Hot Water vs Cold Water Pressure Washers

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Pressure washers can be categorized in several different ways: electric, gas-powered, residential or commercial. There is also another classification, and that’s cold or hot water pressure washers. Apart from the temperature of water they use, they differ in several other areas as well. Of course they both have their pros and cons, and knowing more about each will help you make a better decision.

Cold Water Pressure Washers

Unlike residential high pressure washers, cold-water pressure washers are designed for continuous use in commercial and industrial applications.
There are plenty of reasons why they are so popular, but the most important reason is probably that, when compared to their hot water counterparts, they are much cheaper and simpler in their construction (especially electric models).

Also, cold water pressure washers are a lot more practical due to their smaller dimensions which make them easier to move around. As far as maintenance goes even gas-powered pressure washers are a lot easier to maintain than the equivalent hot water designs.

Cold water pressure washers rely on the mechanical force of a pressurized water jet to dislodge dirt from the surface that needs to be cleaned. This force is usually enough to break down most impurities, but they are less efficient when it comes to tackling oily or greasy stains that can be found on hard surfaces such as garage floors, pavements and driveways. The use of detergents helps out a bit on some of the less tough stains, but oil and grease are often too much to handle for most cold pressure washers.

Cold water power washers rely on high-pressure water jets to remove dirt, and the higher the PSI and GPM number, the more powerful the pressure washer is.

Hot Water Pressure Washers

You’ll want to make sure you choose a hot water pressure washer or industrial power washer if the surface you are cleaning contains any type of grease, grime or oil. Just like doing your dishes, cold water only moves oil around, but doesn’t clean it away. Hot water pressure washers and industrial power washers are heated with fuel oil, diesel, natural gas or propane, and are designed to blast away tough grease & grime.

Hot water pressure washers have the ability to produce steam which comes in really handy if you want to get surfaces spotless to the point where they’re germ free. However, a hot water and high pressure combo is more effective than just steam. You may also notice that hot water pressure washers have a lower PSI than gas-powered pressure washers.

As far as the cons for hot water pressure washers go? They are big, bulky and thanks to their complex design, more complicated to maintain. They are also more expensive.

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Picking The Right Commercial Gas Pressure Washer

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As a professional, you know what you need in a pressure washer – power and reliability.

Although professional power washers aren’t cheap, the investment is worthwhile when it earns you money for years to come.

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Gas Cold Water

Professional gas cold water power washers offer high-quality, commercial pumps, coupled with reliable, commercial engines. If you’re a professional who needs to pressure wash everyday, or a consumer who demands the most from your equipment, you’ll love these units.

Don’t try to be a hot-shot and use the spray gun one-handed; it has a lot of cleaning power and you might hurt yourself. Also, be careful not to stand too close to the things you’re cleaning so you don’t damage them with the robust cleaning power.

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Gas Hot Water

Professional gas hot water pressure washers are big, brawny machines, capable of tackling the worst messes. They come mounted to sturdy 4-wheel carts to handle their size and weight. Look for units with adjustable pressure and temperature for optimal versatility.

Hot water is just more effective at removing stains. Why? The hotter the temperature, the lower the surface tension of water. Hot water contains fast moving, or excited, particles. This means the molecules spread apart, making it easier to expand and then loosen a stain. In addition, hot water can more quickly cut through grease and it effectively kills bacteria and microorganisms.

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Gas Belt Drive

Professional gas belt-drive pressure washers have engines similar to cars. They usually require less upkeep and maintenance than other engines and run more quietly as well.

If you’re using one of these to clean a driveway, don’t hold it too close – you could put a hole right in it. These belt-drive units are designed for contractors who need to run them 40+ hours a week, so they’re built to take a lickin’ and keep on kickin’.

Benefits of Belt Drive

  • Vibration Absorption
  • Lower RPM
  • Lower Operating Temperature
  • Longer Life

 

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All about pressure washer PSI, GPM and CU

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Here we talk about what a PSI rating really means – and the two other standard power washer ratings you should use to compare pressure washer models

PSI (Pound per Square Inch)

rates the force, or power, of the water that the pressure washer pump is able to produce.  The pump, powered by an engine, is the part of the washer that pressurizes the water that flows out of the nozzle.  And the higher the PSI rating, the more pressure. And more pressure means more cleaning power.

GPM (Gallons per Minute)

is another rating that you should use to compare pressure washer models to help you decide which one to buy.  Just like the PSI rating, GPM is a rating that applies to the pump of a unit. GPM measures the rate of the water flow through a pressure washer pump. The faster the water flows through the pump, the faster the dirt can be washed away.

CU (Cleaning Units)

is the rating that you can use to understand the power of combining the PSI and GPM.  The CU rating is calculated by multiplying PSI by GPM. So, a power washer with 2,200 PSI and 2 GPM has a 4,400 CU rating. 

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Is it better to paint spray with a diaphragm pump or a piston pump?

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Diaphragm Pump Pros

Diaphragm pumps are typically lower priced compared to airless pumps. They are often able to deliver higher volumes of fluid, for example this 1.5” diaphragm pump can deliver up to 106 Gallons Per Minute at maximum (though you will typically not want to run the pump at this rate continuously). They are also a bit more compact than airless piston pumps.

Diaphragm Pump Cons

The major downside to diaphragm pumps is that they do not provide much pressure. This means they can be limited in their ability to move material over a given distance or up heights. They will also need to have an alternative way to break material apart rather than pressure (like an air spray gun) if you plan on atomizing coating.

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Piston Pump Pros

Piston pumps provide significant pressure to fluid which when fed to an airless spray gun will allow a pattern to be created. This pattern allows for fast application of a coating and is one of the fastest ways to apply coating when compared to air assist airless and air spray guns. Additionally, the high pressure of the pump will allow coating or material to be delivered vertically well or over larger horizontal distance while a common diaphragm pump will often be limited in the distance that the material can be supplied over. An airless pump also comes in electric or gas driven options which make it a good option for job site work.

Piston Pump Cons

The major downside to an airless pump vs a diaphragm pump will be the volume of material that the pump can supply. Common Airless paint sprayers will deliver at most 7 GPM (these are extraordinarily large airless pumps). There are unique airless options that provide material at lower pressure ratios (like 3:1) with higher volumes but can be quite expensive. They are also a bit more expensive to repair as there are potentially more parts that will wear over time.

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Choose the Best Tip for the Job

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Spray tips slide into a hole in the front of the gun. They’re labeled with a three-digit number like 309 or 517 (these may be the last three digits of a longer model number). Doubling the first digit tells you the spray fan width with the gun held 12 in. from the surface. A 415 tip, for example, would have an 8-in.-wide fan, while a 515 would have a 10-in. fan pattern.

The next two digits indicate the size of the hole in thousandths of an inch. Choose a smaller diameter hole (.009 to .013) for thin liquids like stain or varnish and a larger hole (.015 or .017) for thicker liquids like latex paint.

A 411 tip would work well for spraying varnish on woodwork, while a 517 is a good size for spraying large surfaces with latex paint.

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HVLP and Airless Paint Sprayers

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HVLP Sprayers

 

HVLP paint sprayers are ideal for trim, finish work, furniture staining, cabinet painting, and other projects where you’ll want a smooth, quality finish.

Using a higher volume of air with lower pressure means that you’ll have a well contained and controlled spray for applying an even coverage with almost no over-spray, applying a smooth finish and keeping the paint or stain where you want it.

Airless Sprayers

 

Airless paint sprayers are the go-to style for large applications. If you’re needing to paint an entire building, stain a 40-foot deck, or use thick latex or textured paints, this is the sprayer for you.

Airless sprayers work similarly to pressure washers, but with paint. They cover more area, but they’re messier, so you may not want to use them on a windy day.

Comparison between HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) and Airless Paint Sprayers

  • Operating Principle

HVLP sprayers are the advancement of conventional air sprayers. In an HVLP, air compressor atomizes the paint to spray at high volume and low pressure inside. In some units of HVLP, turbine can be used instead of compressor for atomization. On the other hand, in the case of airless sprayers, piston is used to pressurize the material through a small orifice. So, in airless sprayers, there is high pressure but it is created by the hydraulic pumps instead of air compressor.

  • Production

Thus, HVLP paint sprayers are known for fine production, not for high production. Airless units have a transfer rate of fifty percent while this number can reach to up to 90 percent for HVLP models due to their lower wastage. But airless paint sprayers are more powerful because of the high pressure inside of about 2000 PSI while usually, the HVLP ones just have pressure around 10 PSI at the nozzle.

One more thing is that painting result of HVLP units looks better due to better atomization. You can notice more it with stains, enamels or varnishes. Thus, HVLP paint sprayers are the best option for touchup and detailed jobs. On the other hand, HVLP can’t handle the exterior jobs rapidly. Noticeably, airless paint sprayers can consume a can of paint at the rate of two gallons per minute.
Material Viscosity

You don’t need to thin the paint for an airless paint sprayer as it can spray the paint straight due to high pressure. But, there is fuss for this case of HVLP sprayers where thick paints such as enamel latex are usually not allowed.

  • Performance

HVLP paint sprayers with compressor have no problem in achieving the fine spray. Moreover, you can get wide range of pressures using compressor. It is especially helpful when spraying fine spray. Besides, turbine units of HVLP paints sprayer are portable and their hot air reduces significantly the time for drying and thus no choke can happen inside the hose. However, there is one downside is that most of the HVLP paint sprayers can’t paint with the unthinned paints.

Airless paint sprayers are usually portable and really a workhorse to handle thick paints and jobs covering large area. They can spread gallons of paints in just a minute. That is the reason why these paint sprayers are widely accepted usually by the professional contractors. You can paint oil or water based product with an airless paint sprayer. But, it does not fit for jobs having small area because the spray pattern will be coarse and hard to control. Besides, airless paint sprayers have piston instead of turbine and they are much noisier as compared to HVLP paint sprayers.

  • Precautions

Airless sprayers are more dangerous due to high pressure and high temperature as operating. Also, these products have more overspray problem than the HVLP paint sprayers. So, you need to be more careful while painting with airless sprayers. It is compulsory to avoid direct contact and cover all the nearby things with drop clothes before you start using an airless paint sprayer. Also, there may be a risk of amputation even while using airless system. So, you need to read carefully read the instruction before using the airless paint sprayers. Use mask and safety glass for proper handling.

  • Cost

HVLP paint sprayers with air compressor are costlier than the airless paint sprayers and its turbine counterpart. But, if you already have a compressor, you can use it with the HVLP spray gun and its other accessories.

  • Suitability

As HVLP paint sprayers have less overspray, it is a superior choice if you are working with the expensive paints. They are also better option for the jobs requiring preciousness and detailed works such as furniture and fittings. On the other hand, airless paint sprayers fit best for big and relatively flat surfaces such as walls and oil tanks.

  • Conclusion

HVLP and airless paint sprayers are complement to each other according to the job application. If you are want it for outdoor jobs, you must go for an airless system. On the other hand, HVLP technology fits best for indoors and common shop-use pieces. For a professional contractor, there are few models in the market which incorporate HVLP technology with the airless system for multipurpose jobs that are certainly the best choices.

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