Skip to Content

How to use a pressure washer in the winter. What the pros say

Most homeowners do not use their pressure washer during the winter. Using it can be a wet experience and is just easier when it is not that cold. But there can be many reasons why you want to clean some things in the winter. It can be your car, a bike, the driveway, or part of your house. And using it in winter is fine, as long as you know how to do it.

How to use a pressure washer in the winter:

Using a pressure washer in winter is OK, as long as you follow some simple guidelines. Check your local weather forecast. I do not recommend using your pressure washer when it is freezing. If you need to pressure wash when it is that cold, use a power washer. A power washer uses hot water. Make sure that the chemicals or detergents can be used in colder conditions. Expect to use more chemicals than usual when it is cold. Try to use your pressure washer in the afternoon to help with the drying process.

Through this article, you will learn how to use the pressure washer in the winter and prevent any damage to the components of your machine when it is freezing. I will show a step-by-step guide on how to protect your pressure washer during cold conditions.

Using your pressure washer in cold weather, some helpful tips

Pressure washing can be done in cold weather, but I do not recommend it for beginners. During cold weather, pressure washing becomes much more challenging. A pressure washer can easily get damaged in winter when the temperature is below freezing. The pipes and other components inside the pressure washer may freeze quickly if you fail to drain the water properly. Or store the equipment under inappropriate temperatures.

It would be best if you took some extra precautions to keep your machine safe in winter. Use the following steps and tips to achieve excellent results:

Step 1: The right temperature

Pressure washing can be performed in any weather condition, but I do not recommend it when it is freezing. The best time to pressure wash a house is in the spring and fall.

The critical temperature to look at is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Water freezes below this temperature. Pressure washing becomes much trickier when the temperature reaches this point. If you push water in all kinds of places, rain usually won’t come. It can freeze and damage the material. During the winter, it takes much more time to evaporate and dry.

Additionally, the water in the pump and pipes can freeze and damage the pressure washer components. Most experts do not recommend pressure washing once the temperature falls below 40 degrees.

Step 2: Use warm water

If you want to pressure wash in cold weather, use hot water. The ideal temperature recommended by many experts to pressure wash in the winter is 180 degrees Fahrenheit. To do this, you can use a power washer. A power washer is a pressure washer that uses hot water. More capable models can make the hot water in the machine. Some models have a water container that is heated. Others do the heating on the fly.

Step 3: Using the right chemicals for winter

Generally, detergents that are used in a pressure washer like warmer temperatures. As dishwasher detergents, they work more efficiently above certain temperatures. You can find ones that also work well in lower temperatures, but you need to check this before you start. Expect to use more of the product the colder it gets.

Step 4: Take out the remaining water

After using your pressure washer, you must drain all the water and detergents from your pressure washer. To do this, first, let it run for a short while using clean water without detergents. Then disconnect the hose and let it run until the pump runs dry. Another way is to place the injection tube of your pressure washer in a container with clean water and run the pressure washer at a low PSI setting for a few minutes. Then turn off the pressure washer and water supply and squeeze the spray nozzle trigger to relieve any pressure. The pump and pipes should be reasonably drained now.

Step 4: Pressure washer storage

I recommend storing your pressure washer at a warmer location to let any leftover water evaporate. This can take a while. If you have a gas pressure washer, do not forget to add some fuel stabilizer to your gas tank and any other stored gas if you plan not to use it for some time (more than a month). Gas can go bad quickly.

Tip 1: Ensure steady water flow during washing

At low temperatures, water can freeze quickly. To counter this, use a steady flow of water through the pressure washer. But be careful when you stop the machine for a longer period.

Tip 2: Avoid chemical unbalancing

Most of the cleaning chemicals used in pressure washing do not work effectively in winter. One of the main factors in the performance of the cleaning chemicals is heat. Therefore, you must use extra chemicals to ensure effective cleaning and perform the job when there is as much sunlight as possible. Try to plan it for the warmest day. Check the chemical or detergent you use for the optimal temperatures and the amount that is recommended.

Tip 3: De-icing with a pressure washer

De-icing with a pressure washer is not feasible. Even with a power washer that uses hot water, it is almost impossible. You can use a special steam machine to clear ice dams in frozen weather and prevent roof damage.

Tip 4: Have some rock salt, sand at hand

If you are pressure washing outside in freezing temperatures, do not forget to have some rock salt or sand at hand. The water can freeze quickly and makes your sidewalk or driveway very slippery. Magnesium and calcium chloride can also be used to melt the ice, but it leaves behind a slippery surface.

Tip 5: Use your pressure washer in the afternoon

For most people, it is tempting to complete the cleaning job in the morning. However, during cold winters, I recommend waiting for the afternoon. In the afternoon, the sun’s heat warms up surfaces slightly, which helps with the drying process.

Tip 6: Access to an indoor faucet

In northern areas of the United States and Canada, it is common to drain and close your outdoor faucet. To use the pressure washer in such low temperatures, you maybe need to use an indoor faucet. So you do not have to drain the outdoor one when you are done.

How to protect the pressure washer during cold weather

To protect the pressure washer during cold weather, use a fuel stabilizer to avoid any clogging in the fuel lines. It would be best if you also use a pump saver anti-freeze to keep moisture from freezing in the pump. To maintain the efficiency of your pressure washer, lubricate parts more often. Store your machine in a warm place. Then, at last, check and maintain the oil level in the engine frequently.

Pressure washers are more prone to damage during winter usage because of the water that can remain in the pump, pipes, and other components. If you do not plan to use your machine during the winter, it is best to winterize it. Winterization means preparing the pressure washer for the winter.

Use the following steps to protect your pressure washer for low winter temperatures:

Step 1: Use a fuel stabilizer

During winter, gas will remain unused in your gas tank. If you do not plan to use your machine for more than a month, I recommend adding some fuel stabilizer in your gas tank and other gas containers you may have. Gas can go bad quickly and clog fuel lines and the carburetor. This will make your pressure washer hard to start after the winter.

Step 2: Using a pump saver

I recommended that you use a pump saver to provide extra protection to your pressure washer pump. A pump saver keeps moisture from forming and freezing in the pump of your pressure washing equipment. It also protects against mineral deposits. You can apply it through the inlet hose. After applying the pump saver, store your pressure washer until the following season. Ensure to drain any leftover pump saver before using the pressure washer after the winter.

Step 3: Apply grease on the engine

The efficiency of the pressure washer decreases during the winter season. In cold weather, the engine will have to work harder, requiring more fuel than usual. To reduce wear and tear, I recommend lubricating the engine of your pressure washer more frequently during low temperatures.

Step 4: Store pressure washer in a warm place

If you plan to use the pressure washer during the winter season, I recommend storing it in a location that will not freeze. That way, you do not need to drain the water each time you use it.

Step 5: Check the oil

To maintain your pressure washer during winter, regularly check the oil. Maintain the oil level and cleanliness during cold conditions to properly lubricate the engine components. According to most experts, change the engine oil after every 100 hours of operation. If you notice that your pressure washer is revving up and down, and you are using old fuel. Drain it from the tank, and refill it with fresh fuel.