Pressure washer, or sometimes referred to as power washers by some, are cleaning equipments that are perfect for cleaning driveways, pavements, garages, patio, fences, lawnmowers, vehicles, and other solid surfaces. They draw low water pressure from your garden hose and boosting up this water pressure using a special water pump. The pump is powered using either an electric motor or a gas combustion engine. On the cleaning end of the pressure washer would be the gun, wand, and specialized nozzles that can help control the stream of water coming out of it.
Electric-powered pressure washer units are usually made for light cleaning tasks as they are not able to generate the same power gasoline-powered units do. Because of this, they are usually used on residences where high cleaning power is not needed. There are three certain advantages that are undeniable with electric units. First, they can be used to clean indoors or enclosed areas as they do not emit any fumes which could cause carbon monoxide poisoning when breathed for prolonged periods. Second, they require very little maintenance. Lastly, they have very low operating noise.
Gasoline-powered pressure washer units, size for size, can generate more power than their electric siblings. Most gas-powered units are designed for heavy duty use. The cleaning power they can generate helps to cut cleaning time. Because of this, they are mostly used for industries as well as by cleaning professionals.
The cleaning power generated by pressure washers is indicated by PSI. Having a high PSI can greatly help in cleaning as it can easily wash off any dirt and stains clinging onto the surface you are trying to clean. In fact, having a higher PSI means you also decrease the time you spend on cleaning. However, you also need to be wary when cleaning with a pressure washer unit that has too much PSI as having too much can potentially damage or even destroy the surface you are trying to clean.
In order to avoid any accidents or damage to your unit, especially if this would be the first time you will be operating your pressure washer unit, make sure to read the manual first before attempting to operate the unit. This is because your manual will contain specifics and important information regarding your unit, specifically on proper usage and safety. If you don’t have prior experience in using pressure washers, ignoring this may damage the unit, shorten its lifespan, or worst, hurt yourself or the people around you. One of the best ways to avoid hurting yourself when operating the unit is to wear protective gears such as goggles, rubber boots, and safety gloves.
If you will notice, the nozzles that come with your pressure washer unit have different colored tips. These colors help to indicate the stream pattern that it produces. Red-colored tip generates 0° of spray and is the most concentrated type of stream. Yellow-colored tip generates a 15° fan spray that is ideal for heavy duty cleaning. Green-colored tip generates a 25° fan spray which is perfect for most general cleaning tasks. The white-colored tip generates a 40° fan spray which is most suitable for rinsing and light cleaning jobs. There are other specialized nozzles that you can purchase that can help you with specific cleaning tasks such as cleaning gutters, cleaning ducts, as well as cleaning flat areas. These accessories not only helps to make cleaning faster and efficient, but they also help make cleaning effortless.
The pressure pump is considered the heart of any pressure washers as it commonly sits at the core of every unit. It is responsible for generating and delivering the highly pressurized stream of water you need to lift hardened dirt and stains. In order for a pressure pump to generate pressure, it needs to get spun by either an electric motor or a gasoline combustion engine. There are basically two configurations for a pressure pump to get spun – the belt drive and the direct drive.
Belt Drive Pressure Pump – this type of configuration operates through a pulley system. It uses a belt to connect both the pump and the shaft of the motor and is responsible for delivering the power from the motor towards the pump. The use of a pulley system has its advantages as well as disadvantages. Some of the advantages involved with using a belt drive system is that the pressure pump runs cooler since it is not directly attached to the motor. Since it is belts that connect the pump to the motor, the motor is also not directly connected to the extreme vibrations generated by the motor. In fact, the pulley even acts as shock absorbers protecting the pump from premature wear and tear. The major disadvantage with the belt drive system is reduced efficiency brought by lost energy from the use of belts and pulleys.
Direct Drive Pressure Pump – this type of configuration connects a hollow shaft from the pump to the motor’s drive shaft. Since the pump is directly connected to the motor, the high pressure pump is able to spin the same revolutions the motor generates. This configuration means there is no loss of energy making it very efficient. The main advantage to using a direct drive system is that manufacturers are able to create more compact designs. Also, since this type of configuration uses less moving parts, manufacturers are able to make a unit that is less expensive. However, there is a downside to a direct drive system, it is also the very thing that makes its advantages. Since there is a direct connection between the motor and the pressure pump, the pump is subjected to bear and tolerate the vibration and heat that the motor creates, thus subjecting the pump to premature wear as well as reduced life span.
The truth is both type of drive system can generate the power that you need to clean. It is up to you to decide the type you prefer. Usually, direct drive system are easily portable because they are built under a compact unit. Belt drive systems on the other hand are usually for heavy duty use, commonly used for industrial and professional cleaning services.