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Pressure Washing Your Deck

The easiest, most effective way of cleaning dirty, grimy surfaces is with a pressure washer. They are specially designed to remove built-up mold, mildew, dirt and grime and to restore surfaces to like-new condition in a fraction of the time it would take by hand. Pressure washers come in a variety of styles, sizes and additional attachments that can be used for more than just cleaning your deck. For homeowners and contractors everywhere, these machines have become a necessity because they are versatile, economical and powerful tools.

Purchasing a pressure washer is an intelligent investment. There are just so many ways that it can be used that you are bound to get your moneys worth. For example, you can use them to clean your deck, clean your driveway, clean your grill, pump out water from your pool, remove debris from compacted pipes, and so much more. Furthermore, many manufacturers sell additional attachments that allow for a multitude of other uses.

Pressure washers are also great investments for those of you that live in areas where water is scarce. They are very economical and conserve water when used correctly. In most cases, pressure washers will use 80% less water than a standard garden hose. This is a huge benefit considering the fact that conserving water has become an increasing concern in today's world.

There are three main types of pressure washers on the market today which include gasoline powered, electric powered, and diesel powered pressure washers. You can even find pressure washers that have heating coils to produce hot water. However, gas motors are the most common.

With so many different varieties on the market, it is often difficult to figure out which pressure washer is best for you. Try reviewing the information below and answering some of the questions to help you figure out what kind of pressure washer to invest in.

How often will you use your power washer and what will you use it for? You will find washers that are specifically used for light duty, standard duty and heavy duty. If you expect to use it less than 500 hours then a standard duty would be right for you. Keep in mind, if you don't really think you'll need a pressure washer all that much then renting one is always an option.

How much PSI (pounds per square inch) will the jobs you are using your power washer on require? PSI is the amount of pressure from the nozzle on an area that is 1 inch square. For softwood decks like Redwood or Cedar, 1200 PSI is enough. A higher PSI may damage the wood. Hardwoods and composite can handle a little bit more PSI. If you are planning on washing an elevated surface, like a balcony deck, you may need more PSI. Most machines have a throttle whereby you can control the PSI generated.

What kind of pump suits you best? The pump is responsible for pressurizing the water. Pumps will require a certain amount of maintenance. They come in a variety of models which include: Wobble Pumps, Axial Pumps, and Camshaft Pumps. Additional features include chemical injectors (allows cleaning solutions to run through the pumps) and also special connections to the engine. Connections include direct drive, indirect drive and a belt system. Direct drive is the most efficient as there are no belts to slip. Furthermore, most pumps are also contained in aluminum housing which is good in that it reduces the overall weight of the machine but it also reacts badly with some chemicals.

What kind of gun should you invest in? The gun is the on and off switch to your pressure washer. Guns are very important. Certain guns fall victim to aluminum and chemical reactions. If you run chemicals directly through the washers pump using the chemical injectors then the gun's internal components may start to corrode. If you plan on using a lot of harsh chemicals then you may want to invest in a gun with stainless steel internal parts. Most guns are made of brass.

What kind of wand will work best for you? The wand is a part of a two component "lance" on a power washer. The "lance" consists of both the wand and the nozzle. The wand is the shaft and it is usually made of metal (aluminum) and comes in a variety of lengths. The standard wand is 36 inches. But if you are using your pressure washer for railings or balconies, you may want to purchase and extension wand.

Lastly, what kind of nozzle will work best for you? The nozzle is responsible for focusing the pressurized water into a stream. Nozzles come in a variety of sizes and styles. Your choice will rely heavily on the task you want to accomplish.

Nozzle types vary depending on machine type and manufacturer. Most nozzles contain two sets of numbers, one for the capacity size and one for the spray angle. Many manufacturers color code their nozzles for easy recognition. Always check the owner's manual to verify the angle for each color because choosing the correct angle for the job is critical in predicting the efficiency and quality of your work.

  • A 25 degree nozzle is good for general cleaning.
  • A 40 degree nozzle is preferred for deck cleaning, especially softwoods.
  • Some nozzles include blasters, which deliver several streams of water at once.
  • These can be useful for cleaning certain things but should not be used on decking.

In addition to the internal parts of your power washer, consider what kind of accessories, if any, you would like to invest in. Accessories can help complete some of the tasks that regular power washers can't do. They also increase the versatility of the machine. Accessories include:

  • A telescoping extension/wand
  • Remote control chemical inlet injectors
  • Power scrub brushes
  • Drain cleaning systems
  • Pump reversal units

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Pressure Washing Your Deck

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The easiest, most effective way of cleaning dirty, grimy surfaces is with a pressure washer. They are specially designed to remove built-up mold, mildew, dirt and grime and to restore surfaces to like-new condition in a fraction of the time it would take by hand. Pressure washers come in a variety of styles, sizes and additional attachments that can be used for more than just cleaning your deck.

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