Bring on the water – TÜV SÜD’s tips on high-pressure washers
The days are getting longer and the birds have started chirping again, sure signs that spring is round the corner. With the first rays of sunshine, most of us dig out our bicycles, garden furniture and other hot-weather items to get them ready for the summer. Bringing patios, cars and house façades up to scratch after the winter weather is also a good idea, and using a high-pressure washer is the easiest and best way to do so. TÜV SÜD’s product experts have some tips for buying and using this type of cleaning equipment.
What models are available?
There are various categories of high-pressure washers on the market. Buyers should make their choice depending on their future areas of application and frequency of use. Standard high-pressure washers use water from the domestic water supply system. However, there are also high-pressure washers that can be operated with service water from water reservoirs, such as rainwater tanks – an advantage at locations without domestic water supply systems and a very environmentally-friendly solution, as it saves on drinking water. The cleaning performance depends on the water pressure and amount of water used. Persistent soiling can be removed more easily if water volume and water pressure are carefully aligned to each other. As a matter of principle, high-pressure washers should have a capacity of 6 to 10 l / min. The service pressure should be at least 100 bar, corresponding to a motor capacity of around 1.5 to 1.6 kW. High-pressure washers with these specifications are adequate for normal household use. Another important factor is the length of the hose. The longer the hose, the greater the area that can be cleaned.
Low-price high-pressure washers often include a large number of parts made of plastics, including the pump and the connections. Brass would give a significantly longer service life. Professional high-pressure washers mostly have stainless steel components, but are too expensive for normal household use. Non-pros often find it impossible to check up on these characteristics in a fully assembled high-pressure cleaner. One possible solution is to carefully read the product description or ask the manufacturer.
What accessories are available for high-pressure washers?
Many high-pressure washers offer smart solutions for stowing hoses, power cords, cleaning detergents or other accessories. Buyers looking for an even more convenient solution can buy a cleaner with a hose drum. The same goes for the power cord – some high-pressure washers even offer automatic cord winders. Most low-end devices do not have solutions for stowing accessories. However, this is not really necessary for high-pressure washers that are used only occasionally. Some manufacturers offer accessories such as flat-surface cleaners for patios or façades, pipe cleaners and rotor nozzles. The latter produces a rotating pencil jet, and thus combines the characteristics of a hard pencil jet with the benefits of easier cleaning of a large area.
Car cleaning with a high-pressure washer – recommended with reservations? High-pressure washers are real all-rounders; bicycles, garden furniture, fences, vehicles, swimming pools, patios, building façades and many other items can be cleaned with water under high pressure. However, before going on a cleaning spree, buyers should read and heed the instruction manual that comes with the device. It is recommended to always use outdoor plug sockets, as these are connected to residual current devices that reduce the risk of an accident. When starting the cleaning process, first carefully direct the high-pressure jet at the soiled area from a considerable distance away, to check the surface is suitable for high-pressure cleaning. Never aim the jet stream at people, animals or the equipment itself. If a defect occurs during use, immediately switch off the cleaner, pull the plug and contact customer service or an electrician.
Car tyres should never be cleaned with a high-pressure washer. In fact, cleaning cars on your own home ground is not such a good idea at all as a matter of principle. Many districts have banned car-washing by residents at home for environmental reasons, to prevent water pollution from the runoff, and may impose punishment in the shape of a fine even if the car is only hosed down with water.