Pressure washers are becoming increasingly popular as homeowners find all kinds of uses for them, and others start thriving business’s offering services from cleaning to stripping paint and unclogging drains.
The biggest choice is whether to power the washer with an electric or petrol motor. For light duty, cleaning patio furniture, cars, etc., the typical homeowner is often better off with the electric type as they are quieter, lighter, and cheaper to operate. They also are cleaner than petrol pressure washers. However, if you have larger projects in mind, or are going commercial, you will need the power of a petrol pressure washer.
The unit used in determining power of pressure washers is cleaning units (CU). This is calculated by multiplying the pressure per square inch (PSI) by the water flow rate in gallons per minute (GPM). Most home faucets deliver 5-8 gallons of water a minute. This equals 10 pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI). When you add a spray nozzle to a garden hose, you increase the pressure about 4 times giving you 40 PSI. A petrol pressure washer can boost this pressure exponentially to anywhere between 1,000 – 4,000 PSI. No longer are you simply pushing dirt around—with a petrol pressure washer you have real cleaning power in hand.
petrol pressure washers are noisier and more polluting than electric powered washers, but the fact is that the smallest petrol pressure washer is stronger than the largest electric models and can save you time on bigger jobs. Electric pressure washers can be used inside, don’t require oil, fuel, or spark plugs, while petrol pressure washers can be used in any remote place and usually come with more durable pumps. Most Honda motors and some Briggs and Stratton models are already meeting the stricter emission standards due to go into effect by 2012.
How much pressure do you need? For light household items, you can do with 1000-1500 PSI. For patio furniture and decks, 1400-1850 PSI will get the job done faster. For large areas, and cleaning house siding, you will need 2000-3000 PSI to be happy with the washer. For commercial use, or heavy jobs such as stripping paint or cleaning concrete, a petrol pressure washer that can deliver 2800-4000 PSI is needed.
Think of it this way, the difference from 1 GPM to 3 GPM will actually cut your cleaning time in half. Homeowners often over-buy and it is recommended to really consider your needs. If you are the average homeowner, you will only use your washer about 20 hours a year, for light cleaning. It may be more cost effective to buy a light duty electric washer and then rent a petrol pressure washer on the occasion you may need one.
With a large array of pressure washer accessories available, petrol pressure washers can do many jobs. Along with the basic cleaning applications of toys, cars, furniture, patios and decks, siding, and more, there is the removal of gutter debris, cleaning of bricks and concrete, flushing of clogged drains, and even paint removal. There are hot-water tank add-ons (check manufacturer’s specs), and chemical infusion kits as well as sand/water blasting kits all of which make your petrol pressure washer more versatile than ever.