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Can you lay a pressure washer on its back? With helpful tips

Pressure washers are used for cleaning different types of surfaces. But when they are not in use, and we have to store them in our houses. When such a situation arrives, people ask me if they can lay their pressure washer on its back.

Can you lay a pressure washer on its back:

In general, I recommended keeping your pressure washer in an upright position. Laying the pressure washer on its back can cause damage to your pressure washer. If you have a gas pressure washer, oil and gas can find their way to various harmful locations. For all pressure washer models, the inner and outer tubs can get damaged and lead to the loss of support pads. Or damage the suspension of your pressure washer. This also applies for short periods.

This blog article will give you a lot of information on what to do when your pressure washer tips. The methods shown in this article are tested and will help to solve your problem. I will also look into the risk of your pressure washer or parts exploding.

What if the Pressure Washer Tips Over? Some helpful tips

There are several reasons why a pressure washer can tip over. It can be during shipping when it is new. Or during usage, transport to another location, or when storing it. One of the signs that something is not ok is when you pull the cord to start it. You notice that the coil only pulls for a short distance, and then you are unable to pull it any further. This sign is a clear indication that your pressure washer has tipped over. 

When the pressure washer gets tipped over, the oil in the engine gets into the cylinder areas, and this won’t allow your pressure washer to start.  It can be a serious situation if you don’t handle your pressure washer carefully, and to do that, you need to be informed so that you can properly follow the steps required to take out the oil from the cylinder and get your pressure washer working. 

If you have diagnosed that your pressure washer has tipped over, you need the following tools to troubleshoot the problem. The required tools are a trap or cardboard, a 0.39 inch (10 mm) wrench, a ratchet, sparkplug, cloth for wiping the oil, a container to store excess oil,  carburetor cleaner, and extra oil.

When your gas pressure washer has tipped over, there are seven steps you need to follow:

  • Step 1: Locate and remove the air filter.
  • Step 2: Disassemble it and inspect for oil stains on the air filter. If the filter has a lot of oil stains, replace it.
  • Step 3: Remove the carburetor drain plug and clean the carburetor bowl.
  • Step 4: After cleaning the bowl, remove the spark plug. Check and clean when needed.
  • Step 5: Check the engine oil. Add when needed.
  • Step 6: Connect the pressure washer with a water source. Start the engine and check if it is working correctly. You might notice some smoke coming out. This is perfectly fine and should stop within two minutes.
  • Step 7: Reinstall the air filter assembly.

Let’s look at the steps in more detail:

● Step 1:  Locate and Remove the Air Filter

Locate the air filter of your pressure washer, and remove the cover. Get the air filter out.

● Step 2:  Disassemble the Air Filter Assembly and Inspect for Oil stains on the Filter

You will notice that the air filter assembly has two parts, a foam filter, and a pleated filter. Some machines use a paper filter instead of a foam one.

Separate them and inspect if the foam filter has oil on it. There shouldn’t be an excessive oil film on the foam. A little bit of oil is normal. Once done with the foam filter, inspect the pleated filter for any oil. There shouldn’t be any oil on the pleated filter. Inspect both the parts carefully and. Foam air filters can be cleaned, but this is hard with a lot of oil on them. When needed, replace them with a new filter.

Paper air filters can not be cleaned. They always have to be replaced.

● Step 3: Remove the Carburetor Drain Plug, and Clean the Carburetor Bowl

Remove the drain plug from the carburetor bowl with a wrench. Drain out any gas and oil present in the carburetor bowl into a container. Now it’s time to allow gas into the bowl so that it can be flushed. For this, you need to open the gas lever. Once you are done flushing the bowl, turn off the gas lever and reattach the carburetor drain plug.

● Step 4: Remove the Spark Plug and Remove the Oil by Pulling the Engine Recoil Rope

Once done with the carburetor, it’s time to check the spark plug. Remove the spark plug cap and remove the spark plug. Cover the port of the spark plug with a cloth and pull the engine recoil rope 2-3 times. You may notice some oil coming out of the port. If this is the case, continue pulling the rope 15-20 times as fast as possible to remove any remaining oil. Be aware that as you pull the engine recoil rope, a stream of oil may come out of the port of the spark plug. Continue pulling the rope until there’s no oil left.

Check the tip of the spark plug for any oil or residue. Clean the tip with carburetor cleaner and reinstall the spark plug. Attach the spark plug cap.

● Step 5: Check the Engine Oil and Make Sure it is Full

Now it’s time to work on the engine. First, check the level of oil in the engine. Ensure that it is full. The level of oil in the engine can be checked by using the dipstick. Add oil to the correct level. 

● Step 6:  Connect the Pressure Washer with Water Source, Start the Engine and Check its Performance

Connect the pressure washer with a water source. Turn the water on, pull the recoil rope and start the engine. This is still without the air filter.

If the engine starts or fires, you need to move the choke to the off position. If the engine doesn’t start, not even after 2-3 pulls, move the choke the off position, and pull the recoil rope until the engine starts.  Once the engine starts, allow it to run for a minute. If smoke comes from the engine, there is nothing to worry about. It is normal and should stop after 1-2 minutes.  

● Step 7: Reinstall the Air Filter and Check if the engine starts correctly

Turn the engine off and clean the air filter base. Reassemble the air filter, and put it back in its place. Place the cover on the air filter. Now start the engine again. It should now run correctly.

Suppose your pressure washer does not start or does not run well after you’ve reinstalled the air filter. It is an indication that your air filter needs to be replaced.

Can a pressure washer explode? What the pros say

Pressure washers exploding is not something that happens often. There are two main reasons why a pressure washer can explode. The first is an exploding pressure washer pump. The second is that a malfunctioning gas pressure washer can explode.

● Pressure washer exploding pump

The pump of the pressure washer can explode due to trapped air inside the pump. This process of air bubbles in the pressure washer pump and is also called cavitation. When they are in the pressure washer pump, it can lead to it exploding in some instances.

This is why you need to avoid cavitation in the pump of your pressure washer. Cavitation can occur when not enough water reaches the pressure washer pump. Check the pump inlet fittings for any leaks, clean the inlet filters. Increase the hose and fitting sizes if needed. If you use a suction hose, check it regularly.

Ensure that enough water is reaching the pump when you are using your machine. The faucet should be fully open. Minimize the hose bends. And use the shortest hose possible. These measures increase the water pressure and amount of water reaching the pump and minimize the cavitation risk.

● Gas pressure washer exploding

Gas pressure washers contain flammable gas. When a part is malfunctioning, this fuel can ignite by a spark from the electrical wiring or any other reason. The most dangerous situation is with gas fumes. This can result in part of the machine burning and in extremely rare cases, even an explosion. The chance of a real explosion, like in the movies, is really slim.

Always take care when working with gas. When it is hot, gas can evaporate quickly. When this happens in a closed environment, it is the most dangerous situation. When working with gas engines, ensure that the location is adequately ventilated.

As with any gas engine, maintenance is important to keep your pressure washer in good condition. Check the condition of fuel lines and the carburetor. Replace parts that are not in great shape. Rubber tubes or gaskets can crack due to wear and tear.