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Old 02-05-2019, 12:03 PM   #1
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Default Recommendations for an Old-Timer

I know there are lots of threads on here asking for recommendations for a pressure washer. I'm to the point at age 57 that I don't want a heavy unit since I transport my PW in the back of my truck. Truth be told, I really don't like pressure washing, but, as part of my painting services, it is a necessity although I could sub it out. I'm not after a super, duper unit with all the bells and whistles. Something that removes most of the dirt/mildew as prep for a paint job, and, again, manageable for an old-timer like me.
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:21 PM   #2
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https://www.walmart.com/ip/AR-Blue-C...asher/14472575
...electric...no more keeping finicky gas motors running...less weight...does everything I need it to do...one of my favorite tools/investements...
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Old 02-05-2019, 02:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gymschu View Post
I know there are lots of threads on here asking for recommendations for a pressure washer. I'm to the point at age 57 that I don't want a heavy unit since I transport my PW in the back of my truck. Truth be told, I really don't like pressure washing, but, as part of my painting services, it is a necessity although I could sub it out. I'm not after a super, duper unit with all the bells and whistles. Something that removes most of the dirt/mildew as prep for a paint job, and, again, manageable for an old-timer like me.
I got all excited about being able to recommend a pressure washer, until I read that you're not looking for any "super duper" unit. Most good quality pressure washers are belt drives, (most, not all), and belt drives are heavy. Unless you're wanting to keep everything in the truck, invest in a buffer tank, connect customer's water to buffer tank, plumb a bypass going from your unloader to the opposite side as the water feed inlet, and invest in a few reels, your options will be portable units that can be easily lifted & moved. Given that, here's the most important criteria for you, (and I'm giving you a list of criteria vs a brand name, since most brands pull from a collective pool of parts & equipment anyways, you might focus your search on finding washers with particular specs vs. particular brand names):

-The highest GPM you can afford that fits your needs. Too many guys talk about psi, but GPM is what equates to cleaning efficiency.

-Make sure it has a soap injector, (most do).

-Honda GX Motor, (bigger is better, but also comes with extra weight, so you'll probably be looking around the 5.5hp GX 160).

-An unloader that is separate from the pump. If you read specs on pumps and it says "integrated", it means the unloader is part of the pump, and that's not great. Problem is, unloaders will be the first thing to fail, and when it fails on an integrated pump, you've got to replace the entire pump, which is typically about half the total cost of the entire rig.

Beyond those 4 recommendations, it all comes down to what you feel suits your needs the best. A perfect pressure washing job can be done with any rig with the incorporation of the right cleaning agents & surfactants. It's just a matter of how much time you deem acceptable to do the job.
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:22 PM   #4
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We have a Briggs and Stratton from lowes. Only about $400 and serves us perfectly for about 15 uses a summer and a few years and going strong. Well worth the low price. When it craps out we'll buy the same exact one. It serves its purpose at a good price


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Old 02-06-2019, 12:16 AM   #5
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Sub it out, you will not regret that decision!
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Old 02-06-2019, 03:28 PM   #6
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Thanks guys for all the good advice so far! I have mostly owned the typical gas PW's from Lowe's/HD such as the cheaper Troy-Bilts, and I even had a nice Craftsman PW from Sears back in the day. I rarely use my PW to clean for anyone. It's mostly to get as much dirt and grime off of substrates as prep for painting, so, in essence, I really don't need something that gets things 100% clean. Remarkably, the cheaper units I've had have lasted way more than 5 years in most cases. I'm fairly diligent about maintenance so I keep them running for a long time.

I did use an electric PW one time but it just didn't clean well enough and it kept blowing internal fuses which became very frustrating. The lightweight of them is great though. At 57, I'm not anxious to be loading and unloading something more than 150 lbs.

And, yes, @Brushman4, it would be nice to sub it out!!! I've done that a few times but in my area those guys are hard to get scheduled so that things coincide with my paint schedule. And, it does raise the price of my overall estimate.

All good things to consider. Again, thanks all.
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:48 PM   #7
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Switch to doing interiors only.

Seriously, pressure washing exteriors was one of the reasons I gave up doing them. As I was closing in on sixty I decided that being up on a wet extension ladder was not something I wanted to keep doing. Never regretted the decision. And in spite of being told by numerous other contractors we would never make as an interior only, turns out we not only “made it”, but thrived doing so.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:59 AM   #8
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@RH, I absolutely hate pressure washing. To a lot of people it "looks like fun." Well, to me, it's not. It's brutal on my aching shoulders and as you mentioned, wet ladder rungs are a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, I mostly do simple one story homes. My clientele is elderly folks who like the idea of a "one stop shop" doing all of the work. You know how older people are......they get stressed with lots of strange people working on their house, so me, being a one-man band, can do everything without bringing in people they aren't comfortable with.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gymschu View Post
@RH, I absolutely hate pressure washing. To a lot of people it "looks like fun." Well, to me, it's not. It's brutal on my aching shoulders and as you mentioned, wet ladder rungs are a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, I mostly do simple one story homes. My clientele is elderly folks who like the idea of a "one stop shop" doing all of the work. You know how older people are......they get stressed with lots of strange people working on their house, so me, being a one-man band, can do everything without bringing in people they aren't comfortable with.
I *like* power washing but it doesn't like me. The vibration stays in my arm for awhile if I'm at it for very long. Same with orbital sanders and the like. But I do like it because I like cleaning stuff and except for a occasional decks, small exteriors, I don't do it that much to mess me up. Mine is a 2400 PSI I picked up new at Home Depot, several years ago, for like a buck fiddy. Whatever the price was, it was $50 less than listed so, I did good at check out. And it's done everything I've needed it to do. Portability is pretty good too.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:27 PM   #10
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As you probably know, there is no substitute for pressure and volume. Pressure gives you, obviously, pressure when you need it, but it also gives you height (ability to wash 2 story houses with an X Jet or whatever your setup is.) Volume gives you ability to get stuff done in reasonable time. Pressure and volume means heavy unit.

I do have one of those cheap lower pressure, lower volume electric units that I use for little jobs, but usually I bring the big one. It's way too heavy for me to deal with safely any more, so I took it off the frame and bolted it onto this trailer.
https://www.harborfreight.com/1090-l...ler-62645.html

Obviously put a piece of plywood on there first, I also got a hose reel. Now it's really easy. Tow it, reel it out, hook up the water, reel it in and done. I have a 4000 PSI 4 GPM machine.
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Old 03-05-2019, 11:33 PM   #11
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Wouldn't go wrong using a Simpson "Aluminum" w/Honda GX Engine and Triplex Plungers

(there are a few variations/sizes but the Honda GX is an outstanding small engine, and the aluminum frame would keep the weight down).
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Old 03-06-2019, 12:04 AM   #12
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Sub it out, you will not regret that decision!
Why do you say sub it out? Is the pressure washing business not worthing getting into? Debating whether or not to start a pressure washing business.
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Old 03-06-2019, 01:59 AM   #13
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Why do you say sub it out? Is the pressure washing business not worthing getting into? Debating whether or not to start a pressure washing business.
Do you want to be a painting contractor or a pressure washing contractor? Surely you can do both but most likely will not excel at either.

If you want to be a pressure washing contractor you need a vehicle and equipment, designed to do that specific purpose I'm talking large water tanks, sometimes with heaters, and powerful pressure washing machines with a knowledge of all the chemical mixes needed for every purpose.

There were a few of these specialists at one time on PT, one of which was a guy called Pressure Pro or something like that.

Also in this environmental protective time, in many circumstances, you must recover water that you use to clean surfaces, because you have contaminated the water.https://www.cmmonline.com/articles/p...-and-epa-fines

A logical approach would be to have a crew trained to do painting and another crew that only does pressure washing, but that might make too much sense.
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Old 03-06-2019, 08:42 PM   #14
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Thanks for the info Brushman4. That makes sense to have a separate crew specialized for each service. I didn't realize all the equipment involved with a pressure washing service. Subbing it out does sound like a better idea, at least when starting out. It seems that painting, pressure washing, window cleaning, and gutter cleaning are all services in the same faucet. Meaning those services go together well and can often be combined on the same project. They can be a stand-alone service or combined under a parent company brand. I have marketing experience generating leads from the internet and I am good at it. I'm building out a lead generation system targeting each of those services to test the niche out in my area. Once the leads come in the rest is secondary and is something my general manager and I will figure out as we go.
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Old 03-07-2019, 12:14 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinneapolisPainter View Post
Thanks for the info Brushman4. That makes sense to have a separate crew specialized for each service. I didn't realize all the equipment involved with a pressure washing service. Subbing it out does sound like a better idea, at least when starting out. It seems that painting, pressure washing, window cleaning, and gutter cleaning are all services in the same faucet. Meaning those services go together well and can often be combined on the same project. They can be a stand-alone service or combined under a parent company brand. I have marketing experience generating leads from the internet and I am good at it. I'm building out a lead generation system targeting each of those services to test the niche out in my area. Once the leads come in the rest is secondary and is something my general manager and I will figure out as we go.
In the Chicago area window washing and gutter cleaning are most often done by the same companies. I guess it makes sense since both involve ladder work!
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:40 AM   #16
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We pressure wash every exterior house we paint. I just go out and wash a few houses at a time (one day ahead of time- usually on rainy days). It is convenient and profitable. All equipment is paid for, and I am not working around someone else's schedule. I do not guarantee my exterior work unless the siding is cleaned prior to painting.

As a side note, we do not use a ladder with a pressure washer, because it is such a dangerous combination. We use extension wands, high pressure and/or chemical treatments, but we never use a ladder with a pressure washer.
Slippery AF and high pressure guns are not a good combination.
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:45 AM   #17
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One more thought: the closer you can get to 4000 PSI, the more commercial application a unit will have. If weight is an issue consider 3200-3400PSI, but do not go below that threshold, or it will not be useful.

Most Pressure Washers will tell you how many GPM (Gallons Per Minute) they spray. You want to be somewhere around 3-4 MPG (depending on your uses).
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Old 03-09-2019, 10:23 AM   #18
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Get one with a Kohler elngine instead of a Honda. Home Depot has them on sale. You will get minimum of 20 MPG if you use non alcohol gasoline with a squirt on Nitromethane in it.
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Old 07-09-2019, 04:17 PM   #19
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I *like* power washing but it doesn't like me. The vibration stays in my arm for awhile if I'm at it for very long.
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