6 Common Mistakes People Make With Power Washers

A power washer can make cleaning and maintaining the exterior surfaces of your home so much easier. But, it can end up causing damage if the spray is too strong, if it’s used on the wrong surfaces, and more. Here are a few common mistakes people make with power washers to avoid:

1. Using Too Much Pressure

Using too much pressure is one of the most common mistakes people make with power washers, and it’s also the one that tends to cause the most damage. Too much pressure can be caused by using the wrong setting on the power washer and it can also be caused by standing too close to the surface you’re spraying.

Although you can clean vinyl siding with a power washer, it needs to be a gentle spray. Too much pressure can damage it and may even crack it or punch holes in it. It can splinter wood, strip paint, dent metal, and more. This is why avoiding power washing is one of the ways to save your deck from sun damage. A power washer with too strong of a spray can even etch or scratch concrete!

Instead of using a power washer on the highest setting, adjust the setting to a lower, more gentle spray. Also, make sure you are standing at the appropriate distance from the surface you are trying to clean.

2. Power Washing the Wrong Surfaces

Although you can use a power washer for a lot of things, it’s not a good idea for all surfaces. Another one of the common mistakes people make with power washers is using them on the wrong surfaces.

There may be some painted spaces that you can power wash, but generally, it is not a good idea. Many painted surfaces cannot even handle gentle power washing. This is particularly true if the surface and coat of paint are old, damaged, or have been exposed to the sun for a long time.

Mold-prone surfaces, like some fabrics and drywall, are also not a good option for power washes. Usually, these surfaces get too saturated and do not dry out thoroughly enough, which leads to mold and mildew growth.

3. Not Protecting the Surrounding Landscaping

Maintaining your landscaping and keeping it looking great takes time and effort. The last thing you want to do is ruin your landscaping by not protecting it before you power wash. If you’ll be using a cleanser through your power washer, wet down the surrounding plants with a garden hose first.

If the surrounding plants are wet, you won’t need to worry as much about any splash from the cleanser you’re using drying on them or leaving burn marks. You may need to water plants again if they start drying off while you are still power washing. Another option is to cover them with a tarp to make sure they are protected from the cleanser and from the pressure of the spray.

4. Never Using More Than Water

Although you clean a lot of things with a power washer, you may need more than just spraying water for some applications. If you are trying to wash away built-up dirt and grime or get rid of mold, you will want to use an environmentally safe and appropriate detergent for the job.

Make sure you apply the detergent or cleanser to the surface according to the recommended product instructions. If it needs to sit on the surface to work, make sure you give it the time to set in and work. Then, use the power washer to clean it off.

5. Using Hot Water for Residential Applications

There are times that commercial power washing companies will use hot water for certain industrial applications. This makes sense in those situations because the surfaces are usually sturdier and can handle the heat.

It is a mistake to use hot water through a power washer for residential applications. Residential surfaces are usually not as sturdy as commercial ones and hot water could cause real damage. Warping and other damage could occur. This is why these types of cleaning mistakes that cause damage often top the list of home maintenance mistakes.

6. Working in the Wrong Direction

Another one of the common mistakes people make with power washers is working in the wrong direction. A general rule of cleaning is to work from the top down. In doing so, you ensure areas you have already cleaned do not need to be cleaned again.

For power washing the exterior of your home, it’s best to start with the roof, as long as the material should be power washed, and work down. This keeps runoff from cleaning areas from dirtying up areas you have already cleaned and makes the whole process more efficient.

These are just a few common mistakes people make with power washers to avoid, especially if you are using one to clean the exterior of your home. Depending on the type of siding on your home, using one may be a mistake that leads to damage over time.

If the siding on your home is becoming a headache, consider replacing it and upgrading it with vinyl siding. Not only is vinyl siding available in a wide variety of colors, textures, and more, but it is also virtually maintenance-free. All it requires is a cleaning every now and then, and you can use a power washer with a gentle spray to do it.

If you’re interested in vinyl siding for your home, contact Zephyr Thomas at 717-399-4708 to start a free quote!