Pressure washers can literally become a one-man army against many problems around the house
Fall and spring cleaning call for some heavy-duty power: water power that only a pressure washer can produce. Just a few years ago, these handy little washers were so pricy that only professionals could afford them. The average homeowner had to visit the rental store for an afternoon of blasting water. Now, they have become affordable to own, in price ranges that won't bust anyone's budget.
A water hose, even one with a high-powered nozzle, is simply not up to the task of removing such nasties as mildew and mold on the sides of a house. It cannot blow the rust off a barbecue or smoker and it certainly cannot remove old paint before you start that promised renewal project.
Pressure washers are not used just for removing grime at top speed. They also can scoot leaves out of gutters and clean up along fences and around the gazebo or deck. Don't forget their brightening power: shine up that aging brick, the swingset, outdoor furniture, and get the grime off your lawnmower. They're great for those pesky wasp nests, too.
Pressure washers use a series of nozzles and a variety of detergents to get things clean. They are mobile and can be gas- or electrically-powered. The lighter-duty models begin at around $120 and go up from there.
Before you rush out and purchase a pressure washer, however, you should know what you want to accomplish. Lighter and more economical models produce about 1950 pounds psi (per square inch). That's enough to wash the car and clean the concrete on the drive. If you go for a medium-duty washer, you can expect to get up to 2500 pounds psi, which basically does the same jobs as the lower end version. To get a really good fix on all the ugly things that need to be washed away around the house, a heavy-duty pressure washer is the answer. It can handle tasks of at least 2600-3000 pounds psi and more, depending on the price and features.
You'll also need to take a look at the attachments and make sure there are enough to cover the variety of tasks around your home. The gas-powered models are noisy as opposed to the electric units, but obviously have greater mobility and, typically, are more effective power-wise.
We've tried two lower-end electric models recently and found both to be very under-powered. One did not include a soap dispenser, which was sold as an extra component through the manufacturer, and the second one could barely produce enough pressure to soap down surfaces. The first one was returned, and the second languishes in the garage.
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