Guide To Power Washers
Pressure washers have been available for some years now, but recently prices have dropped and they are now affordable for both the domestic user and commercial user. There are literally thousands of things you can keep clean with a pressure washer, their use can become almost addictive, you clean one part of your property and the rest starts to look dirty too!
When looking at the specification of a pressure washer, there are several figures which need to be taken into consideration:
Water Flow Rate
- LPM = Litres per minute. This is the flow rate of the water leaving the power washer. The higher this figure is, the faster you will be able to clean a given area. This is probably the most important selection criteria.
- PSI = Pounds per square inch. This indicates the cleaning power of the machine. The higher the PSI the better the cleaning power. The actual water pressure as it hits the ground is governed more by your selection and adjustment of lance and nozzle. But starting with a higher output machine will mean there's more cleaning pressure available.
- BAR = Another way of measuring pressure 1bar = 14.7 psi(approx).
- W or Kw = Watts or kilowatts (1kilowatt = 1000 watts) - This is used to indicate the power of electrical washers. Generally if you require a high PSI you will need more watts to provide it.
- HP = Horsepower. This indicates the power of non-electrical washers. Generally if you require a high PSI you will need more horsepower to provide it.
Thousands of DIY users have found pressure washers indispensable for cleaning, among other things - patios, decking, walls, fences, cars, bikes, boats, conservatory roofs - the list is only limited by your imagination!
There are a variety of attachments for Power Washers which can make specific jobs easier, such as a patio cleaner, which concentrates the cleaning power, but also reducing splashing and can be used on walls too, soft car washing brushes and detergent are also available. Or, with the correct attachment, you can keep your drains clear, potentially saving you hundreds of pounds. Machine Mart sells many machines suitable for domestic users, some of which come with a full kit of accessories.
Obviously a pressure washer may be used in many of the same applications in commercial use as in domestic and more too, including washing heavy plant and de-greasing. However use tends to be more intensive and prolonged, therefore machines intended for business use should have a more heavy-duty motor and pump. The hot-wash machines offer even more cleaning power. For situations where there is no mains electricity Machine Mart also sells petrol and diesel powered machines, which offer massive Psi's and therefore cleaning power.
PRESSURE WASHER HEALTH AND SAFETY.
- Keep away from the water jet
- High pressure jets can force the fluid through the skin and this can be dangerous. No-one should stand in front of the cleaning
jet. Also, the spray from your cleaner could drift into other work areas, or over other people, and this could be dangerous too.
- Wear suitable clothing
- You should always wear suitable eye protection while the machine is working, and you may need special clothing such as wellington
boots and waterproofs to protect you.
- Avoid slips and trips.
- Provide non-slip floor surfaces. Repair holes and clear up spillages immediately.
DO keep work areas tidy and clean, and avoid trailing leads and hoses.
- Avoid contact with cleaning chemicals.
- Be aware of correct handling and storage instructions for any chemicals or detergents you are using. Read the COSHH sheet for the product, if available, or at least the label on the product.
Electrical Safety checks.
- Is the mains electrical system in good condition?
- Has it been inspected?
- Are all plugs, extension leads and portable electric hand-held tools in good condition and regularly inspected?
- Is there a circuit breaker in the system for use with pressure washers?
- Visually check portable tools, e.g. pressure washers etc, before use and have them regularly tested by a competent person
DON'T use pressure washers without a Residual Current Device (RCD) or earth monitoring device protecting the electrical supply.
DO test the RCD daily.