The high pressure washer is an essential ally for washing cars, garden furniture, bikes, house facades and other surfaces. No dirt resists this most effective tool. How does this unique device work? Here’s all there is to know.
Choosing a high pressure cleaner: for what needs?
As the name suggests, the pressure washer is mainly used for cleaning. The design of this tool makes it a very useful accessory for removing all types of dirt. The effectiveness of the cleaner nevertheless varies according to the surface. Some devices display exceptional results for routine maintenance operations of a yard, terrace or flat surface. Others, on the other hand, seem more suitable for cleaning garden furniture or façades.
More specialized devices are designed for cleaning garage floors, motors and pool walls. The market offers several models of pressure washers adapted to all needs. You just have to find the right material with the right equipment, price and level of sophistication.
How the pressure washer works
The device projects water – hot or cold – at a high speed onto the wall to be cleaned. The impact of the liquid is enough to remove the dirt.
The performance of a pressure washer thus depends on three crucial factors: the power of the engine, the pressure at which the water is propelled and the flow rate of the projected liquid.
The pressure washer relies on an electric motor to propel – and possibly heat – the water on the surface or the object to be cleaned. Manufacturers equip their models with different types of engine, depending on the uses of the device. Namely that the power of the motor is expressed in watts (W).
The motor of the pressure washer drives a piston pump, which turns on itself and compresses the liquid located inside the tank of the device. The more powerful the engine, the more it is able to release water at a high speed.
The pressure corresponds to the force with which the water is propelled by the cleaner. This characteristic is expressed in bars (B). The ability of a device to remove dirt depends largely on the pressure. The higher this data, the more efficient the cleaner.
The pressure of a cleaner is intrinsically linked to the power of the engine and the flow rate of the piston pump.
The flow rate of a pressure washer is the volume of water expelled by the device during a given period. The flow is often expressed in liters per hour (L / h). By following the same logic as pressure, a high flow is synonymous with more efficiency. Dirt is more easily encrusted under the impact of water, projected at high speed and in large quantities.
These three factors determine the real performance of a high pressure cleaner, from a purely mechanical point of view. This data is displayed end to end by the manufacturers in order to facilitate the choice of end users. Here are some performance indicators to watch for depending on the use of the pressure washer.
- For private and occasional use (bicycle, car, terrace, etc.): Power: 1400-1800 W / Pressure: 100-120 bars / Flow: 300-400 L / h
- For regular use (terrace, tiling, gutter and roof): Power: 1600-2000 W / Pressure: 120-140 bars / Flow: 400-500 L / h.
2 types of high pressure cleaner: electric or thermal?
The market for high pressure cleaners is teeming with manufacturers and equipment manufacturers who offer devices of all ranges. These devices can nevertheless be classified into two distinct categories, depending on the type of engine:
Electric high pressure cleaners:
These models are equipped with an electric motor powered by a standard household cable. This type of cleaner uses tap water, which can be heated or used cold.
The electric pressure washer is simple to use and easy to maintain. There are several versions on the market, from the simplest to the most sophisticated, more geared towards professional uses.
The only downside with this model concerns its instructions. The obligation to use an electric cable in contact with water could discourage more than one user, even if the safety conditions of the device are not compromised. This device also has the disadvantage of being quite greedy in electricity, if we refer to the electrical power it needs to operate.
High pressure thermal cleaners:
The high pressure thermal cleaner uses a diesel or petrol engine, instead of an electric drive. The absence of cable gives this model greater autonomy and incomparable handling.
The heat engine also offers increased power. Where electric high-pressure cleaners are content with a power around 2,000 and 2,500 W, devices of this type benefit from a power of 5 to 5.5 HP, or more than 3,600 W. These particularities make the high pressure thermal cleaner a more suitable device for intensive use.
A pressure washer requires minimal maintenance to function properly. Here are some practical tips that could extend the life of this device:
- Adding an anti-lime solution to the tank would be advisable for devices using hot water.
- It is essential to always respect the capacity limits of the device.
- Keep the cleaner from frost and rain.
- Use only detergents recommended by the manufacturer
- Above all, any maintenance operation cannot be done if the device is not switched off.
Several accessories optimize the performance of a pressure washer. Here are a few :
- the brushes terrace to better cleanse the dirt on the terrace
- the pipe openers
- the sanding kits
- telescopic rods, to facilitate work at height
- spray or straight jet nozzles
- hand brushes
The different brands:
There are many brands when it comes to pressure washers. The best known is of course Karcher to such an extent that we confuse it when we talk about this type of device. Bosch is currently the competing brand that offers the best alternative. Other outsider brands like Ryobi, Nilfisk or Kranzle also offer very interesting products.