When it comes to cleaning tough and hardened dirt, dust, and mud on solid surfaces, nothing beats the cleaning power of pressure washers. Due to this cleaning power, pressure washers are widely being used on industrial and commercial sectors for a range of cleaning tasks. In fact, to further manage different cleaning requirements, pressure washers come in different pressure levels, flow rates, and temperature options to make cleaning more manageable. Combining varying levels of the three will yield in different cleaning power.
A pressure washer for many is basically a cleaning equipment they can use to assist them with their cleaning task. Its cleaning power is derived from the highly pressurized water it ejects from a small nozzle. This stream of power is powerful enough to lift, remove, and dissolve tough dirt and stains on solid surfaces.
When talking about the components of a pressure washer, you will often hear (or read) that the heart of the pressure washer is its pump. However, even if the pump is the heart of the whole unit, without the other components, the pump alone will not be able to generate that cleaning power of pressure washers we have all come to adore. The list below shows the main components of a pressure washer that makes it totally usable.
- Water Pump – as mentioned earlier, the pump is considered as the heart of the whole pressure washer unit as it is responsible for generating the highly pressurized water needed when cleaning. The pressure is generated by spinning its shaft which is done either by an electric motor or a small combustion engine.
- Electric Motor / Gas Engine – these are the two components that are responsible in spinning the shaft of the water pump. Since only one of the two can be used in powering the unit, it is relatively important that you make careful considerations in which of the two you need as both have their advantages over the other as well as significant disadvantages. An electric motor is quiet and requires less maintenance. It can also be used on enclosed and indoor spaces. Its two main disadvantages are that it is less powerful than a gas engine and that its range is limited to the length of the extension cord. A gas engine on the other hand is more powerful than an electric one and it can be used on remote locations as it does not need to be plugged in to the grid. Its two main disadvantages are that it cannot be used on poorly ventilated spaces and it requires more maintenance.
- Heating Element – since cold water units do not need heated water, the heating element is present only in hot and steam pressure washer units. Some pressure washers use fuel (oil, diesel, propane, gas, or kerosene) to heat water and some use electricity.
- High Pressure Hose – these hoses usually have a wire mesh outer coating over an inside rubber tubing/hose so as to be able to withstand the high water pressures it is subjected to. More common models of pressure hoses are wire-reinforced rubber hoses. These types of pressure hose models are ideal for household uses because they tend not to leave any marks and scratches when they are dragged over floors.
- Nozzles / Tips – there are a variety of pressure washer nozzles available and each come with different spray patterns suitable for different ranges of cleaning applications. The 0° nozzle has the narrowest stream or fan spray making it the most concentrated and most powerful of all nozzles. The 15° nozzle is often called the chiseling tip as you can use it to scrape off molds and mildew on surfaces. The 25° nozzle is meant for general cleaning as it has both coverage and power. The 40° nozzle has the widest fan spray. Although it doesn’t have the cleaning power of other nozzles, it is perfect for rinsing and for cleaning glass and windows. The chemical injector on the other hand is used primarily for dispensing chemicals, such as bleach, while pressure washing to hasten the cleaning process.
As mentioned in the first paragraph, temperature is one of the three factors that determine the cleaning power of a pressure washer. There are basically three types of temperature options available for pressure washers – cold water, hot water, and steam. There are also newer machines called the “Tri-mode” and they can perform all the three temperature options of pressure washers. This allows you to actively select the temperature setting you want suitable for the cleaning task you have at hand.
Cold Water – most pressure washers are cold water units and are mostly suited for cleaning tasks that does not involve oil and grease. These pressure washers are very effective when it comes to cleaning hardened dirt and mud on cars, lawnmowers, patios, fences, driveways, and concrete surfaces. Cold water units are very abundant and are the fastest selling models in the market. They are also less expensive, primarily because they do not have any heating elements inside.
Hot Water – these pressure washers units are highly suitable for heavy duty and very demanding cleaning jobs. Since they utilize hot water, you can use them to dissolve oil and grease which cold water pressure washers cannot do. Hot water pressure washers are highly suitable for commercial and industrial sectors, particularly in the restaurant and food processing industry, because the hot water these pressure washers uses makes simple job in removing the oil, grease, and lard involved in the business. If you use cold water in removing oil and grease, they will only harden making them more difficult to remove.
Steam – this is the pinnacle when it comes to cleaning power. These units eject super hot steams that can easily dissolve dirt, stains, oil, grease, and muck, allowing you to complete your cleaning tasks in no time. Steam pressure washers are ideal for very demanding cleaning tasks. They are considered to be the most reliable and effective cleaning equipment as they not only clean surfaces, but the very hot steam it releases also sterilizes the surface, making it cleaner even further.