Problems with my pressure washer.

There are lessons to be learned from every job you do. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one landscaper who was providing pressure washing services to a home owner. As he was doing so, he ran into some mechanical issues and then a few other business owners responded to his setup and how he could improve his efficiency.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I bought a pressure washer with a 7 hp Subaru engine a few weeks ago. The first time I used it, it shut down for about ten minutes and then ran fine for the rest of the day.

Now fast forwards a week to today and I used it for a bit then turned it off. I switched spray wands and when I went to restart it, it wouldn’t fire back up. I went through all the normal checks, air, oil, spark plug which happens to be buried in between two parts. I thought to myself maybe it’s just hot. I’ll go out to eat lunch, come back later and try again.

I come back after an hour and it still won’t start. I take the spark plug out again and pull the start cord a bunch of times to fix any flooding but it doesn’t work.

Now I’m getting mad. I do notice if I leave the fuel on for a few minutes, it will drip out. So next I take the carburetor bowl off and drain it. It looks mighty clean in there. I turn the fuel back on and get it started after 3-4 pulls. It runs for the next 2-3 hours.

For some reason it seems to be flooding when I turn it off and move to go to the next spot. I never had this problem with my other pressure washer or mowers before. I used to forget to shut the fuel off and drive around with those. I even shut the fuel off a few minuted before I turned the switch off for preventive measures now. The thing is, it ran a good 5 mins with fuel off. The carburetor float does seem to work because it stopped the flow when I drained it.

Maybe though this is a float problem? I don’t see how when it’s only been used for 11 hours. I don’t know if this is a flaw or what. I was curious if anyone has any experiences with these engines.

The 3gpm pressure washer, when it’s working seems to put out enough pressure for cleaning houses. When I am at the rental place, they won’t recommend more than that unless you are cleaning 3 story homes. Besides that we only may need more pressure for spot cleaning. I can clean most of the houses with a pump sprayer and a garden hose.

In the included picture, I have an employee using the ladder for the area above the roof and the back of the house was 3 stories. The ladder is 18 ft and the roof was 10 ft. So there is no way to put that at the correct pitch without it going through the window.”

Pressure washing a house

Pressure washing a house

A second lawn care business owner responded “I see a few things wrong with what you mentioned.

As far as the engine issue, it could be a bad carb float, carb needle, or the seat. It’s hard to tell without looking at it. You need to clean your carburetor preferably with an ultrasonic cleaner, and make sure the float does not have water in it.
Next up is the size of your pressure washer you are using, Using such a small pressure washer is wasting a lot of time for you. In order to clean a house quickly you need at a minimum 4 gallons per minute. With the pressure washer I use, I can clean a house with nothing more than a step ladder. You should be able to clean a 2 story house without a ladder unless it is constructed like that one, then you just need to get over the eaves.

Being on a roof like in your picture to do pressure washing is dangerous, there needs to be some safety gear to prevent falls. Hence the bigger pressure washer. You wouldn’t need to get on a ladder.

Your ladder set up is incorrectly. The ladder needs to extend a minimum of 3 feet above the edge of the roof. Move your stand off down lower to accomplish this. I hope an OSHA inspector doesn’t catch you doing this. You would get in trouble with OSHA or similar state agency.

Lastly, did you know that pressure spraying water on the side of a house can burn a house down? Siding is not water tight going up and if you get the wiring in the wall wet it can cause a fire. This will not happen every time but it can. ”

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