Summer is the season of outdoor fun in Central Florida, but also of outdoor maintenance chores. If you’ve taken visual inventory of your property, you may have noticed that your house needs a good exterior cleaning. Which leads us to pressure washing – and choices.
Home shopping networks are now deep in the hard-sell of compact pressure washers, with live demonstrations of shutters, gutters, decks, walkways and patio furniture quickly cleaned of dirt and mildew. Of course, the company representative wielding the nozzle makes the job look effortless. For those who consider such equipment too lightweight to do the job properly, DIY Network’s Dylan Eastman – Project Manager for Blog Cabin – posted a step-by-step article, “How to Use a Pressure Washer.” If you’re planning to take the DIY approach, Eastman offers excellent advice – including the pros and cons of buying a pressure washer versus renting.
As for tackling the task itself, avoid the following 7 mistakes to ensure your safety and success
Not using the right pressure washing equipment – As seen by the above examples, pressure washers are available in a wide range of sizes.
Popular Mechanics Senior Home Editor, Roy Berendsohn, provides a quick run-down in his article, “How to Pressure Wash Your House.”
“First, unless you have a very small house (or a house that’s not particularly dirty), it’s likely that an electric machine is not powerful enough to do the job. These machines are better suited to cleaning cars, small boats and patio furniture. Pressure-washer capacity is measured in cleaning units, the product of water pressure (in PSI, or pounds per square inch) multiplied by flow rate (in GPM, or gallons per minute). An electric pressure washer may operate at 2400 cleaning units; a homeowner-grade gas engine model can get up to 6210 cleaning units, and professional machines can hit 16,000 cleaning units (4000 psi and 4 gpm). Cleaning units translate directly into effectiveness.”
Not using the right safety equipment – How old is your ladder, and is it appropriate for the job? Standing on a ladder while operating a pressure washer is an obvious danger – one that alone may influence your decision to leave this to the pros.
Using excessive pressure – This is one of the most common mistakes homeowners commit.
Many pressure washers are capable of as much as 3,000 PSI – more than enough to punch holes in siding, erode cement, damage wood decks and cause serious injury. Angie’s List recommends starting with the lowest setting and working your way up if you find yourself facing stubborn stains.
Not allowing the cleaning solution to soak in – The detergent needs some time to adhere to grime before rinsing. Being too eager to do the job as quickly as possible will defeat the purpose. Allow to soak for at least three to five minutes.
Using only water – We have seen many homeowners commit this mistake. While this may clean surface dirt, a cleaning solution is necessary to remove accumulated grime and mildew. If mildew is the prevalent issue on your home’s exterior, a solution specific to killing mildew spores will be necessary.
Not having a plan and not being aware of hazards – The two parts of this common mistake are related. Many homeowners don’t know where to start and end the process. Begin at the roof and work down. When you know what to clean and in which order, you are aware of the need to avoid aiming at certain areas, which include your home’s electrical service entrance cable, the electrical meter, exterior outlets and exterior lights. Avoid blasting water upward at a steep angle under siding. Also, don’t blast directly into corners, under the edge of windows and doors or into dryer or attic vents.
Hitting water-sensitive areas – Avoid such area as door openings, windows that are not watertight and drywall ceilings on covered patios.
Obviously, pressure washing a house is not for the faint of heart, those with limited physical strength or those with limited time. Hiring a professional service – such as Daniel’s Lawn Service & Pressure Washing Inc. – to do the honors will ensure a thorough job performed by our experienced team members. Contact us today to see how easy – and economical – a professional home exterior cleaning can be!
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