Last Updated on January 10, 2023
A pressure washer is a tool that helps you to clean exterior furniture and garden products. You can use a pressure washer on your car, patio, the concrete around your home, or driveway.
But how does a pressure washer work?
What’s the difference between the high-pressure hose experience you get with a pressure washer, and the outcomes you can achieve with your standard garden hose? Is there a difference between a power washer and a pressure washer? What kind of tools should you be using for specific cleaning jobs?
We’re going to answer all those questions right here.
Let’s take a closer look at how a pressure washer works, and why it’s so valuable to invest in your own pressure washing solution.
What Are Pressure Washers?
A pressure washer is a high-pressure device that delivers a powerful jet of concentrated water in a short amount of time. Through an electric motor or water pump, your pressure washer adds greater strength to the standard water supply from your home. This additional pressure makes it easier for the device to remove dirt from various materials, without scrubbing.
Both pressure washers and power washers are similar in their use of motorized high-pressure hose pipes. However, power washers typically allow you to change the temperature of the water, using hot or cold depending on your needs. Standard pressure washers often come with a simple engine or motor, a hose or wand for directing the water jet, and a few attachments.
Aside from using a power washer to heat the water, you pump into your garden or patio, you can also improve the impact of your washer with other accessories. Some pressure washers come with special tips designed for your car or garden furniture. Others allow you to use special washing detergent to get complicated stains off your or driveway.
The Parts of a Pressure Washer
Pressure washers are a lot simpler than most people realise. If you’ve ever noticed how much easier it is to remove dirt from a plate when you have your tap turned up to full pressure, you’ll understand how this technology works.
To fully come to terms with the performance of a pressure washer, you need to learn about the basic features included in each device:
The body of the pressure is the main segment. Often encased in a plastic housing, the body of the pressure washer is home to the pump and motor that power your machine. This motor might rely on gas power or electric, depending on the kind of device you like to use.
The more powerful your pump and motor are, the more you can potentially accomplish when it comes to PSI (or the amount of water you pump out at once). However, a larger engine will also make your pressure washer a lot heavier, which means it may be harder to transport around the garden if you have a lot of work to do.
The Washer Hose
The pressure washer hose and wand are the tools you use to control a direct stream of water onto a specific surface. Depending on the kind of work you need to do, you can get hose tips that deliver different results. Some help to spread the water out for a faster clean that uses less water. Other nozzles might be specially designed for tackling tough stains.
The trigger gun or hose that you use accelerates the water in your machine in the right direction, maintaining water pressure as you work. You’ll usually be able to buy extra nozzles if you need higher pressure results or more cleaning power per minute.
Options for Nozzles May Include:
Fixed Jet Nozzles
You can’t adjust the shape and pressure of this nozzle, just hold it closer to the surface, or pull it further away to reduce the force.
These variable lances make it easier to vary the force of your water flow from a focused point to broader coverage. This can be useful for cleaning cars, decking, and other surfaces that may be damaged easily
These high-powered nozzles are very powerful and focused. They’re designed to generate the best cleaning performance for difficult stains. Often, rotary jets are advised for removing stains from paving slabs and concrete.
You can also find angled and adjustable lances to help with cleaning under garden furniture and beneath cars.
Trigger, Wheels, and Handle
When you turn the engine of your pressure washer on, water should only flow out from the nozzle when you’re squeezing the trigger. The trigger will be how you tell the gas or electric motor to make the pressure that pushes the water through your machine.
Most pressure washers will turn off automatically when you stop pressing the trigger. This will help your device to run for longer because it won’t get rid of all its water too quickly. Thick handles and easier to use triggers make it easier to control the spray and how the water flows, as well as make it more comfortable for you.
The wheels on your pressure washer will help you to move it around your garden or home, so you don’t have to worry about pulling heavy buckets of water around. A good pressure washer may feature a set of wheels and a long handle so you can pull your device without bending.
What’s the Difference Between a Pressure and Power Washer?
When you’re cleaning things around the house, and you need a little extra help, a pressure washer is just one of the great tools you can consider. Some of the best cleaning kits also include a power washing machine, which is a slightly different version of pressure washer cleaning.
While both items are excellent for removing dirt and grime, the “power” option usually comes with a heating element included, so you can heat up the water for more effective cleaning with some stains. If you like using your pressure-based device for all of your cleaning strategies, then an option capable of using hot water may be able to get rid of dirt faster.
If you’re not sure which product will deliver the best results, follow the instruction guide provided with your machine. This should help you to avoid any damage to things like paving slabs and cars from using the wrong spray, cleaning materials, or pressure level.
Does a Pressure Washer Use a Lot of Water?
Inside your pressure washing machine, the motor and water pump work together to generate pressure and force large amounts of water out of the device in a focused spray. Because of this, a pressure washing system is likely to use more water than scrubbing your patio with a bucket and sponge, for instance. However, it can also deliver a cleaner finished result, so you don’t have to clean as often.
When you turn your pressure washer on:
• The water or cleaning mixture (with washing detergent) flows through the water pump towards the hose.
• The machine uses electric or gas to increase the potential PSI of the water with pump-based pressure.
• The spray flows through the hose and is directed by the nozzle to one of the areas or a piece of patio furniture that you want to wash.
Sometimes, you can reduce the amount of water you use for each washing job. For instance, you might reduce the PSI of the spray if stains are easy to remove on one of your paving areas or patio furniture. Adding detergent to help clean away the dirt may also ensure that you don’t have to run your pressure washer for as long.
Notably, although a power washer or pressure washer will generally use more water than a bucket or sponge, it uses a lot less water than if you were to run your hose while scrubbing your garden. Running your hose even at a slow rate as you wash a full surface takes a lot of time.
Look at the pounds per square inch of pressure that your washer can offer when you’re determining how many gallons per minute of water you might use.
People often assume that a garden hose would use less water than a pressure washer. However, the standard pressure washer will typically use about 2 gallons per minute of highly pressurized liquid. On the other hand, garden hoses are more likely to use around 20 gallons per minute.
Though it might feel like you’re using excessive amounts of water when you’re discovering how a pressure washer works, the truth is that you’re actually making your cleaning process more efficient. Notably, pressure washers are most efficient when used for tough or bigger jobs. If you’re just cleaning a small piece of siding on your home, you might be better off using a sponge.
Are Pressure Washers Easy to Use?
When it comes to learning “how does a pressure washer work?” a lot of people ask themselves whether it’s worth investing in one of these tools. Compared to a standard hose or a scrubbing brush and a bucket of water, a high-pressure washer will help you to clean your garden equipment much faster, and more effectively.
Depending on whether you choose an electric pressure washer or a washer powered by gas, you’ll notice that different devices come with different features to make your life easier. It’s common for many modern electric motor pressure washers to come with a gauge that can inform you when you’re reaching low pressure or running out of water.
You might also find a gas engine or gas powered pressure washer that comes with a built-in water tank, so you don’t have to connect your device to an outdoor tap or water inlet to start tackling dirt and grime. When determining how easy to use your pressure washer will be, make sure that you check all of the features, from how easy it is to use the trigger gun, to how simply you can fill the tank or connect your device to a water supply.
Is a Pressure Washer for You?
By now, your questions on how does a pressure washer work must have been answered already. If you like the idea of reducing the amount of time you need to spend cleaning away dirt, a pressure washer could be one of the best investments you make. Choose the right machine and you’ll reduce your work load, and ensure that you still get high pressure results from the perfect pressure washing device.
Rebekah is a writer who loves to explore new products and find hacks that make life easier. She has a knack for all things home improvement, health and fitness. So you’ll often find her on Pinterest or browsing Houzz for ideas.
She’s always looking for the next thing to fix up around the house or what gadget might be just right for her lifestyle. Rebekah enjoys exploring new recipes, taking care of her family, and making sure she stays healthy with regular workouts at the gym.