large open spaces such as farming where there is no available electricity. The fittings for this type of pressure washers are made for long life; there are also replacement supplies for heavy duty brass ensuring the washer’s prolonged usefulness and durability.

Ultra high pressure washer

Ultra high pressure washers are widely used in various industrial sectors as it is a kind of industrial cleaning machines. These pressure washers are composed of mainframe and accessories wherein configuration should be in accordance with the requirements of the industrial sectors. Industrial needs can be satisfied with the high working pressure to mention; the removal of paint in the auto plant, cleaning the areas in a power plant like sticky dirt in the petrochemical plant. This can also be installed as an automatic cleaning device in cleaning different work areas simultaneously to improve efficiency with cleaning tasks. When conventional high pressure washers can no longer suffice, ultra high pressure washers can do the job, the stubborn coatings and dirt can be reliably removed even without the aid of cleaning agents. The ultra high pressure washers are designed particularly for the professional and industrial users. Because they are extremely heavy duty, it becomes ideal for the use of robust environments such as power plants, building constructions, shipping, offshore, manufacturing, agriculture, automotive and the like.

Hydraulic pressure washer

Hydraulic pressure washing equipment is ideal in many common applications; it is usually used for farm and agriculture industries cleaning with the use of existing hydraulics without the need for electricity or gasoline. The hydraulic driven pressure washers are with a very compact design allowing it to be mounted in a very tight space. Flow controllers are used in some models to ensure the motor can be regulated. It is usually found but not limited to these usages on farm equipments like tractors as the spraying equipment, cement haulers, industrial sewer cleaning trucks. Other usages are found in the plants with pharmaceutical, chemical, petrochemical and also with biotechnology industries. There are features and benefits that set it apart from other pressure washer cleaning equipments. First, it doesn’t have noisy motors. Second, it’s a compact and lightweight designed equipment. Third, pumps are durable industrial grade. Lastly, it has flexible specifications available in a wide and complete array of pressure ratings and range of flow rates.