Pressure washing your house or commercial building is a great way to improve its look and curb appeal and is the easiest way to prepare it for painting. A pressure washer will easily wash away grime, dirt, mildew and flaking paint. Using a hot water pressure washer will make it quicker and easier to remove dirt, grime, mold and mildew. It will also greatly reduce or even eliminate the need to use harsh chemicals and labor intensive scrubbing. Using a pressure washer also greatly reduces the amount of water used for cleaning compared to a garden hose. Many pressure washers use between 2.5 - 4 gallons of water per minute while a garden hose uses about 10 gpm.
Before power washing a house or building, it is important to inspect the area making sure that all electrical outlets and lights are covered up. Also use care when washing to not spray them directly; it could cause a short circuit or electric shock. Make sure you trim back plants and bushes so that you can access and clean all areas of the building. It is also a good idea to remove the screens from the windows to avoid dirty water from being trapped behind them and from running down and streaking the areas that you clean.
When washing, you will want to start with a wider angle nozzle that will lessen the chance of damaging the surface that you are cleaning. Green 25⁰ and white 40⁰ nozzles have a wider fan making for less direct impact to the surface than yellow 15⁰ or red 0⁰ nozzles. They also will cover a greater area for faster rinsing. Another technique to implement is to stand further back and move in closer as needed for difficult areas always moving sided to side in a sweeping motion rather than dwelling on one area. This could cause damage to the surface or remove paint. It is always a good idea to practice your technique on a flat surface such as your driveway or patio before you begin to wash the house or building.
Start with your gutters at the top and work your way down. This will keep the dirty water from running down over areas you have already cleaned. Angle your nozzle downward. This will keep the dirty water from splashing back on what you have already cleaned as well as from blasting up into vents and drain ports of windows. Be careful when washing around windows and doors that you do not get to close and damage the weather-stripping.
If you are washing a 2 story house or have high eaves to clean, you will want to use a High Reach Wash Pole that will extend your reach while keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. Climbing up a ladder and using a high powered pressure washer is risky. The ladder can become wet and slippery and takes time to constantly move and reposition. Always use caution when using a High Reach Wash Pole. Be careful that you do not come into contact with electrical lines or that the spray does not contact wires. Electrical current can travel down the pole and cause an electric shock or electrocution.
Many areas have local ordinances restricting wash water from going into storm drains. Be sure to check to see if there are added precautions that you need to take in order to prevent wash water from entering the storm drain. In many cases it is acceptable to discharge waste water into flower beds or landscaping.
If you have any concerns it is always a good idea to consult a professional. They have the proper equipment to get the job done right and in a timely manner. Make sure that they are licensed and insured. Most will provide you with a free estimate.