Buying Advice – Pressure Washers
Please remember that although we have tried to give as much information as possible we are also pleased to answer any further questions by either e-mail or telephone.
It is extremely important to buy the correct machine for the application. All machines do not suit all applications and as with every tool if you overuse it then it will be problematic and cost a great deal more in the long run.
Do I need a hot or cold water washer?
The first thing to look at here is what it is you are actually going to clean. In basic terms if the soiling that you are trying to remove is in any way oil/grease or fat (i.e. road film, animal waste, engineering waste etc.) based then a hot water machine will clean the area much more effectively and quickly.
An analogy that I often use is that if you wash your dishes at home with a sink full of washing detergent and cold water it will make it very difficult to clean the greasy roast dinner pots and pans. This is much the same with pressure washers and greasy surfaces.
Now hopefully you have decided on hot or cold water and we can chose the correct model.
The next step is to decide how long you expect to use the machine in set periods throughout its working day.
Again we try and keep it simple and group the machines as follows:
Light use – less than two hours use per day.
Medium use – two to six hours use per day
Heavy use – more than six hours per day
Finally you will need to decide on the features that you require in your equipment. These options are really down to your own requirements but I will briefly run through the common options.
Power supply – 110v/240v/415v.
240v - Most commonly people use 240v machines as this is the most widely available power supply and gives enough power for most applications. They also tend to be the cheapest machines to buy because they are the most common.
415v – These machines can offer a great deal more performance than the standard 240v models, as there is a lot more power available. They also tend to be heavier duty machines for more arduous tasks. However 415v power is only generally available in industrial and farming areas.
110v – This is an option that is not recommended for most applications unless it is specifically advised, usually for Health and safety reasons. The machines tend to be more expensive than their 240v equivalents and quite often less powerful. You will nearly always need a 32A supply to get any kind of reasonable performance.
High pressure/ Low-pressure chemical.
High-pressure chemical is where the chemical is applied with the full performance of the washer. The chemical is usually controlled with a metering valve on the machine. The main benefit of high-pressure chemical is that because it is applied at full working pressure it will cut deeper into the grime and aid you with its removal. This type of chemical facility is only generally available on hot water pressure washers on not the lower end of the ranges.
Low-pressure chemical is where the chemical is induced through an in-line venturi. The chemical is activated by a control valve on the lance and sprayed over the area at low pressure. This kind of application can often be more economical in terms of the amount of chemical used but it can require time for the chemical to work and will not cut as deeply as high pressure chemical. Nearly all cold water washers will be low pressure chemical and it can also be retro fitted as an option to all high-pressure chemical machines.
Most modern machines tend to be shutdown machines. This feature is designed to protect the machine from overheating if the machine is not turned off. As an example – You are washing your vehicle and get called to the telephone and do not return for ten minutes. Ideally it is best to turn the machine off but if you did forget (And lets face it absent mindedness affects us all) then with a bypass machine the small amount of water that is being re-circulated will eventually boil and melt items like the seals and valves in cylinder head. The shutdown/total stop machines turn the machine off on the release of the trigger and restart when the trigger is re-activated. Therefore, eliminating the chances of this damage occurring.
Pressure adjustment/ Steam valve
Pressure adjustment is available on a wide range of machines and is useful in a number of delicate applications. It also has the benefit on some hot machines of increasing the output temperature from approx 80 deg C to 140 Deg C for those extremely greasy areas.
Electrical safety features.
Features like low fuel cut outs, low water cut outs, low oil cutouts,Water softener, safety indicator lights etc are available on a range of different machines and are there to protect the machines and aid the operator. They are greatly beneficial for machines that will have a varied number of operators (i.e. transport yards where the drivers wash their own vehicles) the reason for this is that if one operator uses the machine on a daily basis they will tend to have a greater knowledge of the machine and its fluid levels. Whereas varied users will just pick-up the gun and wash. To be fair they do not have the time and you as the owner do not want them taking the time to check all the levels before each use. Therefore these control features reduce the chance of unintentional operator error.