You’ve seen many videos on YouTube showing you how useful a pressure washer is in cleaning homes and you want to try it yourself. But should you, or should you not? To answer this question, you first need to look into the possible dangers of using a pressure washer.
In 2014, around 6,000 people were hospitalized because of water pressure accidents. From this number, 14% needs to return to the hospital due to the complications from their initial injury.
With this figure, you might ask yourself what makes water pressure dangerous. To be clear, not all users who purchased this machine had a problem dealing with it. In most cases, the cluelessness and the carelessness of the user are the main culprits for the mishaps.
To understand why you need to take a pressure washer seriously, here are some risks that you should be aware of:
High-Pressure Water Causes Damage
Imagine a regular hose with a standard pressure of water coming out of its nozzle. Now, multiply that pressure 30-80 times, and that’s how strong the pressure coming from water pressure. That pressure is enough to destroy the bark of a tree, damage your skin, or knock-off your balance. Even if the pressure only causes minimal skin break, the water can penetrate deep into the tissue, causing skin infections.
Risk of Electric Shock
Water is a conductor of electricity. When water gets in the way of electric current, the result can be dangerous for anyone.
Many pressure washers come with 20 to 30 feet of power cable. With this length, the cord is susceptible to cork kinking and crackling. If you’re not careful, the water can get inside the cracks of the power cords. This can cause electrocution or fire. To reduce the risk of electric shock, you can use a grounded power source.
Damage to Property
The most common use of a pressure washer is to remove deep-seated dirt and stains in different parts of the house. It is a valuable tool when at the right hands. But when the machine is misused, it can damage the surface it intends to clean.
High-pressure can damage various surfaces it comes in contact with. It can chip away paint, destroy wood, or break a mortar. Also, if the nozzle is pointed aimlessly in the wrong direction, the water can hit and damage insulation and wiring.
Older windows and shingles may no longer withstand the water pressure coming from the machine. If you have old windows, it’s better if you use a regular hose to clean them rather than completely obliterating them using a pressure washer.
If you use lead paint for your house, the pressure washer can easily break down the paint and distribute the lead particles in many parts of the house. Inhaling or ingesting lead is a potential health hazard.
A power washer also uses cleaning chemicals. When these chemicals penetrate a cut or a wound, they can cause health problems. The chemical can invite bacteria to thrive into the wound, which can lead to infections. There is also a possibility that the solution can get directly into the bloodstream, posing a serious health risk.
Tips to Avoid the Dangers of Pressure Washer
After reading the dangers of pressure, it’s easy to understand why many people are scared to use it by themselves.
If you need to use a pressure washer by yourself, you should know how it works. You have to handle the equipment with extreme caution. Do not treat it like any other cleaning machines. Never play with it or underestimate its destructive power. It’s advisable that you read power washers buying guide 2020 to understand how they work.
Here are some tips to minimize the risks in using a pressure washer:
- Make sure to read the product manual before doing anything else. Familiarize yourself with the parts of the machine, how to operate them, and proper maintenance. If you need an actual demo, you can go to the manufacturer’s website or social media to watch a how-to video.
- Always wear proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as long pants, working shoes, face shield, and gloves. All of these gears must be made from high-quality materials. Wear shoes with closed toe and made from leather with a metal sheet underneath.
- Always use a ground fault breaker for an electric washer.
- For a gas-powered machine, make sure you do the refueling outside with the engine turned off.
- DO NOT USE the ladder while pressure washing! You can’t hold the hose with one hand while your other hand is on the ladder. The pressure can off-balance you and make you fall from the ladder.
- Don’t leave the pressure unattended. Ask someone to look after it while you focus on aiming the trigger at the right spot. This is important so that in case you need to turn off the machine immediately, someone will be readily available to do it.
- Always engage the safety latches on the trigger when the machine is not in use.
- Determine the right pressure you need to apply on a specific surface. As much as possible, don’t set the regulator of the nozzle less than 15 degrees. The water pressure that comes less than this angle is extremely strong and can be very dangerous. If the nozzle has a zero-degree option, DO NOT use it.