Answers to Common Questions

Pressure Washer Frequently Asked Questions

To Your Frequently Asked Questions

I get asked a lot of questions. Many of them repeatedly. I figured instead of answering them all over and over, I’d compile my answers for everyone here.

If you have a question go on over to my Facebook page: Pressure Washer Man. I’ll happily find the answer for you.

Here’s the answers, in no particular order:

Will I do damage if I wash my car with a 3,000 PSI pressure washer?

Use the correct nozzle (40 degree nozzle) and no damage will be done. A long-form answer to this question is posted here.

A 3,000 PSI pressure washer with a 0 degree nozzle is shooting a jet stream of water at 3,000 pounds per square inch. If we assume the water hits the surface on 1 square inch of area then the surface feels 3,000 pounds.

Now, with a 40 degree nozzle, the jet stream is now spread over a larger area decreasing the PSI the surface feels. In fact, a 3,000 PSI pressure washer using a 40 degree nozzle 1m from your car means the car feels 105 pounds. That’s 2x the pressure of a garden hose.

What should I do if my tap flow rate can’t keep up with my pressure cleaner flow rate?

Use a buffer tank.

Taps in the USA supply 8 GPM water flow rate, typically. But that’s from the city supply. If you’re doing laundry, having a shower, cleaning dishes and filling a water bottle the individual flows will be dependant on each other.

This is a common problem for high flow rate commercial pressure washers. And you don’t want a pump running dry. So put a water tank and your commercial washer on a trailer. Run your pressure washer from the water tank. Supply water should connect to water tank. Keep water tank 1/2 full so you always have that buffer of water.

How do I protect my pressure washer hose?

Use silicone tape or a protector wrap. Like this stuff.

Pressure washer hoses are only $20 to $40 depending on length but protecting your hose can make it last 2 or 3 x longer. Silicone tape will protect it from abrasion and from temperature damage, for instance, if the hose lays on the engine for too long.

What’s the difference between “soft wash” and normal pressure washing that I see advertized?

Soft wash uses less than 10% the pressure of a normal pressure cleaner to clean sensitive surfaces with detergents. Soft wash aims to clean but not damage the surfaces like windows, shingle roofs.

Inexperienced pressure washing contractors will use 4000 PSI washers with the wrong nozzles to blast a roof or house siding – damaging it. This is obviously not good for the home owner so be sure to ask your contractor.

Is there a limit on hose length?

Pubmech answers this on reddit: “For just pressure washing, not really. We can hit 95% of our stuff with 150′ of hose. We run 2 machines on our rig and 2 hose reels with 150′ each. If one of us needs another 50′, we just pop a 50′ section off of one and add it to the other.

For downstreaming chemicals, there is a limit. The hose pressure determines if you’re pulling chemical or not (pressure is determined by your tip, not at the machine) so if you go over 200′ of hose length, there’s a chance you won’t be able to pull soap into your line. It’s just the physics of moving fluids through pressurized lines.”

What is the white/greyish smoke coming from my gas power washer muffler (it’s weird smelling and doesn’t seem normal)?

The white smoke is oil burning off in the combustion chamber. Don’t worry – continue using the power washer and the smoke should go away in a few minutes.

I’m guessing your power washer is brand new? If it just arrived from Amazon it has probably been laying on its side from transport. It will have a very small amount of oil that has entered the combustion chamber. During manufacture a small amount of oil is left in the crankcase and during transport that will enter the combustion chamber if transported on its side.

How do I stop the pressure fluctuation coming from the wand (it starts off fine but then goes low pressure then high then back to low)?

That’s from air in the pump or from an obstruction in the nozzle. Here how to bleed the pump of any air:

“To bleed the pump of any air, turn the machine off and disconnect the high pressure hose and trigger gun from your power washer. With only the garden hose connected to the machine, turn on your water source and allow water to run through the pump of the machine for 20 or 30 seconds. Turn off the water and connect the high pressure hose and trigger gun and try using the machine again.” Source and further info here.

Here’s how to clear the nozzle:

Use a pin or paper clip to clear any debris from the nozzle opening.

Does your website have an archives or sitemap?

Yes. You can see the sitemap here or the full blog listing here.

[Page is updated weekly. Ask questions here.]