What is a Water Pressure Washer Regulator?
A water pressure regulator is a plumbing device designed to prevent water pressure from climbing too high while also ensuring that the pressure remains high enough for consistent flow from faucets, taps, and shower heads. This valve brings down the pressure to a safe level before the water reaches any plumbing fixtures inside the home.
What does the Pressure Regulator do?
It controls the level of water pressure to ensure that it is effective and safe. It reduces the water pressure coming from the main water line into the house. When the pressure is high enough, water will be pushed through an open tap, even if the outlet for the water is well above ground level. However, pressure which is too high can result in leaks, eroded washers, banging pipes, and even explosions, in extreme circumstances.
Where it is Located?
This device is often located near the water main on the outside of the house, and it is very useful for people to know where their water pressure regulators are, and how to adjust them if necessary.
Types of Water Pressure Washer Regulator
There are many different types of water pressure regulators to consider, each one made for different applications.
How to install?
If you already have an existing pressure regulator it can be very easy to replace it with the same brand and model regulator in the same spot. Most manufactures do not change the shape or size of their regulators so a new one should fit exactly how the old one did. It can be as easy as shutting off the water removing 1 or 2 unions and unscrewing or pulling the valve out of position and installing the new one the opposite way the old one came out.
A new installation on the other hand is more difficult because it will require some adjustment to the main water line. This could mean reworking the main water shutoff valve so it is lower to allow for room for the regulator. You may want to call some local plumbers to get estimates before deciding to do the project yourself.
Why do I need One?
Test the water pressure of the main water supply to your house to determine if you need a water pressure regulator. When testing the water pressure make sure water isn’t being used anywhere inside or outside the house. You can buy a pressure gauge for a local hardware or home improvement store. Screw the pressure gauge onto any hose bib or washing machine bib and if turn the water on to measure the water pressure. If the pressure is between 40 and 60 psi consistently then you should be fine. Another precaution is to ask the local water company, they can often tell you if a pressure regulator may be required in your neighborhood.
How to test when a pressure regulator goes bad?
Water pressure regulator will go bad at some point, like any other plumbing fixtures and valves. If you notice water hammering or there are inconsistencies in the water pressure, it sounds like an indicator that it is not working properly. Run some test during your plumbing maintenance checkup or set a specific appointment you want to check the valve. Test the water pressure with a gauge if there is any question of the regulator’s effectiveness.
Testing the water pressure at least once a year is always a good idea. Don’t wait for bad times to occur before its too late. Too much water pressure will put extra strain on the home’s plumbing systems and can cause toilets to run, faucets to drip, water hammers to occur in the walls, and in extreme cases it can a burst pipe and flood your house.
Finding the right pressure washer accessories for your cleaning task is actually very important. This is because with the use of the right accessories, not only will you be able to finish your cleaning task much faster, but you will also be able to accomplish it more efficiently. Using the wrong nozzle on your cleaning task may set you off a few hours as compared to using the right one. In fact, you may even create an undesirable effect should you use a more concentrated stream of water on delicate materials or surfaces as too much pressure can be damaging to some surfaces. On the other hand, if you use a nozzle that has a widely dispersed fan spray, you may not be able to clean hardened caked mud as fast as using a more concentrated stream.
There are quite a number of pressure washer accessories to choose from and each of them performs slightly different from each other. There are actually other pressure washer accessories aside from tips and nozzles and some of them would likely be the safety accessories that you will be using.
When pressure washing, it is essential that you wear safety accessories and this would include safety goggles and safety gloves. The wearing of safety goggles is essential for any cleaning project as this helps to protect your eyes from stray water as well as from debris that may ricochet due to the extreme pressure. If you don’t wear safety glasses, the water that stray into your eyes may distract you and may allow you to point the highly pressurized stream of water on someone or some surface your shouldn’t, or the debris that may ricochet can potentially blind you. Safety gloves are also essential because they can protect your hands from the debris that bounces back from the pressure that hits them.
Another safety accessory, although not as important as the first two, will be the safety boots. The safety boots will provide you with the grip you need so that you will not slip from the water that may have gathered on the floor underneath your feet.
All three safety accessories can be purchased on hardware and home depot stores. When buying safety glasses though, you may want to invest in sturdy ones that can withstand high speed impacts from ricochets with hardly any problems. For safety gloves, you may want to buy ones that are thick and water resistant. For safety boots, make sure they have enough height and grip so you would not easily slip.
Nozzles are very important pressure washer accessories as they help to control the flow of water. There are in fact a lot of aftermarket nozzles available that can greatly help to make cleaning jobs much faster.
Rotating Brush – when cleaning cars, boats, or any vehicle, the rotating brush is usually the best choice. This is because the water brush accessory helps limit the intensity of the water pressure which can potentially damage the surface of your vehicle. In addition, since the head of the rotating brush spins because of the pressure, it performs a scrubbing action which is helpful in removing dirt off the surface of the vehicle.
Water Broom – this is a nozzle accessory that acts like a real broom as it is meant for cleaning flat floor surfaces. The main stream of the pressure washer is divided into several smaller streams that create the impression of a broom but with bristles made of water. Water brooms are perfect for cleaning parking areas, tennis courts, basketball courts, driveways, ramps, and floor areas.
Gutter Cleaners – this is a simple hooked nozzle which attaches at the end of the wand that enables the operator to direct the highly pressurized stream of water inside the gutter to push away the dirt and debris that may have clogged inside the gutter. This alleviates the dangerous task of having to go up to the level of the roof to manually clean and remove the debris by hand.
Whirl-a-Ways – these are also called flat surfaces cleaners as they are perfect for cleaning, well, flat surfaces. The nozzle accessory comes in the shape of a disc with a spinning arm with nozzles at the bottom. It is able to cover more area in one sweep as compared to a water broom.
Dirt Blaster – often called a rotary or a turbo nozzle for its spinning motion when in action. They are practically the best nozzles you can have in your accessory as the rotating motion of the highly pressurized stream of water acts as a brush helping to scrub off the toughened dirt on surfaces. The rotary action it creates is generated by the water pressure trying to push out of the nozzle.
Aside from nozzles, there are other pressure washer accessories that are highly useful.
Pressure Hose – the short pressure hose that came with your unit usually limits your cleaning progress as you need to move the unit each time when cleaning large areas. However, if you have say, a 50-foot pressure hose, you will have a wider reach without enabling you to clean continuously without having to move the unit itself. On the other hand, when investing in a pressure hose, make sure it is of high quality as poor quality pressure hoses will wear much faster, susceptible to leaks, and are less flexible making it more difficult to work with.
Telescoping Wand – if you need to reach elevated height, then you need to invest in a telescoping wand as it is able to extend up to 24 feet, allowing you to reach even the three-storey walls. Instead of using ladders and flimsy scaffolds, most experts recommend that you use a telescoping wand for cleaning elevated areas such as gutters. This makes the telescoping wand the perfect match for the gutter cleaner.
Ball Valve – this is basically a shut off valve that you place at the end of your pressure hose. This accessory is helpful as it allows you to shut off the pressure when replacing accessories without having to go near the unit to turn it off.
High Pressure Pump
All manufacturers of pressure washers consider the high pressure pump as the heart of a pressure washer. This is because pressure pumps are responsible for generating the pressure needed to make a pressure washer what it is – a cleaning equipment that utilizes high water pressure to clean. The most popular type of pressure pump that can be found on pressure washer these days is the triplex, positive displacement, reciprocating plunger pump. These pumps are widely used because they offer a smooth flow with equal volume and pressure throughout. It generates the pressure by pushing the fluid through a restrictive nozzle and not on the pump itself.
High end pressure pumps use solid ceramic plungers and come with an unloader, a safety mechanism that regulates the flow of exiting water, a pressure hose fitting, and a thermal relief valve. Some of the well known brands of high pressure pumps are Cat, Comet, General, and Giant. They offer lasting seals and superior construction by using high quality components which results in continuous use with minimal maintenance. There are others however that use forged brass manifold which has a lifetime guarantee.
Pressure pumps that are made for industrial use are often abused by a battery of constant heavy work which is why they have their own sets of standards. High pressure pumps for industrial applications often have die-cast bodies, brass heads, special valve cages, oversized bearings, and cooling fins to be able to take the abuse and provide extended life to the pressure pump itself.
High pressure pumps can have left or right mounting options, they can be placed on different orientation, they can be self-priming, frame-mounted, have multi-stage, be corrosion resistant, and have variable speeds. The truth is reviewing the different options available can take some of your time, but will overall be truly worth your time as you will have a good idea on what these options are for, thus preventing you from making misguided decisions.
The thermal relief valve of your pump is essential to the longevity of your pump. It is responsible for relieving the pressure caused by the increased volume of liquid due to an increase in temperature. This prevents overheating caused by recirculating water. A pressure pump is notably able to handle water that is 68° in temperature. However, if the water gets a bit hotter, the formation of air bubbles can explode upon reaching the high-pressure chamber and it can blow a hole in the pump. This is why it is always advised not to leave the unit running for more than 2 minutes in bypass mode without depressing the gun. Triggering the gun will send cool water in to cool down any heated water. If you are unable to do this, then it is simply best to just turn off the unit.
Pressure pumps can be used either for transferring water, such as on a pressure washer, or for creating suction. Both ways still creates fluid displacement. It is important to know what type of fluids you use on your pump as this will determine the life of your pump. If you plan on running any chemicals inside the pump, it is important to check first the listing on your manufacturer’s manual so as to prevent any buildup of corrosion or damage to the pump. Stainless steel types are very much capable of withstanding heavy chemical use.
If you maintain you unit and you pump regularly, it is not uncommon to see it lasting for many years. Some of the regular maintenance your pump may require would be changing the oil every 3 to 5 months. It is also a good idea to check the level of the oil before every use. Checking some of the equipments is also beneficial as there are some instances that the pump was thought to have been failing when all the while it was just the nozzle that has become clogged.
The pressure pump usually sits at the core of the pressure washer. In order to generate pressure, the high pressure pump needs to be powered either by an electric motor or a combustion engine. There are basically two ways that these powertrain can deliver their power to the pressure pump, either through belt drive or through direct drive.
Belt Drive – a belt drive basically runs using a pulley system mounted on a solid shaft and a motor. This type of configuration allows the pressure pump to run at lower RPM as compared to a direct drive. The crankcase of the beltdrive contains a larger oil capacity. This, along with the low RPM that the belt drive generates means the pump runs at much cooler temperatures. One of the main advantages of using a belt drive is that the pump receives less vibration. This is possible because the belt and pulleys acts as shock absorbers. Aside from that, the pressure pump is also isolated from the heat that the motor generates. Although there is reduced efficiency in using this configuration as some of the energy is lost in the belts and pulleys, the pressure pump on the other hand is not subjected to too much wear due to vibration and heat.
Direct Drive – a direct drive contains a hollow shaft which can slide into the drive shaft of the motor. The flange of the pressure pump is made to be mounted on the face of the motor where both the drive shaft and the shaft of the pump are connected. Since the pump is directly connected to the motor, the pump is able to achieve the same revolutions as that of the motor. Using this type of configuration allows the manufactures to make a more compact pressure washer design. In addition, since there are less moving parts, the unit can also be retailed at a lesser price. The downside of this type of configuration however is that since both the pump and motor are spinning at the same revolutions per minute, not to mention the vibration created, the pump is subjected to more wear and tear, which is why the lifespan of the unit is greatly reduced.
Pressure Washer Nozzles
Pressure washers are considered and known by many as the best invention made when it comes to cleaning hard to remove dust, dirt and grime on hard or solid surfaces. However, very few people know that it is the nozzles that are responsible in making a pressure washer versatile. Pressure washer nozzles are indispensable accessories for a pressure washer unit and are the most functional attachment. They are responsible in regulating the spray coming from the unit. There are actually different types of nozzles and each can help to tailor the stream of water to suit your specific cleaning task.
If you are looking for a new pressure washer nozzle, always remember that not all these products are made the same. Different nozzles are made for different purposes and this could be anywhere from cleaning dirt and mud, stripping paint and graffiti off walls, or blasting away rust and oxidation off from different metals. The efficiency of a pressure washer will depend on the type of nozzle that is being used for a particular task as the angle of the spray pattern is very important. In addition, the power of the nozzles will depend on the type and power of the unit you are using.
If you look carefully, you will find some numbers stamped on the nozzles themselves. These numbers are in fact industry standard identification numbers that indicates the spray angle and the size of the orifice. The numbers are commonly four to five digits long. The first two numbers indicates the spray angle of the nozzle. For instance, if the first two numbers say “25,” it means that the spray angle of that nozzle is 25 degrees. The next series of number on the other hand indicates the size of the orifice. For instance, if the next series of number says “34,” this means that the size of the orifice is 3.4 in size. This size can be referred to as the PSI level of the nozzle – an indicator of how much water pressure is produced.
If you plan on cleaning something using your pressure washer unit, it is important to consider the type of cleaning you need to do so you will be able to choose the most appropriate type of nozzle. It common sense that the narrower the angle, the more power there is as the spray is directly concentrated on the surface. As the angle of the spray gets bigger, the lesser the power you get, but you also have more coverage area. The list below will show you the angle, the color, and what specific applications you can use the nozzle for:
• 0° spray – this is often comes with the color red and creates a pencil-like stream of water which can generate the highest amount of pressure. This spray angle is perfect for many heavy duty cleaning applications such as removing rust and oxidation, caked mud and cement form construction equipments, or for washing glue or tar form pavements.
• 15° spray – this often comes with the color yellow and is commonly referred to as chiseling tips due to the angle of their spray pattern. You can use this nozzle like a scraper to strip off paint from walls, molds, or mildew. You can even use it for cleaning the stubborn dirt and grease from your lawn equipments.
• 25° spray – this often comes with the color green and is the perfect type of washing tip as it has both power and surface area. This nozzle can be used for sweeping dirt and foliage on flat surfaces, or you can use for cleaning the roof and pool. Others even use this for removing any dust or particles from walls as preparation for paint application.
• 40° spray – this often comes with the color white and has the widest angle of spray. Although this nozzle has lost of its power, the wider dispersion of spray makes it perfect for light and sensitive cleaning. It is perfect for rinsing and for cleaning cars and windows. They are the most appropriate nozzle for cleaning wood fences, patios, and other delicate items.
There are also specialize types of nozzles that are perfect for specific cleaning jobs. One of them is the gutter cleaner which is an attachment that has been made to specifically clean the inside portion of gutters. Everyone knows that cleaning gutters can be dangerous as you either need to climb the roof and go near the edge to clean it, or climb up a ladder that is near the gutter itself. With the gutter cleaner however, along with a telescopic wand that elongates up to 24 feet, you can clean your gutter with your feet firmly planted safely on terra firma. This is possible as the gutter cleaner has a curved neck which allows you to direct the pressurized water onto the gutter itself. This will allow you to push the leaves and other debris that are trapped inside.
Another specialized nozzle would be the turbo nozzle. Turbo nozzles can provide you with more cleaning power as these nozzles generate a spinning like motion due to the pressure of the water itself. This rotating motion mimics the scrubbing action we do when we are cleaning by hand, which in turn provides you with more cleaning power.
Pressure washers are by no means simple and dandy equipments as they are able to generate great amounts of pressure which can be dangerous if they are not handled properly. When handling a pressure washer, regardless of the type of nozzle that is attached to it, make sure to never point the wand at yourself or any other living thing for that matter. The pressures these equipments can generate are enough to peel your skin and cause irreparable injury. Always treat a pressure washer unit as if it were a loaded gun. When trying to replace the nozzle on the unit, make sure that the unit is turned off and always make sure that the nozzle you replaced is locked in place so as to ensure not just your safety, but also the safety of those around you.
Many homeowners all around the world love the idea of do-it-yourself cleaning tasks. It makes them become more knowledgeable about the simple yet rather sometimes complicated task of cleaning.
There are some do-it-yourself homeowners who like to clean the old-fashioned way with the use of mops, brooms, brushes, cloth rags, cleaning agents, sprays, etc. These items certainly do their job, but it requires a lot of backbreaking effort.
In the old days, only the industrial and commercial sectors can afford to acquire these pressure washer units. It not only gets the cleaning job well done, but it also requires only a small amount of time. This is what many of us would like to have, a cleaning machine that helps us clean efficiently with only a little effort exerted and it uses up only a small portion of our time. However, because it was once a luxury many of us could not afford at that time, we opted to find other ways to clean our homes efficiently such as using improved cleaning agents, static-powered dusters, fancy mops and tinier vacuum cleaners. These cleaning items are great to use at home, but they do not last very long, unlike a good quality pressure washer. Fortunately, as time passes by and technology gets more advanced, the affordability and availability of pressure washers for home use has certainly delighted many homeowners.
What exactly is a pressure washer? According to Wikipedia, a pressure washer is a mechanical sprayer that, depending on nozzle size, can be used as a low volume high-pressure water cleaner or a high volume low pressure water cleaner to remove loose paint, mold, grime, dust, mud, and dirt from surfaces and objects such as buildings, vehicles, and concrete road surfaces.
To understand how it works, below are the basic components of a pressure washer:
1. Pressure Washer Motor – There are many varieties of motors used in different kinds of pressure washers. It may also depend on the location and variety of the applications. Most high-powered pressure washers that are used in commercial settings typically have diesel or gasoline-powered engines. Due to the fact that many of the commercial cleaning jobs involve lots of time are performed in the open air, these types of motors were specially created to operate for a longer period of time without overheating unlike the electric-powered version. In addition, they are very useful when used offsite, where there is no electricity source available. Oftentimes, pressure washers that have electric-powered motors are utilized for light to moderate washing jobs such as cleaning jobs in automobiles, smaller motorboats and households, and they are extremely effective when utilized for indoor tasks because their engines do not tend to produce unhealthy smoke or fumes.
2. High Pressure Water Pump – The high pressure water pump is considered to be the pressure washer’s core or “heart”. There are actually two types of pumps that are available, depending on the pressure washer unit – piston pumps and plunger pumps. Both the piston pumps and plunger pumps are reciprocating pumps that utilize a piston or plunger in order to move media through a cylindrical chamber. The piston or plunger is activated by a steam powered, hydraulic, pneumatic, or electric drive. Piston pumps and plunger pumps can also be referred to as high pressure pumps, high viscosity pumps or service pumps. Between the two pumps, the plunger pumps are considered to be the most efficient and they also have a much longer lifespan. Because of those characteristics, they are the most commonly utilized pumps nowadays and they are found in superior modern pressure washers. There are units that have duplex and even triplex plunger pumps. Plunger pumps are typically made of ceramic, which is a very tough substance that has great anti-resistant properties. They are very sturdy and when they are properly maintained, they will never cause you any hassle. Due to the fact that it can produce a more stable flow, the triplex pump is the most sought-after type of pump in the pressure washer market today.
3. High Pressure Hose – A high pressure hose is made up of an inner tube in which the water can pass through. This is covered with wire mesh that is either single or double braided. This in turn is surrounded by an external rubber cover. Typically, the cheaper hoses are covered with a thermoplastic substance, whereas the better hoses are covered with a rubber substance. Most of the hoses are created with burst ratings that are four times their graded working pressure. Whenever you are matching hoses for pressure washers, use a hose that is rated somewhat greater than the PSI (pounds per square inch) rating of your machine. This will make your hose last longer. Normal PSI ratings include 3000 PSI, 4000 PSI, 4500 PSI, 5000PSI and 6000 PSI. Both the 3000 and 4000 PSI hoses are typically single braid while hoses having a burst rating of 5000 PSI or more have almost always a dual-braided (or 2-wire) mesh.
4. High Pressure Nozzles – Most people think that the nozzles are simple and seemingly insignificant accessories of a pressure washer. These accessories are actually the ones that make the whole high pressure system work perfectly. Pressure washer nozzles possess a small pinhole that is sized accordingly in order to make the required pressure at a particular flow. The hole serves as a restriction in the water flow. Once the flow from the pump is forced all the way through this restriction, pressure is then created. That moment is the time that you have a complete pressure washing system in working condition. The pressure washer nozzles that have holes which are most nearly sized to the specific features of the pump will usually provide you the greatest pressure washing performance. The high pressure nozzles are very important accessories in a high-powered pressure washer as they produce the right amount of restriction wherein water flow becomes “pressurized” and directed with such powerful pressure. In reality, a worn-out nozzle will have a significant decrease in pressure. A mismatched hole may have the same decreased pressure outcome as well. The best thing that you can get out of your pressure washer is a nozzle that has virtually no deterioration at all and one that has a spray hole which is appropriately sized for your pumps’ output.
Pressure Washer - Choosing the Right Nozzles
Pressure washers are very handy when it comes to accomplishing a lot of cleaning chores. They are very effective when it comes to removing hardened dirt, mud, and stains on solid surfaces. Their changeable nozzles and tips also allow you to customize the spray of water according to your cleaning needs. Having a variety of nozzles and tips is essential when you have a pressure washer unit as not all nozzles and tips can be used to accomplish different cleaning tasks. There are some that are highly suitable for certain tasks and there some that are suited for others. This makes it ideal to learn what a specific pressure washer nozzle and tip is designed for to maximize its potential.
There are basically 2 types of nozzles styles – the two piece gun or wand and the large electric gun and wand. The two piece gun or wands are typically found on smaller units, while large electric gun and wand are made for larger commercial units. Once you have determined the type of nozzle your unit uses, you need to determine its size. This can be accomplished by identifying the power of the unit or by the style of the gun or wand.
There are a good variety of pressure washer tips and many of them are specialized for certain cleaning tasks. It is best to figure them out by trying them on certain cleaning tasks. There are also some that are easily identifiable because of their name.
Interchangeable Tips – these tips have a quick-release lock so you can easily change into the tip that suits your cleaning task. The best part about them is that as an operator of the unit, you are able to adjust the angle of the spray accordingly.
Chemical Injectors – these tips gives you control on how much cleaning solution you want to be used throughout a job. It allows you to spray the cleaning chemicals only when necessary and avoid wasting it by continuously spraying the whole time the washer is on.
Rotating Tips – the advantage of using rotating tips is that their rotating action acts like a scrubbing action which allows them to clean more effectively. The rotation of the nozzles occurs due to the high pressure being forced out a loose outer shell.
Cleaning hard to remove dirt has never been easy thanks to pressure washers. In fact, using the right nozzle and tip will actually make the cleaning tasks even a lot easier. This makes it important to know which type of tip or nozzle is suitable for your cleaning task not just to make cleaning easier, but also finish it in a lot less time.