The invention of the pressure washer has significantly changed how we view tough cleaning jobs. In the past, what used to take countless hours of labor now only takes a few hours – all thanks to the pressure washer. These cleaning units are able to generate their cleaning power through the acceleration of water at very high speeds and through temperature output. This then helps to bombard the tough or hardened dirt with enough umph to penetrate, loosen, dissolve, lift, and flush it away.
In the past, pressure washers were solely used in the industrial and commercial sectors. However, this type of cleaning machine cannot be bottled up with just the industrial and commercial sectors as they now have invaded many of our homes. This is most likely because they are not only efficient and effective cleaning machines, but they also help to significantly reduce the time doing it.
There are three types of pressure washers in terms of temperature output – cold water, hot water, and steam. These three are powered by either a gas engine or an electric motor. Electric-powered pressure washers run using electricity which means you can operate them at distance your extension cord will allow you. Gas-powered pressure washers on the other hand use a small combustion engine which is fueled by gasoline. This allows you to operate it on remote locations without being limited to a nearby power outlet.
Aside from how they are powered, the significant difference between the two is the cleaning power they can generate. A combustion engine can generate more torque which means size-for-size a gas-powered pressure washer can generate more cleaning power than its electric counterpart. However, this does not mean that the electric pressure washer does not have advantages of its own. Even if they cannot generate the same cleaning power as their gas sibling, they still are able to generate the cleaning power needed for most residential cleaning tasks. In fact, most residential grade pressure washers use electricity which is particularly advantageous for household use.
Electric Pressure Washers and its Advantages
- Indoor Use – electric-powered pressure washers units do not emit exhaust or combustion fumes which is why they can be used for indoor cleaning applications or for areas with poor ventilation. Gas-powered units on the other hand must never be used on poorly ventilated areas because the combustion engine emits carbon monoxide – an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas which is lethal if breathed in for prolonged periods.
- Less Maintenance – unlike gas-powered units that requires a lot of maintenance such as the cleaning of spilled fuel, the changing of oil and oil filter, and the cleaning of the air filter, electric-powered units do not require such maintenance.
- Silent Operation – electric motors are far more silent than a combustion engine which is why electric-powered units have a more silent operation than gas-powered ones. This makes them highly suitable for use on areas where noise is not a welcome factor. Such areas would include hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels.
- Small Package and Light Weight – since electric-powered units do not have any fuel tank, they are much smaller and lighter than their gas counterparts. In addition, since most electric systems use a direct drive configuration, they have a much smaller and more compact design. This makes the overall package much smaller than units that use a belt-drive system. When choosing a small pressure washer, make sure the unit is capable of accomplishing the regular cleaning tasks that you have. If you will be using the unit for prolonged periods frequently, then a small unit is not for you as these small units are only made for light duty cleaning.
- Eco-Friendly – since electric-powered units do not emit any carbon emissions, they are much friendlier to the environment than gas-powered units.
If you want to purchase an electric pressure washer, make sure to consider the type of application and the frequency of use. This will allow you to choose the pressure washer that is more appropriate for your cleaning requirements. This is because knowing the type of application will show you what you will be using the unit for and thus determine the level of cleaning power you need. Frequency on the other hand shows you how long you will be using the unit for every given period so you can get a medium duty or heavy duty unit accordingly depending on your cleaning requirement.
All-Electric Pressure Washers
There are some electric pressure washers that may use electricity to power the unit, but still uses fuel for heating water. However, there are also pressure washers that use electricity for both heating and running the unit. These types of pressure washer are ideal for a multitude of commercial and industrial cleaning tasks. Although they may not have the fully portable convenience found with gas-powered and gas-fired units, all-electric pressure washers still possess their own unique set of cleaning advantages.
One of the main advantages of an all-electric pressure washing unit is that they can be used for indoor cleaning applications or for poorly ventilated areas. Since an all-electric pressure washer does not burn gas, it does not emit any fumes or consumes the oxygen available the poorly ventilated area. This allows operators to perform their cleaning activity more effectively since they do not have to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning or dwindling air supply. This makes them the ideal cleaning units for commercial kitchens as well as food processing plants. Another significant advantage of an all-electric unit is that it has relatively quiet operation, perfect for a number of cleaning jobs where noise is an unwelcome factor.
Despite having numerous advantages, one of the bane the electric pressure washers face is that they cannot be used on remote locations since they are always tied up to the nearest electrical outlet. This somewhat makes gas-powered units more ideal for some, particularly if they need to work on remote locations. However, when you think of the advantages that an electric pressure washer has, maybe you may want to consider getting a generator for your electric-powered unit. This solves your problem of working on remote areas as well as being able to operate the unit indoors.
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.
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.