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Author Topic: Pressure washer question  (Read 4383 times)
Len Silva
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« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2007, 04:57:53 PM »

Several years ago I went to the Hardware Department in a Sears store and asked if they had high pressure washers. She studied the computer, held a conference with several other clerks, then escorted me to the bolt section. Waving her hand over the display she said that was all the washers they had and she didn't know which ones were high pressure.
Funnier than any joke I have seen on this site.  Something about truth is funnier ........
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« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2007, 05:31:13 PM »

John Z: If you have any doubts about Sears service I will tell you the rest of the story. The reason I went into the store was because I had got a flyer in my mailbox with pressure washers in it. During the initial conversation, they told me that head office didn't send them copies of flyers so they didn't know anything about a sale. They had to have Sear's number so they could look it up. I phoned my wife and she read the number to me as I repeated it to the clerk to enter into her computer. Answer - "That is not a good Number". This was not my frist unsatisfactory experience with that Sear's store but it was the last time I took a chance.
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John Z
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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2007, 05:51:03 PM »

Stan, i too have been avoiding Sears for some time. But i did recently find myself in there looking at a small air compressor. The salesman told me for 15.00 i could get a instant replacement guarantee for 2 years, that i could use any where in the country. I did buy that compressor because of that,, just seemed to good to pass up. But yours is a funny story!!!
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2007, 07:01:42 PM »

Hi JohnZ
I have a 2500 PSI that has the regulator mentioned by Richard. This gives you more versatility to do more projects with the washer. I would suggest staying with either a Honda, Briggs and Straton or Kohler engine for parts/service availability. In the last several years companies have been coming out with washers with engines that they manufacture. That makes the manufacture the only source of parts and worse, may leave with no one willing to service the unit. If the only job you plan to do is wash the bus, the 1500 PSI electrics may be all you need. Finally, like one poster above, I went to a large pawn shop and purchased my washer with an 8 hp Honda engine, variable pressure, variable nozzle for $200. HTH

Rob
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2007, 08:47:24 PM »

Robin industrial engines by Subaru are also very good, and they claim to be as good as or better than Honda. I have one, and have had no complaints yet.

 I pressure wash anything that doesnít move and I could not live without mine. I started off with a small 5hp, 3gpm, 2000psi. It lasted for several years before the pump went out. I now use an industrial 13hp, 4gpm, 3500psi machine and could never go back. In all fairness I live on a very long mud/dirt road so I really need the extra cleaning power. Pressure washers can take the paint off, but only if you want it to. Try to find one with a ceramic pump, they are the best. A pressure washer is one of those items that you truly get what you pay for. To compare washers with different gpm or psi you use cleaning units; take the gpm x psi = cleaning units. For example my first one had 6000 cleaning units, my second has 14,000. So if you are looking at one manufacture that is selling a machine that has 3gpm and 2000psi, and another that has 2gpm and 3000psi they both have the same cleaning units so neither one theoretically cleans better than the other. But, in my real world experience, I like the higher gpm machines. The reason is that itís one thing to dislodge the dirt; itís another to rinse it away. Think about washing off the driveway or the siding on a shed, the higher volume of water really helps rinse the dirt away.

Some important tips to get the most life out of your pump. Without going into all of the details there are a few things to keep in mind:

1.   Heat will damage a pump. Under normal operating conditions your pump will not overheat, but if you let it sit there and run without pulling the trigger for long periods of time it will get very hot.
2.   Bleed the air out of your supply hose, do not let the pump ďsuckĒ the water, and do not run it dry. ďPump starvation of liquid is probably the leading cause of premature pump failure. Inlet line restrictions does not allow adequate water to enter pump resulting in cavitation. Cavitation is when air mixes with water causing small explosions to occur when pressurized which will tear away at packing or piston surface.Ē (From the AR site, see link below) I think this is what destroyed my first pressure washer. I didnít know any better and would pump all of the air out of the supply hose with the pump. The pumps valves disintegrated and since it was a cheap disposable pump it was not economically repairable.

I found my pressure washer on Ebay; it was half the cost of an equivalent machine locally.

Link that I referenced above:

http://www.arnorthamerica.com/thepressurewasher.html

Laryn

« Last Edit: March 08, 2007, 08:52:08 PM by Barn Owl » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2007, 09:50:35 PM »

For a guy like myself that lives in my bus I would opt for the most compact electric model I could find. Since it would be primarily used to clean the bus and bike I wouldn't need a commercial grade tool. I look at all of my tool and equipment purchases as there intended use by me. If it's being used every day or to make my living I buy the best I can afford. If it is occasional use stuff just because I want it I buy the least expensive thing I can find that will do the intended job for a reasonable amount of time then that leaves me with extra money to spend on the things I want that are the best I can afford.

Just my 2 pennies
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RJ
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« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2007, 10:59:06 PM »


WOW!!! Russ must be superman, 14 pools a day!!!???



Actually, 25 pools/day, Mon - Thur, with Fri/Sat for repairs, filter cleanings, etc.  Over the last six years have condensed the route down to where I can average 4 -5 pools/hr.  When you've got automatic equipment in all of them, and you've weeded out the trashy ones with heavy debris loads, the time involved per pool drops considerably. 

No summer vacations tho. . .  Sad


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RJ Long
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JerryH
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« Reply #22 on: March 09, 2007, 04:10:23 AM »

Stan:  Pretty funny about the "washer" and her not knowing which was high-pressure.  You gotta love the BIG box stores -- they hire the cream of the crop.

Russ:  My Dad was a pool man for many years.  We MUST be thinking of different types of pools as there's NO way we could have done 14 to 25 pools her day (not even close).  Do you fish?

John Z:  I did have an electric lower psi pressure washer.  It just didn't cut it (so to speak).  Too many limitations.  When it died, which wasn't too long, I bought a 3500 psi gas model (Honda engine) and it works great.  I have a couple wands, and can change the pressure coming out.  Only one disadvantage that I've experienced, it works so well that friends often request to borrow it.

Jerry H.

ps:  be careful with pressure as it can lift paint and damage radiators.

« Last Edit: March 09, 2007, 04:14:51 AM by JerryH » Logged
RJ
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« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2007, 07:10:57 AM »


Russ:  My Dad was a pool man for many years.  We MUST be thinking of different types of pools as there's NO way we could have done 14 to 25 pools per day (not even close).  Do you fish?


Jerry -  Check your PM for a message that's pool-related.  No, I don't fish, never got into that.  Have been a few times, so I know what's involved, just not for me.

I chose the small electric for it's convenience.  I don't have to worry about running out of fuel - all I need is an electrical outlet and a hose.  I don't need 3000 psi, just enough to cut thru wet dirt.  I can easily hoist a small one into the back of my pick-up with one hand.  I get about seven - eight month's use out of one, and, as I said before, Karcher honors their 1-year full-replacement warranty, so they ship me another one when the first one dies.  Matter of fact, I just picked up a new one last nite at Sam's Club, $147.88 + tax.  I just consider these a cost of doing business.

Yes, I probably wouldn't have to replace a gas model as often, and yes, I can adjust the pressure.  But I like the convenience of the little one, and they work perfectly for what my needs are.  I even set them up with a quick-disconnect for the hose, speeds up the set-up/take-down time a little.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2007, 07:28:51 AM »

An instructor at a welding course told me that he recommended electric welders because he had spent more time cranking his gas engine welder than towing it. The point is, nothing beats the convenience of electric equipment. Even car washs use electric driven pressure pumps for more use in a day than a bus nut in a lifetime. Electric motors tend to last forever while small gas engines are a pain in the a$$ requiring oil changes, tune ups and overhauls.

I have not used the cheap (economical) Karcher pump but there are lots of quality 1500 PSI pumps with whatever gpm you want, with single phase motors up to 5 HP, that do an excellent job of exterior washing.  You don't have to use a gas engine to get high pressure or high volume.
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John Z
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« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2007, 07:35:46 AM »

I have had my share of problems getting my old gas powered Onan genset to be somewhat dependable... hmm, might not be quite there yet. But i do agree, that for what i want, i think i am going with the electric. I certainly can see all the points people have made about the higher pressure being nice for other chores. I figure i  will just try to find a really nice elec unit, and it should help me keep the bus looking way better than the bucket and sponge do. I appreciate all the input very much.
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« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2007, 03:07:36 PM »

By using a fuel stabilizer I have eliminated most all of my gasoline engine problems. The engines can sit a winter and start like new six months later. Fuel stabilizer is good for about a year, can be two if you double the amount.

http://www.goldeagle.com/sta-bil/all_about_sta-bil.htm
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L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
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John Z
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« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2007, 04:15:54 PM »

I stopped at Menards tonight and was not very impressed with the 83.00 Karcher or the similar Dirt Devil model. Also stopped at WalMart and i see they have a larger Karcher model rated at 1750 and 2.5 gallons. Now this might do just what i want it to. They did not have one on display and i did not have the time to open a box, but will go back when i do have the time. I think the large Karcher unit was priced about 157.00.
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« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2007, 05:11:23 PM »

An instructor at a welding course told me that he recommended electric welders because he had spent more time cranking his gas engine welder than towing it. The point is, nothing beats the convenience of electric equipment. Even car washs use electric driven pressure pumps for more use in a day than a bus nut in a lifetime. Electric motors tend to last forever while small gas engines are a pain in the a$$ requiring oil changes, tune ups and overhauls.

I was taught that if you maintained your equipment, it would start when you need it, perform well, and last forever. Obviously, if he was having to crank his gas engine that much to start it, he was not maintaining it well.

Electric washers are ok. I've used a couple and they were adequate, but they typically are limited in their ability. I don't think I could have cut the heavy grease off my axles with one of them.

I use a 3000 psi gas model from Northern Tool. Has a pressure regulator on it to scale it back. Also has a suction hose for injecting soap into the stream. I've not used that, so can't comment on it's usefulness. I also use a bucket and brush with expandable handle. Works well. If you really want to cut the grime, you have to scrub it. Spray alone will not get the film off.



« Last Edit: March 09, 2007, 05:14:04 PM by gumpy » Logged

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« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2007, 06:30:23 PM »

Gumpy: Since you live in Minneapolis, I guess you have lots of experience crankiing  gas engines in cold weather. I am sure you know that for many years the Lincoln 200 (a very popular portable) had a 4 cylinder Wisconsin with a hand crank.

Pressure has nothing to do with the type of prime mover.  The pressure and volume are determined ny the pump and you can buy either gas or electric motors to power it.
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