How to set up an electric pressure washer in 7 steps

Approx Reading Time: 18 minutes

Pressure washers are not just for commercial use and electric pressure washers are especially popular for being used at homes. Electric pressure washers are small, easy to move around, require less maintenance, and they have the right amount of power to handle small cleaning tasks around the house. While electric pressure washers are not complicated to use setting up an electric pressure washer can be tricky. And if you have just bought your electric pressure washer setting it up for the first time might seem difficult at first. So how exactly do you set up an electric pressure washer?

Set up an electric pressure washer with these steps:

  1. Run water through the supply hose/garden hose and make sure it’s clean
  2. Connect the supply hose/garden hose with the inlet of pressure washer
  3. Connect the high-pressure hose with the electric pressure washer unit
  4. Connect the spray gun to the high-pressure hose
  5. Connect nozzle to the spray gun
  6. Add detergent to the detergent tank(optional)
  7. Turn the water tap on and circulate water through the pressure washer system
How to set up an electric pressure washer in 7 steps 1

As you would have probably noticed from the above-mentioned steps that setting up an electric pressure washer is not too difficult since you don’t have to check various fluids and other mechanical parts which are compulsory when setting up a gasoline-powered pressure washer unit. But simply knowing the steps for setting up an electric pressure washer isn’t enough because there are plenty of details you have to take care of during each step. And in this article, we will let you know all the details for setting up an electric washer properly so keep reading.

Setting up an electric pressure washer:

Step 1. Clean up the garden hose aka the water supply hose

Your electric pressure washer needs clean clear water in order to run properly and produce the optimal amount of pressure. And the water is supplied to the pressure washer through the garden hose also called the water supply hose. That is why it is very important to make sure the garden hose is clean and doesn’t have any debris in it. It is not uncommon to find dust, debris and other small unwanted particles inside a garden hose that has been left outside or has not been used for a long time. So in order to clean the garden hose, all you have to do is:

  • Connect the hose to an outdoor tap using the connector attached to the end of the garden hose.

Note: If the tap you have doesn’t have threading at the end to connect the hose you can buy a tap attachment which has threading to perfectly fit the garden hose connector to the tap.

  • Turn the tap on and allow the water to run through the hose for at least a minute to make sure all the dirt and debris flows out of the hose.
  • Turn the water off: After a minute of rinsing the garden hose with water turn the water off and allow the hose to drain itself with the help of gravity.

Note: If you notice any leakages or blockage in the hose when the water is flowing through it you should either repair the garden hose or get a new hose.

Make sure to use the correct diameter garden hose with your electric pressure washer. You can refer to the user manual that came with your pressure washer to find out what diameter hose you should use. Using an incorrect diameter hose to supply water to the pressure washer can reduce the performance of the washer and can even reduce the lifetime of the pump. It is also recommended to use the correct length for the garden hose to supply water to your electric pressure washer as mentioned in the user manual of the machine.

Step 2. Connect the garden hose/supply hose to the inlet of the electric pressure washer

Now that you have made sure there is no debris or dirt inside the hose pipe it is time to connect the garden hose to the pressure washer. The other end of the hose is also going to have a similar connector with threading to allow you to easily connect the hose with the pressure washer unit. Here is how you can locate and connect the supply hose to the pressure washer machine:

  • Locate the water inlet: The first thing is you have to locate the water inlet before you can connect the supply hose to it. And in most modern electric pressure washers, the inlet is marked with a label saying “Inlet”. Or another way to identify the inlet of an electric pressure washer is that the inlet of an electric pressure washer is going to have a thin screen or filter to prevent particles from entering the pressure washer.
  • Connect the garden hose: Once you have identified the inlet of your electric pressure washer you can connect the garden hose to it. In most electric pressure washers you can simply screw the end of the hose to the water inlet. But some pressure washers might have a different type of mechanism to secure the garden hose to the inlet and you will have to pull the valve backward, put the hose in place and release the valve to make the hose fit onto the pressure washer inlet.

Note: Not all pressure washers are designed the same way and while some pressure washers have female threading on the inlet valve others might have male threading on the inlet. So in order to connect to them, you have to make sure the garden hose you are using has the correct type of threading to connect to the inlet.

Step 3. Connect the high-pressure hose with the pressure washer unit

With the water supply hose hooked up to the machine now, it is time to connect the high-pressure hose to the pressure washer unit. A high-pressure hose is a specially designed hose that is usually provided with the electric pressure washer and it can withstand highly pressurized water. These hoses are made from reinforced materials and you can’t just connect any regular hose to the high-pressure outlet of your pressure washer so make sure you have a designated high-pressure hose before you can start connecting it to the pressure washer. Once you have the high-pressure hose ready, here is how you are going to connect it with the pressure washer unit:

  • Connect the high-pressure hose: In order to connect the high-pressure hose to the pressure washer unit, you will first have to locate the outlet valve. In most domestic electric pressure washer units, the outlet valve will usually be located at the front and it should be simple to identify. But in some models, the outlet valve might be located beside the inlet valve where you connected the garden hose.
  • Secure the high-pressure hose: Place one end of the high-pressure hose on the outlet valve and pull the valve backward with the high-pressure hose positioned against it. Simply release the valve and the high-pressure hose will be secured against the outlet of your pressure washer. It is less likely for your electric pressure washer to have a threaded connector to connect the high-pressure hose to the machine because there is highly pressurized water coming out of the outlet and making a secure connection is very important to avoid leakage.
  • Click: Make sure you hear a slight click when you connect the high-pressure hose with the pressure washer which is a sign that the connection has been made properly and the high-pressure hose is secured to the outlet.

As we said earlier there is a lot of high-pressure water coming through the high-pressure hose so make sure there aren’t visible signs of damage on the hose. If you have just bought a brand new pressure washer the chances of the high-pressure hose being damaged are slim to none but if you are renting a pressure washer then there is a chance that the high-pressure hose might be worn out, so always be careful and inspect the hoses before connecting. If you have bought a brand new pressure washer and it didn’t come with a high-pressure hose you should get a hose that is rated for the psi rating of the pressure washer unit and fits the outlet perfectly.  

Step 4. Connect the spray gun to the high-pressure hose

The pressure washer hose itself can’t spray water and in order to produce a pressurized spray of water from your electric pressure washer, you have to connect a spray gun to the high-pressure hose. Connecting a spray gun to the high-pressure hose is a delicate process because you might also have to assemble the spray gun as well if your electric pressure washer is fresh out of the box. So without further ado here is how you connect the spray gun to the high-pressure hose:

  • Assemble the spray gun: First, you have to assemble the gun itself if it is not already assembled. The spray gun of your electric pressure washer is going to come in two parts out of the box the spray gun with the trigger and the long wand that connects to the front of the spray gun. In order to connect the wand to the spray gun simply place the back end of the wand onto the front end of the spray gun and gently press both of them together while turning the wand clockwise to make it fit onto the spray gun.

Note: Some electric pressure washers have a spray gun that works without the wand so in that case, you can skip this step.

  • Connect the hose: Place the free end of the high-pressure hose directly at the bottom of the spray gun and you will either have to screw the high-pressure hose onto the spray gun or you might have to pull the valve on the spray gun to connect the high-pressure hose to it. In some light-duty electric pressure washers, there is a small locking mechanism on the spray gun and you simply have to place the end of the high-pressure hose in the spray gun and lock the hose in.
  • Secure the hose: Move the end of the hose around to make sure that the hose is secured to the spray gun.

Step 5. Connect the nozzle to the end of the spray gun or wand

The nozzle is a small attachment that connects to the end of your electric pressure washer’s wand or spray gun. The job of the nozzle is to adjust the pressure of the pressure washer unit according to the situation and both electric, as well as gas-powered pressure washers, come with multiple nozzles that produce different types of spray. Furthermore, some electric pressure washers have an accessory at the end of the wand or spray gun which you can twist to adjust the pressure and spray of water coming out of the pressure washer. Either way here is how you can connect the nozzle to the spray gun or wand:

  • 5 nozzles: Pressure washers come with up to five nozzles and you can find them either in a separate case inside the packaging or they can be stored in special compartments on the pressure washer unit.
  • Attach the nozzle: Putting a nozzle on the spray gun or wand is very simple all you have to do is place the nozzle at the front end of the spray gun and simply push it slightly or twist it in order to fit it onto the pray gun.

Types of pressure washer nozzles and their functions

Red or zero degree nozzle: Signified with the red color this nozzle sprays a highly concentrated blast of water. The red nozzle is going to cover very little area when attached to the pressure washer spray gun which is why it is called a zero degree nozzle. The red nozzle has the potential to harm delicate paints and wooden surfaces therefore it should be used with caution. This nozzle is mostly used to clean inside very thin cracks or gaps between concrete.

Yellow or 15-degree nozzle: A step down from the extremely narrow spray of the red nozzle, the yellow nozzle produces a wider 15 degrees jet of water making it perfect for removing stubborn dirt from roofs, unblocking drains, and removing dirt from concrete. You can also use the yellow nozzle to remove the paint because it is strong enough to get rid of paint while keeping the surface underneath the paint safe. But keep in mind that yellow nozzle still produces a very powerful jet and it can damage soft wooden surfaces so be careful when using this nozzle on softer materials such as wooden decks.

Green or 25-degree nozzle: This nozzle is easily the most used nozzle of all because it can handle most pressure washing tasks around the house. With a 25 degree nozzle, you can cover a decent surface area and it provides a decent amount of pressure to wash away loose debris from the concrete. But most importantly you can use a green nozzle on softer surfaces such as for washing a car or motorcycle.

White or 40-degree nozzle: With a wide 40-degree spray angle, the white nozzle is obviously not very powerful but it can spray a large area relatively easily. The lack of power makes it ineffective for removing sticky stains but you can definitely remove loose dirt using the white nozzle making it ideal for cleaning glass surfaces such as glass doors or windows that have loose dirt on them.

Black or 65-degree nozzle: This nozzle is used in combination with the detergent feature because it is too weak to clean anything but the low pressure and very wide spray angle make it ideal for evenly spraying foam on a surface.   

Step 6. Add detergent to the detergent tank

This is an optional step when setting up your electric pressure washer and it should only be done if you want to thoroughly clean an item such as when washing a car. Most electric pressure washers come with a built-in detergent reservoir that allows you to pour the detergent in the reservoir and it starts mixing with the spray of water automatically. While some pressure washers may have a siphon hose which sucks detergent from a container and mixes it with the spray of water. But in the third scenario, the detergent reservoir might come in the form of an accessory that can be fitted between the spray gun and the wand of the pressure washer. Either way here is how you can add detergent to your pressure washer:

  • Add detergent: Open up the detergent reservoir and add an all-purpose detergent that is outdoor-friendly. Or simply insert the siphon hose in a container filled with detergent so that it can be sprayed out from the nozzle.
  • Low-pressure nozzle: As we mentioned above you have to use a low-pressure nozzle when you are using the detergent function of your electric pressure washer. This will ensure optimal foam production from the detergent.

Step 7. Circulating water through the pressure washer

The internal system of a pressure washer is airtight meaning there is no room for air inside a pressure washer’s pump. Therefore it is important to always circulate water through the pressure washer in order to get rid of any air bubbles from the pressure washer before actually starting the pressure washer. You can circulate water through your pressure washer using the following method:

  • Turn on the water: Now is the time to turn on the water tap to which you have connected the water supply hose of the pressure washer. Open up the tap completely so that water can flow into the pressure washer.
  • Press the trigger: Now hold the spray gun and press the trigger of the spray gun. Keep in mind that you are not supposed to do this step with the pressure washer turned on. The idea is to let the water circulate through the system and remove any air during the circulation.
  • Keep the trigger pressed until you see a steady stream of water coming from the pressure washer nozzle and there are no fluctuations in the stream coming from the nozzle. After 10-15 seconds release the trigger and hang it on the pressure washer unit.

Your pressure washer is all set for usage once you have completed all 7 steps for setting up your electric pressure washer.

How to run an electric pressure washer

Once a pressure washer is all set up it is time to actually start using it for some actual washing. And with the help of steps explained below you should have no problems in running your electric pressure washer:

Step 1. Electric pressure washers need electricity in order to run and that is why you have to plug the pressure washer into a power outlet to turn it on. The power cord of your pressure washer might be removable and if that is the case you have to connect the power cord to the pressure washer first. Then find a GFCI power socket and plug in your pressure washer. Turn the power socket on and then turn the pressure washer on by pressing the power button.

Note: Always inspect the power cord before plugging your pressure washer into the power socket and make sure the socket you are plugging the machine in is a grounded one.

Step 2. With the pressure washer running squeeze the trigger of your pressure washer and point the spray gun towards the object you want to clean. But before you start the cleaning process make sure the nozzle you are using is appropriate for the surface you intend to clean with the pressure washer. Don’t keep the spray gun too close to the object you are trying to clean because there is a risk of unnecessary splashing if you do so since the water coming out of the nozzle is highly pressurized.

Note: Be very careful not to spray the pressure washer directly at any animals or humans because there is a high risk of injury if any living being comes directly in contact with pressurized water.

Step 3. When you are done using your pressure washer turn it off and then unplug it from the socket as well.

Step 4. After turning the pressure washer off squeeze the trigger and release any remaining pressure from the pressure washer pump. Leaving pressure inside the pressure washer can cause damage to the components therefore you should make it a habit to squeeze the trigger of your pressure washer for at least 30 seconds after turning your pressure washer off.

Always make sure that the pressure washer is placed on a level surface before you run it. It is also a good idea to start with the lowest pressure nozzle and then move up to the higher pressure nozzles. Doing this will give you an idea about which nozzle is ideal for the task you are doing and how much pressure do you actually need to get the job done.

Electric power washer tips

  • Extension cord: It is best to avoid using an extension cord with your electric pressure washer because some manufacturers advise against doing so, not to mention that it can damage your pressure washer’s pump and motor.
  • Power cord: Before running the pressure washer make sure the power cord is not submerged in water to avoid accidental electric shock.
  • Water resistance: While modern electric pressure washers are water-resistant to some extent it is still best to keep the pressure washer unit above ground level if the ground is wet or has puddles of water.
  • Avoid accidental splashing of water onto the pressure washer unit as it can damage the electric motor.
  • Avoid getting the power socket wet and make sure the power socket is as far away as possible from the area you are cleaning in.
  • Only run when in use: Don’t let the pressure washer run when you are not using it because this can cause pressure to build up inside the pump and damage it. A good technique to avoid this mistake is to squeeze the trigger every few seconds to release pressure from the pressure washer pump. Or turn the pressure washer off when you are taking a break during pressure washing.

Conclusion

Electric pressure washers are a perfect way to get a small cleaning job done and they can even be used indoors making them a very practical appliance to have. Whether you received your new electric pressure washer in the mail or you have bought one from a hardware store this guide is going to help you in not only setting up your electric pressure washer but also how you can properly use its various functions. And now that you have learned how different components of the electric pressure washers are assembled you should have no problems in setting up your pressure washer unit.