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Why is My Pressure Washer Pulsing?

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Pressure washers are an essential part of maintaining any backyard oasis and making sure that your pressure washer is up to the task of keeping your deck or backyard patio looking perfect.

A pulsing pressure washer can be the result of a huge number of issues and taking the time to really determine what might be causing issues can help you maintain your pressure washer and get it back in great working order.

a person pressure washer concrete

How Does a Pressure Washer Work?

Pressure washers are powered by either a gas engine or an electrical engine. These engines work to pressurize or accelerate the speed of the water that is supplied form the garden hose or other water source.

Pressure washers jobs are to help make the water that comes from the hose faster and stronger so that it can remove things like dirt, paint, sediment and other grime that might be making your backyard area less than desirable.

Pressure washers are a great way to maintain your backyard area and keep your deck, your patio furniture and more clean and ready for summer fun.

Pressure washers are a great tool when it comes to maintenance of your home and a faulty pressure washer is truly frustrating.

Pressure washers have a ton of moving parts and taking the time to find out what might be causing issue can really help.

What is a Pressure Washer Surge?

When using a pressure washer, a constant flow of water and pressure is needed to keep the water coming out at the right speed. A surge is when the water changes speed and pressure with no noticeable reason or cause.

These surges can cause damage to the pressure washer, it can cause damage to the area that is being washed, and it can be dangerous for those that are using the pressure washer.

When your pressure washer starts to surge, you can be certain that there is some issue present and that you do need to take the time to get it working again. With a surge, your pressure washer often loses pressure then starts up again.

This can be the result of a very serious problem or it can be a simple fix, the key is to take the time to work on this issue quickly and get it taken care of. There are a few different causes for surging and taking the time to consider what it might be can help you fix the problem and get back to working on your backyard.

Here are a few common issues that may be causing your surges.

Nozzle or Attachments

The first issue you want to check is the nozzle or the attachments that you are using. Your nozzle is right next to what is being cleaned, this means that debris, dirt and other particulates can kick up and go into the nozzle.

This can cause clogs, debris in the nozzle and can make it hard to maintain water pressure and keep the water flowing. When this happens, you should remove the nozzle or the attachment and clean them thoroughly to help make sure that your water pressure is going to be consistent and level.

You may want to get a nozzle cleaning kit, if you have hard water this can also cause clogs in the nozzle and can cause the nozzle to stop up and not allow proper water flow.

A cleaning kit can help to remove dirt, hard water build up and so much more. This is a great way to start your trouble shooting and to start working to figure out what might be causing your surges.

Unloader Issues

The unloader valve is an important part of any pressure washer. This valve is responsible for helping to regulate the water flow of your pressure washer. When this valve is damaged it is not able to regulate the pressure and adjust when the nozzle is in use and when the trigger of your pressure washer is depressed.

In most cases, when this valve is damaged it is best to replace it entirely rathe than attempt to repair it or work on it. This valve is a simple fix that is located just above the water inlet of the system. Sometimes this valve can also have air in it that can affect the water flow.

Hose and Filter Issues

With any water tool or system that uses water, filters and hoses are necessary. Hoses can have air in them which can cause pulsing as the air bubbles leave the hose and travel through the system.

The filter can also be dirty which can cause issues with water running through the system. This is an easy enough thing to check. In some cases you can remove the hose and allow the air to flow through which can then allow for the water to flow freely again.

With each season and with each time that you use your pressure washer, you should be checking your filter to make sure that it is clean and that it is going to be able to function properly.

If you do find that there are problems with your filter or your hose, a replacement of either may help to remedy the issues that you are dealing with. Replacing these parts is a great way to really make sure you are maintaining your pressure washer and that you are giving it the best chance possible.

Water Supply

In many cases people tend to focus on the pressure washer itself as the cause of the problem when your water supply may be the issue. Pressure washers are able to provide pressure to push the water out of the nozzle and to clean but if the water supply is not strong enough or does not have enough pressure itself, it can cause more problems.

The PSI of the water source you are using needs to be enough as well as the pressure that the washer is putting out.

The pump in the pressure washer may also be an issue. When the pump is not strong enough it may not be able to push the water out at the proper speed or at the proper pressure.

If your pump or pump packings are bad, you may need to work on having them repaired or replaced in order to get the proper pressure from your pressure washer to be able to get the job done and make your backyard picture perfect.

Valves and Fittings

As with anything that needs pressure and water valves and fittings are an important part of your pressure washer functioning properly.

If valves are bad, they might not allow water to flow into the manifold, if fittings are not tight, they may allow for leaks that affect the overall water pressure that the washer is able to deliver.

Valves that are faulty may also allow for leaks that can affect water pressure.

What to Do If you Cannot Find the Problem

If you have tried the solutions listed here and cannot find out what is causing the pulsing, you may need to contact the manufacturer of your particular pressure washer.

Taking the time to talk with the manufacturer may help you to find the issues, in some cases, particular models have issues that others may not and that are particular to one model or one make.

You might also take your pressure washer to a professional repair company. A pressure washer is a rather expensive piece of equipment and taking the time to get it repaired can save you money and can help you to save time as well.

Pressure washer repair is far simpler and far less expensive than buying a new pressure washer every time you have an issue.

Proper maintenance is one of the best ways to make sure you avoid issues that might lead to surges. Taking the time to remove all water from the system at the end of the season and not allowing water to freeze in the washer or in the hoses.

Replacing hoses and valves as needed, and making sure to check each part of your pressure washer can make a huge difference in how well it works when time comes to get it out.

Pressure washers are a great tool that help you to make certain that your backyard is the clean and well maintained space that you want. Pressure washer life span is measured in usage hours and with proper care and use you can get up to 500 hours out of your pressure washer.

Proper care can help you use your washer year after year and can help you get the most out of your investment and the most out of your pressure washer overall.

These are just a few problems that you might notice and taking the time to do a quick check can help you to pinpoint what you need to have worked on and what needs to be done to get your pressure washer back up and in perfect working order.

If you’re needing any help with selecting a pressure washer to purchase, be sure to check out our review on the Ryobi 2300 PSI electric pressure washer.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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