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Or how to find the right pressure washer the first time around.

Kids love sprinklers. Then they love hoses with nozzles.

They move up to squirt guns and super soakers.

All the while a pressure washer lurks in their future.

First it’s the electric job with a nice hum. No need to get all macho and get some sort of industrial equipment, right?

But you do.

The careful shopper stares and compares all models. How big a deal is getting the right pressure washer?

Buy the wrong one and you need a bandana tied around your head, a barbwire tattoo on your bicep, and maybe a piercing.

That one runs around $14oo. You could clean farm equipment from an acre away, or spray out the hen house from the barn.

If you don’t want neck ink, a chain locked to your wallet, and a hat that says, “TRY ME,” get a more useful power washer, something around 3100PSI at maybe two and half gallons a minute.

Look, there’s one in Home Depot that’s perfect. It’s got all the safety decals and color, and it says it’s easy starting. It’s got a Honda engine and a Homelite pump. Perfect.

It also comes with a warning to avoid using bleach in the soap container. That’s a big deal.

So you buy it and you’re happy. You start power washing the heck out of everything from decks, to houses, to fences, to chairs. To a man with a power washer everything’s dirty.

You ruin your pressure washer. Then what?

Start by telling yourself the world is in ruin because of power washers, or the idea of power washing.

When did soap, hot water, scrub brushes on sticks, and a hose prove not good enough? That stuff worked for thousands of years. Way before electricity, or gas, people scrubbed things and rinsed them off.

It was good enough then and you tell yourself it’s good enough now. You are just old fashioned with old fashioned values. Just like the good old days. That’s you.

All the scrubbing and rubbing and blisters leave is a job you can’t really claim is done. You’ve got green stuff still growing on your white house. The deck is murky and slippery looking. Sit on a deck chair if you dare.

After you borrow a friend’s power washer for the driveway, and break it, the time has come. Either give in to half-ass clean, or find a new pressure washer.

The first step is taking the plugged pump off the one you’ve left dormant and find a replacement. Since it’s located on the bottom of the power washer frame it’s a little tricky. But you get it done.

Stop at an independent equipment repair shop where they say they don’t repair pumps, just motors, but give you the number of a pump repair place.

You call the number and head over, plugged pressure washer pump in a bag.

The pump repair man looks in the bag and says, “That’s a throw away. We see them all the time. You bought a pressure washer from a big box store?”

It’s like the guy has a crystal ball. He tells you what you did wrong, and he’s right every step of the way.

Did you ever leave the engine running while you talked on the phone? If water isn’t running through the pump, the water cooled pump, it burns up fast.

Did you ever use one of the curly cue garden hoses with the small diameter? If a pressure washer doesn’t get enough water, the pump burns up.

Did you ever use a cleaning solution that said it was safe with plants but still smelled like bleach? That stuff kills your pump.

Did you ever loan your pressure washer out? People who borrow pressure washers come in all the time with burned out pumps on borrowed equipment.

This same man will show you a pressure washer.

“Nobody makes all the parts of a pressure washer, they just assemble the parts and stick a label on.

“See the pump on the bottom, like the pump you’ve got in the bag? Those are on the market because they fit on the same engine as lawn mowers with the blade under the deck. Cheaper to make, cheaper to assemble, harder to work on. They become throwaways.

“The right pressure washer has the pump out front with the hose connections. Think about it, you push the washer frame with a pump underneath and hoses in the rear, but you’re working ahead. Wouldn’t you want the pump and hoses out front, too?”

You buy the new pressure washer with the man’s words ringing in your ears.

“Never loan it out. If someone asks, tell they your renting it, borrowing it. Tell them whatever it takes to avoid loaning it to anyone. That’s the biggest safety feature for a long life.”

The electric washer burned up when you left it on too long without water.

The gas burned up because of a skinny hose and bleachy soap.

Now you’re ready to step up to safe pressure washing that takes the murk off the deck, the green off the white siding. Now people can sit on a deck chair without the worry of staining their clothes.

If you’d like to know more about finding the best pressure washer, leave a comment.

About David Gillaspie


  1. It’s interesting that you mentioned never loaning out the pressure washer. Like you mentioned, it’s dangerous to the user as well as the equipment if someone not trained uses it. It may help to have the number of a cleaning company that uses a pressure washer on hand to give out if anyone asks to borrow yours.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hi Kendall,

      Some gear, like pressure washers and chain saws, have too much risk for the un-schooled. The wrong move with a pressure washer when you’re wearing open toe shoes ends up with a hole blasted in your foot.

      Chain saw guys always have a story of ‘don’t let this happen to you’ just before they show you a huge scar.

      If I had a pressure washer to loan out, which don’t, I think your idea of a list for cleaning companies is a good one.

      (See what I did there?)

      Thanks for coming in K,


  2. I very much like how you said a smart shopper will take their time and compare models before buying. I feel like that piece of advice is pretty unilateral with any product or even service. I need to get my deck cleaned off. It seems to have a bit of a moss problem. There is a lot that goes into buying and using a pressure washer. I think I will just hire someone to do the job for me. That way I know it will be done the right way the first time.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hi Suzan,

      My wife agrees with you, but she’s missing the fun of the most powerful squirt gun. When you pressure wash you can ‘accidentally’ spray other things, like family.

      thanks for coming in,


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