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Tips and Tricks

10 Simple Tips for Using Your Pressure Washer

July 25, 2019

Taking care of your SIMPSON pressure washer and knowing how to troubleshoot your equipment is an essential part of ownership. Extend the life of your pressure washer and protect your safety by following the tips below to avoid these common mistakes.

First Things First

Be sure to read your owner’s manual for all safety requirements, starting steps and operation instructions prior to beginning your cleaning task. 

1. My pressure washer will not start

After ONLY 30 days of downtime, the fuel in your gas pressure washer may turn stale. It is important to always stabilize your fuel to prevent moisture from leaching into your fuel. Some people recommend that you drain your fuel and this is a good method, but still leaves your pressure washer susceptible to moisture contamination in your tank and carburetor.

We recommend that you LEAVE your tank full and use Ethanol Shield to prevent moisture contamination.

 1 bottle (2oz) = good for 5 gallons of gas

Most SIMPSON pressure washer models have a 1/2 gallon tank. You will need to pour 1/2 oz. Ethanol Shield into your tank when the tank is FULL of gas.

By taking care of your engine, you will extend its life and protect your investment.


2. My pressure washer’s pump seems to be damaged after only one season of use

If you did not winterize your pressure washer it could be that some residual moisture in your pump expanded in cooler months, causing tiny cracks in your pump. Winterizing will prevent any residual moisture from freezing, expanding and potentially cracking valves and seals inside your pump.

You will need Pump Guard for every season thereafter. Follow your user’s manual for instructions and refer to our “How to Winterize Your Pressure Washer” blog for helpful tips!


3. My pressure washer only gives me low-pressure

Your SIMPSON may be operating in low-pressure due to an incorrectly sized nozzle or a nozzle that has worn out.

Always replace any worn or broken nozzles as they can potentially be a safety hazard.


ALWAYS use accessories that are within your pressure washer’s PSI range. You could be losing pressure because your accessory is meant for a higher/lower PSI range than your machine and can cause damage to your accessory.

Be sure to check if the water is fully turned on and there is enough water flowing through the pump. Check your pumps filter on the inlet to make sure there is no debris blocking the water flow. A hose that is vertical or too long may delay water pressure from arriving fast enough.


4. My pressure washer is running very roughly 

You may need to check your air filter to be sure that it is clear of any debris; if it is dirty, clean it if possible or replace it.

You may also check your spark plug to see if it is worn or dirty, clean it if possible or replace it.

If it has been a while since you last used your pressure washer and you did not use Ethanol Shield, your fuel may be contaminated.  This preventative maintenance formula eliminates then prevents ethanol-related problems. It removes water, prevents corrosion, provides easy engine starting all year, and keeps stored fuel fresh.

If your engine is still running rough, you may need to contact your engine manufacturer for the nearest authorized engine service center.


5. My pressure washer pump is leaking water

If your pump is leaking water it could be caused by the following:

If you let your pressure washer run for longer than 2 minutes at a time it will enter into bypass mode. This means that the water inside of the pump is continually flowing and heating up. When your pump is too hot it will cause damage and can potentially crack. To prevent the pump from over-heating, your SIMPSON is equipped with a thermal relief valve (safety feature only) that will release hot water when the pump becomes too hot.

Be sure to turn off your machine if you take breaks longer than 2-3 minutes.

If your pressure washer is leaking at the gun, wand, or nozzle it could be that your accessories are not secured tightly enough. Turn off your machine and ensure everything is tightened properly.


6. My Pressure washer just shut off during use

SIMPSON pressure washers are designed to ensure you do not damage the engine or any of the mechanical components. Generally, the reason your SIMPSON pressure washer just shut off is because it has run out of gas or oil.

ALWAYS check the oil and gas level of your pressure washer every time you plan to turn it on.

7. I am unable to disconnect my high-pressure hose and garden hose from the pump

Once your pressure washer and water source are turned OFF and you are unable to disconnect your hoses from the pump and gun it is generally due to the pressure that is still inside of the machine. To relieve this pressure simply squeeze the trigger to release any water and then try disconnecting hoses again.


8. My pressure washer will not draw soap

Always be sure that your low-pressure soap nozzle is inserted in your wand. If you have any high-pressure nozzles attached to the wand your pressure washer will not draw in soap.


9. Am I using the correct chemical for my pressure washer?

Always use a pressure washer safe soap for cleaning. NEVER use bleach or other caustic chemicals, as this will damage your pump and cause it to fail.

There are various soaps that are specific for your cleaning job. When pressure washing siding be sure to check the label on your soap to see if it is safe. Always test out a small area of your surface before applying soap to the full surface area to prevent any damage.


10. I am unable to reach the second story of my house

Although your pressure washer is extremely powerful, it may not be enough to reach your second story.

NEVER use a ladder when pressure washing as this is highly unsafe and not an effective way to clean.

Instead, you will want to invest in a second story nozzle accessory to reach those high areas.

SIMPSON second story nozzles come in a pack of one high-pressure and one low-pressure nozzle for soap and rinse.



For more question, tips, and tricks on your pressure washer use, visit our Frequently Asked Questions.