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High-pressure cleaners are an essential partner for outdoor maintenance work. Often limited to washing the car and the terrace, they offer many other possibilities, such as unblocking pipes or stripping a facade.

Use a pressure washer

Savings and power: advantages of a pressure washer

Talking about saving when you get a high-pressure cleaner at 300 or 400 € can make you smile! However, a garden hose at full power does not remove peeling paint, despite its 1500 to 3000 liters per hour. A good pressure washer performs this task by consuming three to five times less water. Its secret: a pump that compresses the volume of water (quite low), to give it an impressive strength. Strength that can be domesticated by the game of spears and accessories.

Little apprenticeship

To function, the cleaner needs to be connected to water and electricity.
First, connect your water inlet hose to the fitting on the appliance. Check that the diameter of your supply pipe is sufficient (19 mm in general). Some models are also able to pump water from a pond, a source or a shallow well. A definite advantage to further reduce its water bill.
For the electrical connection, pay attention to the power of the cleaner. Larger devices absorb powers of the order of 3000 W. If you do not have a good power outlet, use a waterproof extension (fully unwound) of at least 3 x 2.5 mm2 section ( 2P + T), which you will connect to a socket protected by a high sensitivity differential circuit breaker. In all cases, the cleaners must be connected to a socket with a good grounding conductor.

Cleaning, instructions for use

If power is often an asset, you must know how to adapt it to the material to be "cleaned up". Indeed, marble can withstand the most aggressive jets, while the cut stone may deteriorate and especially lose its precious protective layer of cullet. On the other hand, nothing like a powerful jet to quickly blow up an old partially flaking facade paint.
The standard lance of a cleaner allows, in general, to choose between high and low pressure, and to adjust the shape of the jet. A "pencil" jet concentrates the power in one point. While a flat jet diffuses fan at an angle of 30 to 40°. On some models, a knob is used to adjust the power of the high pressure, permanently controllable on the gauge dial. Depending on the possibilities of your device, the power can be adapted by acting on the shape of the jet, on the gauge setting or simply by moving a little more the lance of the support to be cleaned.
With cold water, it is only the striking force of the jet that acts. Efficiency is not always at the rendezvous, because it is often necessary to moderate the force to not deteriorate anything. Hence the interest of using a detergent adapted to the work to be done (classic, special to detach the stone...). An integrated or additional detergent tank is often part of the basic equipment of cleaners. The detergent is sprayed beforehand by adjusting the lance on the low pressure. Leave on for a few minutes, but do not let it dry. Then wash at high pressure. Most appliances support a hot water connection, up to 60° on average. The efficiency is thus optimized, because the heat softened the fats.

Wash the car

Work in the shade, quickly remove the dried sludge and other soiling, then let it drip for a few moments. Then spray the detergent under low pressure and, in the same way, let it act for a few moments. The rotating brush with soft bristles promotes cleaning, especially of rims. On the other hand, in the long run, the friction of the bristles marks the body of microrayures, especially visible in the sun. Rinse without delay, especially if it is hot. The high pressure at 30 cm from the bodywork is enough.
For sills and wheel arches, most manufacturers offer a handy angled lance. But the secret of a good wash also goes through a quick drying with moist chamois leather, frequently rinsed and pressed.

Additional functions

The interest of the cleaner also passes through the multiple possibilities offered by the accessories, delivered of origin or available separately. The open-pipe consists of a nozzle mounted at the end of the hose. It dissolves the plugs while self-propelling into the pipes thanks to lateral feedbacks. The water-blasting kit is used to strip and remove rust from the metal by spraying mixed water and sand. Less known, the spraying nozzle on spear extender serves as a sprayer to reach high parts.

Assembly and disassembly

Assembly and disassembly

When assembling the hose and lance, tighten the fittings by hand, firmly but without forcing. To disassemble, unplug the unit and pull the trigger to release pressure before unscrewing.

Adjust the power

Adjust the power

Adjusting the power of a standard lance is usually done by rotating its tip. Adjust it by pointing the spear to the ground. Above all, never approach your hand from the exit nozzle!

High pressure cleaner: adjustable power and pressure gauge

High pressure cleaner: adjustable power and pressure gauge

Modular power models have a pressure gauge on the unit, often located near the control dial. The control on the dial is done when the device is operating at high pressure.

To unravel the stone

To unravel the stone

In time, the cut stone forms a natural layer of protection on the surface: cullet. Work from a distance, with just enough strength to clean the stone without destroying the cullet.

Separate tank

Separate tank

The detergent tank, when separated, facilitates product changes. But it is less practical, because it is necessary to change tip every time. Avoid dishwashing liquid that leaves marks on the bodywork.

Integrated tank

Integrated tank

If the tank is built in, rinse it after use and when changing products. For example, a product to loosen the floor of a terrace is too aggressive to wash the car. Do not leave any residue.

Thermal engine model

Thermal engine model

If you use your high-pressure cleaner on a non-electric area, you can opt for a thermal engine model (eg Brigg & Stratton).

Rotary spray system under hood

Rotary spray system under hood

Available as accessory from several manufacturers (Alto, Kärcher, Stihl...), the rotating spray system under hood is anti-projection. It allows to wash a terrace of wood or masonry without splashing.

Unclog the pipes

Unclog the pipes

The drain-pipe is propelled into the pipes by the force of the lateral backs. It can even go up along an obstructed stormwater drain.

Stripping paint and rustling the metal

Stripping paint and rustling the metal

Water-blasting is unparalleled in stripping paint and stripping metal. In default of the sand proposed with the accessories (expensive), you can use a very fine sand and especially well dry.

Phytosanitary treatment

Phytosanitary treatment

Some manufacturers provide with the cleaner the phytosanitary spray treatment. The extender and the angled lance allow for high spray on trees and hedges.

Unclog the nozzle

Unclog the nozzle

Before using the small metal rod to unclog the nozzle, unplug the cleaner and separate the two parts of the nozzle. Never attempt unblocking with a pressure lance!

Seal

Seal

At each connection, a small O-ring seals. At the slightest sign of leakage, change the seal. A little silicone grease keeps them in good condition and promotes nesting.

Clean the filter

Clean the filter

The high-pressure cleaners are equipped with a water inlet filter. Take a clip to extract it frequently and clean it. Pressure surges often come from a clogged filter.

Winterize the pressure washer

Winterize the pressure washer

For overwintering, your appliance must be completely emptied of the water it contains. Disconnect all accessible connections (lance, hose, pump outlet) and squeeze the trigger to empty the hose.


Video Instruction: How To Use a Pressure Washer