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briankd

good pressure washer? help!!

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anyone on here have a good pressure washer brand they use ? i bought an electric 2000 psi snap on brand from my local menards 3 yrs ago and i'm on my 4th one now. they (menards) told me that's it they won't take this one back. i used it twice and it is also junk!! they gave a phone number to call and talk to one of the engineers which is alltrade tools who makes them with the snap on name on them. told me they weren't  meant to use with well water too many minerals in water builds up and they don't work. ended up tearing it apart and soaked it in vinegar and wala it now works. was told i need to run rv antifreeze thru it after every use hell i don't have time to screw with that every time.

 

guys i work with said go with gas powered washer but few have them and like the electric better cause don't have to listen to it after release trigger  and one less engine to deal with was told electric the way to go but this one i have a pile of crap just wondering is there a decent electric power washer out there reasonable priced that works good ???? just a little P.O.ed that after 2 uses mine crapped out again.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                    thanks brian  

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If anyone has a good electric pressure washer tip, I am interested too.

 

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My brother bought a electric power washer from home depot at least 5 years ago and he hasn't had any problems with it. I don't know the brand or model number but he uses it hooked to farm well water. Sorry I don't have any more information about it.

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My experience has been that electric motor versus gas engine doesn't matter.   The problem is usually with the pump.   I have seen many good Honda engines for sale taken off of pressure washers, and the engine was still good.    The pumps get corroded inside if there is any liquid left in them for any time, especially if it's over the winter.   The fittings and valves are brass, and they corrode easily.   There is a spring loaded ball valve that controls the soap mixing, and it clogs and corrodes easily.   I have a Troy Built 3500 psi washer with a Briggs on it, and had to replace the pump after two years.  Now I disassemble the mixing valve after every use, drain as much water as I can, and put anti-freeze in over the winter.   It's been OK for the past three years.   Good luck.

    Jim

 

PS - I don't recommend the Troy Built.   Not a great design.    Honda should be good, but maintain the pump.

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After similar issues and maintenance nonsense I let someone else handle it - namely, the quarter car wash down the street...load the trailer, couple of quarters and leave the mess at the car wash...worked like a charm during my dirt bike days and does the same for most washing needs...

 

:twocents-02cents:

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I have owned a Karcher electric pressure washer for over 12 years now.It is a reliable well built machine and there is a lot of support in the way of available parts and information for it.I also like the fact that it is not only silent, but compact and easy to store. Pressure is not the same as gas powered one but it is sufficient for 99% of tasks. From what I see on others, most fail because owners leave water in it in winter and store them in unheated spaces causing plastic parts in it to break over winter. Other not so famed brands don't seem to have parts available and it just does not make financial sense to take them to a tech to fix since they are inexpensive to start with. With Karcher however there are plenty of parts available even for older models like mine, and they are simple machines to service.

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20 years in the pressure washer industry

What is a "GOOD" pressure washer?

 

I won't call out a specific brand, but I will tell you what to look for.

 

First off price is not a qualifier, if your shopping price only, you will get a throw-a way pressure washer, may last a season, may not last through the task you purchased it for.

 

Second, high PSI numbers should not be the main goal, you need to understand the relationship between PSI & GPM.

 

Third, the pump is the "hart" of the unit, no matter what the other bells & whistles are, it is the pump that makes it a  pressure washer.

 

So if your with me so far, let's talk about the pump first.

You may think that the pump "compresses" the water, it dose not, the pump is known in the industry as a "positive flow pump"

O.K. you say but what dose that mean? think of a sump pump or even the water pump in your car, and how it's constructed,

that kind of pump has a impeller (like a fan) that spins inside of a volute (a cavity that directs the flow).

This kind of pump can be dead headed (stopping the flow at the exit/discharge port) with no damage to the pump, the water will just circulate around the impeller and not exit the discharge, however if this conduction is maintained for a period of time, due to friction the water will heat up and eventually destroy the pump.

A pressure washer pump has pistons, seals and check valves, to move a constant flow of water, and by restricting the flow pressure is raised in side the pump, if this kind of pump is "dead headed" it will (provided you have enough horse power) blow the pump apart.

 

Still with me? good, so now you might ask well I have a trigger gun on the end of the hose, it stops the flow of water so why doesn't the pump blow up?

Good question indeed, when the trigger gun is released the flow of water(depending on the manufacture) is either stopped or redirected. On electric units it is common to have a pressure switch on the pump to shut off the electric motor driving the pump when the trigger is released. The down fall of this system is first, it's hard on the electric motor, the hardest thing for an electric motor is the "start" and excessive starting will shorten the life of the motor. Also because this type of system traps pressure in the pump and hose, any leaks or loss in pressure will restart the motor (short cycling).

 

On gas/diesel driven motors it's unpractical to stop/stare the motor every time the trigger gun is released, so on the pump an "unload-er" valve is installed,  when the trigger is released the pressure in side the pump increases to the point where the valve opens to redirect the flow back into the input of the pump. The down side of this system is that first off most operators do not understand this valve and it's the first thing they go for when a loss of pressure is experienced. This valve needs to be set so working pressure is less than the unloading pressure, if incorrectly set the pump will not unload and result in pump damage. ( I have seen many pumps will the head bolts torn off, broken pistons etc.) Also with this type of unload-er  system when the trigger is released the pump is circulating water from the output back to the input, this is a small amount of water and due to friction will heat up fast, because the pump only wants to see cold water ( hot water is always made after the pump) damage will occur in a short period of time, to minimize the potential of pump damage due to high water temperature a thermostatic valve is installed on the input side of the pump, so in a perfect world when water temperature got to high it will open releasing the hot water and "new" cold water enters the pump as the temperature cools down the valve should close. The drawback of this is first off, the seals may be damaged by the hot water before the valve opens, ceramic pistons that got hot may crack when the cold water rushes in, and the valve may not totally seal on reset allowing air to enter the pump (cavitation)

 

Just a few words on cavitation, it's the formation of bubbles or cavities in liquid, developed in areas of relatively low pressure around an pistons. The imploding or collapsing of these bubbles trigger intense shockwaves inside the pump, causing significant damage to the pump housing and internal parts.

 

So the take away is do not let the pump run without keeping the trigger pulled for any long period of time, how long?

the shorter the better, shut it off when not working it, typically two minutes or less is recommended.

 

So now you know more about the pump then you want, (there's plenty more but for now) lets talk PSI vs GPM.

The sales department will sell you on PSI, but you really need to understand the relationship between the two.

I can let you hold a 3000 PSI wand with 2 GPM, and you can cut a 2 X 4 in half with it, but try and wash your wall or driveway and you'll be there all day.

If I gave you a 1000 PSI wand at 5 GPM it will feel like a cannon, you will not cut the 2 X 4 but you will wash like crazy.

You need the flow of water to move away dirt as much as pressure.

A car automatic wash will typically use 700 PSI and 10 GPM to clean a car without removing/damaging decals and paint.

A body/paint shop that is prepping cars/trucks for paint wants to remove loose paint, rust, decals, and the like will use 2000- 3000 psi and 4-5 GPM.

A professional  house washer is looking for 1000-1500 psi and 4-10 GPM.

 

Now that you got a idea of PSI vs GPM, the next issue is how much water do you have available?

A typical garden hoes is hard pressed to deliver 2-3 GPM, depending on the length and diameter of the hose. So for larger GPM models a holding tank is necessary, often referred to as a float tank, because it had a float valve in it (like a toilet valve) in it, this gives you a greater volume of water to work with also the best units direct the bypass water back into the float tank so the pump can run for a long time in bypass/unload-er and because of the large amount of water in the tank will not heat up.

 

So if you made it this far, you might have noticed a reoccurring thyme, heat is the killer of the pressure pump. Not only the heat of the water, but the pump and oil in the pump, Weather electric motor or gas/diesel driven, the cheaper pumps are direct drive, attached directly to the motor and spinning at the motor speed (typically 3450 RPM) the pump will have fins on the casting in an effort to disperse the heat.

The best pumps will be belt driven under 1000 RPM and have no need for cooling fins.

 

Things to remember,

You need horse power to move the pump, the most H.P. you will get from a 120v outlet is 1-1.5 that if really squeezed may get you 1500 psi @ 2 GPM. playing the numbers 2000 @ 1 GPM.

To get real washing power you need H.P. a gas/diesel motor, for 3000PSI @ 4-5 GPM 20 H.P.

All this can be easily found, better manufacturers have charts show the relationship between H.P. GPM & PSI.     

Also this is a very price driven industry, you get what you paid for. Manufactures use tricks like fooling with PSI/GPM numbers or the new nomenclature " cleaning units" to confuse and deceive.

 

I hope this long winded message is of some use, and I will be happy to answer any questions.

 

JOE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you Joe for all the info. I have heard that it's the GPM not the PSI to look for. I have a Cat pump hooked to a 9hp Honda and run it on well water. I keep it in a heated garage and have never drained the pump after each use. This unit is at least 10 years old with occasional use and never had a lick of trouble. I've heard cat pumps are one of the best and that's why I purchased this unit, as you said it's not the price you need to look at. Also folks should check out a soap dispenser that goes on the end of the gun made by The Chemical Guys. This thing is pretty awesome, Google it. At work we have a 220V pressure washer that works extremely well, turn on the water, flip the switch and you're in business! It's wall mounted so you are limited to that area which has its advantages. Meaning that no one can borrow it!!! Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with this great bunch of guys! 

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It is not necessary to drain the pump after each use, only to protect it from freezing, and then adding an anti-freeze to the whole system is a better way to go, as it keep the seals from drying out and the check valves from getting stuck closed from the TDS in the water that can "glue the valves shut.

 

Yep CAT pumps are one of the best.

 

When it comes to detergents, you have two way to get "soap" from a pressure washer, many manufactures will

included a valve tied into the input/suction side of the pump, this is called high pressure chemical injection.We in the business call it a soap eater or money maker, as it waste's you soap like crazy and is not vert efficient. (but we like to sell soap)

 

Think of how you wash your hands you get them wet, soap up then rinse, you don't put the soap on at high pressure because it takes time for the soap to work, and really to clean anything, you do need to rub or brush. If you been to a car wash that just sprays on the soap and rinse's it off, go over that car with a towel and see how much dirt is still on it.

 

The second way to get soap out of you unit is called down stream injection, were a injector is added after the pump and with low pressure (and oversized nozzle) the venturi pulls the soap out and mixes it under low pressure.

 

Also remember that soap is sticky and corrosive so if you do put it through your pump be sure to run plenty of fresh water through the pump after the soap, as it ca eat away at the seals and stick the check valves shut.      

Edited by W9JAB
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Excellent info Joe. Thank you.

 

After going through 3 pressure washer, 2 Briggs and 1 Honda I decided to go with a horizontal shaft unit. 1 of the Briggs and the Honda lost the engines. The pump casting broke on the other Briggs. I now have a Generac and so far, so good. It seems to run 'easier' to me. One thing I do after each use is to squirt it with this:

 

59458b7b76151_PumpSaver.jpg.73b069552a26ce44198376daf162ae9f.jpg

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23 hours ago, SylvanLakeWH said:

namely, the quarter car wash down the street...load the trailer, couple of quarters and leave the mess at the car wash...worked like a charm during my dirt bike days and does the same for most washing needs...

that don't work around me here they get really pissed if you make a messB) 

 

 i been around industrial pressure washers 30 yrs now work for a trucking company 500 pwr units and 1000 trailers we have guys wash them every weekend i really can't afford anything like what we have at work  there is good ones and bad ones out there.

 

thanks guys a lot of good info here            brian

Edited by briankd
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I'm not a spokesman but I do have one of these, it works awesome. Google chemical guys torq foam cannon. 

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Do you know how to highlight, cut & paste Don?  

 

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