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Pressure Washer Not Producing Enough Power, What To Do?

You may ask yourself what can be worse than a pressure washer that does not give the power you expect. Believe us when we say that it is not one of your most significant worries. We can help you with simple troubleshooting and solutions for this problem too. Are you missing that powerful thrust or rapid cleaning? Continue reading to find out more.

Generally, a pressure washer that has lost its power is due to some clogged tubing. The tubing may be from the water source to the washer or from the washer to the outside (variable wand). In other cases, a malfunction in the pump may be the cause.

Pressure Washer Not Producing Enough Power:

  1. A clogged hose may be causing pressure to drop.
  2. A defective variable wand may not be delivering the desired thrust.
  3. The pump may be defective due to malfunctioning valves.
  4. Some leakage due to worn out seals and valves may cause power drops.

All these causes might seem too cumbersome to deal with at first glance. But we are here to help you deal with this fuss as we take you through each step.

1. Clogged Hose:

If your pressure is not spraying water at high pressure, an essential step to troubleshoot is to ensure no restrictions or kinks in the hose. Most pressure washers use a garden hose filter that is installed where your hose connects to the pump. Its purpose is to filter off the debris and prevent it from entering the hose, leading to clogging and reducing the water pressure.

– Solution:

• Cleaning the filter:

Take the filter off from the pump connection. Place it under a running tap and check if water flows through it. If the water does not pass or passes at low pressure, it indicates that the filter is clogged. To unclog it, you should gently tap the filter so that any debris is dislodged. Reinstalling it back and turning the water supply on will now fix your problem.

• Inspecting the hose:

It would be best if you inspected your hose for kinks and blockages that need to be removed. The water supply should also be continuous. Generally, most machines require a continuous water supply at a rate of 1 gallon (4L) per minute.

2. Inspecting the variable wand:

When the trigger of your pressure washer gun is released, the pressure will build up in the hose and cause it to jump. If no jumping occurs, some leakage might occur at the pump connections, or the pump might be faulty. If the hose jumps and the outlet pressure is low, the fault lies either at your gun or the wand.

– Solution:

• Clogged orifice:

In most cases, the variable wand is the cause of low or no pressure and needs inspection. This can be done by pulling the nozzle backward and forward to check if the water pressure is sufficient. Usually, pulling it back causes the water stream to come out at a higher speed, whereas pulling it forward causes the opposite. If no water comes of these positions, it possibly indicates a clogged orifice. To remove the clog, use a 2mm Allen wrench to pull out the orifice from the back of the wand. You can use a safety pin or a paper clip to clean the orifice and reinstall it back in the wand’s nozzle.

3. Pump malfunctioning:

If the problem remains after the inspection of nozzles and hoses, you probably have a malfunctioning pump. If the compressed air isn’t purged out of the pump before the operation, it damages the O-rings, valves, and unloader valves. Ensuring that the water supply coming into the pressure washer is sufficient, you should troubleshoot the pump for its regular operation. This can be done in the following ways:

– Solution:

• Faulty unloader valve:

The unloader valve bypasses the pump’s flow from the pump when no water is sprayed from the nozzle. If the low-pressure problem persists after all the above troubleshooting steps, then perhaps checking the unloader valve is a good idea. To do that, you need to remove the pump from the assembly and inspect the exit’s unloader valve. In most cases, the inner piston of the valve is stuck as a result of which the pressurized water that is built up does not exit properly, and hence you witness a very thin stream of little water coming out of the nozzle. You can try using a screwdriver or a set of pliers to tap on the unloader’s inner piston so that it is not stuck again. If the piston looks jammed, replacing the entire valve with a new one might be a better idea.

• Faulty O-rings and check valves:

If the water seems to be leaking from the pump during operation, you should inspect for worn-out O-rings in the pump. Apart from that, you should also review the check valves if they seem to function correctly. Note that these components, once worn out, need to be replaced.

Additional Steps:

1. High-pressure hose:

If your machine uses a high-pressure hose that you’ve just replaced, then you might need to check it to ensure that you used the correct diameter. The most readily available widths of the hose are 1/4″, 5/16″ & 3/8″. Although these diameters look different, a slight variation in dimensions can cause a problem of pressure shortage.

– Solution:

• Reinstalling the correct diameter hose:

Use a measuring instrument such as a steel ruler or a vernier caliper, if available, to measure the width of your hose. Consult your user’s manual to determine your model’s requisite width and install the one with the prescribed diameter.

2. Pressure regulator:

In some machines, a pressure regulator is installed in place of an unloader valve with the same function of directing water flow from the pump towards the nozzle. The unloader prevents the water from flowing back to the pump, whereas the regulator does not have this functionality. With time, this can cause the pump to malfunction. You probably would witness a decreased pump pressure as well.

– Solution:

• Replacing the regulator with unloader valve:

In this situation, an unloader valve is a preferable mechanism than a pressure regulating system. So you should try replacing the regulator with a suitable unloader valve and check if the problem still exists.

Related Questions:

• Why does my pressure washer have no pressure?

A common cause for loss of water pressure in a pressure washer can be a plugged trigger wand. If debris gets stuck in the wand, it can cause a sudden drop in discharged water pressure. However, a pressure washer losing pressure over time has a worn-out nozzle as its cause. Both of these problems can be resolved through timely monitoring and proper service of the washer.

• How can I increase the pressure of my washer using nozzles?

Using nozzles to increase the pressure washer’s power is quite common. However, before you come to this point, you have to verify that all of the issues above mentioned are solved or non-existent. Provided there is no clogging in the nozzle, different nozzles create different streams of pressures and are color-coded:

  • The red nozzle produces a straight stream or fan of water, also called a laser stream.
  • The yellow nozzle produces a 15° fan of the water stream.
  • The green nozzle produces a 25° fan of the water stream.
  • The white nozzle produces a 40° fan of water stream for general cleaning.
  • The black nozzle is the soap injector nozzle.

So a good understanding of nozzles can solve many problems.

• Should I turn my pressure washer off when not in use?

Generally, it is advisable not to let the washer keep running for a longer time on idle. If so happens, the washer at the time is taking no water input. So the already existing water in the chamber heats up. This can cause considerable damage to the seals. Moreover, if after long idle time, suddenly the washer is used, the sudden rush of cold water gets mixed with the hot water inside. It can cause severe cavitation that causes damage to the pump, valves, and seals. Some pumps do have a bypass hose that recirculates the water and cools it down. However, it may not be present in all the models, so it is better to turn the washer off when not in use. If your pressure washer is not working or shuts down while in use, this may be the cause behind it.

Final Remarks:

Just like humans, machines ought to be cared for and maintained. A serviced machine lasts way longer than a device that isn’t looked after properly. Pressure washers are like that too. A pressure washer may lose its power with time if its hoses, valves, and nozzles aren’t cleaned in time. Power loss in a washer is generally observable with time and deals more closely with due servicing. If a person has the required basic knowledge of his washer, he can quickly troubleshoot his way through. As the proverb goes, “A stitch in time saves nine.” The same is the case with machines.

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  1. Kylie Hunt says:

    How can I tell if the nozzle on my pressure washer is clogged and causing a drop in pressure?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hi Kylie, if your pressure washer is losing power, check the hose for clogs, inspect the variable wand, and troubleshoot the pump. Hope this helps with your pressure drop issue!