Until homeowners get some experience with a pressure washing machine, they often think that these machines are some kind of a magic wand. To them, all that one needs to do is take the machine, wave it over the house, truck, car, tractor, or boat and it magically becomes clean. As usual though, it is not always as easy as it appears. A lot more is needed with regard to how to pressure wash your house.
But there can be no denying the fact that pressure washing machine are incredibly water-conserving and productive. However, just like any outdoor power equipment, it is important that you find the right machine and then use it correctly.
Step #1: Get the right pressure washer
The first thing, unless your house is a very small one or it is not very dirty, it is very likely that you will not be going for an electric machine because it is not sufficiently powerful for this kind of job. Electric pressure washers are better used for cleaning small boats, cars and patio furniture. To determine the pressure washer capacity, you need to see its cleaning units. This is determined by multiplying the water pressure, normally measured in psi (pounds per square inch) and flow rate in gpm (gallons per minute).
A typical electric pressure washer operates at 2400 cleaning units while gas-engine model (homeowner-grade) can be as high as 6210 cleaning units. On the other hand, professional machine can be as high as 16,000 cleaning units. Cleaning units of a machine indicate how effective the machines can be.
Step #2: Choose the right nozzle
Any pressure washer will come with several different types of nozzles. These are normally color coded as an indicator of the spray angle. Red is zero degrees, yellow is 15 degrees, green represents 25 degrees while black is an indicator of soap or 40 degrees. Each of these nozzles contains an orifice sized to generate a certain amount of psi with rated gpm. For instance, a pressure machine with size 03-inch orifice nozzles, and at 2.7 gpm, can produce roughly 3000 psi.
Step#3: Reducing the pressure
Most likely, you want to soft-wash your home. Therefore, the above example of 3000 psi is too much for the house. Ideally, we want something like 800-1200 psi in order to wash the home. Therefore, just how do we arrive at this? One way of reducing the pressure is to reduce the engine’s throttle. This not only reduces the RPM on which the pump is running but also reduces the psi. But the problem is that doing this also reduces the pressure washer’s GPM which makes it less effective. Therefore, the best way for lowering PSI and at the same time maintaining the rated gallons per minute (GPM) is through using larger sized tips than are recommended for the particular pressure washer.
Step #4: Detergent solution
Next, you need to determine the right pressure washing detergent that you can use to clean your home especially if it contains mold and mildew. Ideally, the detergent that you need is a custom mixture consisting of soap surfactant and Sodium Hypochlorite to enable the mold and mildew to dissolve.
Abbreviated as SH, Sodium Hypochlorite is one chemical that has many uses in the cleaning world. It can be used to clean clothes, clean pools, purify water and is a major ingredient in many household cleaners. Also, it is an effective chemical for killing mildew and mold that is found on exterior parts of the home.
Step #5: Mixing the custom soap
To start, add 3 gallons of SH (8%) to 5-gallon bucket. After that, add a gallon of water. Also, you need to get a detergent like soap so as to mix it with the solution. The detergent brand that you choose plays a very important role but any commonly available detergent used for pressure washing will be fine. Examples of products you may want to consider include Cleansol BC or Simple Cherry among other brands.
In order to know the amount of detergent to add per gallon, just read the directions found on the detergent’s container. Use roughly half the amount recommended. This is because the directions on the label are meant to be used with soap without combining it with Sodium Hypochlorite.
Follow the instructions on your pressure washer after which you should attach the pressure hose, garden hose and trigger gun, and then put the detergent injector in the gallon bucket that contains the detergent mix. Start your pressure washing machine and then attach green 25 degree nozzle. Ensure that whenever you change nozzle, the quick connect is engaged fully.
Any plants that are found below the area that needs washing should be pre-wet. Just aim above those plants while standing at a distance. This allows the mist of your spray to wet these plants. If you aim the spray of the pressure washer directly at the plants, or you get too close to the plants while pre-wetting them, there is a good chance that you will damage these plants.
Step #7: Washing
After dissolving the mold, it is time to do the soft washing to the siding of the home. Start washing at the top end of the siding and ensure that you cover all the area of the house. Wash from the top moving downwards and ensure that you clear any debris.
Step #8: Rinsing
After washing off the siding, it is important to thoroughly rinse it from top to down. By holding the water stream over an area, allow the water to cascade like happens in a waterfall. It is recommended that you rinse again when you think that you have rinsed enough.
Rinsing is very important. All the soap needs to be rinsed off from the siding as this prevents it from drying on siding surface and subsequently causing oxidation of the siding. The windows need to be rinsed more excessively compared to other parts.
Tips to keep in mind
Water and Electricity are enemies
Pressure washing will make you wet, and this means that you will be at risk of being shocked by electricity. Prior to extending or placing ladders, ensure that you look out above your head for any power lines. Do not blast the service entrance cable of your house, exterior outlets, the electrical meter or the exterior lights
The ladder must be positioned on a firm footing to prevent any accidental falls. The angle of the ladder needs to be between 75 and 78 degrees.
Don’t cause harm
Before you resort to using a narrower pattern, it is recommended that you try a nozzle that has a wider fan.