Regardless of the type of siding on your home’s exterior, pressure washing can be a great way to remove dirt and debris to reveal its true color and beauty. If you’re considering doing the job yourself, be sure to follow safety precautions.
Pressure Washing Can Be Dangerous
It may be hard to believe, but high-pressure streams of water from pressure washers, especially the more powerful gas models, can cause serious injuries when misdirected at people. While lacerations are the most common injuries, bruises, punctures, and eye injuries can also occur. Even in injuries that appear to be fairly minor, according to a Consumer Reports article, pressure washer fluid can be forced into surrounding body tissue, resulting in serious bacterial infections. In the most serious pressure washer injuries that involve severe nerve damage and hospitalization.
5 Important Pressure Washing Safety Tips
Here are five important safety tips to follow when pressure washing:
1- Read Instructions / Safety Manual Carefully
Before you begin pressure washing, read the pressure washer’s instructions and safety manual, to ensure you’re operating the machine safely. If you’re borrowing or leasing a machine that doesn’t include instructions or a manual, search for them online. Remember, not all machines operate the same way and you should never operate a machine if you’re not sure how to operate it correctly.
2 – Adjust the Water Pressure Carefully
Pay special attention to the water pressure level, if it’s adjustable. The higher the pressure, the more powerful the water stream will be and the more dangerous. As a general rule, test each area that needs to be cleaned from at least 2 feet away at the lowest pressure possible, and then increase the pressure slowly until it’s high enough to effectively clean, but not higher than required. Some units have knobs for adjusting pressure and others require you to change nozzles. For the latter, always move from widest to narrower nozzles to increase pressure. Some surfaces like concrete walkways may require higher water pressure than others, so use this testing method as you move to each new surface to clean.
3 – Keep Children and Pets Away
Unless they’re helping you with the pressure washing, other people should stay out of the area where you’re operating the pressure washer. Children should never assist with pressure washing or be in the area where pressure washing is taking place. Pets should also be kept safely away.
4 – Wear Protective Gear
Always protect your skin and eyes when pressure washing by wearing the following safety gear:
- Heavy-duty boots (not rubber)
- Safety gloves
- Long pants and shirt
- Safety glasses
Hearing protection may also be a good idea if you’re using a pressure washer that’s loud.
5 – Use Common Sense
Never spray yourself or others with a pressure washer. Always turn the machine totally off if you must step away from it. And prior to disassembling it, be sure to release all pressure that’s built up in the machine.
While these safety tips are meant to encourage you to safely operate a pressure washer, they do not cover every safety scenario, so again, be sure to read your machine’s safety manual. If you’d feel more comfortable leaving your home’s pressure washing to the professionals, we’d be happy to provide you with a free estimate.