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Frequently Asked Questions

Pressure washers are great for cleaning siding, but as with all cleaning projects, you need to make sure you have the proper tools for the job. For most siding materials, use the white nozzle (40o nozzle). Always start further away from and slowly approach the wall; make sure that only dirt and grime are being removed. Our article about Choosing the Proper Nozzle for the Task at Hand will give you more information about how to choose the correct nozzle.

No, you must apply soap with the black, low-pressure nozzle. High-pressure nozzles will not allow the soap injection valve to open. Once the soap is applied then you can switch to a higher pressure nozzle to clean and rinse the surface. Our article about Choosing the Proper Nozzle for the Task at Hand will give you more information about how to choose the correct nozzle.

If your pressure washer has soap injection capability but is not fitted with a soap tank, there should be a barbed fitting for a soap injection siphon hose located near the high-pressure hose connector. Gently slip the siphon hose onto the barbed fitting and place the filter end into the soap container/bucket. Only use cleaning agents approved for use with pressure washers. DO NOT USE BLEACH.

Only detergents that are listed by the chemical manufacturer to be designed and safe for use in pressure washers, specifically, all-purpose detergent and non-caustic detergent.

Yes. Use the white, 40o nozzle and keep a good distance from the window.  However, before you pressure wash, you should inspect the window frame for cracked calking / glazing, peeling paint, and areas where water may leak inside the house before you use the pressure washer.  Correct these issues before you pressure wash the windows. Our article about Choosing the Proper Nozzle for the Task at Hand will give you more information about how to choose the correct nozzle.

The washer should be stored in a dry, ventilated location when not in use. Do not store a gasoline engine powered pressure washer near open flames or where sparking may happen. Learn how to winterize and store your pressure washer with this post.

A surface scrubber (also referred to as a surface cleaner) is a circular attachment (sizes vary) containing a spinning spray bar. Surface scrubbers are recommended when you need to clean large areas such as concrete sidewalks, decks, patios or porches. The benefits of using a surface scrubber include a faster cleaning time, a more even clean, and stain removal. Check out the SIMPSON 15″ Surface Scrubber and the SIMPSON 20″ Industrial Surface Scrubber.

Always use fresh, unleaded gasoline with an octane level of 86 or higher and an ethanol percentage of 10% or lower. Never use an ethanol percentage over 10%. Damage to your engine will result and the warranty will be voided.

The nozzle is what creates the pressure and also the spray pattern of your pressure washer. If you have the incorrect nozzle you may not get the full potential out of the machine. Always make sure that your pressure washer nozzle is clean and free of debris.

There are up to five different quick connect nozzle spray tips; four high pressure and one low pressure “Soap” nozzle. The operator can select a high pressure nozzle spray pattern which best suits the cleaning application. Note: Cleaning solutions cannot be applied with high pressure spray tips (Red, Yellow, Green or White). Our article about Choosing the Proper Nozzle for the Task at Hand will give you more information about how to choose the correct nozzle.

RED Nozzle @ 0°
Provides a concentrated spot of high pressure water allowing you to be further from the surface being cleaned and to blast off stubborn material. USE CAUTION with this nozzle as the force available will actually penetrate soft materials or surfaces. Use for reaching high areas such as under eaves or cleaning tar, chewing gum, etc. from sidewalks. This nozzle is useful for breaking up large areas of loose paint to strip a surface. This nozzle can assist in moving excess mortar from brick construction and rust flakes from steel.

YELLOW Nozzle @ 15°
Provides a narrow fan of concentrated water pressure for removing paint, mildew, etc. By testing several angles between the spray and the surface being worked, the best angle may quickly be identified. The yellow nozzle is also used to remove loose paint from wood, masonry, metal, etc. You will be able to remove heavy oxidation, mildew and marine growth from boats or clean heavy equipment.

GREEN Nozzle @ 25°
Provides a wider fan for pressure cleaning and rinsing. Used for removing mildew, light to medium oxidation and dirt from aluminum siding, rinsing stripped areas or general light cleaning in preparation for painting.

WHITE Nozzle @ 40°
Provides a wide fan for cleaning and rinsing. This nozzle is used for general wash-down, light cleaning, rinsing off chemicals used in building restoration and sweeping driveways or parking areas.

BLACK Soap Nozzle
A low pressure nozzle used to apply cleaning solutions. Note: Cleaning solutions cannot be applied with high pressure spray tips (Red, Yellow, Green or White)

There are three questions you should ask yourself when determining what kind of pressure washer is right for you.

The first question is “Where do I intend to use the pressure washer? At home or at work?” Typically, you don’t need as powerful of a pressure washer for your personal use at home as you might on a job site. Household jobs for example, shouldn’t need a machine larger than 3000 PSI, whereas 3100 PSI would be minimal for job site usage.

Another helpful question to ask yourself is, “What do I want to clean?” If you are expecting to use your pressure washer for basic household jobs such as driveways, decks, patio furniture, etc. you can get by with a unit that offers relatively low pressure. If your plans are a little bit more daring such as blasting mold or mildew off of concrete or prepping the house for painting you should consider a unit with higher pressure.

Lastly, how much cleaning will you be doing? Will you be cleaning large surface spaces? If the answer is yes, you should consider a unit offering a higher GPM. More water means more cleaning power! A higher GPM will get the job done quicker.

Choosing a gas or electric pressure washer comes down to the type of cleaning and frequency of use. For smaller jobs or when you may only use the washer once or twice per year, an electric-powered pressure washer may be for you. For larger jobs, more frequent usage during the year, or for greater range (ability to use the pressure washer just about anywhere there is a proper water source), the gas-powered pressure washer may be worth looking into.

The answer is both. PSI and GPM work together and the right combination is important depending on your pressure washing needs.

PSI stands for “Pounds per Square Inch” and refers to the amount of pressure that the respective machine can produce.
GPM stands for “Gallons per Minute” and refers to the amount of water coming from the unit.
To clean productively, a pressure washer should be doing two things: stripping or scrubbing and rinsing. This is what sets a pressure washer apart from a regular garden hose.

PSI exerts the pressure to “strip” or scrub off the dirt while GPM is the rinsing power that washes the dirt away.

The combination of PSI and GPM results in “Cleaning Units” or CU. This is a way for you to measure the overall performance of the machine and compare efficiency of one to another. Cleaning units is calculated by multiplying PSI and GPM.

For more information, refer to our blog post: PSI vs. GPM: What Matters Most?

For water usage, yes, it is. By pumping the water into a high-pressure stream, you greatly increase its cleaning power. Using a pressure washer greatly reduces the time you will need to run the water when cleaning your car, boat, siding, or anything else. Beyond pressure, the Gallons Per Minute (GPM) of a typical pressure washer at 2.5 to 3.5 gallons per minute is much less than an open garden hose, which averages 5 GPM.  This means less water is used for a given cleaning application versus using just a garden hose.

Maintenance-free pumps contain long-wear components submerged in a high-grade synthetic oil designed to last the life of the pump. Since the pump does not require regular oil changes, they are called maintenance-free. Note: winterizing your maintenance-free pump is still necessary. Our axial cam pumps are maintenance-free.

If you see water spraying from a valve on your pressure washer pump it is most likely coming from the thermal relief valve (TRV). Most pressure washer pumps are equipped with a thermal relief valve (TRV) to protect the pump if the water inside gets too hot. The water inside your pump can get too hot if you leave the pump running for too long without using the spray gun to pressure wash, or by allowing hot water to enter the pump from a garden hose that has been in the sun. To prevent the water inside the pump from getting too hot and opening the TRV, only use cold water in your pressure washer, turn off the machine if you will not be using the spray gun for more than two minutes, and keep the supply hose out of direct sunlight.

Our pumps are equipped with a thermal relief valve. This is a safety feature that keeps the pump from overheating while in bypass mode. The thermal relief valve opens if the water temperature inside the pump gets too high. This will cause the valve to open, allowing the hot water to exit and cooler water to enter the pump. To avoid overheating your pressure washer pump, turn the motor or engine off if you will not be using pressure washer for more than two minutes.

When you release the spray gun trigger, the engine or motor continues to power the pump creating water pressure. To prevent the pressure from becoming too high and potentially damaging the pump, the unloader valve goes into bypass mode allowing the water to recirculate through the pump keeping the pressure level safe. However, recirculating the water too long can also cause it to heat up possibly causing the thermal relief valve (TRV) to open. To avoid overheating your pressure washer pump, turn the motor or engine off if you will not be using pressure washer for more than two minutes.

OHV means overhead valve. OHV pertains to the engines created for pressure washers.

The pump on a direct-drive pressure washer is bolted to, and directly powered by, the engine or motor. The pump on a belt-drive pressure washer is driven by a belt that is connected to the engine or motor.

Both drive styles offer different advantages. Direct drive machines are usually smaller, have fewer moving parts, and require less maintenance. Belt drive machines separate the engine and pump, which can reduce heat transfer and vibration; some belt drives run at slower speeds to reduce the wear and tear on the pump, however, required a belt replacement from time to time.

Belt driven pressure washers are generally for commercial use because a belt driven pump is ideal for cleaning applications that are over 20 hours per week. On a belt drive unit, the high pressure pump has less RPM than a direct drive, reducing heat and vibration, which in turn minimizes internal wear and tear.

If you are using your pressure washer less than 20 hours per week, you may be better suited for a direct drive machine. These machines are typically more cost effective, lighter in comparison and easier to transport.

A limited warranty means that there are limitations to what is covered and under what conditions the warranty would not apply as stated in the Limited Warranty for each product.

Click here to learn more.

Yes, you can. You should only use the white nozzle (40o nozzle). Using a nozzle with a narrower width pattern may damage the paint. Always start spraying at least 4 feet back from the vehicle and slowly work toward the car making sure the water is not causing damage. When washing your rims and tires, again use the white nozzle (40o nozzle). Aim the nozzle no closer than eight inches (8”) from the tire sidewall. To prevent damage, never aim the nozzle directly at the joint where the tire meets the rim. 

No, only use the cold-water hose bib or spigot on your house with the pressure washer. Cold water helps to cool the pump. Hot water can damage a cold-water pressure washer pump.

You should use a good quality 5/8” or 3/4” garden hose that is completely unrolled and free of kinks. When the hose is rolled up or is kinked, it limits the flow of water. This can starve the pressure washer causing low pressure at the nozzle and overheating of the pump. The expandable style of garden hose sometimes seen on television and in stores is not recommended for use with pressure washers.

It is best to use the shortest hose possible for the area you are working in. Typically, garden hose that is fifty feet long (50’) is the best choice. However, if you are using well water as your source, your supply hose should be no more than thirty-feet long (30’).

Yes, you can, but you should keep the length of the high-pressure hose to a maximum of 100 feet, when possible. If an even longer distance is needed, if possible, increase the length of the supply (garden) hose and keep the high-pressure hose length shorter. This will keep the pressure loss to a minimum.

No, you should never use bleach with the pump.

Yes. Rinsing away any soap residue will help prolong the life of your pressure washer. Place the soap hose into a bucket of clean water or if equipped with a soap tank, fill the tank with water. Using the black low pressure soap nozzle, pull the spray gun trigger until all the water runs clean.

On most pressure washers, the throttle is fixed and cannot be adjusted. If your particular engine does have a throttle control, make sure to set it to “MAX” or “RUN” as this position allows the pump to create the high pressure needed for most cleaning operations.

You can lower the effect of the pressure by stepping back from the surface you are pressure washing. Another method is using the widest pattern nozzle, like the white nozzle (40o nozzle). If you find that you do need a way to regulate the pressure, consider purchasing the Simpson 82232 Dial-N-Wash Adjustable Pressure Regulator. The regulator is designed for use with all cold-water pressure washers rated 4500 PSI or less.

No, never stand on a ladder or any unstable surface when using a pressure washer.  The spray pressure is powerful enough to cause you to lose your balance. You should only stand on a stable surface while using the pressure washer. For two story homes, you may want to try a second story nozzle kit or telescoping wand.

No, the pressure washer should be stored on a level, dry floor in the same position as it would be used.

Yes, but the gasoline should be drained and the washer needs to stay in the same position it would be in used in. Make sure the washer is supported so it cannot overturn during transportation.

Typically, no it will not smoke. If it only lasts a few moments, it may be production oils being burned off inside the muffler. If it continues, turn off the engine and check the oil level to make sure it is not too high or too low.

Refer to your engine manual as some engines require different weights and quantity.

The screen stops foreign matter from entering the pump that may cause serious damage to the pump.

First, look to make sure the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is not tripped. Push the RESET button in until you hear a “clicking” noise. Aim the spray gun in a safe direction and squeeze the trigger to remove any built-up pressure, then press the power / start button. If the motor still does not start, check your power supply’s circuit breaker or fuse.

No, you should no longer use the hose. Even a small cut can weaken the integrity of the hose. Never use or try to repair a damaged high-pressure hose.  Serious injury or even death can result.  Shut the pressure washer off and immediately stop using it until you can replace the hose.

You should always wear eye and hearing protection. If you wear glasses for corrective vision, make sure you wear safety goggles that cover your glasses fully. It is recommended to wear long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and closed shoes to protect your skin and feet.

When replacing the hose, always choose one with the same or higher pressure rating. Also, make sure the replacement hose has the same connectors as your original hose. You can replace your industry standard threaded M22 connection style hose or even extend your M22 hose.

The type of connector on your hose is made to match the connectors on your pump and spray gun assembly. M22 connectors have a threaded end and are industry standard for all brands. You connect and disconnect the hose by turning to tighten or loosen the collar on the hose. Quick-connect (QC) hose, utilizes a slip collar system. Just like you would connect your nozzles, pull back on the collar and insert the male hose plug end into the female QC hose end onto the spray gun plug. Release the collar and give a slight tug to make sure the connector is locked. To release, make sure the pressure washer is turned off and the pressure is released by squeezing the gun trigger. Pull back on the collar and remove the mating fitting. Check your pressure washer pump and spray gun to match the proper fittings.

It is recommended to use SIMPSON / POWERWASHER Pump Guard or equivalent when storing the unit for more than 30 days or when freezing temperatures are expected. Using pump guard helps provide proper lubricant to the internal seals of the pump regardless of temperature while also removing water from the pump that could cause damage due to freezing. Follow the instructions in your manual on how to properly winterize the pump. You can also check out our post regarding winterizing your pressure washer.

An electric pressure washer can be stored in a warm basement, however you still need to use SIMPSON / POWERWASHER Pump Guard to keep the seals lubricated. Never store a gasoline powered pressure washer in an unventilated location or near open flames and/or where sparking may occur. Check out our post regarding winterizing your pressure washer.

First, disconnect the high-pressure hose from the pump and the spray gun. Allow the water to drain from the hose or use high-pressure air to force the water out. After the water is removed, coil the hose onto the hose wrap. Hold the spray gun and wand in a vertical position and squeeze the trigger to remove any stored water then place the spray gun back into the gun holder. Winterize the pump using SIMPSON / POWERWASHER Pump Guard as per your instruction manual. Consult your engine owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation dealing with long-term storage of the engine. You can also check out our post regarding winterizing your pressure washer.