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How long do pressure washers last? With helpful tips

Pressure washers are perfect for cleaning many different surfaces and objects like your house, decks, sidings, driveways, and much more. Pressure washers can be a significant investment, so wanting to know if they are durable makes sense. I also often get the question if a pressure washer is worth the money.

How long do pressure washers last:

In general, most well know pressure washer companies guaranty their machine for at least 500 hours. Most persons use it for around 50 hours each year. That means that a well-maintained pressure washer should last at least 10 years. Of course, this will differ from brand to brand and from person to person.

This article will help you further information you with valuable information on the life of pressure washers. I will show you how you can extend the life of your pressure washer and pressure washer pump.

How long will a pressure washer pump last?

I general, a good, properly used pressure washer pump should last for 5 to 10 years. Some cheap pumps can last significantly shorter. To get the best from your pump, be careful with overheating, cavitation, and using it with the wrong unloader valve settings.

Different factors affect the life of a pump in a pressure washer. The most important one is the pump material.  Each pump manufacturer has its own manufacturing standards that usually correspond to the price. Better materials and lower manufacturing tolerances will enhance the life of the pressure washer pump.

Some of the lower-quality pumps can last for up to 100 hours. If you use your pressure washer for 50 hours per year, this means it will last two years. If you use your machine less, this number will increase. The actual life span of the pump greatly depends on how you use and maintain it. The numbers are also indications, and it is more than possible that a cheap pump lasts much longer.

Another important factor that affects the life of a pressure washer pump is the pressure. Pressure washers that constantly need to deliver the highest pressures will last shorter. This is similar to your car. If you use your car with max throttle, it will have engine problems quicker.

What causes damage to the pressure washer pump

Knowing what causes damage to a pressure washer pump help mitigating them, and makes your pump last longer. The three most common factors that influence the pump are:

  1. Overheating of the Pump
  2. Cavitation
  3. Incorrect settings of the unloader valve.

● Overheating of the Pump

The pump of the pressure washer is designed to create high-pressure water. When the pump runs and the trigger is pulled, this water is released to the nozzle. For most gas pressure washers and some electric pressure washers, the pump is always running. Also, when you do not pull the trigger.

When you release the trigger, the pump goes into bypass mode. The water gets redirected into a continuous circular path. Since the water can’t escape the machine and the pump is in bypass mode, the pump and water will get hotter and hotter. This can eventually damage the pump.

Also, using the pump for long periods will slowly hear it up and increase wear and tear.

● Cavitation

Cavitation occurs when air bubbles are formed in the water in the pump. The main cause of cavitation is not enough water in the pump. This can be a problem if the amount of water going to the pump is less than is required.  This can be due to a garden hose with a small diameter or just a low amount of water from your faucet.

Dirty inlet filters are also a common reason for cavitation. I recommend checking and cleaning your inlet filter regularly. Another reason, but less common, is if the inlet fittings allow the air to get into the system.

You might be wondering how you can identify a pump with cavitation? The answer is straightforward. The pump of your pressure washers gets nosier when cavitation occurs. Suppose you hear a shuttering or banging noise from the pump. It is a clear sign that cavitation is happening in your pump.

● Incorrect settings of the unloader valve

The incorrect settings of the unloader valve can also affect the life of the pump of your pressure washer. When you release the trigger, a pressure spike will occur. This happens when the water will not go out of the nozzle and start a sort of loop.

This spike should not exceed 10% of the normal output pressure. When the unloader valve is not set up correctly, this pressure spike can be much larger. This will increase the wear and tear of the pump. And can even make it explode.

How can I make my pressure washer last longer?

The two most essential components to make a pressure washer last longer are the engine and the pump. Both need regular maintenance. In the case of an electric pressure washer, this is mainly the pump. Avoid overheating of the pump by turning the machine off when not in use. Ensure proper water supply to the pump, and keep a check on the unloader valve.

There are some simple steps that you can follow to make your pressure washer pump last longer:

  • Learn how to diagnose a pump failure: Get familiar with the operations of the different components of your pressure washer. Pay detailed attention to the pump. Learn to diagnose a faulty pump when you see one.
  • Turn off when not in use: Turn the pressure washer off when it is not in use. This will help you avoid the circular motion of the water in the pump that can lead to overheating.
  • Check the water supply: Ensure that there is a proper water supply to the pressure washer.
  • Unloader Valve: The function of the unloader valve is to control water. Ensure that it is set up correctly.
  • Flush the pressure washer: To counter any mineral buildup in the pump, regularly flush the pressure washer.

● Flush your pressure washer

To counter any mineral buildup, I recommend flushing your pressure washer when you plan not to use it for some time. If your area has water with many minerals, it is a good idea to do it after every wash. Leaving the water in the pump can cause minerals buildup, which will eventually lead to corrosion or other pump damage. It can wear out the seals of your pump and damage the pistons. Getting a repair for these damages is a much bigger hassle than regularly flushing the pump.

Use the following steps to flush your pressure washer:

  • Step 1: Purchase a can of pump lube/antifreeze.
  • Step 2: Attach this can to your inlet port using the built-in hose.
  • Step 3: When you press the trigger, you will see white foam shooting out of the pressure hose port.
  • Step 4: The foam indicates that water is removed from the pump.
  • Step 5: The inside of the pump now contains a protective coating of lubricant/antifreeze.