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Can You Adjust the Pressure on a Pressure Washer?

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With summer nearly here it is more important than ever to find a great way to clean your deck and other outdoor areas to get them ready. Pressure washers are a great tool when it comes to making sure that your outdoor area is as clean and ready as possible for summer.

Pressure washers can be somewhat aggressive if you are new to using them and they can be challenging to use, but, most do come with some sort of adjustment.

How Do Pressure Washers Work?

Before you try to adjust your pressure washer, it’s helpful to learn a bit about how they work. A pressure washer has a pump that adjusts the pressure of the water that comes out of your garden hose or other water source.

The pump works to push the water out at a greater pressure so that it can remove dirt, build up and other debris that may have built up on your patio or other surfaces over the winter.

There are two different types of pressure washer, electric and gas. With an electric pressure washer you do need to have it hooked up to an electric source in order to work while a gas model has a gas engine.

Both are effective and both can help you get your deck or other outdoor area cleaned off quickly and ready for summer. Pressure washers can be adjusted in most cases with nozzles, valves and with many features that may already be built into your pressure washer.

Though most can be adjusted and many work in the same basic manner, the pressure washer that you get might be different than other models. It is always helpful to read your manuals and to learn about your particular model rather than just assuming it only works a certain way.

What is a Pressure Washer Good for?

Pressure washers are a great tool that is going to be able to help make quick work of your cleaning when it comes to prepping your deck, patio furniture, driveways and more. Pressure washers are for the most part, easy to use and operate and can help you to clean just about any surface quite quickly.

Pressure washers are great for cleaning a huge range of different surfaces and materials and it can be great for cleaning off grime and other build up.

Pressure washers can be used with detergent to help clean surfaces like decks, driveways, sidewalks and more that might have mold, mildew, staining and more on their surface. Pressure washers can also be used to help remove flaking paint to get it ready for fresh paint.

Pressure washers are not great for removing deep set stains or for removing things that are very deeply set into materials but they are great for removing surface stains.

Pressure washers are super versatile, especially those that you can adjust and that you can customize to your needs and to the job that you are doing. They can be used for heavy duty cleaning and for smaller jobs as well.

Pressure washers can make short work of otherwise tedious cleaning and can help you get out and about to your backyard area so that you can enjoy it rather than spending all your time cleaning and removing dirt and grime.

Can you Adjust the Pressure on a Pressure Washer?

When it comes to the overall pressure of your pressure washer there are going to be two adjustment options. For most pressure washers, the adjustment comes in the wand rather than in the machine itself. This is helpful for a few reasons.

For starters, a pressure washer that does not have an adjustment on the machine itself is going to have less moving parts and is going to have less that can go wrong. With a pressure washer that has a variable pressure valve on the machine itself, there is a bit more that can go wrong in terms of use and wear and tear.

Most pressure washers offer different nozzles that adjust the pressure of the water flow. Different nozzles allow the water to come out at different spray angle.

The most pressure has a 0 degree angle, while the least pressure has a 40 degree angle and/or a soap nozzle that doesn’t have pressure at all. The smaller degree angle makes the water more concentrated in one small spot, while the higher degree fans the water out wide which decreases the pressure.

Some variable spray wands have a nozzle that can be twisted to allow less or more water through which can then adjust the overall pressure.

How to Adjust the Pressure

pressure nozzle

When it comes to adjusting the pressure of your pressure washer, there are a few different options. As mentioned, before you can use a nozzle to do the adjustment to the overall pressure and this is perhaps the easiest method of adjustment.

You can also adjust the unloader valve if it’s a variable model. The unloader valve is responsible for adjusting the pressure automatically as you depress the trigger on your nozzle.

You can adjust the unloader valve to let in more or less water which will then change the speed and the pressure of the water that is coming out of the nozzle.

As we also mentioned, some models do have adjustment valves that are attached to the top of the machine where you can change the overall pressure of the water that is coming out. In these cases, all you have to do is adjust the valve to the pressure that you want.

What is the Ideal Pressure for a Pressure Washer?

The ideal setting for most pressure washers is going to be 1300-1700 PSI or pounds per square inch. This is about 1.5 gallons of water flowing through your pressure washer at a time. You can get some stronger pressure washers that do push out more water with professional grade washers topping out at 2000 to 3000 PSI.

The idea pressure is the pressure at which your washer is going to perform at its best and at which there is going to be minimal damage or wear and tear to your pressure washer. The overall use of a pressure washer is measured in usage hours and the gentler you are with your pressure washer, the longer it is going to last.

Why Might You need to Adjust Your Pressure?

There are a few reasons that you might want to adjust the pressure of your pressure washer. The most common is going to be based on what you are washing.

You might want a higher pressure for a sidewalk that is covered in mold and mildew than you would want for a piece of wicker patio furniture that just has some dirt on it. Too much pressure would damage the wicker furniture.

Though the same pressure washer is going to work for both, it is best to adjust the pressure based on what you are washing and how much pressure you need to get it clean.

You may also want to adjust pressure based on who is using the pressure washer and how experienced they are. Those that have a great deal of experience with pressure washers are going to know how to best control the nozzle and flow when they use it.

Smaller users are also going to need a lower flow to help make it easier to control the nozzle and control the machine. If you’re wondering why your pressure washer is pulsing, read our other article to see why.

With those that have a great deal of experience, you may not need to have as low of a pressure and you can certainly adjust as needed. Pressure is relative to what you are trying to wash and how much experience you have overall.

If you are new to power washing you can start with a lower pressure and then work your way up to a higher pressure as you get better control over your machine and your skills.

Do You need a Pressure Washer?

For those that are considering a pressure washer, it is always helpful to learn about things like the potential to adjust your pressure based on what you are doing.

With a pressure washer, being able to adjust your pressure is going to give you the most control to help protect your patio or the area that you are cleaning, to protect yourself when it comes to using, and make the most of your pressure washer.

Pressure washers are a great investment that can help you keep your patio and backyard areas clean and tidy and ready for summer entertaining all year round. They can also help keep your sidewalks, patios and more looking newer and ready for entertaining or spending time outside at a moment’s notice.

While having a pressure washer is useful, especially when it comes to cleaning your decks, there are ways to clean your decks without using one, but investing in a pressure washer makes it all a little easier!

When you purchase your pressure washer, it is helpful to read your manual to learn about how to best adjust your pressure for proper cleaning without damaging anything as well as having a maximum lifespan for your pressure washer. Be sure to check out our review on the Ryobi 2300 PSI electric pressure washer!

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