How to Rent a Power Washer
Get your hands on a pressure washer for your outdoor cleaning projects
By Stevie Donald
Power washers (also known as pressure washers) are handy tools. A power washer can prepare decks for staining, your house for painting and clean anything from driveways to barns. Electric power washers are good for washing cars and sidewalks, but not powerful enough for stripping heavy dirt accumulation, paint or stain. A gas-powered professional-grade power washer is an expensive machine, and for most people it makes more sense to rent one for larger projects. Most rental yards have gas powered machines that deliver about 2,500 psi (pounds per square inch). With the correct nozzle, this is adequate for just about any residential pressure-washing job.
- What You Need to Know
- Pressure washers are bulky machines. You'll need a roomy car, or a truck or van, to transport it. Otherwise, you can ask if the rental shop offers delivery.
- Arrange your power washing project when you'll have several days of hot, dry weather, if possible. It's not fun to do on cool or rainy days, and you'll need several days for everything to dry afterward.
Assess your project. If there is mildew or a lot of dirt on what you're power washing, you'll need to apply detergent or mildewcide with the washer, so you'll have to rent a washer with a detergent feed. This allows you to run detergent through the machine, then switch to water-only mode for high pressure cleaning and rinsing.
Look for a pressure washer that delivers at least 2,000 psi for removing loose paint or moss from masonry and wood surfaces.
Ask for the appropriate color coded nozzle for your project. The black nozzle applies chemicals and detergents, while the white one rinses them off. The green nozzle is best for general washing, mildew removal and deck cleaning, but it will not remove paint or stain. The yellow nozzle is best for removing paint, stain and stubborn dirt or moss. Many rental yards will not give you the red nozzle, which delivers a powerful, straight stream of water and can easily damage siding or break glass.
Have the rental yard attendant give you a quick tutorial on how to operate the power washer. You'll need to know how to adjust the pressure, attach the hoses, couplings and nozzles, and how to start the machine. Ask them how long the washer will run on a tank of gas.
Ask if they have any accessories that will make your job easier. These can include extension wands so you don't have to climb a ladder and extra hoses. Also consider buying cleaning solution from them, if you're going to be using any.
Return the power washer in the same condition you received it. Fill the gas tank, and clean paint chips and debris from the hoses and machine housing.
About the Author
Stevie Donald is a regular contributor to DexKnows. She has been a painting contractor since 1979.
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