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9 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Pressure Washer

cold water pressure washer

WHAT you will be cleaning will designate if a cold water washer or hot water washer is needed.

At Hotsy, they are contacted weekly by people who bought a cold water washer from a big box store and find it's not delivering the cleaning power they expected or needed. Hotsy has over 130 models of cold and hot water pressure washers. They'll do a free on site Cleaning Analysis & Efficiency Survey to understand your specific cleaning requirements, and then recommend the best pressure washer - cold or hot water - to solve your toughest cleaning problem.

Cold water pressure washers clean by blasting the surface with pressurized water. Rule of thumb - the higher the gallonage and pressure the cold water washer produces, the better will will clean. However, when that water contacts grease and oil it hardens these substances and actually makes them more difficult and time consuming to remove and after it is removed there will still be a greasy oily residue

A hot water pressure washer cuts through the viscosity of grease and oil and melting it away leaving a smooth dry surface with no oily residue left behind and many times at lower pressures than a cold water machine. If you try to wash greasy hands with cold water the results are poor, add detergent and they get somewhat cleaner, but for maximum results hot water and detergent is used. This same rule applies to pressure washer application. If oil or grease is present in any form, then you will need a hot water pressure washer. The fact is, almost everything comes cleaner when using hot water.

cold water pressure washer

UL-1776 Pressure Washer Standards / ETL-ETLC/CSA certifications guarantee you purchase a safe and well built machine.

It is now the law in the workplace [OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1926.403(a)] that electrical equipment must be “approved” by a recognized electrical testing agency. Be assured you are buying a pressure washer engineered for safety when you purchase any Hotsy.

Certification to UL (Underwriters Laboratories) ETL-ETLC and CSA (Canadian Standards Association) safety standards is a must in comparing machines on an equal basis. Not all pressure washers have been tested to UL Standards. It’s legal to sell a pressure washer that is not certified to UL or CSA, but with today’s insurance rates and liability risk, it’s not a great idea to buy one. Even with the certification there can be major differences in equipment and how they perform. Let your us explain the differences and what to look for when it comes to purchasing a machine that is both safe and efficient.

cold water pressure washer

PRESSURE washers require care and maintenance.

Pressure washers are a mechanical piece of equipment with water moving through it under intense pressure. Add to that the challenging environmental conditions these machines often operate in and regular maintenance becomes a necessity. Regular oil changes are required on gas engine equipped machines and the machine’s pressure pump. Parts that wear, such as belts, nozzles, trigger guns and hoses need replacement when worn, and become a safety hazard if not replaced prior to failure. Without a clean fuel supply burner systems can become clogged and burn dirty if not serviced. Heating coils may need descaling if hard water is used and pump seals, packing and check valves will eventually need to be replaced from wear.

The frequency of maintenance and service runs hand in hand with the frequency the pressure washer is used. Most companies that own pressure washers do not have the in-house expertise to service them. In selecting a pressure washer vendor, select a company with local parts and service capabilities that include on-site service at your facility. Check with other customers to see how quickly they respond. If you use your pressure washer regularly it will need minor maintenance 2-3 times per year. If you can’t do the maintenance yourself, then buying from a big box store, a catalog company, an internet company, or anyone else without local on-site service would not be advisable.

cold water pressure washer

CLEANING SYSTEMS SPECIALISTS personally inspect your washing application and minimize the risk of buying the wrong machine for your cleaning needs.

What’s more important, the GPM (gallons per minute) of a pressure washer, or the PSI (pounds per square inch) of a pressure washer? Is 2000 PSI at 4 GPM better than 4000 PSI at 2 GPM?

The answer depends on your cleaning application. When you have heavy soils to wash, GPM (gallons per minute) is important for the flush and flow of carrying the soils away. When you have stuck-on grime, PSI is important in penetrating the soils and lifting them, thus the proper combination of GPM & PSI varies to each user’s cleaning application.

Can the soil be cleaned with cold water or is a hot water machine needed? Where will the washing be done? Numerous locations requiring a portable machine, and if so how portable does it need to be gas engine or will electricity be available at each wash site and what voltage/s? One location where LP or natural gas is available? Will your pressure washer have multiple users or limited users? What options and accessories should the machine be equipped with to lessen or eliminate service calls caused by operator mistake or negligence?

Our Protank consultants will invest this time and expertise to recommend a pressure washer that meets your needs

cold water pressure washer

ECONOMICAL options and accessories when added to a pressure washer can speed cleaning, lower costs and reduce machine wear-and-tear.

Machine options and accessories have a minor cost, but can have a huge impact on your cleaning. For example:

  • Adding an auto start/stop feature makes operating the pressure washer easier, reduces risk of the machine being left on in by-pass and extends the life of your machine by automatically shutting it down when not in use.
  • A turbo nozzle can speed cleaning of caked-on grime by blasting it away with a jackhammer effect.
  • A hose reel will help keep your pressure hose from lying on the ground where it can absorb oil and grease or be damaged by vehicles driving over it.
  • A flat surface cleaner added to your pressure washer will clean walkways, driveways, and parking areas much faster and more uniformly than you can clean with just a pressure washer alone.
  • A fixed orifice system can be installed to release the concentration of detergent needed to achieve maximum cleaning results while using the minimum amount of detergent. This drastically reduces the amount of detergent you use, often in half, with zero impact on cleaning power.
  • A water softener in an area with hard water will again greatly reduce your detergent use and improve the finished look of the surfaces you are cleaning.

cold water pressure washer

WHY IS the heating coil design important? Aren’t they all the same?

When buying a hot water pressure washer the heating coil performs a major role in not only how the pressure washer will clean, but also at what expense. There are two options when buying a pressure washer, a horizontal (or “lay- down”) coil or an upright vertical coil.

With the horizontal coil design the coil is lying down so the top half of the heating coils get hot but the bottom coils won’t achieve the same temperature.

An upright coil has the burner at the bottom of the coil instead of at the side as with a horizontal coil.

Since heat rises, in a vertical coil, it rises up from the bottom past all the coils and out the top. This is the most efficient coil for heating and energy usage, and produces hotter water, which cleans better.

The coil also makes a difference. Half-inch ASME Schedule 80 pipe is rolled in a cylindrical shape to create the coil, with the length of pipe used varying by manufacturer. To lower production costs some manufacturers use the same size (length) coil for all of their hot water machines, regardless of the amount of water (GPM) the coil is attempting to heat.

The more water volume the washer is rated for the longer the heating coil needs to be to achieve proper heat rise to efficiently and economically heat the water. Using larger burners to add BTU’s isn’t fuel efficient and adds to operating costs.

cold water pressure washer

STATIONARY or portable, which is better?

When most people think of pressure washers they think of a gasoline engine and pump that rolls around on wheels.

Portable pressure washers are great because they can be rolled around an outdoor facility to clean equipment in place. For total portability gas engine machines are mounted with a large water tank on a trailer allowing the operator to wash anywhere. They can also be easily loaded onto vehicles and moved to other facilities, but transporting the pressure washer can also lead to damage, premature wear, lending the machine to “friends” or theft!

A permanently installed stationary pressure washer can be an even better value in many applications.

First, the cost is often the same or less than for a portable machine. If there’s LP or natural gas available, a stationary pressure washer can run on LP-natural gas, which is more cost effective and doesn’t require refueling the burner system. The pressure washer can be located in a shed or room, with piping or hose out to the wash area. This protects the pressure washer from weather, from damage, and from operator abuse. A stationary machine can be mounted on an equipment stand, with the detergent barrels or totes placed under the stand to conserve floor space.

Hotsy manufacturers a full line of portable and stationary hot and cold water pressure washers.

cold water pressure washer

YOUR BEST SOLUTION may be a pressure washing system.

If you will be washing in specific locations at your facility, your best solution may be a in-plant washing system.

The pressure washer would be located in a central equipment room or outside of the wash bay or wash areas with pipe plumbed to the different wash areas. Each location or “drop” would have a hose, hose reel, washer gun/wand, and a control box for turning the pressure washer on or off. The operator controls the machine from the drop allowing him to pressure wash without having to go back to the machine. The pressure hose can be suspended in the air on a 360° boom or on a trolley system. This helps prevent damage to the hose.

Clear view plastic curtain walls can be used to restrict the spray from going outside the wash area. A waste water recycle system can be included to process the water and the wash residue so that it can be legally discharged to the sewer or even reused.

Applications for pressure washing systems with these multiple “drops” include truck & vehicle wash bays, repair stations, food processing plants, kennels, fleet maintenance centers, and any site where you want two or more operators pressure washing at the same time.

The system recommended may be as simple as a two-wand option or as complex as a system with multiple machines, remote controls and numerous cleaning stations.

cold water pressure washer

What is your cleaning budget? How and how often you use the pressure washer should determine what grade of washer you should purchase.

To calculate your cleaning budget first list what you will be cleaning and the number of each to be cleaned.

Cars, trucks, tractor trailers, farm implements, decks, drive ways, pool areas, home brick and mortar or siding, just to name a few.

Next list the total dollars you have invested in your washing applications. In this day and age you can have an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions!

With the influx of Asian low dollar pressure washers flooding the big box stores pressure washer pricing starts at under $200.00, but it is buyers beware. Many pressure washers sold are throwaways, aren’t repairable or have no local parts and service. If you purchase a machine that is incapable or unable to perform the job it was purchased for and clean to your standards it is literally money down the drain.

Investing a little bit more can solve your cleaning problems, meet your needs and provided you years of service.

Fill out the form below to get started on your Hotsy Pressure Washer quote today!