Contrary to what some people may think about pressure cleaning.. “professional pressure cleaning” is just as serious and justified as any other trade out there. And just like all the other professional trades, this one is no different when it comes to having the right tools on hand in order to get jobs done better & faster. Having the right equipment, experience and know-how is what immediately sets the professionals apart from the general public when it comes to pressure washing.
In reality there’s lots of power washing equipment & accessories available, but in this 3 part post I’ll only be going over the items that are most commonly used or else the post would go on & on, especially becoming endless if I also included items for soft-washing.
So to kick things off it’s only fitting to start with the single most important piece and that would be a professional grade power washer. And for those that do not know.. there’s many differences between commercial grade and residential grade machines. Without getting into the mechanical aspects of both grades, the bottomline is that you get what you pay for. More specific differences between both grades will be: mechanical longevity, water pump volume & output pressure.
For example, most residential machines have pumps that just aren’t designed to last very long when compared to the pumps used on commercial grade units. The residential pumps are prone to easily overheating, which causes long or short term damage. They also require having their pump-oil changed out after every use do to their inferior pump seals, unlike the commercial pumps, which are also less prone to overheating due to mechanical & material design differences.
And besides the fact that commercial units have larger engines to power their higher output pumps, those engines are also more dynamic and reliable. The difference in engine output range between residential and commercial units is quite a lot but in this post I’m only going to cover the differences in their pump output range.
Residential pumps generally start at (2000 psi / 2 gallons per minute) on the smaller gas powered machines but can go up to as high as (2700 psi / 2.7 gallons per minute) on the slightly larger units. Commercial pumps on the other hand can start as low as (2800 psi / 3 gallons per minute) and go as high as (4500 psi / 4 gallons per minute) or (3000 psi / 10 gallons per minute).
With the commercial units there’s many output configuration options available, some for one man operations and some for two. The 10 gallon per minute pump mentioned above is for up to two people. Common commercial pump outputs for one person would be (4000 psi / 4 gal per minute) up to (3000 psi / 6.5 gal per minute). Higher the output, larger the engine needed to power the pump.
OK enough about the machines.. now on to the high pressure hoses that allow the water to get from the output of those commercial pumps (through their un-loader valves and chemical injectors) all the way out to a high pressure ball valve that connects to either a wand or a rotary surface washer, which I’ll talk about within the next few posts.
High pressure hoses are made in various lengths.. 50ft, 100ft, 200ft are the most common. The hoses are also designed and produced to handle different maximum pressures and temperatures. Some pressure washing companies have set-ups that utilize hot water furnaces on the back-end and because of this, they would need hoses that can handle higher than normal temperatures. And as you may have guessed, the wands they use would also have to handle higher temps than the standard wands most machines come with.
The commercial grade hoses start at around 3300 psi and go up to 5400 psi. Their construction is similar to a garden hose in the fact that they are multi layered, but the materials used within each layer are typically much stronger & durable. For example: Garden hoses always have nylon braiding to strengthen them.. the high pressure hoses must use at least one layer of STEEL braiding in order to withstand the kinds of pressure their subjected to over and over.
When it comes to the inner construction, these hoses have to hold up to constant wear & tear from not only the water but also from the many times that chlorine gets introduced by means of the machines chemical injector. The outer construction of the hoses are made from a very durable vulcanized material that’s main purpose is to withstand being constantly bent and dragged around on not only grass but also on harsh pavement. It’s other purpose is to shield the operators hands from the sharp feel of the steel braiding directly underneath.
As strong as these hoses can be, unfortunately they don’t last forever. As they wear out in certain places over time, they become prone to failure and often burst. They can usually be repaired but a failure often signals that it will soon need to be replaced. And on that note I will end part one of this post. In part two I’ll talk about: high pressure ball valves, wand & spray tips and extension rods.
If you’re in the Port St Lucie Area and you’re interested in having Bill’s Pressure Cleaning PLUS Barrel & Flat-Tile Roof Cleaning take care of your Pressure Washing needs, please visit my homepage for more info and general pricing by clicking on the link below. Thank You