6 Dangers Of Pressure Washers: A Safety Guide

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Why would you need a pressure washer? Of course, from our series of blog posts on this subject, you may have learned that a pressure washer is a powerful machine used to clean the interior and exterior of a house. Quality pressure washers are known to clean any form of solid as well as concrete surface affected by oil, mold, various dirt particles, and grime. If you need to clean your household, then a pressure washer will work wonders. For that reason, it is a pretty popular machine. The tool works by operating water at relatively high pressure. This is usually on sturdy surfaces such as buildings and roads. Many cleaning devices operate in the same way. But, pressure washers are more effective. They are also affordable. Therefore, anyone can have them.

6 Dangers Of Pressure Washers:

  • Physical Injuries
  • Electric Shock
  • Damage To Surfaces
  • Chemical Exposure
  • Destroying Your Shingles
  • Damaging Your Skin
6 Dangers Of Pressure Washers: A Safety Guide 1

Are Pressure Washers Dangerous? 

Your garden hose and detergent can handle several cleanup jobs, especially if you can spend all day sprucing the interior and exterior of your house. However, if you have additional things to do, which may be pretty much involving, then you should go the pressure washer way! A pressure washer speeds up strenuous tasks, including scrubbing grime as well as mildew. Should you see the need to invest in a pressure washer, then you need to be aware of its precarious nature. A lot of pressure washers are used for the first time in the new year around springtime, where almost everyone is focused on taking out their cleaning devices to clean their paths, yards, as well as old cars. Given the rise in demand for this machine in various households, a recent survey revealed that annually, an estimated 5,000 individuals are fatally injured by this machine and rushed to different hospitals.

Generally, there are various types of pressure washers. Some have gas engines and others use electric motors coupled with a pump as well as a concentrating nozzle in boosting water pressure from the hose connection. While a garden hose alone can efficiently deliver water pressure at 60 pounds per square, a pressure washer can complete the same tasks by generating up to 4,000 psi. That’s significantly a lot of power. When properly operated, the machine can blast away stains from various surfaces without damaging your property.

Even with these benefits, pressure washers can cause serious injuries. That is why consumers appreciate the seriousness of this machine. A pressure washer’s spray is pretty hazardous, especially when misdirected. It can damage your skin. This and more will be discussed in the next segment of this article.

Risks Of Using Pressure Washers

Potential Risks For Physical Injuries

It is typical of people to underestimate the power of a pressure washer. But, the water from the device is stronger than the garden hose. That kind of pressure can definitely cause intense physical injuries, not only to the feet but hands as well.

It can also cut through heavy-duty boots. Other than that, the pressure makes it hard for you to control the hose. This increases the chances of having a runway hose, which may cause injuries. The pressure from the water spray can also strip your flesh from the bone.

Additional injuries from pressure washers are such as abrasion, blindness, high-pressure injection, as well as falls. Sheer pressure water is also powerful to cause injuries. At the same time, using chemicals when cleaning can aggravate a bad situation. The injuries sustained when cleaning using a pressure washer may appear benign. However, they need to be examined and then treated by a physician.  Abrasions are highly associated with pressure washing. To reduce such risks, you should wear protective gear such as gloves and boots.

High Risks Of Electric Shock

Pressure washers are precarious because of the fact that you need to mix water and electric power.  These machines also contain power cables, a feature that makes them susceptible to cracking. Since you are working with water, water mustn’t seep into the cords because it can result in electric shock and fire. You should also have a power source that’s grounded since it eliminates the risks.

Causing Damage To Surfaces

A hardscape can beautify your landscape. It also helps you to save water and then provide a stable surface for parking and entertaining. Mainly, hardscapes are prominent for durability as well as longevity. This feature allows you to enjoy sidewalks and walkways. For the most part, hardscapes are like paving stones.

When dirty, a pressure washer can be used to clean these surfaces. Pressure washing comes with a lot of power. This makes it an invaluable tool for cleaning. Therefore, the pressure may harm your hardscape and other surfaces alike. Washing too close may also cause permanent damage to paint and wood. Not only can the paint chip away but fade too. If you’ve lead paint on the surface, then it will easily chip away as a result of pressure washing. If the hose of your pressure washer isn’t positioned correctly, then it may get underneath, thereby damaging insulation as well as wiring. 

Chemical Exposure

If your landscapes are dirty, then you need a pressure washer to remove the dirt appended in them. Hiring a professional with vast experience in cleaning would come in handy. This is one sure way of avoiding damage coupled with the potential for expensive repairs.

If hiring one isn’t within your budget, then you should invest in a pressure washer, which comes with a manual for your usage. That said, power washing involves cleaning various cleaning chemicals. If these substances seep into a puncture, crack, or a wound, they may cause adverse health problems. The chemicals can also lead to various bacterial infections coupled with other health hazards that may get into your bloodstream.

Destroying Your Shingles

Older windows and shingles may not be able to withstand the pressure associated with pressure washing. You will realize that some shingles, depending on the nature of the material used to design, will be compromised in many ways. A professional with experience in pressure washing can examine your home or a commercial premise before you invest in a pressure washer. He or she should let you know whether it is prudent to invest in the pressure washer.

The Risk Of Damaging Your Skin

Pressure washers emit high pressured water. A small cut may go a long way such that what may seem like a small puncture may signify grave damage. Chemicals from the machine can easily be transmitted directly into the bloodstream. This can result in a bacterial infection.

While a pressure washer is effective when it comes to cleaning various parts of your home, you should be careful when using it. It is crucial to go through the safety manual before putting the machine to use.

Here are a few things regarding what may go wrong when using your pressure washer:

When running your pressure washer, water from the nozzle is emitted at a high velocity. Technically, it is anticipated that an object may be dislodged from the surface of the area you are cleaning. Usually, these objects can be dangerous for you.

  • Aimed at you: In cases where the pressure washer is aimed directly, the device can break up the surface of your driveway. Here, you may realize that the appliance has created innumerable cracks as well as voids on that surface.
  • Electric shock: If you fail to follow security instructions, then you might get an electric shock with electric pressure washers.
  • CO2 Poisoning: The small engine of the pressure washer is powered by gasoline. It can be precarious if operated in an enclosed space. This will lead to CO2 poisoning.
  • Changing the nozzle: Attempting to change the nozzle of the pressure washer with your engine running may be disastrous too. This can damage the surface you are trying to clean. When water seeps into the wood, it can affect the quality of the painting.
  • Infection: Over the years of people using pressure washers in their homes, there have been several reported cases where owners have had minor injuries that led to infection. The infections turned into disability. Remember not to neglect wounds caused by your pressure washer. Other than that, taking additional precautionary measures will be instrumental in cutting the risk factors of this equipment.

Leading Pressure Washer Safety Tips

As you have read above, pressure washers are powerful devices. They can clean a large area efficiently within a short period; nevertheless, there are some risks associated with the use of these powerful machines. Annually, a considerable number of people usually sustain some injuries from pressure washers. Fortunately, the injuries caused by the pressure washers can be prevented easily. After purchasing a pressure washer, people should go ahead and read the manual since it contains some safety tips.

Safety Tips to Consider When Using a Pressure Washer

1. Make sure the pressure washer is pointed away from your body

A pressure washer can cause some fatal injuries whenever it is mishandled; as a result, the pressure washer should not be aimed towards other people. When using a pressure washer, ensure that your fingers are kept away from the nozzle. Pressure washers should also be kept away from the reach of children. When using the pressure washer, make sure that it is pointed towards the area being cleaned before you pull the trigger. For pressure washers with high-pressured nozzles, they should not be aimed towards glass windows since they can easily break.

2. Always read the pressure washer manual

After purchasing a pressure washer, people should go ahead and read the user manual since it also contains some useful safety tips. There are numerous pressure washer models in the market, and each one of them has different features. Some of these features include water temperature requirements. Also, the user manual contains details about the amount of pressure exerted by the specific pressure washer.

Always read all the pages of the pressure washer manual since it contains some essential information that will allow you to use the gadget safely. The user manual also includes some guidelines on how the pressure washer should be assembled and disassembled. After gaining access to such information, people can quickly reduce instances of possible injuries.

3. Carry Out a Test Run

Before you start using the pressure washer, always carry out a test run. During the test run, use the widest angle of the nozzle; make sure there is a 2 feet clearance from the cleaning surface. Adjust the size of the nozzle progressively. After the test run, you will be in a better position to determine the best nozzle to use when cleaning different surfaces. When operating the pressure washer, hold the wand with both hands. With time, you will gain enough confidence to operate the pressure washer with one hand.

4. Always Wear Protective Gear

Most of the injuries caused by the pressure washers can be prevented by wearing protective gear. The protective equipment that you should wear when operating a pressure washer includes:

  • Boots- always wear enclosed boots since they will protect your feet. Steel-toe boots are preferable, especially when cleaning using high-pressured water.
  • Gloves– the hands are at a high risk of being injured when using a pressure washer. Protect the hands by wearing gloves. The gloves will also help to improve your grip.
  • Long Pants– when operating a pressure washer, some dirt may blast off from the surface and cut your skin. People should wear long pants to avoid incurring any damage that may result from the dirt and water splashing off from the surface.
  • Safety Glasses– the safety glasses are meant to protect the eyes. Shatterproof sunglasses can also be used since they will ensure that foreign objects do not get into the eyes.
  • Hearing Protection– the gas-fueled pressure washers usually produce a lot of noise, and that is why people should use hearing protection. Such pressure washers produce a lot of noise since the engine is not enclosed. The loud sound generated by the pressure washers may affect your hearing capabilities. 

5. Consider all the hazards associated with your working space

Ensure that you are conversant with your surroundings before you turn on the pressure washer. The slippery areas may pose some risks. If you are using the pressure washer along the streets, consider factors such as the traffic around that region. Move all the obstacles that may be present in the working space. When using the pressure washer, ensure that you have considered your well-being. If you feel nauseated, do not use a pressure washer. Also, stay away from the open windows. Avoid using the pressure washer during the periods when there are heavy rains.

6. Do Not Operate a Pressure Washer When Using a Ladder

When using a pressure washer, make sure that you are stable. When using a ladder, you may lack stability, and you may end up incurring some physical injuries. If you want to clean a surface that is high above the ground, make use of an extension wand since it is safer as compared to using a ladder.

7. Use a Safety Latch

The washer gun on the pressure washer has a safety latch, and it should be used when you are not spraying. The safety latch ensures that you cannot turn on the pressure washer accidentally. Safety latches are in the form of a lever, and they can be moved horizontally when ensuring that the gun trigger is in place. When putting down the washer gun, make sure that you have moved the safety latch.

8. Before Disassembling the Pressure Washer Get Rid of the Excess Pressure

Turn off the pressure washer after using it. Squeeze the trigger so that you can release the excess pressure since it may cause some physical injuries. The components that should not be removed include the hose, nozzle, and spray gun. The mentioned components should be removed after all the pressure has been released.

If you fail to release the tension, it will be released directly onto your hand. The pressure washer should be allowed to cool down first after being used. When you utilize the safety measures that have been outlined in the user manual, you will realize that the pressure washer is very reliable. If you sustain some injuries when using a pressure washer, carry out first aid and seek medical attention from a qualified medical practitioner. The first aid will help to ease the bleeding in the affected area.

9. Pressure Washers Should Not Be Operated In Enclosed Spaces

There are different types of pressure washers. Some pressure washers usually run using electricity. The gas-fueled pressure washers should not be operated in an enclosed region since it typically emits some carbon monoxide, which is harmful to your health. Emissions may cause dizziness, nausea, and headaches. Pressure washers should be used in a well-ventilated region. Only electric pressure washers should be used in enclosed areas. The gas-powered pressure washers should only be used in outdoor spaces.

10. Select The Right Nozzle

The spray tip nozzles are quite dangerous. Always adjust the nozzles accordingly, depending on the amount of pressure you need to clean a particular surface. Always start with the nozzle that has the largest degree spray and adjust it accordingly.

11. Avoid Electric Shock

Water usually conducts electricity. Never spray water towards an electrical outlet. Ensure that you have checked the electrical cords first before using the pressure washer. Always exercise extra caution when using an electric pressure washer. 

12. Protect Your Equipment

Pressure washers should be stored in a clean area that is well ventilated. The storage area should also be dry since moisture will affect the working conditions of the pressure washer. If you want to store the pressure washer in the basement, make sure that you have siphoned all the gasoline from the engine. Protect your pump accordingly of you are going to store the pressure washer for a prolonged period. 

A Brief Look Into Pressure Washer Injury Assessment

If you are using a pressure washer that can produce more than 100 PSI, there is a potential for serious physical injuries. After being injured while using a pressure washer, you should seek immediate medical attention before the condition worsens. The injuries may include muscle function, wounds, and blood flow. The obstacles in the surrounding should be removed immediately. In case the affected area is bleeding, put pressure on the wound first. The affected part should also be cleaned gently using clean water and a disinfectant.  Dry the wound before applying a bandage. A clean cloth should also be used to cover the injury.

6 Dangers Of Pressure Washers: A Safety Guide 2

If you have been injured while using a high-pressure spray, you should seek the services of a professional medical practitioner fast. Pressure washers may inflict some wounds that cannot be easily noticed. In case of internal injuries, consult a doctor, and they will carry out an assessment to determine the affected areas. If you have internal injuries, the doctor will prescribe some medicine. Some of the treatment options that may be administered include antibiotics, a tetanus shot, and they may also refer you to a specialist.

Professional vs. DIY Pressure Washing- Which One Should You Go For?

When hiring employees to do some cleaning, make sure that they are well equipped to handle the pressure washers. You can also handle some tasks by yourself; however, it is good to hire a professional. There will be a comparison between DIY and professional washing.

If you decide to handle the cleaning tasks by yourself, you will have to put in more effort. Also, when handling a pressure washer, you will realize the work is sweaty and time-consuming. DIY jobs require you to carry out some extensive research and you should also take time to learn more about how to use pressure washers. When you procure the services of a pressure washing company, the employees will handle the tasks assigned to them diligently. Also, they will handle all their duties diligently.

DIY vs. Professional Pressure Washing: Safety

Pressure washers are quite dangerous especially if you do not know how to handle them. If you have never used the machine, you may end up hurting yourself accidentally. By pointing the pressure washer in the wrong way, you may also end up causing some damage to your property. A pressure washing company that has an impressive portfolio will guarantee quality work. Also, the employees in such companies also interact with pressure washers throughout the week and that means that they can handle the gadgets professionally.

DIY vs. Professional Pressure Washing: Efficiency

There are some companies that usually rent out pressure washers. Such companies ensure that the pressure washers do not have a heating element. Also, their pressure washers run on low pressure; that means even if a person has never used a pressure washer before, they can use it effectively. The main issue is that such a pressure washer cannot be as effective as compared to the professional models. Pressure washing companies also use quality cleaning agents.

Tips

Manufacturers usually issue a safety manual. By adhering to the instructions that have been outlined in their profiles, you will be evading the chances of incurring any injuries when using the pressure washer. The user manual also allows you to operate the pressure washer efficiently. Pressure washers are powered by gas engines or electric motors. They run a pump, which pressurizes water from the user’s garden hose then forces it out via a spray wand. The mechanism of operating is found on the pressure used to release cleaning water. Both models need a steady yet uninterrupted water supply, usually in gallons.

For this reason, pressure washers can be risky to use. That is why users must arm themselves with safety tips. That way, they can evade accidental angles when operating these machines.

6 Dangers Of Pressure Washers: A Safety Guide 3

Additional Information

Consumers have always raised complaints about pressure washers without a zero degree nozzle. Accidents caused several health issues such as lacerations as well as punctures. For that reason, people have shown concern based on the fact that this powerful machine has been designed to focus its force on one point. To address this matter, manufacturers have pointed to the fact that consumers need to be well versed with all models of pressure washers that have a spray tip. If you are still wondering whether pressure washers are precarious or not, then the answer is yes- this is true if you fail to take precautions.

Take-Home

Pressure washing is an excellent cleaning method for various surfaces. But, it may also destroy the same surfaces. Even pressure is needed when using this machine. If you use uneven pressure, which may be high for the surface, damage can occur. Paint may also be removed from your surfaces, leaving the wood damaged. If you use high pressure, the pressure washer may cut a hole into your home.

There is also a high chance of water penetrating the walls of your home. This may cause damage to the surfaces. As outlined in this educative blog post, all is not lost. It is highly recommended that homeowners hire professional service providers to handle the cleaning. That way, the impending risks will be minimized. There is also another alternative to consider. You can venture into soft washing- here, you will be cleaning the exterior of your home without exposing yourself to the risks mentioned above. Additionally, the cleaning method uses low pressure coupled with specialized solutions and water. It is one of the most viable ways of removing mildew and bacteria from surfaces such as roves and home exteriors.