A pressure washer is a handy machine to have around the home. It can be used to clean a deck, a garage floor, or exterior aluminum siding. It can literally make a dingy home look like new again, reviving the original color.
Like any other piece of equipment, it must be used properly to be safe, as well as regularly maintained. However, many homeowners just pack their pressure washing equipment away in the shed over winter, without thinking much about maintenance. This is a mistake that can be costly, because proper pressure washer maintenance can keep your unit running longer. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Before Each Use
For safety purposes, it’s recommended that you wear safety glasses and gloves when you are doing any kind of maintenance or repair on your pressure washer. This will also keep your hands clean if you have to top off fluids.
It’s a good idea to inspect the pressure washer each time before you use it, particularly if you don’t use it that often. Check the oil and gas levels. Add more if needed, but be careful not to overfill.
Check all connections to the unit, such as hose connections, to make certain they are tight.
You should also check the high-pressure hoses for damage. If they have sustained any cracks or bulges since the last time you used the unit, they will need to be replaced.
Check any inlet screens or filters for dirt or damage. If they are dirty, clean them with water. Damaged screens should be replaced.
Gas-powered washers should have regular engine oil changes to keep them running smoothly, similar to an automobile. The average recommendation is that the oil should be changed every three months.
After Each Use
Switch off the power and unplug the unit before doing anything else. Rinse the detergent from the unit and relieve pressure from it, following the directions that came from the manufacturer carefully. Let the entire unit cool down, then disconnect its removable parts and drain any water from them.
Remove water from the pump. The method for doing this will differ if you have a gasoline or electric unit, so follow manufacturer recommendations for your unit. Check for dirt or clogs and clean the washer of surface grime before storage.
Before You Overwinter Your Pressure Washer
Your pressure washer pump should be filled with a treatment of pump saver oil before winter. It contains antifreeze that will help to reduce corrosion of the pump.
If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter, you should drain the gas and oil completely from the unit before storing it for the winter. Gas and oil exposed to cold temperatures can gum up or jam the washer components, which is why pressure washers sometimes don’t start in the spring.
Be sure the removable unit parts are completely drained of water. Residual water left in them will attract insects, and may even encourage mold to develop. Store your pressure washer and its removable parts away from the outside elements someplace it can get sufficient air ventilation.
Before you use the washer again, you may need to replace the spark plug. It’s not a bad idea to keep an extra spark plug handy for whenever it needs to be replaced. That will save you some time having to run out to a parts store when you notice your pressure washer isn’t running with as much power as it should.
Routine pressure washer maintenance will end up saving you money in the long run. It will keep your unit running safely and and extend its useful life.