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Troubleshooting Your Pressure Washer Tips

Read these 17 Troubleshooting Your Pressure Washer 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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Why does my pressure washer pump chatter?

Why Does My Pressure Washer Pump "Chatter"?

A "chattering" pressure washer pump can be caused by many things. You could have a bent or damaged inlet line, or the water supply might be too low. Fixing these is simple, but checking on the water supply is critical. Never let the water supply run low for any extended period of time. Other causes of a chattering pump include water that is too hot, you may have air in the pump system or a stuck float valve. A power washer pump that is vibrating, but not chattering could be the result of air in the system or debris stuck in the valves. Catching these pressure washer problems early and knowing what causes them will save you a trip to the repair shop, especially when it comes to the low-water issue.

   
What is a pressure washer unloader?

What Is A Pressure Washer Unloader?

A pressure washer unloader valve prevents the pressure from building to the breaking point when you aren't spraying water. A "diversion loop" is created to cycle the water back to the inlet valve and inlet part of the water pump. Unfortunately, the unloader valve is often a cause of trouble. Some power washer users report problems such as the pressure washer motor dying after spraying is done, minimal pressure, and sometimes even leaking sprayers. There are a variety of fixes to problems such as these, the simplest being the replacement of the unloader valve. If you need to do this kind of pressure washer repair, it's absolutely essential to replace the power washer valve with one that has equal or better gallons per minute (GPM) and PSI ratings. Failure to do this can result in additional pressure washer problems, including a safety hazard connected with the pressure of the unit overwhelming the unloader valve, compromising or even destroying it.

   
What can I do to fix a power washer that surges?

Troubleshooting a Surging Pressure Washer

If you pull the trigger on your pressure washer and the pressure is good for a moment then falls off, you've got a surge problem. Also, when the trigger is released, pressure builds up to normal levels. This is generally a sign that the water supply cannot provide the flow rate (gallons per minute) required by the pump. Here are a few things you can do to rectify the situation.

1. Make sure the supply is not restricted; that there are no under-sized fittings and the inlet screen is unobstructed.

2. Make sure the flow rate of the water supply is sufficient for the pump. First, find the capacity of your pump in gallons per minute (gpm) as shown in the Water Supply. Then determine the flow rate of your supply by measuring the gallons that can be delivered in one minute. If your supply does not deliver the gpm your pump requires, do not use the pump. It will suck air, causing cavitation which can quickly damage pump components.

3. Check for leaks in the supply fittings. Any leak will cause the pump to draw air and perform poorly.

   
Can a dirty air filter affect my pressure washer performance?

Pressure Washer Engine Trouble? Check Your Air Filter

If you have engine trouble with your power washer, double check the air filter. A dirty filter reduces the flow of air to the carburetor which reduces performance over time. There are different kinds of air filter systems for pressure washers and the symptoms of a dirty filter may vary. One thing that's consistent in all pressure washers is the need to inspect the entire air filtration system, including the seals. Excess dirt or debris around the seals and on the filter itself are good indications that some maintenance is needed. Power washer repair is often as simple as taking care of routine issues like these.

   

Troubleshooting Pressure Washer Soap Injector

When a soap injector is not working properly, the problem is generally fairly easy to isolate. Check the following:

1. If you have interchangeable tips, make sure the Black, soap tip is installed. Soap injectors will not work when high pressure nozzles are installed.
2. Be sure that the soap injector valve is turned on, and turn selector valve to desired setting.
3. A piece of debris may be caught in the injector valve, injector ball valve, or orifice. Disassemble and clean the injector.
4. If you have an adjustable nozzle, be sure it is in the low pressure position(away from the gun) to draw soap.

   
What causes low nozzle pressure?

Troubleshooting Low Nozzle Pressure

Low nozzle pressure is a common complaint generally caused by one of the following:

1. Plugged nozzle tip.
2. Inlet screen plugged.
3. Insufficient flow in gallons per minute (not pressure) to the pump.
4. Unloader valve stuck open due to debris lodged under the check valve ball.
5. Customer use of shutoff-type quick connectors.
6. Plugged hose.

   
Why am I getting too much pressure from my power washer?

Why Is There So Much Pressure From My Power Washer?

Too much pressure from a power washer can have a variety of causes, but one of the most common is a spray nozzle that is too small. Pressure washer repair in this case is a matter of using the right sized nozzle, simple as that. Another common problem is a broken pressure gauge, which can show no pressure, too much pressure, or any combination of false readings. Check these two areas first when trying to diagnose a pressure problem with your power washer. If those two problems are ruled out, you could have a faulty regulator or an improperly adjusted unloader.

   
How do I unclog my nozzles?

Troubleshooting a Clogged Nozzle

A clogged nozzle can put anyone out of sort, but especially so when it's on your presure washer. Here are a few things you can do to keep your power washer's nozzles flowing free:

1. Always disconnect your spray wand from the gun before cleaning your nozzles!
2. Clear the nozzle with a small rigid piece of wire such as a paper clip.
3. Flush the nozzle backwards with water.
4. Reconnect the wand to the gun
5. Restart the pressure washer and depress the trigger on the spray gun.
If the nozzle is still plugged or partially plugged, repeat number 1-6. If the previous procedure does not clear the nozzle, replace with a new nozzle.

   
Why does a pressure washer spew water from the sides?

Leaky Business

Seeing water spewing out of your pressure washer can be a distressing sight. But don't panic. This just means that a thermal relief valve has been installed on your pump to prevent over heating. The thermal relief valve is usually preset to discharge water when it reaches 195 degrees. Until you pull the trigger, your pressure washer is in by-pass mode. The water is trapped in a loop, which means fresh cool water cannot come in. The water in the loop takes on heat generated by the pump, which can cause damage to the pumps internal components. To prevent this, you'll need to pull the trigger about every minute, more or less. If you won't be using the pressure washer for a while, just turn it off. Or you can set up your unloader to discharge back to your main tank. This is the best way to protect your pump. If you have a high pressure soap set up you can't do this because your tank will fill with soap. Change to downstream and you won't have to worry about an overheated pump.

   
Why won't my power washer engine start?

Why Won't My Power Washer Engine Start?

If you are experiencing pressure washer problems because the engine won't start, turn the engine off before attempting an inspection of the unit. The most simple cause of your problem could be that the high-tension lead wire to the engine's spark plug has come loose. Wearing a pair of gloves, (again, with the engine off) push down on the connector end to make sure the wire is actually touching the spark plug. This simple procedure should have your power washer up and running again unless the problem is elsewhere. Another simple and common problem is the the age of the fuel in your tank. Assuming that the pressure washer's tank isn't empty, you could have a water build up in the gas lines of a gasoline-powered pressure washer engine. Another cause is dirty or contaminated fuel, which can clog up the fuel line.

   
What do you do about surging pressure or drop in pressure?

Surge or Drop In Pressure

If you experience constant surging or a drop in the pressure from your cold water pressure washer, it most likely has something to do with a blockage. This means that there is something partially blocking the spray coming from the nozzle, an obstruction in the hose, or possibly a damaged hose or valve.

Start by removing and inspecting the nozzle. Make sure it is clear and there is nothing present that might clog it and impede the flow of water. If the nozzle is worn it might be necessary to replace it. Check for soap or solvent build-up as well.

If all appears to be fine, move on to the hose. Check the inlet hose and filter to see if they need to be cleaned or replaced. Do the same for the discharge valves and valve spring. More than likely the problem you are having with the drop in pressure is due to a simple obstruction or worn nozzle or hose. If after cleaning and/or replacing these parts you still experience this problem, contact the manufacturer and ask them for assistance.

   
What does water leakage from under the pump manifold mean?

Troubleshooting Water Leaks

If you see water leaking out from under the manifold in your gas or electric power washer, you instinctively know that this is not a healthy sign. But don't be too alarmed.

This mechanical incontinence can be due to a combination of worn O-rings, worn water seals, and/or worn piston guides. Check them out and replace as necessary. Your power washer should be good to go.

   
What can cause my pressure washer pressure to drop off?

Troubleshooting Pressure Problems

If your gas or electric pressure washer seems to have lost a lot of its pep, not to worry. Check out the following probable causes and solutions that can get your unit back into tip-top shape:

• Nozzle is in low PSI position. Pull back nozzle to high pressure position.
• Nozzle worn. Replace nozzle.
• Unloader valve seat dirty or worn. Clean or replace valve.
• Inlet or outlet valves dirty, stuck, or worn. Clean or replace valve (s).
• Worn piston guides. Install new piston guides.

   
I have low water pressure. Help!

Low Pressure

If, when turning on pressure washer pumps you get low pressure, there are a few things to double check. First, try turning your pressure washer valve up to the maximum. Does this increase the pressure at all? If not, you may have a clogged or bent line. You should also do an inspection of your hoses to insure you don't have any leaks. All of these things can contribute to reduced pressure washer performance. If you suspect your water pump, you may need to get some expert advice--call the manufacturer for help if you think your water pump is going bad.

   
What can I do about piston guide malfunctions?

Troubleshooting Piston Guide Problems

When your piston guides go on the fritz, you won't be taking care of business until you fix this problem. The following symptoms and solutions should help you diagnose the source of the piston guide malfunction and put your pressure washer back in circulation in no time.

Symptom • Excessive pressure due to partially plugged or damaged tip.
Solution • Clean or replace tip.

Symptom • Pump running dry.
Solution • Do not run pump without water.

Symptom • Pump running too long without spraying.
Solution • Never run pump more than 2 minutes without spraying.

Symptom • Inlet water temperature too high.
Solution • Check water temperature; it may not exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit

Symptom • Abrasive material entering pump
Solution • Clean inlet filter. Use recommended chemicals. Make sure water source is clean.

   
Why won't my gasoline powered pressure washer start?

Starting an Uncooperative Gasoline Pressure Washer

If your gasoline powered pressure washer doesn't start, there are usually very simple reasons why that have almost nothing to do with your IQ. Here are a few common symptoms and solutions you can use the next time your unit doesn't feel like firing up.

• No gas in fuel tank or carburetor. Fill tank with gasoline, open fuel shut-off valve. Check fuel line and carburetor.
• Low oil. Check oil level. Fill if necessary.
• Start/Stop switch in “stop” position Move switch to “start” position
• Water in gasoline or old fuel. Drain fuel tank and carburetor. Use new fuel and dry spark plug
• Dirty air filter cleaner Remove and clean
• Spark plug dirty, wrong gap or type Clean, adjust gap or replace
• Spray gun closed Trigger spray gun
• Other causes See engine owner's manual

   
What do I do if my electric power washer doesn't want to start?

Starting an Uncooperative Electric Pressure Washer

If your electric power washer doesn't want to start, don't give it a swift kick and call it a day. Check the following possible causes and solutions:

• Plug is not well connected or electric socket may be faulty. Check plug, socket and fuses
• The main voltage supply is too low. Make sure that main supply voltage is adequate.
• GFCI has tripped, (if your washer has one.) Switch off the unit and allow motor to cool down. Release water pressure. Reset GCFI. Turn unit on.
• ISS Instant Start/Stop or thermal relief has tripped. Restart unit. If applicable, reset GFCI.

   
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Lynne Christen