Pressure Washer Maintenance

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Taking the time to examine and clean your pressure washer and accessories, both before and after each use, will help you avoid performance problems and save money on parts and repair. Refer to your operator’s manual for special guidelines appropriate to your pressure washer make and model.

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Prior to Each Use

Follow these steps before each use to ensure the unit’s in proper working order.

1. Check the “o rings” on the ends of your high pressure hose for wear and tear. Damaged o rings can cause serious problems including leaking and even injury during use. If one is damaged, replace it before use.

2. Check the nozzle at the end of your wand to make certain it’s locked securely in place.

3. Be careful never to plug the nozzle with debris, dirt, or anything else.

4. Make sure, if you’re using a gas pressure washer, that you have fresh gas and oil in it before starting it. Don’t use gas that’s been sitting in the tank since last season. If you have old gas, add some stabilizer and top it off with fresh gasoline.

5. Check your spark plug for corrosion. If you have a corroded spark plug, it could cause difficulty starting, and inefficiency during use. Replace corroded spark plugs prior to using.

6. Keep the spray nozzle open while the unit’s running. Leaving it running with the nozzle closed will build up pressure within the hose, and could cause damage.

7. Don’t run the pressure washer without an adequate amount of water. Not having enough water in your unit can cause the pressure to increase too much.

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After Each Use

Follow these steps after each use to ensure dependability of the unit.

1. Switch the power to “off” and unplug the unit. Always do this first to avoid injury or damage to the washer.

2. Locate the chemical/detergent intake and clean it thoroughly with water. Make sure any residue or buildup is rinsed clean and the water running out of the intake is clear.

3. Wash away dirt and grime from the inside of the pressure washer to prevent any erratic behavior while it’s in use.

4. Drain all excess water out before storing. Water left inside can attract insects, grow mold, and produce bacteria.

5. Store your pressure washer somewhere away from the elements where it can stay well ventilated and out of the sun, rain, and snow. Make sure it’s not accessible to children who could injure themselves.

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The basics of Airless Spraying – Advantages of Airless Sprayers

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Advantages of Airless Sprayers

Airless sprayers provide an easy and economical way to apply coatings. Professional contractors prefer to use airless sprayers for several reasons, the most popular being:

Speed—airless spraying is faster, thus, more jobs can be completed in less time, using less labor. Airless spraying is up to 10 times faster than brushing or rolling.

Quality—airless sprayers produce an even coat of paint on all types of surfaces, leaving a consistent and high quality finish.

Versatility—airless sprayers can be used for a wide range of coating materials, including interior and exterior jobs, and can easily be transported from job site to job site.

 

Research conducted by the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA), an association of painting contractors and related industry professionals, indicates that airless spraying can save painters between 50% and 75% of their painting time. Airless spray is:

• At least 10 times faster than brush applications
• At least 4 times faster than roller applications

Using a brush or roller application might seem cost-effect ive in the short-term,but in the long-run labor can cost at least twice as much!

 

Airless Spray for Uniform Coverage

It is important to consider how much faster spraying is compared to other methods. Equally important to your customer is how spraying gives a consistent quality finish, even over rough surfaces.

Airless spraying allows you to:

Finish jobs quicker
— Finish within short weather windows
— Stay on a job site from start to finish, saving set-up labor
Complete more jobs with less labor (fewer people headaches)
Provide a consistent mil build so coatings perform better
Apply a smooth quality finish

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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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How to power wash wooden fences

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Fences are a great addition to any home. They keep pets in the yard, help prevent kids from running into the street, and provide privacy from your nosy neighbors.

However, being exposed to the elements 24 hours per day, 365 days a year can really take a toll on your wood fence.

Fortunately, a pressure washer can turn back the hands of time and make your old wood fence look like new again. All it takes is the right tools and a little know-how.

Work in sections. Start from one end of your fence and wet the first section of fencing. Spray down surrounding foliage as well to saturate the soil prior to using detergent. This will help to encourage runoff of detergent water to prevent harming your plants.

Switch your pressure washer’s detergent tank to “On” and begin applying detergent from the bottom up to avoid streaks. Let the detergent settle for 5-10 minutes to give it time to work. Continually add water to any areas that start to dry.

Especially dirty spots may need to be washed using a rotating scrub brush. The soft inner-bristles of the brush are propelled by water pressure from the power washer, and will easily take care of heavy stains.

Use a low-medium pressure spray pattern when rinsing the detergent. Wood is soft, and you don’t want to cause any damage to the surface of your fence. A fan-pattern with moderate pressure is a good bet to cover a decent sized area.

Switch your detergent tank to “Off,” and squeeze the trigger to flush out remaining detergent in the lines. Start from the same part of the fence you began on when applying detergent, and work from the top down this time to rinse all detergent from the fencing. Work with the grain of the wood. Cover 1 to 2 boards at a time, working in identifiable sections.

Repeat the process of applying detergent and rinsing it clean for each section of fencing. Applying detergent to the entire fence prior to rinsing will cause the detergent to be absorbed and dry onto the fence. You don’t want this to happen. Keep the detergent wet until it’s rinsed away to prevent spots and streaks from the detergent.

After pressure washing your fence, let it dry for at least 48 hours. You want to allow enough time for all of the absorbed water to evaporate from the wood so it doesn’t get sealed in.

Once your fence is fully dry, it’s important to paint or seal it so that it doesn’t become damaged by the sun and wind. You can either paint your fence for a bright new look, or you can seal it to allow the wood grain to show through.

Seal it fully, and don’t miss the edges of the boards between the gaps. The boards on privacy fences may be too close together to seal between them, but spread sealer into the grooves between the boards to cover any exposed wood the best you can.

After the sealer is dry, your fence will look brand new, like it was put up yesterday. Pressure wash your fence annually to keep it looking like new. You shouldn’t have to apply fresh paint or sealant every year, but you should reapply it every couple years or so to keep it protected.

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The basics of Airless Spraying – Coatings

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Coatings

Architectural coatings are primarily decorative coatings used to coat anything from homes to commercial and industrial buildings.

Protective coatings are primarily corrosion control coatings used to coat anything from bridges to water towers, preserving concrete and steel. Often these coatings are two-component materials.

The majority of coatings are sold at paint stores, generally to professional painting contractors.

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Virtually every coating contains four basic components:

Binder, Resin, or Polymer—holds together the other components prior to application and forms a protective film on the surface (the
surface is also called a substrate) to which the coating is applied. Binders can be oils, varnishes and proteins.

Pigment—fine solid particles that hide the surface providing decorative colors and sometimes corrosion resistance. Raw umber, a type of iron ore, is used extensively as a pigment and is olive green in color.

Solvent—helps the flow of the coating material and aids in application. For example, water is a solvent for sugar. However, in many coating formulations, a chemical referred to as a solvent, may not be dissolving anything, but simply diluting or thinning the formulation.

Additives—in general, manufacturers put additives into coatings for one or more reasons, including aiding in manufacturing, enhancing application characteristics, or improving the properties of the coating once it is cured. For example, some additives help prevent mildew from forming once the coating has cured.

Paints and other coatings are rated by the volume of solids they contain. While virtually everyone in the architectural coatings industry refers to the “low,” “medium,” and “high” solid content of coatings, there are no set amounts or limits placed on these categories. A typical set of values for coatings is:

• Low Solids = 20-30% solids
• Medium Solids = 30-50% solids
• High Solids = Up to 100% solids

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Removing stains from concrete

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Tired of those ugly grease and oil spots making your concrete look like the floor of an auto shop?

These spots stick out like a sore thumb and are the reason why cement can be one of the most difficult surfaces to maintain and keep looking its best.

Dirt, oil, grease and grime are no match for the power of a pressure washer though. A little know-how and the right accessories will enable you to get that concrete as clean as the day it was poured.

 

Wash

It’s best to divide up your project into multiple sections. This will help to guide your stride and ensure the soap gets washed away before it dries.

The first step is to apply detergent, giving it 5 to 10 minutes to work into the concrete. Make sure to reapply soapy water to any areas that start to dry.

Once the soap has had time to settle in, the dirt and oils should be starting to loosen from the concrete.

 

Spray blast it clean

When the detergent has done its job, switch to a general high pressure spray pattern and rinse away the soapy grime.

Be sure that you move in smooth, consistent motions so you don’t leave streaks. Be careful not to miss any spots, or they’ll be noticeable. Clean away the soap and grime in even, sweeping motions and take your time. This is not the kind of project you want to rush.

For areas that are heavily soiled, you may need to make a few extra sweeping motions. It can help to also slow down over those areas and let the pressure washer work its magic.

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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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