Choosing Your Pressure Washing Equipment for Business – Where to Start (Part 2)

Choosing Your Pressure Washing Equipment for Business – Where to Start (Part 2)


continued from Choosing Your Pressure Washing Equipment for Business – Where to Start part 1

The Power of Water

Water is considered as the universal solvent because there is no other liquid that can match water in terms of its dissolving properties.  Adding certain properties to water makes it even more powerful as a cleaning agent.  For example, if you add pressure to water, you are able to lift, dissolve, and flush away any stubborn dirt.  If you add heat to water, you are able to handle oil-based and petrol-based stains as well as be able to sterilize what you’re trying to clean.  Add chemicals to water and it is able to intensify its cleaning properties.  If you combine all of these to water, along with correct application, then you practically have a very efficient cleaning machine that is capable of handling any dirt and stain adhered to surfaces.

Chemicals and Detergents

When choosing your pressure washing equipment for business, the ability to dispense chemicals and detergents is necessary because it helps to increase productivity as well as profits.  However, the quality of the chemicals and detergents you use should never be compromised as unregulated types of cleaning solutions may not only be harmful to the operator and to the environment, but it can also potentially damage your pressure washer unit due to its volatility or corrosive qualities.

Since cleaning chemicals and detergent are as essential as the pressure washer itself in the pressure washing business, it is safe to consider it already as part of the cleaning tools.  Whether you’re just cleaning concrete walls, walkways, pavements, sidewalks, garage, buildings, kitchens, commercial spaces, and other types of surfaces, the use of detergents and cleaning chemicals is often necessary for productivity purposes.

It is important to understand that certain chemicals are designed for particular cleaning applications.  For example, certain chemicals are designed to break down oil and petroleum-based residues, some are made to help fight against rust, some are made to soften water, while some are made simply to help remove stains.  When using chemicals though, it is important to identify the chemicals that are not designed to go through pressure washer units so that you don’t accidentally use them when using an upstream injector as these chemicals are designed purely for use with downstream injectors.  The damage they can do to your unit can be immense should you make that mistake.

Temperature Options

Pressure washers are available in three temperature options – cold water, hot water, and steam.  Basically, the temperature output of a pressure washer unit plays a big factor on how effective its cleaning capability is.

Cold Water Output – these units do not have any heating elements installed in them.  This makes them lighter and also more affordable, making them highly suitable for work on remote locations.  They are also the most common type of pressure washers.  Cold water pressure washers are ideal for most cleaning jobs that don’t require high temperature water output.  Since these units do not need to heat water, they are able to deliver higher pressure levels and flow rates.  Those who provide pressure washing services can greatly take advantage of these types of units basically because they are much more affordable than that of those with elevated temperature output.  Since these units cannot accomplish what hot water and steam pressure washers can do, operators often compensate through the use of cleaning solutions, chemicals, and detergents.

Hot Water Output – these are widely used cleaning equipments for both industrial and commercial sectors because the elevated water temperature they provide is perfect for dealing with oil, grease, and petrol-based muck and stains.  When using cold water on these materials, the cold temperature simply makes them harder making it more difficult to remove them.  If you use hot water on the other hand, they melt making them easier to flush away with the added water pressure.  If you cannot comprehend the effectiveness of hot water on these materials, think of it this way, imagine rinsing a greasy plate with cold water, the grease cannot be washed away easily without using any type of degreasing formula such as soap or dishwashing liquid.  Now imagine rinsing that greasy plate with hot water, the grease simply gets lifted and washed off the surface of the plate.  This is practically the effectiveness and cleaning power of hot water.

Steam Output – these are basically the daddy of all pressure washers as steam units have the highest temperature output which allows them to clean very easily and effectively.  These units are on high demand for use in cleaning commercial kitchens and food processing plants because they are able to easily get rid of any oil and grease residues.  Perhaps the only issue with them is that they are also the most expensive of the three.

Motor Power

The motor of pressure washers is responsible for turning the pressure pump which in turn generates the water pressure used for cleaning.  There are two types of motors used for turning the pressure pump – electric-powered motor and gas-powered combustion engine.  Each has its advantage over the other as well as significant disadvantages.

Electric-powered – since these units require electricity to run, their use is limited to the length of your extension cord as they need to constantly be connected to the grid.  This means they can only be used on locations where electricity is readily available.  For pressure washing businesses, often times you cannot dictate the location in which you need to clean as this will either be on outdoor locations or indoor locations.  For indoor locations, electric-powered pressure washers are the most suitable to use because they do not emit any fumes which can be poisonous if breathed in for prolonged periods.  In addition, electric units have a more silent operation which means they are ideal for cleaning near hospitals, hotels, nursing homes, and other locations where noise is an unwanted factor.

Gas-powered – these units can generate more power than electric units.  Since they operate using gas power, they can be used on remote locations such as parks, vehicle fleet parking, recreational areas, picnic grounds, and many more.  Due to the fumes they emit during operation, they cannot be used on indoor cleaning applications or areas with very poor ventilation.

to be continued on Choosing Your Pressure Washing Equipment for Business – Where to Start part 3

Choosing Your Pressure Washing Equipment for Business – Where to Start (Part 1)

Choosing Your Pressure Washing Equipment for Business – Where to Start (Part 1)

Choosing your pressure washing equipment can be tough if you don’t have any idea of the different types of them available.  If you don’t know where to start when choosing your pressure washing equipment, then there are chances that you may not pick the right equipment suitable for your cleaning needs – it is either you pick one that is inadequate, or you pick one that is overkill for your simple cleaning requirement.  Every professional pressure washing operators are aware that the equipment is very valuable so as to have success in the pressure washing industry.  This is simply because having a poor equipment will yield poor work as well as down time due to equipment maintenance which can cost a lot if you sum it all up in the long run.  Finding or getting the equipment that suits both your budget and needs is always the key.

There is a huge range of pressure washing equipment offered from a multitude of retailers.  Home Depot shops, hardware, and industrial supply houses offer a good number of options.  This makes it rather difficult to know where to even start.  The best way to address this is by asking yourself if you need one to make a living out of it, such as that of pressure washing companies.  If this is so, then you need equipment that is not only reliable, but also one that is durable, capable of withstanding abuse and prolonged usage. The unit should also be easily serviceable should you need to make some minor repairs.  Remember, pressure cleaning companies offer a professional cleaning job which means they also need professional cleaning equipment. However, if you need a unit simply for pressure washing your car and for home use, you will need just a light duty unit, more of an electric-powered pressure washing unit, as it is likely only going to be used occasionally.

Considering that you plan on opening up a pressure washing business, before you invest in a pressure washer unit, you need to decide on following: the types of surfaces you will be cleaning; what sector you will cater to – whether residential, commercial, or industrial; and the frequency of use.  The truth is you don’t necessarily have to cater just one specific sector as the more diversified your pressure washing business is, the more revenue you will be able to make.  Of course, the only two obstacles you need to endure at first would be the startup capital and the marketing struggle to attract clients.  After surpassing those two, if everything works out, your pressure washing business will surely flourish.  One factor you may want to consider when opening up a pressure washing business is transport – because you need to transport your equipment to the site that needs to be cleaned.  A pickup truck is usually sufficient enough to travel most of the equipment you need, and a trailer should there be a need for several numbers of pressure washers and equipment to be used.

Pressure washing businesses require pressure washer units with a heavy duty construction.  When it comes to pressure washer construction, the main difference between a professional-grade pressure washing unit with a consumer-grade one is the quality of the materials and components used in building the unit.  Units that are made for use on commercial and industrial sectors are built with stainless and ceramic components.  These components are definitely made for heavy duty use and can withstand long and continuous hours of daily operation.  If you compare these components with the brass and plastic material from light-duty units, you’ll certainly understand and see the difference why light duty units and heavy duty units are worlds apart, not just in build quality, but also in pricing.

When starting a pressure washing business, either from scratch or simply adding more equipments, there is a basic list of equipment (sort of like a starter kit) that you will need to have.  These basic list will include a 3,000 PSI hot water pressure washer, a 50 feet pressure hose, a pressure washer wand, a surface cleaner, a turbo nozzle, a 24-foot telescoping wand, a hose reel for easy pressure hose collection and transport, additional pressure hose of about 100 feet, Teflon tapes for sealing, degreasers, and other pressure washing chemicals relevant to the services you offer.

Aside from the basic equipment mentioned atop, your pressure washing equipment should also have the following attributes:

  • Belt Drive – this cannot be emphasized enough because a belt drive helps to dampen the vibration caused by the motor and that it also dissipates the heat emanating from the motor.  This helps to preserve the pressure pump from premature wear.
  • Electric Start Engine – the main purpose of having an electric start engine is so that you won’t have a hard time starting the unit up as compared to when using a pull start motor.
  • Separable Components – this includes the pressure pump, bypass lines, pressure regulator, inlet regulator, high limit switches, and pop-off valves.  Separable components enables ease of maintenance and repair  and allows you to replace or substitute with alternative components.
  • Chemical Injector – this would include both downstream and upstream chemical injector so you can dispense cleaning chemicals and detergents when needed.
  • Spray Gun and Wand with Interchangeable Nozzles – this will allow you to choose the type of pressure nozzle more suitable for the current cleaning task.
  • High Pressure Nozzles – since these are interchangeable according to cleaning task, it is recommended to have pressure nozzles that are lined with stainless steel or carbide for durability and withstand prolonged usage.
  • Heaters – heating is performed after pressurization at the pump.  The heater should be able to heat the pressurized water up to 200°F inside its heating coils before it exits the nozzles.
  • The internal components of the unit should also be made of ceramic and stainless steel so that it is able to withstand abuse and prolonged usage.  The use of such materials makes the unit more robust and durable.  For pressure washing business, a heavy-duty unit is highly recommended and that light-duty units are not even worth considering.

to be continued on Choosing Your Pressure Washing Equipment for Business – Where to Start part 2

What are Downstream Injectors?

What are Downstream Injectors?

Everybody knows that pressure washers are great cleaning equipments that can enable any person to clean effectively, efficiently, and in less time when compared to manual cleaning.  The reason behind the effectiveness of pressure washers when it comes to cleaning surfaces is its highly pressurized stream of water that bombards dirt and stains and basically flushes them off their bond or adhesion to remove them.  Despite being very effective in cleaning, you can still make pressure washers more effective through the use of pressure washer accessories.  These accessories can modify the highly pressurized stream of water to suit certain cleaning situations, or dispense cleaning chemicals that can help hasten the cleaning process.

Among the pressure washer accessories that you should have in your collection of accessories is the “downstream injector.”  Downstream injectors are basically accessories that enable you to dispense soap, detergent, and cleaning solutions.  This can be very useful as pressure washing operators are quickly able to apply cleaning solutions onto surfaces thanks to the cleaning unit itself.  Imagine yourself trying to apply soap manually on a large and long wall or pavement.  It would take a lot of your time, wouldn’t it?  This is perhaps the main value of downstream injectors because you are able to dispense cleaning solutions without taking much of your time.

If you use your pressure washing unit on other residential cleaning tasks aside from just cleaning your car, then you are likely to know that there are many cleaning solutions that needs to be applied using the downstream injector.  This is because a lot of these cleaning solutions are very corrosive and can damage the pressure pump and other components if you include the solution on the water that feeds the cleaning unit.  Since the downstream injector introduces the cleaning solution after the water has been pressurized, it does no damage to any of the internal parts of the pressure washer unit.  The solution is introduced to the pressurized stream of water through the principles of hydrodynamics.

One other feature of downstream injectors, unlike of the upstream injectors, is that the pump doesn’t have to work hard to draw the solution in and pressurize it.  This means the pressure pump undergoes less stress when using downstream injectors to dispense detergents and chemicals, and cleaning solutions.  Simply put, the reduction of wear through its use makes the pump last longer than when using the upstream injector type.

The ideal location in installing the downstream injector is the connection between the pressure pump and the pressure hose.  Place some quick-connect couplers on both ends and connect it to both the pressure hose and pressure pump.  Using quick-connect couplers will allow you to quickly attach the downstream injector should you need to dispense cleaning solutions.  However, if you are using a hot water pressure washer, then it is more advisable to connect the chemical injector where the heated water exits the unit.  The reason behind this is to prevent any of the internal parts and components of the pressure washer unit from the harshness of the cleaning solutions.

As mentioned earlier, a downstream injector works through the principles of hydrodynamics called the Venturi effect.  As pressurized water passes by the constricted orifice of the chemical injector, the high velocity of the pressurized water that passes creates a vacuum and thus draws the solution to mix along with the pressurized water.  However, in order for the injector to work properly, the use of a low pressure nozzle is recommended.

There are basically three things that cause the injector to stop from working.  The first would be the use of high pressure nozzles.  Since this is the case, you can use low pressure nozzles when dispensing the cleaning solution and change the nozzle to high pressure ones to pressure wash without having to detach the injector.  There are many who find this convenient because you don’t need to go back to the unit to turn the dispenser off should you need to pressure wash.  The second would be the use of long pressure hoses.  Since a long pressure hose creates more resistance due to the distance the pressurized water has to travel, it creates a back pressure wherein there is less draw from the chemicals.  In fact, at a distance of 150 feet, the draw of chemical will cease.  The third would be gravity.  If the pressure nozzle gets much higher than the downstream injector, gravity will create an increase in back pressure wherein the stream will have trouble drawing in chemical.  The amount of elevation that this usually happens is at 10 feet and higher.

To Rent or Buy a Pressure Washer

When faced with a troublesome cleaning task, pressure washers are often the only solution to cleaning them much faster, more efficient, and in far less time.  However, if you don’t have your own pressure washer, you have the choice of buying your very own unit, or simply renting one out.

These days, residential grade pressure washers are rather inexpensive which can be good if you are opting to buy a unit for yourself.  They can be used for practically every day cleaning tasks found in the home, such as: cleaning cars, deck, patio, pavement, fence, walls, walkways, driveway, garage, gutters, lawnmower equipments, and many more.  Then again, if the cleaning task you’re up to requires heavy duty cleaning, particularly dirt and filth that are oil-based, then you may need a pressure washer with hot water temperature capability to be able to effectively clean such.  Sadly, the price of these units can be fairly expensive which means renting one out is a better option as it is simply more economical.

If you’ve decided to rent a unit, be sure to check for prices before you rent as there are times the rental cost is near enough to the actual price of the unit.  This means it would simply be smarter to buy one instead.  If all you require is a one-time use only, buying a unit can still be an option as you can opt to sell after the job is done.

Accelerating Pressure Cleaning with Detergent and Bleach

Accelerating Pressure Cleaning with Detergent and Bleach

Pressure washers are practically the best cleaning equipment ever made when it comes to cleaning hardened dirt, mud, muck, grease, oil, and stains on solid surfaces.  These cleaning equipments are able to accomplish such feat by accelerating water at very high speeds to bombard the dirt with enough umph to penetrate, dissolve, and lift them off the surface.  This is what makes pressure washers highly indispensable for those in the cleaning business as well as for people and businesses who takes cleaning seriously.

Since the pressure washer has great amounts of cleaning power, operators are able to clean effectively and efficiently while taking less time to do it.  A cleaning job that usually takes many hours can be accomplished in less than half that time using a pressure washer.  The things is, even if pressure washers can accomplish any cleaning task faster, cleaning time can still be hastened with the use of detergent or bleach.  Accelerating pressure cleaning with detergent and bleach can further reduce cleaning time, saving both your time and water in the process.  In addition, aside from saving time and water, you will also decrease the stress placed on your pressure washing unit from using it for prolonged periods.

The use of detergents when cleaning can greatly accelerate cleaning speed, particularly when removing tough stains.  You can use the chemical injector nozzle when applying detergent and this will suck liquid detergent under low pressure allowing you to dispense the detergent properly and evenly.  Once you have applied the detergent on the surface you want to clean, allow it to sit for around 10 minutes without letting it dry.  Otherwise, you will be compelled to do the process over.  After letting it sit for about 10 minutes, you can then rinse it off using a regular wide angle spray.

When using detergents for pressure washing, it is strongly suggested that you use only detergents made especially for pressure washer use.  Using the wrong type of detergent may clog the system and potentially damage your unit.  Another important thing to remember is to make sure that you only use detergents and chemicals that are environmentally friendly.  On the other hand, should you need to use industrial-strength chemicals, you will need some special permits to acquire them.

Overall, when it comes to pressure cleaning, it is important that you have the right unit that fits your cleaning requirements.  The thing is there are many types of pressure washers and they range from low-end low-powered equipment to high-end high-powered industrial machines as well as different temperature outputs.  If you are planning to buy a pressure washing unit, it is essential that you know your cleaning tasks so you will be able to effectively identify your cleaning needs along with the right solution.  For residential usage, it is likely that your pressure washer unit will see less than 30 hours of usage per year.  This means you will only need a unit made for light duty.  On the other hand, if you will be using your pressure washer unit for commercial cleaning purposes, your unit may see around 10 hours plus of usage per week which means you will need something that is on the heavy duty side.

Using Bleach

Bleach is a chemical that has the capacity to remove colors, or stains for that matter.  Bleach can remove color through a process called oxidation wherein the active ingredients present in the bleach simply splits the organic compounds from the material, thus, cleaning or whitening can be achieved.  In technical terms, bleach is a chemical that splits molecular bonds in pigments that creates color.  This makes the chromosomes of the pigments smaller, allowing them to capture light at shorter wavelengths.  As a result, the surface or material will look whiter.  There are other types of bleaches that turn double-bond molecules into a single bond, an attribute that does not absorb light.

There are many types of bleaching agents.  The household bleach that many of us are familiar with is a mixture of water and sodium hypochlorite.  The bleach used on pressure washers on the other hand is made from industrial grade sodium hypochlorite.  Oxygen and peroxygen are other types of bleaches which are popular these days.  Since these bleaches are less active, many prefer them over sodium hypochlorite bleaches.

Aside from whitening, bleach is also used for disinfecting materials and surfaces.  Their use towards pressure cleaning is not a new thing as people have used bleaches with pressure washers for many years now as bleach is somewhat effective in combating stains, molds, and mildew.  However, the drawback in using water and bleach alone is that it often leaves spots on the surface.  This is the reason why detergent is often added into the mix so you can have a more constant result.

Among the many types of bleaches available, the tri-sodium phosphate bleach comes highly recommended by some companies.  The reason for this is that this particular type of bleach is effective in removing molds and black algae.  The only problem is that this chemical is banned on certain states.  Believe it or not bleach also comes in powdered form.  The best thing about powdered bleach is that it can be stored for longer periods than liquid bleach.  Powdered bleach is the bleach often used in swimming pools.

Using bleach when pressure washing can be very dangerous as the chemicals may ricochet into your eyes or your skin and give you some sort of skin irritation; it is not to be taken lightly.  This makes it important to use safety apparels such as goggles, gloves, boots, and rainsuit when using bleach and other types of chemicals.  In addition, you need to remember that bleach is a chemical that is harmful to foliage.  If you need to pressure wash with bleach near any foliage, it will be a good idea to spray them with water first.  That way, they will not readily soak up on the bleach.  As soon as you finish pressure washing the area you need to clean, give the foliage another spray of water to rinse off any chemicals that may have dribbled their way.

Pressure Washing Instructions

Pressure Washing Instructions

Pressure washers are basically effective and efficient cleaning equipments which have been becoming increasingly popular in the industrial, commercial, and residential sectors in the past few decades.  It fact, it is not unusual if they become even more popular as cleaning equipments in the years to come.  When people clean their cars, patios, walls, fences, deck, grills, and boats in the past, they, more often than not, put a lot of effort into doing it.  Such painstaking and time consuming effort can be alleviated with the use of the pressure washer.

If you have a pressure washer unit and want to use it effectively, the easiest way to learn how to use its cleaning power would be to first understand how its system works.  Basically, there are four elements in the pressure washing process regardless of the pressure washer type you are using.  These four elements would include pressure, flow rate, temperature output, and cleaning solution.  Changing any of the four elements mentioned will change the cleaning characteristics of a unit.  For example, if you have a cold water pressure washer but are attempting to clean something that a hot water temperature output will make minced meat of, then you have to compensate of the temperature difference through the use of cleaning solutions and chemicals.  Adjusting the four elements to achieve the right cleaning effect can easily be said, but is somewhat irrelevant if you already have your pressure cleaning unit.  This means that pressure, flow rate, and temperature output cannot be adjusted.  Instead, you must rely on chemicals and cleaning solutions to achieve the cleaning effect you want or need.

How does a pressure washer work?  Well, a pressure washer basically accelerates water and ejects it at very high speeds to break the bond between the dirt and the surface you are attempting to clean.  The best results with cleaning can be found through the proper adjustment of the four elements mentioned earlier, especially if you are just planning to buy a pressure washer unit.  However, if you already have your pressure washer unit, certain adjustments cannot be made.  Using the right nozzle and right cleaning solution on the other hand will, most of the time, help do the trick.

When using your cleaning unit, it is important to practice the pressure washing instructions listed below so you can achieve doing your cleaning tasks much faster and more efficiently.  These basics will help put your pressure washing into the right direction.

1. Choosing the Right Nozzle – in order to pressure wash more effectively, it is essential that you choose the right nozzle.  Many pressure washers come with interchangeable tips and those that don’t come with a nozzle that you can manually adjust.  The two main purposes for changing the spray nozzles is for lowering pressure so as to draw detergent, and high pressure for spraying at different spray angles.  Pressure washer nozzles come in different colors so the operator can quickly determine the spray pattern of the tip.  Red nozzles have a 0° spray pattern, yellow nozzles have a 15° spray pattern, green nozzles have a 25° spray pattern, white nozzles have a 40° spray pattern, and the black nozzle is used for dispensing chemicals or detergent.  The rule of thumb with pressure washer nozzles is that the smallest spray pattern delivers the most concentrated force.  For example, if you need to remove hardened or caked mud, then you need to use either the red nozzle or the yellow nozzle to better get rid of the dirt.  If you need to rinse off dirt, you will want to use the green and white nozzles for more coverage.  For safety reasons, when changing nozzles, always make sure that the unit is turned off and that the nozzle is properly secured before operating the unit.

2. Using Chemicals – only use chemicals that have been approved for use with pressure washers.  The traffic film remover is a non-caustic powerful detergent with wax and rinse aid and is perfect for cleaning cars, vans, and other types of vehicles.  The citrus degreaser on the other hand is a solution that is perfect for removing heavy grease and industrial cleaning.  To use the chemicals mentioned, you need to use the black nozzle or detergent injector to dispense the chemical continuously along with the spray of water.  If you use unapproved detergents, not only can they be potentially dangerous for the parts of your cleaning equipment, but they can also be dangerous for the environment.  It is also important to remember that if a solution may work well with concrete, it does not necessarily mean it will work just as well on wood.

3. Testing the Power – testing the power of your unit before starting any cleaning task is always recommended.  This can be done by spraying it about 10 feet away on the surface you are trying to clean.  Slowly close in the gap to around 3 to 4 feet of distance. Try to move the wand slowly from side to side several times and check if the surface has been cleaned.  If not, you may want to move the wand closer until your desired cleaning effect is achieved.  The main reason why the distance between spray and the surface you are trying to clean should only be gradually decreased is because you would not want the full force directed immediately at the surface because the pressure may be strong enough to damage it.

4. Planning What to Clean – always be careful when spraying near light fixtures, windows, and flowers as these may get broken if subjected to too much pressure.  In addition, when spraying cleaning lower areas, point the gun downward and not lower the gun so water does not seep into door crevices.

5. Pressure Washing – when pressure washing, always try to sweep the spray as if you were painting.  Also focus first on one area and not randomly spraying around so that you will not miss on any parts.  It is particularly helpful to start spraying dirty surfaces from the top so that dirty water will no longer trickle down on already cleaned lower portions.

6. Pausing before Rinsing – if you have applied detergent or cleaning solution on a surface, it is recommended that you leave it for 5-10 minutes for the chemical to take its effect.  Also, make sure that you do not let it sit too long that the water and solution on the surface dries out.  When you are ready to rinse, attach the white nozzle to give you better coverage and start rinsing from the top going down.