Pressure cleaners are probably the most under used appliance when it comes to cleaning anything. People don’t seem to realize how powerful these machines can be and tend to use time consuming methods to do the job that could take a fraction of the time using a pressure cleaner.
These machines can be used for removing paint from walls, thereby saving you that back breaking job of having to sand and scrape the old paint off. They can be used to unclog your drains. They can be used to clean the driveway, take fungus off the roof tiles and remove mould from the floor tiles on the verandah.
So once we have decided that we need one of these machines we now need to establish what pressure washer to buy.There are hundreds of different models that range in price from $100 to well over $5000, depending on the application. So if you don’t know what you are buying it could cost you unnecessary expense.
If you are a homeowner with a tendency to do it yourself (DIY) then the cheaper machine will do, but if you are a professional cleaner then the larger more powerful industrial heavy duty machines are necessary. These are obviously a lot more expensive because they have to be more durable.
Let’s start with the least expensive unit that is built for the home owner.These machines generally would only be used for approximately 20 hours per year. The reason for this is the home owner would probably only use it over weekends and then only if something was dirty and needed cleaning. Also cleaning would only be done in the summer months. This means the DIY person is not going to spend $5000 on something he is hardly going to use.
The manufacturers therefore have had to build a pressure washer to suit, so they have cut the costs to make it affordable. To meet the design criteria they have used things like cast aluminum heads and plastic parts to keep the costs down. The downside of this is that this makes repairs to the machines uneconomical, but, they should still last between 5 and 10 years before having to be renewed. These pressure washers can be found at any hardware store or mass merchant and can be bought at prices ranging from $100 to $200 and are ideal for this type of application. They are normally electric with pressure varying between 1000 to 2000 pounds per square inch which is powerful enough for home work. Just a word of warning though. Make sure the electric circuit you have in your home is compatible with the machine. Your home would normally operate on 110 volts but check with the sales person before buying.
We then come to the heavy duty pressure cleaners that would be used by the professional or commercial cleaner. Here we would need anything from 2500 pounds per square inch pressure and upwards in order to be fully productive. Ideally a machine with 3000psi and a water flow of 4 gallons per minute should be used. The pressure is used to clean and the water flow to rinse the project you are cleaning.
Typically these power washers would be used for 100 to 1000 hours per year and would have to be built to withstand this constant use without breaking down. Remember that these machines are used for commercial purposes which makes down time very important.
Quality components are therefore used, such as forged brass pump heads and stainless steel valves.
Electric powered machines can be used for commercial use but there is a limit to the amount of power that can be generated, as you would need 220 volt or 440 volt circuits to do this, and which most homes do not have. These circuits are found normally in industrial settings. The advantage of the electric unit however, is that they are pollution and noise free.
So to get more horse power and generate more pressure it is advisable to use a gas powered pressure washer. The advantage of these machines is that they can be taken anywhere. The disadvantage is that they are noisy and emit fumes and for this reason a gas powered power cleaner should only be used out doors.
To complicate matters a bit here, you now have 3 choices of gas engines. You have the direct drive engine with the pump connected directly to the engine. This has fewer moving parts, but because it connects directly to the pump, the pump runs at the same speed as the engine causing more wear and tear on the pump.
The 2nd choice is the belt drive system which effectively cuts the pump speed by half giving you longer pump life. The pump is also isolated from the heat of the engine as it is separated by the belts and pulleys. Maintenance is higher though because of the wear on the belts but this is offset by the longer life of the pump.
The 3rd choice is the gear drive engine which also reduces the pump speed by half by means of the gears.
To summarize, the choices you have are as follows;
1. Home owner (DIY) – Electric 1000 to 2000psi costing between $100 and $200.
2. Commercial cleaner- Gas engine direct drive, belt drive or gear drive to give you 3000psi plus. Cost anything from $1000 to $5000.
Hopefully with this information you will make the right choice when choosing your pressure washer.
Post time: 02-24-2017