Pressure Washers

When choosing a new pressure washer you will be faced with many decisions. It's easy to become intimidated by all the different terms and specifications, however this article will help you understand the basic facts needed in order to make a wise business decision.

You will need to purchase a pressure washer that will have the right capabilities for the type of work you plan on doing. If your equipment is too powerful you can damage what you are cleaning which may result in costly repairs or litigation. If your equipment is too small, it will take you longer to do certain jobs and you will lose money.

Types of Pressure Washers

Gasoline Powered
Most commercial grade pressure washers will have a gasoline engine while some are diesel powered. Industrial Honda engines are the most popular type in the pressure washing business today. Gasoline powered machines are the most versatile and basically made for outdoor use.

Here are some common specifications of a typical pressure washer you will find on the market:Gasoline Powered Pressure Washer

Key Product Specs

Pressure (PSI) 4,000
Flow (GPM) 3.5
Engine Honda GX390 OHV
Engine Displacement (cc) 389
Gross Torque 18.5
Pump Cat 66DX
Drive Direct
Gun Industrial rear entry with 3ft. lance
Nozzle Type Quick-connect 0°, 15°, 25°, 40° and soap nozzle
Orifice Size 3.5
Hose 50ft. gray high-pressure hose with 3/8in. quick-couplers
Cart Push down cart with 10" pneumatic tires
Fuel Capacity (gal.) 1.6
Max. Inlet Water Temp (°F) 140
Max. Output Water Temp (°F) N/A
Fuel Type Gasoline
Chemical Injector Yes
Adjustable Pressure Yes
Engine Oil Type SAE30 motor oil
Pump Oil Type SAE30 non-detergent oil
Engine Oil Included No
Pump Oil Included Yes
Low Oil Shutdown Yes
Thermal Protector Yes
Dimensions L x W x H (in.) 34 x 21 x 38

Common Terms You Should Know

PSI - Stands for Pounds per Square Inch. This is the pressure rating of the machine.  

GPM - Stands for Gallons per Minute, which is the flow rate of the pressure washer.

CU - Stands for Cleaning Units, which is PSI multiplied by GSM

Think of the PSI rating as the pressure washers ability to scrub dirt off a surface. The GPM is the rate at which the machine can rinse away that dirt. Contractor grade pressure washers are usually between 3000 - 5000 PSI and 3.5 - 4 GPM.

Hot and Cold Water
Most jobs can be done with a cold water portable machine with the right chemicals. If you are tackling jobs with heavy grease or need to strip surfaces then you will need a hot water machine. Hot water machines are worthwhile because they will save you time when it comes to cleaning any type of surface. Cold water machines can be upgraded to hot water by purchasing an accessory called a Hot Box.  

Electric Powered
The advantages of electric pressure washers are they don't require much maintenance, are quiet, and can be used for odd jobs indoors that you might not be able to access with a gas powered machine. They also can be used for smaller jobs such as detailing cars or deck cleaning.

Portables and Skid Units

Trailer Mounted Pressure WasherYou can operate a pressure washing business with a portable machine, however your customers might not be as impressed compared to a trailer mounted machine. Portables are helpful when trying to get wash areas that you can't reach with your trailer mounted machine or skid unit. The skid unit is a stationary machine designed to be installed on a trailer.

Trailer mounted units are beneficial because you can carry a large water tank. This will allow you to do jobs such as new construction cleanup in areas that might not have access to water. For large water tanks you may need to make sure you have brakes installed on the trailer so you don't burn up the brakes on your vehicle. Water weighs 8 pounds per gallon so a 200 gallon tank along with the weight of your equipment can be taxing on your vehicle.   



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