The experts at Mi-T-M share advice on getting the most out of your pressure washer
Pressure washing season is upon us and, as with any task, painting contractors are looking to maximize their equipment’s efficiency and productivity. Here are five tips to make the most of your pressure washing operations from Mi-T-M, which manufactures a complete line of pressure washers for industrial and residential use.
“With so many makes and models to choose from, it can be overwhelming trying to not only figure out which pressure washer to select, but how to maximize your productivity once you’ve decided on a unit,” says Don Holdridge, Mi-T-M National Paint Division Manager. “These tips can help ensure you get top performance out of equipment that’s best suited for your operations.”
1. The higher the number of cleaning units, the faster you can complete job.
A pressure washer’s cleaning power is measured by its number of cleaning units (CU), which is calculated by multiplying a pressure washer’s pressure and flow (CU = PSI x GPM). Pounds per square inch (PSI) indicates the amount of pressure a unit will create if concentrated on one square inch of surface; the greater the PSI, the better cleaning efficiency the pressure washer has.
Gallons per minute (GPM) specifies how much water flows through a pressure washer; a higher flow rate will cut down cleaning time. For example, a pressure washer with a 4,000 PSI and 4.0 GPM would have 16,000 cleaning units and would work great for stripping paint and tackling larger cleaning jobs.
“Calculating cleaning units is a great way to compare pressure washer models you’re considering,” says Holdridge. “The higher number of cleaning units, the more cleaning power the unit has.”
2. Select a direct-drive or belt-drive model based on how long and how often it will be used.
Pressure washers are designed with either direct-drive or belt-drive pumps. The amount of time you plan to use your pressure washer per week will dictate which pump would maximize your productivity and be best suited to serve your operations.
A pressure washer with a direct-drive pump is generally used for applications requiring less than 30 hours of use per week. The pump is directly coupled to the engine, making the pump spin twice as fast as a belt drive model. Pressure washers with direct-drive pumps typically have a more compact design. Although these models are not recommended for heavy, consistent usage, they are a lower-cost alternative to the more expensive belt-driven models.
A pressure washer with a belt-drive pump is ideal for applications requiring 30 or more hours of use per week. The belt connecting the engine with the high-pressure pump dissipates the heat and vibration, slowing down the pump RPM and ultimately extending the life of the pump.
3. Increase cleaning power with accessories such as rotating nozzles, surface cleaners and detergents.
A variety of pressure washer accessories, tools and attachments can be paired with a pressure washer to make jobs faster, more efficient, and easier. Accessories such as rotating nozzles, surface cleaners and detergents can save hours of work and increase your cleaning power.
Rotating nozzles offer 0° spray impact with 25° coverage. Their spinning water jet hits the surface area from multiple angles, quicky removing old, peeling paints and prepping surfaces for new paint or coating. Note: make sure you are using rotating nozzles appropriately, as they can damage surfaces if not used properly.
Surface cleaners are equipped with strong-bristled brushes for long life and easy glide to clean larger surfaces. They are portable and can easily cut the time spent on a job in half. Surface cleaners can be used on decks, patios, sidewalks, driveways, pool decks, parking lots and any other horizonal surfaces.
Detergents can take your cleaning power to the next level. An all-purpose detergent is the most versatile and efficient all-around cleaner, while a deck and house detergent is specifically recommended for decks, siding and wooden surfaces.
Visit https://www.mitm.com/selectsw/videos/ to view videos of pressure washer accessories in action.
4. Choose a pressure washer with a good warranty, quality components and heavy-duty construction.
It is always wise to protect your investments, including pressure washers. A warranty ensures products are reliable, made with the best quality, and free of defects. Good warranty terms imply a dependable product.
Sherwin-Williams holds true to their warranty and services what they sell through SpraySource™ spray equipment service centers, more than 100 of which are located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Look for a Select SW Warranty on a pressure washer – this ensures a lifetime frame replacement.
When choosing a pressure washer, you’ll also want to make sure the pump is well protected and that the frame, gun/wand and hose assemblies are appropriate for your specific unit – hot water versus cold, gas-powered versus electric, etc.
Look for heavy-duty steel and/or aluminum frames to ensure reliable performance. If you are looking for a portable unit, make sure the tires are durable and flat-free. For longer life, choose a pressure washer that includes an isolator plate — this decreases the vibration when running the unit and protects the pump.
The gun/wand and hose assembly are important, as they are the pieces that deliver water to the target surface. Some factors to consider when determining what assemblies to choose are PSI ratings and temperature ratings. A higher PSI rating is more suitable for longer, deep cleaning jobs. You want to make sure your gun/wand and hoses are able to withstand the water temperature flowing through them.
5. Maintain your pressure washer to keep it performing at its best.
It is extremely important to thoroughly inspect and maintain a pressure washer. Always read and follow all handing, maintenance and safety instructions listed in the operator’s manual.
If there are ever any signs of water, oil or fuel leaking while the pressure washer is in operation, it needs to be serviced. Small leaks and other nuisances can turn into major problems down the road if not taken care of.
“Sherwin-Williams Spray Source spray equipment service centers are an excellent resource for pressure washer sales, maintenance and service needs,” notes Holdridge. “From new equipment to parts and accessories to rental programs, Sherwin-Williams Spray Source centers can ensure you maximize your pressure washer productivity.”