Avoid Rookie Mistakes with These Pressure Washing Tips for Winter

Pressure washers are a quick and powerful tool for cleaning tough stains and grime that build up on the exterior of homes, cars, decks, industrial equipment and more. If you pressure wash regularly for home or business purposes, scheduling sessions during the winter can be particularly frustrating. Temperatures may dip into the teens at night and barely get to freezing during the prime daytime hours. If you are a home handyman or the designated pressure washer for workplace equipment, keep the following tips in mind to avoid rookie mistakes during winter.

In calm air with temperatures ranging from 15 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit, you can generally do hot water washing. If there are wind gusts, wait until the temperature reaches 34 degrees Fahrenheit. In both scenarios, take advantage of direct sunlight for thermal heating.

Chemicals work slower in cold weather so expect to use more chemicals and allow extra dwell time for them to work properly. Store chemicals in a dry, warm place so they do not freeze.

When pressure washing flatwork, be sure to salt or sand areas if your water runs across sidewalks or driveways and freezes. Choose your de-icing chemicals carefully as dyes in some products can stain shoes, sidewalks, doorframes, etc. Keep your water supply hoses flowing with water and try to avoid having them run across the cold ground. This will make them more susceptible to freezing within a few minutes.

When washing vans or fleets of vehicles, be extra careful where you point your spray because door locks, brake drums, and door jams can freeze. Water at 180-200 degrees Fahrenheit will help minimize icing problems. When removing large chunks of ice from cars, trucks, or vans, use a zero-degree nozzle to cut the ice into small sections. Direct the spray to break off these smaller sections. This method is faster than simply melting the ice – just beware of chucks flying in different directions.

Double pane windows freeze faster than single pane windows because it doesn’t get heat from the inside. Use warm water to pressure wash because hot water may crack the glass from thermal stress. Help prevent future freezing by adding ½-1 gallon of windshield washer fluid to get a 5-gallon bucket of wash water.

When pressure washing decks, you’ll need between 12-24 hours of drying time in temperatures above 50 degrees before you can seal them. Use a moisture measure to ensure that your deck is dry enough.