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Electric Pressure Washer Troubleshooting: What the Pros Say

Electric pressure washers could stop working or exhibit low water pressure due to various power and water delivery network issues. Hence, you may need to troubleshoot the pressure washer by examining the major components, such as the power and water delivery system of the pressure washer, that could be at fault, hence causing the pressure washer to malfunction.

Electric pressure washer troubleshooting.
To troubleshoot your electric pressure washer, you must first ensure that the electric voltage is adequate, the GFCI switch is working, there is no tripped circuit breaker, and the chords are correctly connected and not damaged. You can reset your electric pressure washer by turning it off and removing any residual air from the pump before turning it back on. Additionally, ensure that the hoses are not clogged or leaking and that no kinks or twists are present in the hose.

To learn in detail about all the necessary troubleshooting steps, make sure you read the following sections.

Why Did My Pressure Washer Suddenly Stop?

If you are using your electric power washer and it suddenly stops working, it could be because your circuit breaker tripped or a fuse blew off. In that case, make the circuit breaker rest for a while, for 10 mins, and then try restarting it.

If the breaker didn’t trip, a few other issues could have also resulted in the issue.

1. GFCI Switch:

The first thing to check if your pressure washer isn’t working is if it is receiving sufficient power. You must make sure that the cord is connected to a functional outlet. Check if the GFCI has or has not tripped on the electrical outlet.

You should reset the GFCI for electric power to reach the pressure washer. GFCI might be present near the end of the power plug or built inside the cord. The GFCI has a reset button that helps the pressure washer start again. 

2. Fuse:

If your pressure washer still does not start, and the GFCI seems tripped, the fuse is next to check. You can blow a fuse depending on how many appliances are running on the circuit. In this case, it is necessary to replace the fuse for the washer to start working again.

If the fuse is fine, there might be an issue with the internal electrical circuit or any part that can easily be accessed by unscrewing the two halves of the pressure washer. Doing this is only recommended if the warranty is void.

Otherwise, contact your manufacturer to examine the actual issue within the circuitry. But if the fuse has been blown, you must replace it with a new one for the pressure washer to be operable. 

What Are Some Water Supply Issues that an Electric Pressure May Encounter?

It is also essential to ensure the machine receives an adequate water supply. Check if the water supply valve is turned On and the reservoir has enough water for the pressure washer to operate effectively. 

1. Kinks and Bends

The hose line might have kinks or breaks to slow down or stop the pressure washer. Unkink the hose and remove all twists and bends for the hose to function. Meanwhile, the garden hose connecting to the pressure washer must also be checked for bends. 

2. Leakage

If you notice any leaks from your pressure washer, this could cause a pressure drop at the nozzle outlet, depending on the extent of the leakage. Leakage may be caused due to loose or damaged connections, particularly at the pump and exit nozzle. You should tighten all connections and replace any damaged O-rings if found. 

3. Clogging

If the pressure washer doesn’t spray water with the same force after checking the above steps, some debris deposits could clog the trigger gun. Check the nozzle for any debris and clean it thoroughly for the water to flow without any obstruction. If the debris doesn’t remove, use a different nozzle. 

What to Do If the Motor Still Won’t Start?

Suppose the motor will still not start after performing all the troubleshooting steps. In that case, getting the pressure washer fixed or exchanged under warranty is mandatory because there might be an internal circuit or mechanical issue with the motor that requires consulting the manufacturer.

What Is the Most Common Problem with Pressure Washers?

The most common problems that arise while using pressure washers are:

Water Pressure Problems

Water pressure problems frequently occur with most pressure washers. The majority of them can also be fixed without any professional intervention. Some of these problems are discussed as follows:

1. Low Pressure

This problem arises due to insufficient inlet pressure, clogging of the channel, or usage of the wrong nozzle. These problems can easily be tackled by unwinding the twists and turn in the hose, removing the dirt and debris stuck at the inlet filters, and using the correct nozzle.

2. No Pressure

If the pressure washer is not ejecting water entirely, there might be an issue with the nozzle or the pump itself. The nozzle may be clogged with dirt or debris. In that case, remove the nozzle and clean it with a thin metal wire to remove all clogged material.

There could also be damage to the unloader valve, which causes no pressure. In that case, check for any damaged screws or springs of the unloader valve. If not calibrated properly, the unloader valve can cause too little or too high flow at the nozzle outlet.

In some cases, the pump of your pressure washer can be the source of the problem. Ensure your pump has been properly lubricated and its seals/O-rings aren’t compromised.

If your device uses a wobble plate or axial pump, consider replacing the entire pump, as it is a factory-assembled unit that cannot be disassembled by yourself.

3. Leakage

Leaking water is a genuine problem that many pressure washer users face. The leakage may occur at the spray wand, the garden hose connection, or the pump.

Ensure that the hose connectors at these junctions are tightened. The O-rings responsible for the hose connection may also be broken or leaking. In that case, it is time to replace them with new ones.

4. Pressure Fluctuations

Pressure fluctuations in the water jet spray may be due to faulty unloader valve seals, debris in the unloader, or improper installation of the unloader valve. The waste must be removed, and the defective unloader valve seals must be replaced with new ones.

In case of an installation issue, reinstall the unloader valve at the bottom of the pump housing.

5. Strange Noises Upon Turning the Washer On

If you hear weird gurgling noises upon firing the pressure washer, it is probably due to residual water inside the pump since last season. It is necessary to remove all water before the washer is stored. If the water is not removed entirely, winters will cause the water to freeze inside, thus damaging the pump.

An antifreeze must also be added in colder areas to prevent any water from freezing inside the pump. Once water freezes in the pump, it can only be replaced and not repaired.

6. Soap Won’t Dispense

Pressure washers have a built-in feature to add detergent and soap to the spraying water jet. This is a convenient feature as it greatly aids cleaning by saving time spent covering the car or patio up with soap and detergent first and also easily removes stains at the first few blasts of water.

However, as the soap/detergent is relatively thick, it is difficult for the soap to reach the nozzle from the reservoir due to too much back pressure. 

Strong nozzles often face this issue as they create significant amounts of back pressure that prevents the delivery of liquid soap. The easiest solution to this problem is to remove or use the specialized soap nozzle. 

How Do I Reset My Electric Pressure Washer?

If your electric pressure washer is not working correctly, resetting it can help make the pressure washer work again in most situations. Resetting a pressure washer involves some basic simple steps. 

  • Step 1. Turn off: Turn the Pressure washer OFF.
  • Step 2. Remove the cord: Remove the cord from the electric outlet or switch.
  • Step 3. Remove water in the pump: Remove residual water inside the pump by pressing the trigger until no water comes out. 
  • Step 4. Check the power cord: Check the power cord for any damages, short circuit breaks in the insulation, or faulty wiring. 
  • Step 5. Check the hose: Check the hose and connections for leaks or kinks.
  • Step 6. Turn it on: Plug in the pressure washer and turn the switch ON. 

If the pressure washer still does not work upon resetting, you must check individual components thoroughly or consult a professional for a complete inspection. 

Is there a Fuse in an Electric Pressure Washers?

Every pressure washer comes with an inbuilt fuse inside the plug. The fuse saves the appliance during a power or voltage imbalance. If your pressure washer is not working, it is recommended to check the fuse. The fuse may be blown, and in that case, it needs replacement. 

If you smell something burning from within the cord or the plug, you should seek professional help.

What would cause an Electric Pressure Washer to not start?

If your electric pressure washer does not start, check the following things:

  • Turn off: Make sure the on/ off switch is in the ON position.
  • Check the plug: Make sure the power cord is plugged in accurately.
  • Check the cord: Please ensure the extension cord works correctly; it is not damaged, broken, or too long. The ideal length of the extension cord must be a 25-foot 16-gauge cord or a 50-foot 14-gauge cord.
  • Check the mains: Perhaps the electrical outlet does not supply enough power, or there is a drop in the total voltage output, in which case, try a different outlet. Ensure the pressure washer receives 240V AC mains or as prescribed in the owner’s manual.

Do You Turn the Water On Before Starting the Pressure Washer?

Turning the water supply on is generally advised before turning the pressure washer ON. While setting up a pressure washer for use, it is essential to follow these steps to ensure the proper working of the pressure washer:

  • Cleaning the Supply Hose: Clean the supply hose by running water through it.
  • Connecting the Supply Hose: Connect the supply house with the pressure washer pump’s outlet
  • Ensuring Connection of the Supply Hose: This high-pressure hose is build to withstand considerable water pressure. Connect the high-pressure hose to the pump’s outlet in front of the pressure washer or beside it. Check if you hear a slight click to ensure the hose fits correctly.
  • Connecting Spray Gun: Connect the spray gun to the other end of the high-pressure hose. The spray gun generates a jet of spraying water for effective cleaning.
  • Attaching Nozzle: Attach a nozzle to the spray gun. The nozzle is responsible for raising the velocity of the incoming flow from the pump.
  • Removing Air from The Pressure Washer: Turn the water tap on to let the water flow into the pump. This is done to ensure that no residual air bubbles are present inside the pressure washer. Press the spray gun to make sure all air trapped inside is removed. Remember that this step must be done while the pressure washer is OFF. 

Why Does My Pressure Washing Keep Tripping?

The reason why your pressure washer keeps tripping is that the circuit breaker might have tripped. There are many possibilities for an electric pressure washer to trip a breaker;

  • Moisture Buildup: Moisture could have affected the winding insulation causing partial short circuits between windings and to ground.
  • Mineral Deposits: The pump side could have mineral deposits from hard water, causing excessive load on the motor.
  • Rotten Bearings: The bearings in the motor and pump could be worn out due to moisture or rotten seals.
  • Tripped Circuit Breaker: The circuit breaker might have tripped several times and needs time to reset.
  • Voltage Fluctuation: The voltage could fluctuate due to bad connection(s).

How Do You Start A Pressure Washer That Has Been Sitting?

Your pressure washer may sit for a while because of the winter season or a long vacation. To start using a pressure washer that has been sitting, here are a few guidelines to follow:

Step 1. Check the Electric Supply:

Ensure all the electrical outlets are working correctly and the voltage is sufficient. There are no blown fuses, and the main chord isn’t damaged either.

Step 2. Connecting Hoses:

Connect the garden hose and the high-pressure hose to the inlets.

Step 3. Remove Residual Air:

Connect the spray gun with the nozzle and press the trigger to remove any trapped air inside.

Step 4. Let the Water Flow in the Pump:

Turn the water supply on and wait for the pump to be filled with water before turning the pump on.

Step 5. Try the Pressure Washer:

Finally, try the pressure washer if all works ok.

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  1. Mitchell Freeman says:

    Can I use an electric pressure washer indoors?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Using an electric pressure washer indoors is not recommended due to safety concerns. The noise and fumes can be hazardous, and water damage is a possibility. It’s best to use outdoors in a well-ventilated area.

  2. Raymond Chapman says:

    Thanks for outlining the common problems and solutions with pressure washers.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Raymond. I’m glad you found the information on common pressure washer problems and solutions helpful!

  3. Rebecca Moreno says:

    How often should I lubricate the pump of the pressure washer?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      It is recommended to lubricate the pump of a pressure washer after every 50 hours of use to ensure optimal performance and prevent any malfunctions.

  4. Donald Andrews says:

    Great troubleshooting tips, very helpful!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Donald! I’m glad you found the troubleshooting tips helpful. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any more questions or need further assistance.

  5. Jeanette Gutierrez says:

    What should I do if I notice a drop in water pressure while using the pressure washer?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      If you notice a drop in water pressure while using your pressure washer, troubleshoot the components. Check for kinks, leaks, or clogs in the hoses before contacting the manufacturer if needed.

  6. Liam Hall says:

    Is it normal for the pressure washer to make a loud noise while operating?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, it is normal for a pressure washer to make a loud noise while operating due to the motor and pump working. If the noise seems excessive, check for any issues in the motor or pump components.

  7. Kyle Harvey says:

    I appreciate the detailed troubleshooting steps provided in the article.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Kyle. I’m glad you found the troubleshooting steps helpful! Let me know if you need any further assistance.

  8. Erik Clark says:

    I never knew about the importance of checking the power cord, thanks for the info.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Glad you found the information helpful, Erik! Remember to check all components if issues persist. Happy pressure washing!

  9. Benjamin Wallace says:

    How can I ensure proper ventilation while using an electric pressure washer indoors?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      To ensure proper ventilation while using an electric pressure washer indoors, make sure there are windows or doors open to allow fresh air in. Safety first!

  10. Mathew Kuhn says:

    Are there any recommended maintenance procedures for electric pressure washers?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Ensure proper power supply, no circuit trips, and hose checks for an electric pressure washer’s recommended maintenance. Troubleshoot by verifying the components for any faults causing low pressure.

  11. Albert Day says:

    Thank you for explaining how to reset an electric pressure washer step by step.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your positive feedback, Albert! I’m glad the step-by-step guide on resetting your electric pressure washer was helpful to you. Let me know if you have any more questions.

  12. Dave Silva says:

    What are the best safety practices to follow while using an electric pressure washer?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      To ensure safety when using an electric pressure washer, always check the power source, water supply, and connections for any issues before operating. Happy cleaning, Dave!

  13. Carmen Simpson says:

    Should I be concerned about water leaks from my pressure washer?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Carmen, you should be concerned about water leaks from your pressure washer as it can lead to low pressure and malfunction. Ensure hoses are not leaking or clogged.

  14. Kenneth Rodriquez says:

    How can I store my pressure washer properly to prevent any damage?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      To store your pressure washer properly, ensure it’s clean, dry, and stored in a cool, dry place to prevent any damage. Remove any residual water to avoid freezing and potential damage.

  15. Ross Harper says:

    I appreciate the detailed explanation on how to address low water pressure issues.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Ross Harper! I’m glad you found the explanation helpful. If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out.

  16. Cherly Price says:

    I never knew about the importance of checking the power cord, thanks for the info.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Glad you found the information helpful, Cheryl! Always best to start with the basics when troubleshooting. Good luck with your pressure washer maintenance!

  17. Joe Hansen says:

    What type of detergent is recommended for use in pressure washers?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      For pressure washer use, a detergent that is specifically designed for pressure washers is recommended to ensure optimal performance and prevent damage to the machine.

  18. Hector Lambert says:

    Great troubleshooting tips, very helpful!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Hector! I’m glad you found the troubleshooting tips helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions or need further assistance.

  19. Zack Hanson says:

    How can I prevent damage to my pressure washer during the winter season?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Ensure to remove any residual water from the pump to prevent freezing during winter. Store it in a warm and dry place, properly covering it to avoid any damage.

  20. Mason Arnold says:

    Is it safe to troubleshoot the pressure washer on my own?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, you can troubleshoot your pressure washer on your own by checking the power supply, GFCI switch, and water connections. Follow the steps provided in the blog post for a safe troubleshooting process.