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The Best Performance From Your Diaphragm Pump

“Why do I keep burning through these 12 volt electric diaphragm pumps?” I hear this question quite often. So let’s talk about how to get the best performance out of electric diaphragm pumps. These pumps are an efficient tool for applying soft wash mix to a roof. The most trouble I have witnessed begins from the initial setup. A homemade setup or even a professionally built soft wash machine can have issues from just the smallest details.

  • Draw from the top of your tank.


The electric diaphragm pump cannot work properly from gravity fed tanks. Positive pressure causes the valves inside to float.

  • Make your pickup hose larger than your discharge hose.


The size and placement of the pickup hose is also important. The pickup hose works best if it is a larger size hose than the discharge hose. This allows the volume of chemical to be drawn properly. For example, you have a ½” discharge hose so you would use a larger size for the pickup hose like ¾”.

  • Keep air and debris out of the pump.


Air and or debris can be a culprit in some situations. Connecting a mesh filter to the hose is one option to prevent debris from traveling inside your pump. A pickup tube is also another option allowing the hose to stay vertical without catching air. Once the pickup hose is connected, it is important to check for leaks from your connections to the intake side of the pump.

  • Mount the pump in a well-ventilated area.


The connection of the pump is also important. The pump can be mounted to a frame horizontally or to a wall of a vehicle vertically. If mounted vertical, the head of the pump needs to be facing downward. Make sure your pump has plenty of ventilation and avoid mounting near heat. These pumps need to be able to take vibration so the rubber feet that are included should have some play in them.

  • Make sure your hoses have a good seal.


Some pumps require threaded hose barbs and others may have quick release barbs that will be included with the pump. For threaded hose barbs, I suggest wrapping the threads with PTF tape before connecting to the pump. This will help lubricate the hose barb in the process and resist leaks around the threads.

  • Make sure you have the right power supply.


The most common 12-volt diaphragm pump jets 5-7 gallon per minute. This size of a pump requires the use of a lot of amps from a battery that can provide the proper amount of power. I suggest to use a premium group 24 deep cycle marine batter with at least 550 cranking amps and an equivalent quality deep cycle capable battery charger. When connecting your pump to the battery, a proper amp rated inline fuse and toggle switch to control the power to the pump is recommended to help consume energy. Secure your connections tight; loose connections on a batter can cause malfunction of the pump or even the battery itself.

Keeping the battery charged is a must for a few reasons, the obvious is so you can have more time to spray of course. The next reason would be to avoid any damage to the electronic components such as the relay if equipped. Low amperage will cause the relay to fail to where no power will be supplied to the motor of the pump to function. If the relay has failed, it can be tested with an ohm meter and can be easily replaced with an equivalent relay.

  • Use an accumulator tank.


An accumulator tank should be connected after the ump to the discharge hose. This helps the pressure switch shut off after the maximum pressure has been reached. This will reduce the amount of cycling and improve battery life during use. One thing I have seen is an accumulator failing from the discharge hose being elevated extremely high causing excessive back pressure. That being said, these systems work best from the ground or no higher than the gutter line of a roof.

  • Make sure your discharge hose can handle the flow.


Once thing to keep in mind is the volume of chemical. The size of the hose on the discharge side must be proportioned to the flow the pump provides. For a 5 gallon per minute pump, a 5/8” discharge hose would be recommended as opposed to 3/8” to avoid restricting the flow. The ideal maximum of hose would be between 150 to 200’. If your system has a hose reel, the hose must be off of the hose reel during use to prevent restriction on the reel. The proper nozzle size that match the pump are important too. Use low pressure soap nozzles that are recommended with your pump.

  • Use a trigger gun.


A trigger gun is an ideal way to connect to a hose barb at the end of your discharge hose. Some washers prefer a PVC ball valve instead, but the constant turn of the ball valve can be a little exhausting on your hands.

  • Rinse your pump.


Rinsing after every job helps clean out the pump and hose of any leftover residue from your mix. If the mix dries, just think of the potential of tiny granules of salt inside your pump when it is powered on. It can tear up the insides or even get into the pressure switch chamber. This will stop a pump from working properly. Rinse the pump with a sodium hypochlorite neutralizer. This will cause the mix to dissipate faster.

Even if the pump has been properly set up and cared for, it will still go out eventually. Having an extra pump on hand or an alternative way to finish the job while you’re in the field can save your day.

Be careful out there and wash on!

Turn Leads into Paying Customers

ClydeEdit2“If you give me a free house wash, I will be sure to tell all my friends about you, and you will get loads of experience!” I am not a pressure washer, but I heard this offer frequently when I was a budding photographer. I did a few jobs for free in the beginning. The clients were usually a pain in the rear, but I desperately hoped that all that experience would eventually lead to a paying gig. Before long, I realized that my bills were piling up while I was working for free. I think we all have that friend that means well, but they do not seem to understand that you cannot pay your electric bill with “experience.” How do you turn leads into paying customers? I learned some great strategies over the years that work for many types of services.

It is very easy to get bitter when no one wants to pay you for your services, but you should not let your feelings wreck your relationships. If your phone is ringing off the hook with offers for paying jobs, you should just politely say no thank you. But, if you are reading this article, I am going to assume that this is not the case.  Maybe your phone is ringing but you cannot seem to turn leads into paying customers.  If you cannot afford to say no, you could say, “Thank you for thinking of me. I would love to come out and give you a free estimate.” This allows you to maintain your relationship, and will usually deter the people who expect something for nothing.

Schedule a time for your free estimate, and be sure to show up on-time. Dress professionally. A company polo will help them see you as a business owner and not just a friend. Give them your estimate, and stand firm. They will probably ask for a discount. Counter their offer by dividing the larger bid into smaller nuggets. If you are bidding a residential cleaning job, you could divide it into roof cleaning, siding cleaning, driveway cleaning, deck/patio etc. Be sure to adjust your price so that it is cheaper to clean the entire job than to clean it in nuggets. Remember, you will need to pay for travel and set-up when you come back. Explain these costs to your customer.  They will understand and believe that you have their best interests at heart. If they are still hesitant, say, “I understand that you may not be ready to have the entire property cleaned today. I can clean the driveway for x dollars, and come back another time when you are ready to get the gutters done.” Show up with your gear, and be ready to work. This will put further pressure on them. Guilt can be a powerful motivator, especially among friends. “I’ve got all my gear. I could take care of that driveway in about half an hour.”

Make a clean work order before you unload your gear. Spell out exactly what you are planning to clean, and how much compensation you expect to receive. Also, make sure they know when you expect payment. Make sure they sign it before work begins. This will help you avoid the extra favors. You can say, “I’d be happy to do that for you, but we will need a new work order that includes that price.”

If they opt for the smaller price, try to suggest something that is visible to the neighbors. When the job is complete, walk around to the surrounding houses and knock on doors. Offer free estimates, and direct their attention to the area you just cleaned. Leave door hangers if they are not home.

You CAN give away a free house wash, but this does not make sense if your business is in debt. Invest your time and money in things that will turn leads paying customers. Learning exactly what works for you will take time and research. Some examples are advertisements, website SEO updates, and social media posts. Be prepared to walk away from any deal that is not profitable.

Bleach Smells.. LIKE MONEY!

CodyBleach. Yes, the most common word this time of year. But it has many names and many misunderstandings. SH, Sodium Hypochlorite, Liquid Chlorine, Laundry Bleach, etc. This chemical is used in many ways in the pressure washing industry to make some serious cash.  Contractors are using bleach for treating mold and algae from houses, roofs, gutters, driveways, and large concrete areas.  Sometimes even accidentally reducing the maple tree population.  “Where do I get this amazing chemical?” you ask, “How do I mix it? How do I apply it?” Soft Washing has become a very popular cleaning method.

I have seen some contractors use off-the-shelf household bleach (usually under 6% Sodium Hypochlorite) but not get the results they were hoping for.   The bleach used in this industry should be stronger than household bleach. The stronger the better in this case. If shopping at a big box store, look in the pool supplies aisle for liquid chlorine, but read the label and make sure it is an 8% to 10% solution. Ideally, you would use a 12.5% solution found from pool supply companies or local distributors.

Here are my top tips for the basics of treating with bleach.

  • Be safe - Sodium Hypochlorite is corrosive. Wear proper protective equipment.

  • Read the SDS Sheet carefully, and make sure you understand it completely.

  • Sodium Hypochlorite should only be mixed with surfactants that are designed for soft washing. Mixing chemicals can be dangerous. Read the label to be sure that they can mix with Sodium Hypochlorite safely.

  • Sodium Hypochlorite should be used within 5 weeks from the time it was manufactured. In 30 days, the percentage of strength can drop nearly 3%.

  • Keep it cool & out of the sun. Warm temperatures can depreciate the strength. Store it under 80º F.

  • Test, Test and Test again. Test a small area before tackling a larger job so you know what to expect before you get started.

  • Practice before bidding a job. Take the time to practice what works for what you are treating.


At Powerwash.com, we see before and after pictures with great results from contractors who have dialed in their mixture. From gross looking surfaces to a solid sparkling surface just from applying and rinsing. The trick is not only having a good mix but also an effective way to apply. Bleach can be downstreamed, used in a pump-up sprayer, or applied with a soft wash system. Surfactants can help the mix dwell longer and stay wet. Some can also help mask the strong odor of that “bleach” smell.  The longer the mix dwells the brighter the surface can be and the more mold will disappear from the surface.  With plenty of practice and research, there is a great potential to be successful treating with this chemical.

There is still more to explain and a lot of helpful Spray-tips in the near future. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. At Info@powerwash.com or call us 1-800-433-2113.

One Two Punch

Below is an excerpt from our blog last year- What is the best House Wash Mix for Soft Washing

HOUSE WASH MIX*






























5 Gallon Downstreaming Mix
Water 12.5% SH Fresh Wash
Light 3 gal 2 gal 5 oz.
Medium 2 - 2.5 gal 2.5 - 3 gal 5 oz.
Strong 1.5 - 0 gal 3.5 - 5 gal 6 oz.

 






























X-Jet, M-Jet
Water 12.5% SH Fresh Wash
Light 4 gal 1 gal 5 oz.
Medium 3.5 gal 1.5 gal 5oz
Strong 2 - 3 gal 2 - 3 gal 6oz

 






























50 Gallon Batch Mix
Water 12.5% SH Fresh Wash
Light 46 gal 4 gal 6 oz.
Medium 45 gal 5 gal 8 oz.
Strong 44 gal 6 gal 10 oz.

 

Upstream Injectors Save Time and Use Less Soap

IMG_5131Often applying soaps at high pressure is the most effective way to clean a surface. However, most pressure washers are not equipped to apply soap with upstream injectors.  This reduces the cleaning effectiveness and requires the use of higher amounts of soaps or stronger, more aggressive soaps.

It is important to understand that there are three primary components that make the cleaning process possible: agitation, chemical, and/or temperature.  Agitation can be achieved by applying the blasting power of a pressure washer, brushing, media blasting, etc.  Chemical blends are used to break bonds and attract pollutants away from the surface.  Temperature is used to enhance the cleaning process so as the temperature increases the less time it will take for the cleaning process to transpire.  Depending on what is being removed, the cleaning technician must decide what combination of agitation, chemical, and temperature will achieve the desired results in the most cost-effective and efficient manner.

High pressure soap applications (upstream injectors) are best used when the surface to be cleaned could easily be damaged by more aggressive cleaning detergents or when the use of strong chemicals will have a negative impact from repeated use.  That said, most pressure washing pump components will be damaged if stronger blends of chemicals are run through them, so it is very important to know what will be running through your pump and what effect it will have.

Back in 1982, when I started in the industry, almost every machine was set up with the option of “upstream injection”.  That is because the mass production of pressure washers was not in full swing yet and only contractor cleaners or industrial users had one.  Normally, they were equipped with hot water and upstream injectors.  As time passed many new outlets have entered the market offering equipment targeted more at the general public, who prefers a simpler process for applying soap.  Hence the need to apply soaps with a downstream injector.  It is easy and requires very little knowledge to do it.  For most box store pressure washers, changing out the nozzle to a low-pressure nozzle, AKA a “soap” nozzle, is all it takes to be able to use the pressure washer to apply soap.

 

UpstreamInjectorHighGPM2To apply soap at high pressure, the soap must travel through the pump.  This is where the term “upstream” comes from, because the soap enters the flow of water as it flows to the pump.  This method works best when a holding tank is use for drawing water into the pump.  By restricting the flow of water to the pump a vacuum can be created because the pump is working to pull water in faster than the flow that can be achieved with just the force of gravity.  Since the restriction is not always the same, a gate valve is used to adjust to the desired restriction.  Next install a metering valve somewhere in the line between the gate valve and the pump.  This is where the vacuum will be created to draw in the soap.  From the metering valve run a hose to the soap tank.

I am Michael Hinderliter, president of PowerWash.com.  If you found this information useful and educational, please share it with others.   Thank you and have a successful day.

Don't Be Another $99 House Wash!

ClydeEdit2One of the worst customer experiences of my life left me lost and alone on the streets of Tokyo, Japan at 5:00 in the morning. I went with a guide and a small group of tourists to see the famous Tsukiji fish market auction. We were lucky to get tickets. The tours are on a first come first serve basis, so we had to rush from our hotel to the market at 3:00 am. The experience was amazing, but the auctions ended quickly. We were on our way back to the hotel by 5:00 am. The tour guide was walking so briskly that we had to jog to stay together. As the sun began to spread a dim light though the streets, we passed a Shinto Shrine. When we asked about the shrine, our guide mumbled a brief unenthusiastic description as he kept walking. This six-hundred-year-old shrine was more interesting to me than the thought of returning to my hotel to wait for my friends to wake up. So, I peeled off from the group to take a few snap shots. I had planned to run and catch the group when I finished, but I turned around to find myself completely alone. Our guide was so focused on his goal, that he did not bother to listen to what his customers wanted. He passed that shrine every day and never gave it a second thought. I had no idea where my hotel was, and there was no one around who spoke English. I wandered the streets for about two hours watching the merchants set up their shops before I finally stumbled upon my hotel. Customer service starts with listening.

Every year, I see a new crop of rookies promising to wash any house for just $99! This classic mistake only makes sense to a novice. Be the lowest priced choice, and people might forgive my poor service. Unfortunately, there are two major issues with this ideology. First, a bad experience will stick with you even if the price was low. Second, the “tire-kicker” customers who chose you solely based on price will abandon you as soon as someone with a lower price comes along. Pressure washing is a service industry. Successful businesses separate themselves from their competitors by constantly improving their services to build a loyal customer base.

The most obvious way to learn how you can improve is to ask questions during every interaction. Always start a relationship with, “How may I help you?” The answers you receive to this question can offer some insight into what problems your potential customers are trying to solve when the found you. If you find that several people are asking for services that you cannot offer, you may need to change your advertising strategy, or your marketing materials. Answers to this question could also offer some great ideas for add-on service.

Another great technique is to use questions to avoid saying no. If you are going to wash a pool deck, but you don’t want to move the furniture, you could ask your customer, “Would you like us to move the deck chairs for an additional charge, or will you prefer to move them before we arrive?” This technique only works if you are okay with either outcome.  The added charge should be high enough to cover the potential labor costs if you end up moving the chairs. This technique is better than just saying “no”, because the customer feels empowered. Sure, they must move the chairs, but they are “saving money.” If you find that several people are springing for the add-on chair moving service, you can consider including it in your regular package to help separate yourself from your competition.

Never leave a job without asking if there is anything else you can do to help. This is the best way to avoid the dreaded one-star Facebook rant. Ask questions during the first meeting. Create a service agreement that defines the work to be performed. Then end the service by asking if there is anything else you can do to help. This is a great time to offer an upsell. Let the customer dismiss you.

A survey is a great way to follow up with customer’s after service has been completed. Services such as Survey Monkey make it easy to create professional surveys that your customers can take anonymously, right from their smart phones. Keep them brief with simple questions. Focus on key metrics for service. Use rating systems to gain more insight into the overall quality of your service. A yes or no question will not offer as much detail as a scale. For example, a question such as, “On a scale of one to five please rate the overall quality of our service.” Is better than, “Are you pleased with our service? Check yes or no.” Give them a chance to leave an open-ended reply, but don’t expect an essay. Use the responses from the rating system to grade yourself.

The customer is NOT always right, but this is not an excuse to stop listening. You should never let your customers tell you what you are worth. Instead, determine what you need to perform the service, and show them how you will earn their loyalty. Always ask questions, and listen carefully.

Meet The Author


Clyde Hemminger develops visual curriculum content for PowerWash University. Clyde has a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Wesleyan University. He entered the pressure washing industry in 2010. His photographs have been published in Cleaner Times Magazine and eClean Magazine. He is a contributing author to the SprayTips Newsletter; a weekly publication for power wash professionals. Clyde enjoys studying human interactions with written and visual media. He uses that observational data to help him create engaging and intuitive content.

Grow Your Marketing to Grow Your Business

IMG_5107It seems that there are two distinct camps this time of year in the power washing industry. One camp is slammed with work and booked several weeks or even months ahead. Life couldn’t be better. The other camp is asking how to make the phone ring and struggling to keep a full-time schedule. Worry or doubt may be setting in. Why such a drastic difference?


For some, sales and marketing comes naturally. For others, the struggle is real. Trying to figure out what works for them, they deal with endless research, ideas, and promises that seem to be a never-ending rabbit hole. Unfortunately, “what works for you” is not an easy or straightforward answer. There is a lot of information out there, and I recommend that you become a student of marketing trends and ideas, join networking groups (both locally and nationally), read books, Google “small business marketing,” and find a mentor. From there, make a plan. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a marketing plan. Once you are confident in your plan, commit to it.


When I first started in the pressure washing industry in 2002, direct mail postcards was my marketing media of choice. A good friend and mentor told me, “No matter what, make sure your postcards go out weekly.” Although it was difficult at times, I made that commitment. My first money in went right back out to my mailing campaign. That meant my cable was turned off (even my power was turned off once) and I had to eat peanut butter and jelly. I was committed, and it wasn’t long before I started seeing results (although during that time, it seemed like an eternity).


These days, direct mail can be just as effective, but there are many approaches to marketing. If you are struggling to get work, don’t over complicate it. You may not have a huge budget to commit to a marketing plan, but inexpensive plans will work. The key is commitment. The committed marketer will find work.


It is also extremely important to figure out who you are and what you are trying to deliver. You cannot be all things to all people; not everyone is your customer. Define your ideal customer and make sure your approach is reaching that customer. Be as specific as possible when defining who you are and who your ideal customer is. We all grow and change, so your ideal customer may be different five years from now. If you’re new to the business, you may struggle to define. Don’t use this as an excuse to stop trying. This is unacceptable if you truly want to succeed.


Don’t take it personally when things don’t work, and don’t be afraid to redirect when you figure out your ideal customer isn’t buying. If nothing you’re doing is working, maybe you’re doing it wrong. Don’t blame your competition or your market. You control you and your business. Those who blame other things are the first to shut down shop and give up. If that’s not you, get out there and do something about your thin schedule.


Marketing is not magic, and although some people and companies luck into contracts at times, the majority make their own luck. They made a plan (specific, targeted, time-based, and measurable), they committed to the plan even when it was uncomfortable, and they executed the plan.


To succeed, you must be passionate about your company and the endless possibilities that exist. Find a local networking group (Chamber of Commerce is a good place to start). Look for the next free social event — maybe they offer something like Coffee and Contacts (AM), Business After Hours (PM), or a luncheon that may cost you the price of lunch.  These free events can bring you out of your comfort zone. Go share your passion. Make your business known to your community. Offer your ideal customer something of value through Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. Work hard on these. Share quality information. Don’t make it about you; make it about your ideal customer. Your customers care about them, not you.


Don’t get discouraged when you see the success of other pressure washers. Be encouraged. It means you can do this and success is there to be had. Make it happen.

Stay The Course

Stay The Course Eagle
For our nation's veterans and first responders, giving back is both a distinct honor and a complicated task.

For Tempa Sherrill, founder and CEO of Stay The Course, a Fort Worth, Texas-based 501(c)3 organization that provides whole-life care, equipping and counseling for veterans and first responders and their families, the lack of resources available to help them led her to take action. Stay The Course's mission is "to serve veterans, first responders and families who have sacrificed for our country. We provide guidance, wellness and healing from invisible wounds."

Sherrill's husband, AJ, an 18-year police officer, was deployed to Afghanistan as a member of the Marine Corps in 2008. "He came back a different person," Sherrill explained. AJ served as a police officer in the Dallas-Forth Worth area upon his return, but eventually lost his position due to a post-traumatic stress diagnosis. They both realized he didn't have the help and support he needed. After an 18-year teaching career, Tempa earned her Master's in Counseling and Psychology, and in January of 2016 she founded Stay The Course.

"I realized AJ and others needed help and community, and some of the help available to them lacked the nuance and experience necessary to give them what they needed," says Sherrill, who has assembled a caring team of experienced workers deeply versed in the issues of veteran and first-responder life. "When your identity is stripped away by trauma, there are needs and nuances in the care one sometimes needs in order to live a full and fulfilling life. We want to be there for them."

Sherrill recounts one client's story:

"The VA referred an OIF Woman Veteran after inpatient treatment for PTSD and substance use disorders. The client self-medicated for several years after returning from Iraq. She had experienced combat trauma and multiple military sexual traumas following a long history of childhood sexual abuse. The client was so anxious and afraid on the day of her intake that she could not fill out her paperwork by herself. Her grandmother brought her to her first session and came into the counselor’s office to encourage her to follow through with getting help."

"It took several weeks of working with the client before she could remain for the full session without panic symptoms, much less to look up or say anything. The client worked with the founder of Stay The Course in counseling for many months prior to and after the launch of Stay The Course. Upon a recent follow up she stated, “I'm doing quite well, actually… I am still 100% sober, with no relapse. My PTSD symptoms come and go, but I'm absolutely nothing like I was before.” The client reported that she continues to volunteer at her children’s school, was instrumental in organizing a school event and has recently successfully completed her first semester in college as a full-time student."



Stay The Course's impact extends as much to the families of veterans and first responders as to clients themselves. "The program was life changing, and for the first time I feel like I received the help I desperately needed to feel whole again.  I finally had a place to go that understood what I was going through and could help guide me through what should never be a solo, isolating experience," a veteran spouse told Sherrill.

"During our first year we served 300 clients, and we're hoping to double this in 2017," Sherrill said. Every new client receives six free sessions of quality counseling, assessment and guidance, as well as receives connections to other educational and career resources. "As counselors serving these families, we're deeply connected to their experiences because we've lived them. We want to give them resources to help them flourish in every way as people, to impact their whole life."

After a client's six free sessions, Stay The Course offers an affordable sliding scale of free and reduced costs for counseling. In many instances, communities have covered the costs for ongoing treatment for clients. "I worked with one young man who had served in the Marines and had fallen into alcoholism. His mother was desperate, and our community members and partners took compassion on their family and covered the costs of his care. He told us, "This has completely changed my life."

With over 5,000 hours of counseling provided to date, Stay The Course offers a unique environment that combines expert care and guidance with counselors who have endured veteran and first-responder life firsthand. "This helps create a culture centered on shared experience, a culture of deep understanding and empathy," explains Sherrill. While trauma is a complex matter, the trauma that many of Stay The Course's clients experience is unique. So many of the people we serve are exposed to traumatic situations on a regular basis and don't have chance to recover."

"There's an unhelpful stigma that a veteran or first responder is considered weak for seeking help. This so often leads to self-medicating, brokenness and increasing patterns of harmful behavior, and we want to stem the tide," says Sherrill.

44 percent of Stay The Course's referrals are from the VA, and they're looking to expand awareness and establish a greater presence. "The VA sends referrals, and we have partners. Our overhead is low, and our direct costs are where they need to be. In five years we would love to be in a freestanding wellness center duplicated in other parts of the country."

"People should know that veterans want opportunities to help themselves and don't want to be viewed as broken. Stay the Course wants to repay the debt we owe them. Whether we agree with the cause behind their service or not, we need to respect that veterans are human beings before all else. Vets are dealing with human problems, human issues, just like we all are.

A portion of every purchase from Powerwash.com goes to help this amazing program. To learn more about Stay The Course and to support their mission, visit their website at www.StayTheCourse.vet.

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What to do if Your Pressure Washer has no pressure!

Red Alert! What should I do if my pressure washer has no pressure? A sudden pressure drop can be alarming when you depend on your pressure washer to put food on your table. Don’t panic! It may be something that can be corrected quickly.

First, look at your pressure gauge. It should be installed on the head of your pump or as close to the outlet of your pump as possible. Many operators say that they can just “feel” pressure, but a pressure gauge is a more precise and objective measure.

When a pressure washer has no pressure, the natural instinct for most operators is to check the pump or the unloader valve. The classic rookie mistake is to crank the unloader knob down until pressure is restored. The unloader valve is not the correct way to change the pressure output of your machine. Most of the time the pump and unloader valve are not causing the problem. Here are five things to check before you assume the worst.

  1. If your pressure washer has no pressure, start by changing your nozzle to a brand new tip. The nozzle orifice size is what will determine the pressure output of your machine. Nozzles with larger orifices can be used to lower the pressure for cleaning softer surfaces, or applying chemicals. Nozzles can wear as water, chemical, and mineral deposits pass through them. You may notice that the fan pattern is more narrow than the listed number. You can also consult a nozzle chart to determine what the pressure output of a nozzle is supposed to be and compare it to the reading from your pressure gauge. Just as a chef always keeps a sharpened blade, a power washer must always have fresh nozzles on hand. Change your nozzle, and look to see if your pressure has returned. If not, move on to step two.

  2. Remove your nozzle and your downstream injector and run clean water through your system to flush out debris. Watch the water flow to ensure that you have a steady stream. Make sure that the water runs clear. Debris can sometime get into your hoses as they are dragged across the ground, or during storage. If the flow is broken, move on to step three.

  3. If you remove your nozzle and you still don't have flow, then you may have a problem on the upstream side of your pump. Check your inlet filter to make sure it is clear. Cold water washers typically have a screen filter covering the inlet fitting of the pump. Simply unscrew the garden hose and use your finger to pull out any debris. Check the screen to make sure it is not damaged. Hot water washers may have a can type water filter. This type of filter has a bowl to catch debris. Unscrew the bowl and wash it out. Check the filter for damage. Rinse the filter, and tap it a few times to knock of debris. If you have a float tank, check it to make sure that the lid is secure. Look for debris or corrosion that may be blocking the outlet. Flush your garden hose out before you reconnect it to your system. Then check your water flow again to see if it is steady, put in a nozzle. If your pressure washer has no pressure, move on to step four.

  4. Run water through your machine and look for leaks. Always bring o-rings and PTFE thread seal tape. Check your gun to make sure it is not leaking anywhere.  Check hoses for holes or kinks. If everything is sealed up and your pressure washer has no pressure, move to step five.

  5. Check your engine. Is your engine throttle control adjusted correctly? Most engines are designed to run at full throttle. Check your belt if you have a belt drive system. A lose belt will not transfer power properly. The engine could be fine, but the belt might not be turning the pump like it should. It may seem strange to check the engine before you check your pump, but remember that the engine drives the pump. Make sure your engine is running properly.


This is not meant to be comprehensive list. It is the power washer equivalent of turning it off and turning back on again. If these things don’t reestablish pressure and flow, you may have a bigger issue. You still should not panic! Before you reach for your tools, look at your pop-off valve and thermocouple. If your pop-off valve is popped, you may have an issue with your unloader. If your thermocouple is leaking, you may have burnt your packing. Check your pump oil. It should be clear. If it looks milky, you may have put detergent oil in your pump, or you may have water in your oil. Water in your oil may indicate a leak inside your pump. Change your oil immediately. Give our experts a call at 1-800-433-2113 we can help you find the parts you need to get back to work quickly.
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