Is your home starting to look a bit dingy? Are you wondering what the best way is to get it looking like new again? Pressure washing is a great way to get it that way. Pressure washing uses high-powered machines to clean houses and many other surfaces. They are great at cleaning gutters out, washing off decks and getting rid of mold and loose paint from your home before repainting.
How Does a Pressure Washer Work?
A basic pressure washer is made up of a water pump, a hose and a trigger-style gun switch. It is powered by an electric or gas engine and comes with different types of nozzles. Chemicals can also be used. You can rent one or pick one up from the store but there are risks involved when using a pressure cleaner. Without the right training and know-how, they can be dangerous to use. It doesn’t seem like a stream of water would be all that dangerous, but a lot can go wrong. In fact, more than 6,000 people went to the emergency room as the result of pressure washer accidents in 2014, according to Consumer Reports.
Dangers of DIY Pressure Washing
1. High Pressure. The water coming out of a pressure washer is 50 times stronger than the pressure from a typical garden hose. This much pressure can cut through many materials, even heavy-duty boots. You may find yourself in the emergency room if you get distracted and lose control of the hose.
2. Electric Shock. Pressure washer power cables are typically 20-30 feet long and are susceptible the cracks and kinks. There is a higher risk of electric shock if water gets into these cracks. Pressure washers should only be used with ground fault circuit interrupter outlets to eliminate the risk of electric shock or electric fire.
3. Surface Damage. If pressure washers aren’t used properly you run the risk of damaging the surface you’re cleaning. Seals can be broken, and paint can come right off your home.
4. Personal Damage. If a pressure washer can damage a surface, it can damage your skin. A small cut or puncture can become much worse with a pressure washer and the chemicals can also get into your bloodstream. This can cause bacterial infections or worse.
How to Use a Pressure Washer Safely
If you must do it yourself there are precautions you need to take. Pressure washers need to be used with extreme caution. You should never point the washer at anything other than what you’re cleaning.
• Always read the instructions manual before you get started
• Use a washer with nozzles of varying degrees and know how much pressure and intensity to use for the surface(s) you’re cleaning
• Wear protection that includes long pants, closed-toed shoes and a face mask
• Keep your pressure washer on a level surface while you’re using it
• Never leave the pressure washer on while you’re not using it
• Use the safety latch on the trigger if you’re not using it
• Don’t use ladders to reduce the chances of an accident