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House Pressure Washing Tips

Read these 21 House Pressure Washing Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Pressure Washers tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Can I use hot water to power wash vinyl siding?

Hot Water and Vinyl Siding

If you want to stay out of hot water during house pressure washing, you don't want to use excessively hot water on vinyl siding. Water that is over 120 degrees can cause some types of vinyl to buckle, shrink and warp. One more thing, be careful in cold weather when you're pressure washing windows. Water over 180 degrees can crack some kinds of windows, such as lead depression era glass.

   
What's that chalky substance on my house?

Chalk Talk

Well, it could be grafitti, or your kid's special art project, but chances are, it is oxidation. This chalky residue is caused by the effect of UV rays from sunlight or a strong oxidizer like bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite). The exposed paint breaks down and the original color is lost, and you're left with a chalky residue. You tend to see oxidation on painted, aluminum-sided, and vinyl-sided homes. The good news it that this kind of residue can be removed with a power washer, so call your local power washer company and have them come over for a consultation.

   
How do I power wash a house without creating a problem behind the sidi

Keeping Excess Water from Behind Siding

There are a few simple house pressure washing tips to help minimize the amount of water that gets behind siding. Wash the home with a low pressure washing unit. While this will not eliminate the problem, there will be less water for the weep holes to handle. Also, using a brush or rotary brush to remove any unwanted soil from the siding can be helpful in keeping excess water from behind siding. Low pressure washing means keeping the pressure below 300 psi. Low pressure Washing at low pressure is effective when used with an antimicrobial cleaner for removing microbial infestations such as mold, mildew and algae. You might want to use higher pressure to remove oxidation, egg, or bat and wasp excrement.

   
Can high water pressure damage wood?

Avoiding High Pressure Wood Damage

The short answer is: You'd better believe it. Any pressures above 1000 psi can do a number on wood. How. High power pressure washing can cause splintering and raise Cain with the grain. ‘Raising the grain', as woodologists call it, happens when you turn up the pressure too high. The high-pressure stream of water washes away the softer “heartwood” from between the harder growth veins, leaving very ungrovy grooves. Experienced power washer operators can use higher pressures without gouging the wood by standing further away from the surface being cleaned.

   
How do I Get Ready for Pressure Washing my House?

Preparing your House Before Pressure Washing

Preparing for house pressure washing is not time consuming if you plan ahead.

It is always a good idea to make a checklist in order to ensure that you covered all the bases.
1. Locate your exterior power outlet if you are using an electric pressure washer, and your outside water faucet.
2. Close all windows and seal any small holes in the windowsills.
3. Remove any shutters, this is a favorite place for spiders and wasps so you want to power wash really well underneath.
4. Make a note of the location of outdoor lighting fixtures and mailboxes, as you won't want to spray those.
5. As for personal gear goggles and wet weather outerwear are a good idea …you can bet on getting wet!

   
How can I power wash high up on the house when I can't use a ladder?

Hitting the High Spots With a Pressure Washer

Sometimes you have everything in place to turn the pressure washer on the side of a house, when you realize that your wand isn't long enough to hit the house's high spots. To add to the embarrassment, you can't use a ladder. So what do you do? Most pressure washer operators use special "at the gun" nozzles that shoot the chemicals high up (where they belong). At rinsing time, you can reach higher surfaces with an 18-24 foot extension pole. (Hint: You won't be able to touch it with a ten-foot pole.)

   
What is a defurring tool?

Defurrance 101

In the days of Dan'l Boone and Davy Crockett, a defurring tool was a Bowie knife, or similar hunting accoutrement. (How do you think they made those coonskin caps?) Today, in tamer times, a defurring tool is a machine used to remove the fuzzies (small pieces of wood)left behind from the high volume sanders during the manufacture of wooden furniture or from the caustic chemical in your power washer to clean your house. A 3M or Scotch Brite type of pad or an Osborn brush on an orbital grinder are the most popular choices for removing the fuzzies created by caustic chemicals. No matter what, you are in for a lot of work.

   
What is a 2 step process for power washing a house?

The Power Washer Two-Step

The two-step process does not mean that the power washer operator stands on a two step ladder or that they dance a two step during their pressure washing. No. That would be wrong, oh so wrong. The "two step" refers to the application of two separate detergents, one on top of the other. First, an acid-based detergent is applied to one side of the house. Then, before the first layer is dry, an alkaline-based detergent is applied on top of that. The resulting reaction helps to break up and dissolve dirt, grime, gunk, and other filth commonly found on the sides of a house. Finally, the solution is pressure washed way using a wide nozzle, usually a 40 degree tip, for minimial surface impact.

   
Should I power wash the interior of my log home?

For Exterior Use Only

You might try power washing your log home's interior, but you probably won't enjoy the results. Seriously, power washing is only for your log home's exterior. The interior surfaces are not critical, since they see no exposure to extreme weather.

To avoid damage to interior areas, power wash the logs in the yard before they are shipped to the job site. If it is not possible to clean the logs in the yard, it should be done early in the construction cycle at the job site.

Using a 1500 PSI Power Washer at Extremely High Pressure is not advisable or necessary since you rough up the surface making your logs look “fuzzy” or “hairy”. This will not affect the performance of the stain, but it could make neighbors point and giggle when they pass by.

   
Is is Safe to use a Pressure Washer for my House?

Safety Guidelines for Pressure Washing Your House

Pressure washing is time saving and convenient, and you can safely power wash your house by following a few basic steps.

Before using a high pressure washer on your house take your time and become familiar with the power washing equipment.

* Test its operation on a small spot to see how it feels in your hand before you start the actual job.
* Never use a ladder because the kick of the pressure could knock you down.
* If your house has lead paint, check with the local health department to find out the best way to handle it.
* Make sure to cover all outdoor electric outlets and wear goggles to protect your eyes and face.

   
What are X-Jet or the M-5 used for?

X Jet M-5

When you need to clean high up and without using an extension pole on your pressure washer, the X-Jet is the attachment for you. You can stick these high pressure injectors to the end of a gun lance, and you're ready to clean boldly where no low pressure washing system has dared to go. One of the great things about an X-Jet is that it saves time -- and wear and tear -- on you, the operator. Because the injection process is at the operator end, you don't have to keep walking back and forth from the pressure washer to connect and/or disconnect the solution injection line to the injector. The X-Jet is the original injector, and comes with a short range tip for close-up work. The M-5 is a variation on the original X-Jet and features a variable nozzle that allows you to change patterns without stopping as your move closer to, or farther away, from a surface.

   
Why bother with a cold water pressure washer?

Some Like It Hot /Cold

Cold water pressure washers are commonly used for wood restoration and house washing. They work pretty well for the most part to clean surface dirt, as long as the weather is warm. Somthing to consider - cold water does not have much of an effect on more substantial types of gunk like oil, grease and soil, which are less common culprits for making your home look dingy, unless you live on a very busy road. You should consult with your pressure washer company to find out whether they are using a hot water pressure washer or cold water pressure washer. They are the experts but be sure to explain your desired results.

   
Can Pressure Washing Cause any Damage to my Home?

Get the Best Results when Pressure Washing Your Home

You can power wash most surfaces in your residential exterior such as wood, granite and brick, but it is better to avoid less resilient surfaces like hardboard.

Reputable manufacturers will include a list of recommended pressure washer chemicals with the equipment, so you can check which product is best for every surface of your home.

Always Remember:

1. Never use bleach, it could damage your power washer.
2. Avoid spraying flowerbeds and shrubs
3. Avoid light fixtures, windows and mailboxes.

For best results, follow the manufacturers instructions or consult a power washer equipment expert if you have any doubts about the suitability of a power washer to the materials in the exterior of your home.

   
How do I clean my house with a pressure washer?

How to Pressure Wash Your Home

Before you start your pressure washer make sure that you have covered the steps related to house pressure washing preparation and safety.

Also ensure that you are using a strong enough power washer. Honda powerwashers are a good option for a job of this size.

* Stand at a safe distance of three to four feet from the surface you are going to clean and hold the spray horizontally.
* Start spraying from bottom to top, and rinse in the opposite direction, from top to bottom.
* Keep the nozzle moving to avoid gouging the surface if it stays long in once place.
* Work at an angle around windows and skip electric fixtures entirely.
* Avoid letting the detergent sit for more than ten minutes on the surface before rinsing.
* Remember to pressure wash gutters and siding areas!

   
What happens when water from a pressure washer gets behind siding?

The Dangers of Water Behind Siding

Obviously nothing good comes from water behind the siding on your home, and it should be avoided at all costs. The siding is designed with weep holes that will let small amounts of moisture escape. The problem is they are not large enough to handle the torrents of water produced by pressure washing. When you have water flowing down behind the siding, wicking its way under the insulation, you have a world of trouble. Eventually, the moisture works its way into the framework of the home. You can end up with water damage to the home's interior, electrical shorts and circuit failures, mold and mildew and bulging siding caused when water gets into the particle board. Consult a power washing professional before you DIY power wash your home.

   
Should I use a wax after cleaning a house?

Waxing After Power Washing

To wax, post cleaning, or not to wax, that is the question. The waxing decision should be left up to the customer, but you ought to explain what the benefits of waxing are. Just in case, you are hazy about those benefits, here they are: Waxing helps to keep the surface clean for a longer period between washes -It can also make the surface more resistant to mildew and algae reformation. In the end, the homeowner has a sharper looking house for a longer time, which could also mean they save some money. Waxes are dirt cheap (comparatively speaking), and are easy to apply. As for applying the wax, some techniques will include the wax in the cleaner provided it can stand up to the solution. You'll get the best results, however, by applying the wax after the house has been cleaned and rinsed. The benefit for you, the operator, is that you make more money by up-selling this service. What's more, the house will be a lot easier to clean the second time around.

   
Why does my pressure washer make my wood siding fuzzy?

Defuzzifying Wood

You've had a fuzzy tongue, you've used fuzzy logic, maybe you're memory has been fuzzy. But fuzzy wood? Yes, it happens. Fuzzy wood is what results when you use a caustic cleaner on wood. In some cases, using a cleanser in your pressure washer can leave you with this result, so you may want to hire a professional for your house pressure washing. You see, the fuzziness is evidence that the caustic solution has broken the natural glue in the wood, called lignin, that holds wood fibers together. To de-fuzzify your wood surface,you'll need to use a sander or defurring tool to remove these fibers. Unfortunately, a quality conditioner will not help at all.

   
How do the chemicals I use to power wash the house affect the plants?

Protecting Plants When Power Washing a House

Better washing through chemistry could be the motto of the power washing industry. Unfortunately, many of the chemicals used in the house pressure washing process can damage or even kill many plants found growing around a home, not to mention poison the soil. Fortunately, the harmful effects of the chemicals can be largely minimized through thorough and frequent rinsing. In the end, the house will be squeaky clean and the vegetation will enjoy a good watering.

   
Can I Use my Pressure Washer for Paint Removal?

Preparing Your House for Painting

Using your electric power washer to prepare your surfaces for paint is probably the easiest and fastest paint removal method available to you!

The way the high pressure washer does this is by removing the residue from old oil or latex paint to help the new coat adhere better. There are a few things to keep in mind. Follow the tips on house preparation and safety.

If your exterior paint contains lead, do not use powerwashers until you have contacted your local health department for instructions and recommendations on how to handle this type of paint without endangering your health.

   
What's the proper technique for pressure-washing logs?

How to Pressure Wash Timber

When it comes to pressure-washing your logs, technique is key. Follow these easy step to impressing your neighbors, and other wildlife with the cleanest logs in the forest.

* Use a Fan Spray Nozzle.
* Apply the water at an angle so it does not spray back into your face (be sure to wear safety goggles).
* Hold the nozzle at a distance, just far enough away from the surface to avoid “fuzzing” up the outer layer of wood.

At this distance, the water and detergent will be hitting the wood with tremendous force, blasting virtually all residues to Kingdom Come, while roughing up the surface for enhanced stain penetration.

   
What cleaning agents do I use to pressure wash logs?

Nothing Like a Clean Log

Before you can apply stain to a new log cabin exterior, the surface must be prepared properly.

The stain-repelling mill glaze which is part of the the log shaping process has to be removed and the log surface roughed up so that the stain can penetrate more thoroughly.

When pressure washing your log, you can use one of these three cleaning agents for best overall effect.

* CPR: Bleach and Water Use a mixture of 1 part bleach and 5 parts water, plus 1 Tbs. TSP cleaner (optional).
* X-180: Apply cleaning agents from the ground and work up. This will avoid streaking of the logs.
* Allow to stand for 10-15 minutes before power washing.
* Rinse thoroughly!
* Allow to dry 3-7 days, depending on drying conditions before applying stain.

   
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Sherril Steele-Carlin