Pressure washers are mostly used for outdoor cleaning and they produce a pressurized jet of water which makes it easy to wash away the unwanted dirt and debris. But since the water that comes out of the nozzle of the pressure washer is highly pressurized it is bound to deflect and get splashed on the pressure washer at some point. So the question that comes to mind is can a pressure washer handle getting wet without getting damaged?
The short answer is that while most pressure washers are designed to handle an accidental splash of water here and there you can’t expose a pressure washer to excess water for long periods of time. Most high-quality industrial pressure washers usually have an IP rating and the higher the IP rating of the pressure washer the more water-resistant it is which means you can safely use it in wet conditions.
You might be tempted to use your pressure washer in the rain because it is easier to wash away the surface since the dirt and debris are already loose. Not to mention rainwater makes it easier to wash away the detergent without requiring a lot of water. But there is always a risk of causing damage to the pressure washing unit if water gets inside it or even electrocution in case of an electric pressure washer. Therefore in this article, we will explain in detail whether it is safe to get a pressure washer wet or not so keep reading.
Is it ok to get a pressure washer wet?
It is important to remember that some pressure washers are designed to handle more abuse as compared to others. This means while some pressure washers can get damaged by a big splash of water on the main unit other heavy-duty ones can handle being used in the rain. A good rule of thumb is to look for an IP rating on your pressure washer to decide whether it can handle wet conditions or not. But even if your lawnmower has an IP rating you should still avoid using it if the ground is too wet or if it is raining too heavily. While gas-powered pressure washers are a bit more water-resistant as compared to electric ones, they still have an engine and using it in the rain and can result in some issues.
But if the pressure washer in question is an electric one you should be extra careful when using it in wet conditions because there is always a risk of electrocution when handling electronic equipment in wet conditions. So if you intend to use a pressure washer outdoors in wet conditions it is best to get a gas-powered one because they are more durable and can stand wet conditions better than electric ones. The bottom line is that if you have a pressure washer with no IP rating mentioned on its user manual then it is best to use it in dry conditions. You might be able to get away with getting your pressure washer wet once or twice if it doesn’t have an IP rating but there is always a risk of water getting inside the protective casing and damaging the components.
Can a pressure washer be left outside in rain?
You might think that while a pressure washer is off it cannot get damaged by water or rain. But in reality, leaving a pressure washer unit outside in rain is going to cause corrosion and can even damage the appliance. That is why most pressure washers have a disclaimer that says “do not use the unit to clean itself” which means the pressure washer unit is not meant to be exposed to direct jets of water or large amounts of water such as during constantly heavy rainfall. So if you are done using your pressure washer and want to store it for more than a month don’t just leave it outside because chances are if the pressure washer unit is left out in the elements it won’t be able to work properly when you want to use it again.
For long term storage, you would want to remove all the gasoline from the unit if it is a gasoline washer and find a dry place to store it until further use. If you absolutely have to leave the pressure washer unit outside for a day or two it is best to invest in a pressure washer cover that is waterproof and sturdy enough to protect the unit.
How to safely use a pressure washer in wet conditions?
If you are using your pressure washer in wet conditions, the following precautions are going to allow you to keep both yourself and the pressure washer safe:
- When using an electric pressure washer on the wet ground make sure to avoid using an extension cord as much as possible.
- If you absolutely have to use an extension cord with the pressure washer take extra care not to submerge the extension cord connection in water as it can result in an electric shock.
- Make sure that the pressure washer unit is not placed in a puddle of water and to avoid this you can stand the pressure washer unit on a bench or stool to elevate it from the wet ground below and keep it as dry as possible.
Commercial Vs residential pressure washers: Which ones are more water-resistant?
When you are shopping for pressure washers you will find two types of units; the commercial power washers and the residential ones. Both of them are made with different intended uses in mind and both of them have different levels of quality. But the most prominent difference is the water-resistance of both residential and commercial power washers.
Commercial pressure washers
Commercial pressure washers as the name suggests mean business. These are the highest quality and the most powerful power washing units available in the market and with great quality comes great waterproofing. Since these units are meant to be used outdoors and indoors for heavy-duty jobs and for long periods of time they are kept at a higher level of water resistance compared to their residential counterparts. They are made using high-quality enclosures that seal the vital components inside and prevent water from getting in thus making them the perfect choice for outdoor usage and water splashes. Most commercial pressure washers are gas-powered because electric powered washers are not as powerful as gas-powered ones, therefore, you don’t have to worry about the cord getting wet or short-circuiting the unit when used in wet conditions.
Of course, the downside of a commercial pressure washer is that they are very expensive and they can cost you several thousand dollars to purchase and the maintenance cost is also going to be high. Not to mention the exhaust gases they emit making them difficult to use indoors which can be considered as a downside of commercial pressure washers. But considering the safety, they provide against water damage and electrocution, the higher price is definitely justified. There are a few high powered electric power washers available that are meant for commercial usage which can be used indoors without worrying about exhaust gases building up.
Residential pressure washers
Residential pressure washers can be bought at a fraction of the price of commercial pressure washers and they are available in both electric-powered and gas-powered units. But the problem with these smaller and cheaper residential power washers is that they usually don’t have an IP rating and the ones that have an IP rating for water resistance, the rating is not very high. That is why they are not meant to be used in extremely wet conditions because there is a high probability of water damage if a residential pressure washer is exposed to a lot of moisture. Besides if the device is not meant to be used in wet conditions it means it is not water-resistant and it is common sense not to use it in such conditions.
Pressure washers make the cleaning process a lot faster and they are very effective in cleaning a wide range of surfaces. But when it comes to being used under wet conditions it is best to stick with heavy-duty pressure washers with decent water resistance rating rather than trying your luck with a residential unit. Although pressure washers are bound to get wet since water can deflect from a surface and splash onto the pressure washer unit but that is something they are designed to handle. When it comes to usage in heavy rainfall or extremely wet ground conditions a gasoline-powered wireless pressure washer is a much safer bet compared to an electric pressure washer since there isn’t a risk of electrocution. But if you are not sure about whether your pressure washer is designed for getting wet or not it is best to postpone outdoor cleaning until it is dry enough.