It has become one of the most popular and effective outdoor home cleaning tools ever invented. And now that we’re in the middle of spring-cleaning season, many of us have that urge to bring on the “heavy artillery” designed to blast clean everything from driveways and siding to stockade fences and concrete patios! Yes, we’re talking about the pressure washer!
No doubt dirt, grease, grime and mold don’t stand much of a chance with 2500 PSI (pounds per square inch) of water pressure. But there’s a downside, and a real danger, when it comes to handling this much and sometimes even more power, especially when operated by those who don’t know or follow proper safety precautions.
Here are some important safety tips you’ll want to read before purchasing and using a pressure washer around your house:
- Select the right pressure washer. Typically electric pressure washers are lighter weight and are designed for smaller cleaning projects like car washing, cleaning outdoor grills, furniture, and small patios. These models generate between 1300-1900 PSI. Gas models are used for larger projects like driveways, siding, fences, concrete patios, wooden decks, and more. They typically generate between 2000-3100 PSI. Anything over 3100 PSI is considered “commercial grade”.
- Before you fire up your machine read your operator’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use, maintenance, and storage.
- Never operate gas models indoors.
- Never let children or those unfamiliar with the equipment operate the machine.
- Always wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris;; also, wear good footwear – pressure washing is not a job for flip-flops.
- Never spay yourself, another person, or animals – the pressure can easily penetrate or tear skin and cause serious injury.
- Be cautious of what you intend to wash. Not all materials can withstand the force of the washer, including: outdoor fabrics, screens, wooden furniture, certain plastic or resin furniture, and painted surfaces.
- Never use a pressure washer where the water could come in contact electrical equipment.
Lastly, if ever in doubt about the project at hand or your ability to handle the equipment, it’s a better move to hire a professional to do the job for you.