Pressure washing is a powerful and effective tool for cleaning hard to reach surfaces on buildings. The great force pressure washers offer is oftentimes the only realistic way to get certain jobs done – making building surfaces look as clean and sharp as new. It can also be a dangerous tool if used incorrectly, not only to the surface of the structure but to human users. This makes it extremely important to understand the risks involved with using a power pressure washer, or simply hand the job over a professional service.
Pressure washers get the job done by using an extremely high powered stream of water to remove unwanted substances from surfaces. Knowing how to properly use your pressure washer will help protect your building and yourself from unnecessary damages. In the following paragraphs we will look at some of the potential risks involved with pressure washing and how to avoid making any permanent damages to your building.
Under extreme pressure
The main risk pressure washers pose to buildings is the extreme water pressure being sprayed from the nozzle. Water comes out with forces up to 4,000 pounds per square inch (or higher in certain machines). That is a force strong enough that it can strip flesh right off the bones of your body. Force this powerful can also cause some serious structural damage to just about any material. Users must be extremely careful when washing any type of wood or masonry as the high pressure soaks water into cracks and other places that is difficult or impossible to dry. Wooden decks are common victims to improper pressure washing. Even if the surface looks fine, water may be accumulating under the surface which can cause damage over longer periods of time.
Getting the nozzle too close to a surface can also rip objects right off it or cause permanent etching in the surface. Paint can be scraped off or detailing dislodged, among other issues, if the pressure is too much. Pressure washers have also been known to put holes into vinyl siding. These damages are irreversible – leaving your only option to be replacing part or the entire outside surface at potentially high costs to your pocketbook.
Being environmentally cautious
Aside from ruining your paint job, older homes often used paint with lead or other chemicals that will get caught up in the runoff and pose a serious environmental hazard. This is another reason that users need to either know what they are doing or just hire a professional to maintain chemical runoff.
Watch for wires
Pressure washing near cables or wiring of any type (electrical, phone etc) can not only damage the wiring but cause serious personal harm. If you decide to do the job on your own – exercise extreme caution.
Check your settings
Many pressure washers come with adjustable settings which help users protect their buildings along with themselves. Start with the pressure on a lower level, and bump it up higher if needed. Low pressure settings are often more than enough to get the job done, without damaging the surface or forcing water into areas which will cause mold to grow.
Although they seem like fun toys, pressure washers are dangerous and powerful tools which need to be respected – not only for the safety of your building but for yourself and anyone passing by. So before starting pressure washing the whole of Indianapolis (did you know that this city was second only to Washington D.C. in its number of monuments and memorials? That’s a lot of stuff to clean…), or even just your own house, do some research on the washer you’ll be using.