Pressure washers

Homeowners Pressure Washer Buying Guide

In the simplest of terms Pressure wasahers use the force of water to blast stubborn dirt or other matter quickly and easily from any surface taking the hard work out of any cleaning job.

Water is  drawn by the pressure washer through a hose pipe and the water is pumped out at various levels of pressure according to the machine specification.

A pressure washer uses a great deal less water than if you were using your garden hose – making it more economical.

Questions to ask yourself are for what purpose do you want to use your pressure washer i.e. light, standard, frequent or heavy-duty cleaning or paint preparation. This will enable you to get the best usage out of your machine.

Help with choosing the right type of pressure washer

• Light Use - Cleaning items such as patio furniture and tools.
Medium Use - Cleaning guttering and vehicles.
Heavy-Duty Use - Cleaning areas such as driveways and patios and also removing paintwork.
Accessories - A wide choice of accessories are available to make the machine more versatile.

What is the water delivery/flow rate?

This is the measurement of water that is delivered over the period of an hour. The water-usage rate averages at about 400 litres an hour at approximately 100 bars of pressure. Pressure washers use a lot less water than a conventional hose pipe which could use as much as a whopping 3,500 litres of water an hour with only 4 bars of pressure. Saving water is always a good thing, so a pressure washer is an ideal tool for your outside cleaning jobs.

what should the pressure and the size of the motor be?

Looking at the pressure is a good place to start because you don't want to be disappointed with your machine if you feel it doesn't perform on the tougher jobs.

The pressure of the water is measured in bars. Light use will use 100 bars of pressure, light to medium will use 100-110 bars of pressure, medium to heavy-duty will use 110-130 bars of pressure. When working out the pressure that you need, look at the bar-rated pressure rather than the maximum pressure as this will give you the average rate which is a more accurate measurement (the maximum rate cannot be consistently maintained). The size of the motor is measured in watts and will control the power of the machine, so the higher the wattage, the more powerful the machine. A brush type motor is light and allows easy manoeuvrability whilst maintaining a high bar pressure. An induction motor uses a piston that is quieter, offers a high pressure rating and is more economical with water usage.

How portable is it?
Most models will have built-in handles but the higher the specification, the heavier the model, so make sure that the heavier ones have wheels and you'll be able to move them around easily.

What safety issues are there?
Most people probably don't think about safety when using a pressure washer, but they are very powerful, so there are some points to consider. You should use protective goggles to protect your eyes against debris that may fly up and also protective shoes to protect your feet against the pressure of the water. Take extra heed with your electricity supply as you are dealing with an electrical item with water. Ensure that your socket has RCD (residual-current device) protection, which is designed to prevent electric shocks by immediately disconnecting the power supply in the event of a problem.

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