Summer is a great time to pressure wash your home. You’ve got the chance to really see areas in need of extra cleaning, identify problem areas where mold or mildew may have taken hold, and sunny, dry days will allow for the areas you’ve washed to dry thoroughly.
1. Removing Surface Grime
Pressure washing is important to do in advance of painting – be it your house, walls, steps or fence. If you don’t remove that layer, then a new layer of paint won’t stick to the surface. It’s also a great way to remove dirt, grime and keep your home looking in tip-top shape.
2. Safety First
If you’re pressure washing a house, you need a bigger washer, with more power, usually a gas-powered washer. If it’s a small area, like your deck or driveway, you could use a small, electric-powered washer. But safety first, of course: electricity and water don’t mix. If you’ll be up on a ladder, be aware of where power lines are, including shutting off the power at its source in your home to prevent electrocution.
3. Tips and Tricks
Close windows and doors, and be careful around outside electrical outlets not to get them wet. Generally, when washing siding, you want to be about 10 inches away from the surface, and you don’t want to hold the nozzle so it will direct a forced stream of water in corners, nooks, crannies, or toward the underside of siding, as it could damage the siding or cause it to come loose, or water can pool and create a leak.
Be aware that there can be some kick back from the force of the power washer; don’t use it on windy days, start with low pressure, and be particularly careful if you are on a ladder – you don’t want the pressure washer’s force to cause you to lose your balance on the ladder.
In general you’ll want to start with a wider fan on the nozzle, 15-25 degrees, and approximately 1500 dpi for pressure. Start from the top down, holding the nozzle at an angle, so dirt will fall downward.
4. Cleaning Solution
If you use a detergent, make sure it’s safe for the environment with a neutral pH. Work from the bottom up, and let is stay on the surface for a few minutes. Then, rinse from the top down, holding the nozzle at an angle to the surface you’re washing. Don’t let the cleaning solution dry on the surface.
You can use a weak bleach solution prior to using the pressure washer to remove mildew before it ruins siding, a deck or a fence. Start with a small area and a small amount of bleach. Let it sit on the affected area for a few minutes, then sponge it off with clean water. If you have a larger issue with mildew, you can try a stronger solution called Jomax, that is available in paint stores.
5. Damage-Free Pressure
You can also use a very wide fan for a gentler spray, that is very useful to clean windows or even patio furniture. Remember, start with lower water pressure, and a wider fan, and then adjust for more pressure if needed. You can get the results you want, without damaging your home surfaces.
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