A pressure washer is a versatile tool for any homeowner and can be used for hundreds of different surfaces and situations. Of course, siding, concrete, fences, and decks are the go-to structures to be cleaned, but no matter what your project, keep these two rules in mind:
- Use the lowest effective PSI (Pound-Force Per Square Inch) to avoid damage.
- Never pressure wash a living thing. Most pressure washers are more than capable of doing severe damage to humans, pets, or plants.
In addition, there are three broad categories of things that you should never pressure wash.
1: Hazardous Materials
Always take careful note of the material needing to be cleaned–Especially when cleaning or remodeling older buildings that may have been built before more modern safety practices.
Two common hazardous materials include:
- Lead Paint
- Asbestos Siding
If your project has either of these types of material that must be cleaned or removed, you cannot use a pressure washer. It would break the paint or siding into unmanageably small pieces, which would be both dangerous to your health and in violation of environmental safety law.
Instead, remove the material by hand while wearing the proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
2: Vulnerable Materials
Some building materials are not strong enough to withstand the heavy PSI that pressure washers produce, and cleaning them this way would also likely damage your home.
Avoid pressure washing:
- Asphalt roofing: This type of shingle relies on a covering of small granules to protect your home, but a pressure washer would remove these granules, drastically lowering the lifespan of your roof.
- Old Mortar: Brick that has already been weakened by age should not be pressure washed. The pressure can exacerbate any existing damage by widening cracks or breaking off brittle pieces.
3: Electronic Components
Water and electricity do not mix.
Most electronic components on a building exterior are designed to stay waterproof during storms, but a pressure washer is much more powerful and precise than any rain or wind. It can and will force the water into sensitive electronic areas.
Avoid pressure washing:
- Electrical Panels, Meters, and outlets
- Air Conditioning Units
- Light Fixtures
If you are ever unsure, ask the experts! Here at WashnIt, we are happy to help with all your pressure washing needs. Feel free to use our contact page to get started!