Facts About Water Consumption With Power Washers

Christie Gross

Pressure washers are powerful cleaning tools that enable you to quickly and easily remove dirt and grime from your home exterior, sidewalks, decking and driveway.

Save your garden hose for watering plants.

They forcefully blast a mix of water and cleaning solution to effectively strip away stubborn stains and return the surface to its near original state when used properly. Despite their notable cleaning abilities, power washers do use quite a lot of water. Knowing the facts about power washing and power washers can help minimize water consumption.

How You Use the Power Washer

No matter what pressure washer you use, the pressure washing method involves pressure, water flow force, cleaning solution and heat. Each of these four components alters the effect the pressure washer has on surface cleaning. Using only cold water to pressure wash means that you must increase the amount of cleaning solution, use more water and boost the water flow force to achieve the same results to compensate for the lack of hot water. In other words, how you use a pressure washer to clean can impact the amount of water consumed.

Pressure Washer Versus Garden Hose

While you may think that a garden hose uses less water than a pressure washer to clean a surface, the reverse is actually true. A pressure washer uses 2 gallons of water per minute compared to garden hoses that use 20 gallons of water per minute, states the Long Beach Water Department. Next time you reach for your hose to rinse off your sidewalk, consider using a pressure washer instead.

Water Pressure Differs by Task

The amount of water pressure you need your power washer to provide is based on the task. For example, smaller jobs, like washing a car or boat, require a light-duty power washer that produces 1,400 to 1,750 pounds per square inch (PSI) of water pressure at a flow rate of 1.4 to 1.6 gallons per minute (GPM), whereas cleaning your driveway mandates a medium-duty power washer with 2,300 to 2,500 PSI and 2.2 to 2.3 GPM. While this may sound like a lot of water, in reality a lightweight power washer uses about 68 percent less water and cleans much better than a garden hose, states Powermate.

Importance of Hot Water

The use of hot water or even warm water can limit the amount of cleaning solution needed and overall cleaning time, which means less water is consumed. The Pressure Washer Cleaning Industry Resource Center suggests the ideal water temperature for pressure washing is between 160 and 210 degrees F. Use a lightweight hot water pressure washer machine for periodic household cleaning projects that require less than 5 hours of machine use per week. If you plan to use your hot water power washer more than 5 hours per week, obtain a commercial grade machine to accommodate a higher rate of usage.