How to winterize an electric pressure washer (complete guide)

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Electric pressure washers require little to no maintenance compared to gas pressure washers. And the reason why electric pressure washers are low maintenance is that unlike gas-powered pressure washers electric pressure washers don’t have fluids and sparkplugs. But when it is time to store the electric pressure washer for winter season you have to make sure to properly winterize the electric pressure washer before storing it. If an electric pressure washer is not stored properly its pump can become weak or in a worst-case scenario, the pressure washer can fail to work completely. So how do you winterize an electric pressure washer properly to store during winters?

You will have to take the following actions if you want to winterize an electric pressure washer:

  • Get rid of any leftover detergent in the detergent tank
  • Remove all the hoses and lines
  • Remove leftover water from an electric pressure washer to prevent the water from freezing
  • Remove the power cord
  • Add pump saver to preserve the pump during storage
  • Store the pressure washer in an indoor location
How to winterize an electric pressure washer (complete guide) 1

Taking these precautions will make sure that your pressure washer is ready to start cleaning once the winter is over. Properly winterizing your electric pressure washer is going to keep it safe from rust and mineral build-up which can wear out different components of the pressure washer prematurely. That is why this article is going to explain in detail all the steps of winterizing your electric pressure washer which we have mentioned above so make sure you read the complete guide.

Getting rid of detergent from your electric pressure washer

If you have been using your electric pressure washer with the detergent, you will have to make sure there is no detergent left in the detergent tank or the pressure washer system before you store the unit for a long time. Because overtime detergent can dry out and can clog various components of the pressure washer. An electric pressure washer is either going to have a detergent container or it is going to have a siphon that sucks detergent in from any external jar or bottle. Either way, you can follow these steps to remove detergent from your electric pressure washer before long term winter storage:

Things you will need: Warm water, A bottle or container

Step 1. First, you will have to fill up your electric pressure washer’s detergent reservoir with warm water. Or if your pressure washer has a siphon function you will have to submerge the siphon hose in a container with warm water.

Tip: If your electric pressure washer has a removable detergent reservoir you can detach it and rinse it thoroughly under running water to make sure there isn’t any detergent or soap left inside the reservoir.

Step 2. With the water supply hose connected to the inlet of the pressure washer run the pressure washer at a low-pressure setting to allow the warm water which you poured inside the detergent reservoir or from the container in which you submerged the siphon hose to wash away any residual detergent from the lines and hoses.  

Step 3. Once you have run the pressure washer at a low setting with warm water in the detergent tank or detergent siphon you need to run the pressure washer on high setting for a few more seconds to make sure the pump and the high-pressure line are free from any leftover detergent.

Remove all the lines and hoses from the electric pressure washer unit

This is one of the most important steps for winterizing your electric pressure washer. Leaving the hoses, wand, and gun attached together for a long period of storage can cause these components to get stuck together and it can be next to impossible to separate them. Therefore it is important to remove all the lines, hoses and the power cord before you store your pressure washer for the winter. Not only will doing this step preserve the lines and the power cord, but it’ll also be easier to store the pressure washer because disassembled components are going to take a lot less space compared to storing the complete electric pressure washer with all the lines and hoses attached. With that being said you can remove the hoses and power cord using the method explained below:

Step 1. First, turn off the water tap and remove the inlet hose or the supply hose from the tap. Doing this will stop the flow of water to the pressure washer and you can prevent the accidental splashing of water onto the pressure washer unit while removing the other end of the water supply hose.

Step 2. Now take off the water supply hose from the water inlet point of the pressure washer by turning the hose joint until it becomes loose. Raise the water supply hose from one end to allow the leftover water inside the hose to flow out from the other side before rolling the hose up. Make sure to avoid getting the hose tangled when rolling it up because the hose can get deformed if left in a tangled position for long periods of time.

Step 3. With the supply hose removed, it is time to remove the high-pressure hose from the electric pressure washer but before removing it from the washer it is a good idea to use the gun of the pressure hose to squeeze out any water that might be left inside the high-pressure line. Keep the trigger of the pressure washer gun pressed until the water stops coming out of the nozzle. Doing this is also going to help depressurize your electric pressure washer. Squeeze the trigger a couple of times to make sure no water is coming out of the nozzle which is an indicator that you can now remove the high-pressure line. Simply turn the high-pressure line connector anti-clockwise and remove it from the unit.

Step 4. Next, you will have to remove the gun or wand from the high-pressure hose as well. This can be done by turning the connector just like you removed the high-pressure hose from the electric pressure washer unit. Once you have removed both ends of the high-pressure hose lift it from one side to allow the water to flow out from the other side.

Removing leftover water from the electric pressure washer

After flushing out the electric pressure washer thoroughly to get rid of any detergent or soap and removing all the hoses, the next step is to remove as much water as possible from the electric pressure washer unit. The reason why it is important to remove the water before storing your washer for the winter is that if you live in an area where the temperatures drop below freezing, the leftover water in your pressure washer can freeze inside the pump and damage it. Since water expands when it is frozen, it’s possible for water inside your electric pressure washer pump to freeze, expand and leave it useless.

 Not to mention that leftover water is going to cause rust and oxidation, therefore, reducing the life of your pressure washer’s components. In fact, it is not uncommon for different components of the pressure washer to get permanently jammed due to corrosion caused by leftover water inside these components. So in order to remove leftover water from the electric pressure washer before winterization, follow these steps:

Things you will need: Compressed air

Step 1.  With all the hoses removed from the electric pressure washer unit, turn the unit on for a few seconds to get rid of any remaining water from the pump and the internal lines of the pressure washer. You will notice a small amount of water being sprayed out from the water outlet where the high-pressure hose is supposed to be connected. If this water is left inside the pump during the winter it can potentially damage the valves and seals inside the pump and puncture the lines as well.  

Step 2. While the pressure washer is running move the unit back and forth and left to right in order to remove any water that might still be sitting at the bottom of the pump or inside the internal lines of the electric pressure washer unit. Now you can turn the electric pressure washer unit off.

Note: You should only run your electric pressure washer without water for 10-15 seconds at the maximum because running a pressure washer for long periods of time without water flowing through it can damage the pump. So you will have to do step 1 and step 2 within 15 seconds.

Step 3.  Now it is time to use compressed air to blow out any water that can still be left inside the pressure washer. Put the nozzle of the air compressor pipe or the line of the compressed air can inside the water inlet of your electric pressure washer and blow air inside the inlet so that any residual water can be blown out from the outlet side.  

Note: For this step, you can either use an air compressor or a can of compressed air to blow out water from the unit. But if you are using an air compressor to blow out the water make sure that the air compressor is in the low setting.

Remove the power cord

This has to be the simplest step of winterizing your electric pressure washer. For this step, you will have to simply remove the power cord from your electric pressure washer and wind it up properly so it can be conveniently stored. Make sure to roll the power cable up so that it doesn’t get tangled. If the power cable is tangled up it can damage the insulation of the cable.

Adding pump saver to the electric pressure washer

The pump of your electric pressure washer is what makes it a pressure washer because it pressurizes the water and sprays it out from the nozzle. Since the pump is such an important component of your electric pressure washer you should make sure it stays safe during the winter storage period that can span over several months. A damaged pressure washer pump can be expensive to replace and installing a new pump is no easy task either. That is why manufacturers recommend using a pump saver when storing a pressure washer, especially during winters. What a pump saver fluid does is that it protects the seals and pistons from freezing and cracking by forming a layer on top of the internal parts of the pump. Pump saver can be bought for under $15 and it can be used in both gas and electric pressure washers. Some pressure washers may even recommend using a pump saver during regular usage but it is mostly designed to preserve the pump during the time when it is not being used. And the best part is you can use a single can of pump saver at least 3 or 4 times. Which is a small price to pay compared to replacing the whole pump.

Pump saver is basically a specialized form of antifreeze and a lubricant for the pump of pressure washers. Pump savers come in two types of containers they can either have a tube that attaches to the pressure washer unit or the bottle has a connector that can be joined directly with the pressure washer. Either way, the usage method of both type of pump saver containers is almost similar and you can add the pump saver to your pressure washer unit by following the steps explained below:

Step 1. Double-check if there is any leftover water in the electric pressure washer unit by tilting the unit in the direction of the water outlet. If there is still water coming out of the unit then use compressed air again to remove it because the pump saver can only be applied once there is no leftover water in the system of the pressure washer.

Step 2. This step can be different depending upon the type of pump saver container you have. If you have a pressurized pump saver container it will circulate on its own but if you have a none pressurized pump saver bottle you will have to make it circulate manually. Application methods for both types of pump saver containers are as follows:

  • Pressurized pump saver container: A pressurized pump saver container comes with a tube and a button on top of the container. These types of pump saver containers are easier to use as you simply have to connect the connector at the end of a transparent tube with the water inlet of the pressure washer. The connector is also easy to connect because it has threading which matches the threading of the inlet. Once you are sure that the can is properly fitted onto the outlet of the electric pressure washer simply press the button on top of the container and the pump saver fluid will automatically circulate the system and come out from the outlet end of the unit. Once you see the fluid is coming out from the outlet end of the pressure washer release the button on the can and remove the connector from the inlet.   
  • Non-pressurized pump saver container: As the name suggests this type of pump saver container contains uncompressed pump saver fluid so in order to make it circulate through the pump of your electric pressure washer you will have to run the pressure washer. For this step, you will need to connect your unit’s power cord to it and plug it in. Locate the water inlet of your electric pressure washer and simply fit it on the inlet because the top of the pump saver container is the same size as the inlets of most pressure washers. Once you are sure that the pump saver bottle is properly fitted on the inlet, simply turn on your electric washer until you can see the pump saver fluid come out of the outlet of your unit in the form of foamy liquid. Turn off the electric pressure washer immediately when the fluid appears from the outlet because this is an indicator that the pump saver has properly circulated the pump. Remove the pump saver container from the inlet and store it for later use by putting the lid back on it. Again disconnect the power cord and roll it as explained in the step “Remove the power cord”.

Storing the electric pressure washer

Now that you have properly winterized your pressure washer it is time to pick an indoor storage space for it. The good thing about electric pressure washers is that they are small machines and unlike their gas-powered counterparts electric pressure washers don’t take up a lot of space when being stored. Once you put pump saver in your electric pressure washer it is able to withstand below-freezing temperatures since the pump saver is going to prevent water from freezing inside the pump. But there are other vital components in an electric pressure washer such as the electric motor which should be kept dry at all times. Since cold temperatures are not a problem thanks to the pump saver fluid you have added to the unit all you have to do is make sure the pressure washer unit is stored in an indoor space such as a garage away from water or snow. You should also make sure that the area where the pressure washer is being stored doesn’t get too dusty.

If you are willing to spend a few extra bucks, buy a cover for your electric pressure washer. Not only will it prevent dust from getting into the electric motor of your pressure washer but it will also provide an extra layer of protection against moisture because pressure washer covers are waterproof. Make sure to get a fabric material cover for your pressure washer because it will not trap moisture inside.  

Can you use RV antifreeze as a pump saver?

RV antifreeze is used as a substitute for pump saver in pressure washers because it is non-toxic and most importantly it is biodegradable which means it doesn’t clog up the pressure washer pump. Just like a pump saver RV antifreeze also prevents water from freezing inside the pressure washer pump and damaging it, therefore, making it a great alternative to traditional pump saver. But the best part is the price you can get RV antifreeze at a fraction of the price of a dedicated pump saver fluid. On the other hand, regular antifreeze is not ideal to be used in a pressure washer because of high toxicity levels and can even damage the pump. Since an RV antifreeze container is not designed to pour antifreeze inside a pressure washer you have to get a little creative to put RV antifreeze in the pump to prevent freezing. You can use the following method to put RV antifreeze in your electric pressure washer:

Things you will need: Funnel, a 3-foot piece of hose with a connector attachment, heat gun, RV antifreeze, A pair of gloves

Assembling the funnel and hose:

Step 1. Cut a 3-foot long piece of hose pipe preferably transparent so you can see when the RV antifreeze is flowing through it.

Step 2. Attach a connector attachment on one end of the hose pipe so that it can attach to the water inlet of the pressure washer easily.

Step 3. Fit the funnel on the open end of the hose you can use a heat gun or any other heat source to make the hose softer and easier to fit on the funnel.

Putting RV antifreeze inside the pressure washer pump

Step 1. Put on a pair of gloves on to prevent antifreeze from coming in contact with your skin.  Because although RV antifreeze is not toxic your skin can still get irritated if you are allergic to the components of RV antifreeze.             

Step 2. Raise the funnel high above the pressure washer with the other end of the hose connected to the inlet of the pressure washer.

Note: For this step, you can also take some help from a friend by asking them to hold the funnel high to make the task easier for you.

Step 3. Start pouring RV antifreeze inside the funnel little by little and let the gravity move the antifreeze through the hose and into the inlet. When you are sure that the antifreeze fluid has reached the inlet hose turn the pressure washer on to allow the antifreeze circulate in the system and form a layer on the inside of the pump. Once the antifreeze starts coming out from the outlet end, stop the pressure washer.

Step 4. Before removing the hose from the inlet side make sure there isn’t any RV antifreeze inside the hose that can get wasted while removing the hose. In case there is leftover antifreeze in the hose pipe, put a container under the hose to collect the antifreeze.

You can leave the RV antifreeze inside the pressure washer before storing it because it will prevent the pump from freezing as well as provide much-needed lubrication to the parts of the pump.  

Taking the electric pressure washer out of storage

Before connecting all the hoses and the power cable with the pressure washer after winter hibernation, visually inspect them to make sure they don’t look damaged or cracked. Pay close attention to the power cable especially, to notice any signs of damage to the insulation of the cable. Also, check the detergent reservoir to make sure there isn’t anything stuck inside it.

Since you had put antifreeze/pump saver in your pressure washer you will have to flush all of it out before you start using the pressure washer regularly. As we mentioned above that RV antifreeze isn’t toxic but pump saver can be toxic and therefore when you start the pressure washer for the first time after taking it out of the storage you should avoid flushing the pump saver in an area where it can get collected and form puddles. Spray the pressure washer near a sewer so that the pump saver or antifreeze can flow into the sewer and pets or other animals can’t drink it. Also, keep an eye out for any leaks at the inlet and outlet connectors.

Conclusion

While electric pressure washers require little to no maintenance, winterizing them properly can make sure that you get a properly working pressure washer when you need it during the spring season. Pressure washers aren’t cheap tools and properly winterizing your electric pressure washer is going to save you from a surprise repair bill later on. With proper winterization, your electric pressure washer can stay in storage for up to a year without developing any problems. You can also use this guide for storing your pressure washer overnight if you live in an area where night temperatures can fall below freezing.