You can say goodbye to a hard brush and a bucket of soapy water when you have a pressure washer around.
However, if you have one of these or are hoping to buy one, you might be wondering. Do you need to winterize your pressure washer to protect it from those freezing cold months? Luckily, this article will answer that and more for you!
When the temperatures drop below freezing, ice in the washer can cause damage. This is why you should winterize. The basic steps to this are as follows:
- Drain as much water as you can from the pump.
- Run antifreeze through the water inlet. This will displace remaining water and fill the pump. You may need to pull the cord to drive water out and antifreeze in.
- Store in the warmest place possible, for the best results.
However, there’s so much more to know about taking the best care of your machine.
Do you need to winterize a pressure washer?
A pressure washer is a godsend for many. Certain surfaces are tough to wash because of how tightly the stains hold on. For instance, the bricks on your driveway, your patio surface, or parts of your car. You can go at them with soapy water and a brush, but sometimes the stains are stubborn.
In the winter, you’ll find it hard to find liquid water anywhere. It turns to ice, and this includes the water left in our pipes and machines. This can cause damage because water increases in volume when it freezes. If a pipe full of water freezes, the expansion puts a ton of pressure on the pipe.
Did you know – this is why roads get damaged in winter! The water penetrates into the concrete, and causes tons of internal pressure when it freezes and expands. This pressure causes cracks and weaknesses, which become potholes when heavy cars and trucks drive over them.
For a pressure washer, water freezing can destroy seals and crack other parts used. This can cause leakages, loss of pressure (cleaning power), and can be expensive to fix.
This shows why it is absolutely necessary to winterize your pressure washer. It is a quick process and should take you less than 10 minutes, even if it’s your first time.
Can I use antifreeze in my pressure washer?
Water is the culprit when it comes to winterizing. There’d be no need if you were certain that the pump was completely dry.
You could also just find an insulated room to toss your pressure washer in during winter. By keeping it warm, the water never gets the chance to freeze.
That being said, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You absolutely can use antifreeze in a pressure washer. In fact, antifreeze is one of the major things you need to properly winterize your washer.
How to winterize a pressure washer in under 10 minutes
You’ll need to buy a few things to winterize you pressure washer. You are likely to have a few of these at home already though:
- Garden hose
- Funnel (depending on the antifreeze container)
- Bucket of clean water
- Fuel stabilizer
The process will depend on the exact model of pressure washer you use. However, there are some fundamental steps that you can follow.
These steps will make sure that your washer stays great in the winter:
- It’s vital that you drain as much water as possible. After all, it’s the water that causes all the problems. This is because water expands when it freezes.
- Put the washer’s detergent tube into a bucket of clean water and run the washer. Spray it in a safe direction to clean out any remaining detergent in the pump. Now turn off the washer and hold down the nozzle to take care of residual pressure. Once it stops draining, you can disconnect all hoses and attachments. Open the outlet to drain further if possible!
- It’s time to run antifreeze into the pump. Start this step when you’re sure you have drained as much water as you can. You may need a garden hose here to make it easier. Have it connected and run antifreeze through it.
- You may notice that the antifreeze doesn’t continue running straight through. While switched off, you may need to pull the cord to help circulate the antifreeze. Once it starts coming out of the outlet, you’ve successfully winterized it! The fluid coming out may be clear initially. That’s the remaining water coming out. Once it turns the color of antifreeze, you’re all set!
For a gas pressure washer, you will need to add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank. Turn it on and let it run for about 2 minutes to let it circulate through the fuel system. Unless your gas tank is completely empty, in which case you won’t need to.
After all of this, try your best to find a warm, dry location to keep your pressure washer during the winter. Along with winterizing it, this makes sure that it’ll stay warm.
Can it get too cold to use a pressure washer?
It definitely can. It is important to avoid using your pressure washer at temperatures below freezing. There’s a chance of the water turning to ice and damaging your washer. Sometimes it’s just not worth this risk.
However, if it’s cold but not below freezing, you might be able to get away with using your washer. Just make sure you follow these simple steps to reduce the risk at cold temperatures:
- Keep the pressure washer in the warmest place you can. If you have an insulated shed, this is perfect. You won’t be able to winterize it if you’re planning to use it often during the colder months. If temperatures do drop below 0, then don’t take that risk! Put that antifreeze in!
- Make sure the engine is well lubricated with engine oil! Also add fuel stabilizer to treat your fuel for the cold. Of course, this only applies to gas washers.
- Use the pump at the warmest times of day. Don’t go pressure washing your patio at 2AM..
- Check the details of your washer to know the max temperature of water you can run through it. Regular cold-water washers can’t deal with hot water. You could ruin the machine that way! If you are using a hot water washer, avoid targeting glass in cold weather. You could crack it!
- Of course, protect yourself, and dress up snug and warm.
A pressure washer is a priceless for blasting those dirty surfaces clean. However, cold temperatures can freeze water and ruin the washer. It’s vital to winterize your pressure washer when winter comes around.
If you absolutely have to use it when it gets cold, it is important to follow the steps outlined above. Do avoid using it once temperatures drop below freezing. This way, you’ll protect your hard -earned money and the washer will last longer.
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