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Thread: Electric Power Washer - Short Saga

  1. #1
    Silver Hawk Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Bay City, Mi., USA.

    Electric Power Washer - Short Saga

    My house sets in an mainly oak woods with a combination of maple, ash and any number of pollen pod and sap dropping trees. Since we moved here in 91 a pressure washer was necessary for cleaning the house and decks. So for a long time I owned two different gas powered washers that either required a pump or carb rebuild when wanted to use them on an infrequent basis.

    About seven years ago I said "heck with it" and called a local pressure washing firm about doing the house and deck. They quoted under $300 for the deck, sidewalks and house. When they showed up they had a selection of nozzles and extensions that let them soap and clean everything from ground level and the gable ends on my place are 29 ft up. I needed a ladder. They didn't spend 1 1/2 hours here and did an excellent job. I just ash canned the old gas washer.

    It has now become evident that while I'll keep having the house cleaned, washing the deck and blowing the weeds out of cracks in the driveway require a more diligent effort so I decided to buy an inexpensive electric washer.

    Went to Harbor Freight on the 4th and pickup their unit for about $64 ($99 list) out the door with discounts. Set it up today and started pressure washing the deck. The little bugger started to do a great job. Pressure 1750? psi was perfect for lifting the sap and detritus off and leaving the deck paint behind. Happy guy - for 10 minutes. Then I noticed an familiar odor of burning insulation and saw smoke coming from the washer unit. It lasted another few seconds and threw in the towel.

    This is not a rant about HF as I have a ton of their stuff and they'll take back the washer and refund my money so no harm - no foul.

    Why the post. Well!! I finally did what I should have done originally and looked up electric washers on the great interweb and researched a few.

    What I knew from the HF unit is 1700 or so PSI is about right for cleaning so I opted to hit Home Depot for a Ryobi RY14122 which was highly rated $149.

    Brought the unit home and spent over 2 hours cleaning a 40' X 12' deck without shutting it off. Did a nice job, easy to deal with then just put it away. It has a 3 yr warranty so if the seals or motor go, I should be ok.

    Just an FYI if you are in need of decent pressure washer for general use.

    , ,

  2. #2
    Silver Hawk Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Washington, DC, USA.
    Thanks Bob. Perfect timing, too.

  3. #3
    President Member Gunslinger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Frederick, Maryland, USA.
    I have a Karcher power washer and it does a great job. My patio deck is composite and it cleans that without any cleaning products of any kind.

    Over thirty years ago I was working at an RV ales and service business. It was Christmas time and quite cold out. We sold a large motorhome and needed to wash it for delivery and we used a power washer on it. was so cold the striping tape on the motorhome became very brittle and was literally blown off. We had to overnight new striping and install it so the unit would be ready for delivery on time. That taught me to respect what a power washer can do.
    Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

  4. #4
    Golden Hawk Member DEEPNHOCK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Brooklet, GA, USA. Planet Earth
    My wife bought the green HF unit after gifting one to my youngest daughter.
    After I set it up, I was sold on it.
    Easy to use. Auto shut off is nice.
    My Karcher gas unit appreciates it, too. (BTW.. I have rebuilt the Karcher triplex pump three times in 20 $75 a pop)

  5. #5
    President Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Above the Equator
    I have an ancient, small Generac electric power washer. I bought it used at a car show about 10 years ago for all of $5. I've pressure washed cars with it (in particular my Studebaker). I've used a drywall mud bucket as a hopper and injected insecticide under slabs with a special made, side discharge wand. It rarely sees use but has always gotten the job done.

    If your not "off-site" (I'm not) I've found electric power tools to be far more reliable than gas powered models. In particular I use an old Sears electric chain saw (used $10) that must be 25+ years old to trim trees and cut up firewood for my suburban So. Cal. winters (Brrrr - it got below 65! LOL). I even converted my roto tiller swapping the Briggs & Stratton for an old compressor motor. This is a link to a You Tube video of many of my whacky "creations" my son shot a few years ago (cued to the rototiller). CASO is as CASO does.

    Flipping a switch and being mindful of the power cord is FAR easier than trying to start something gas powered for half an hour and then having to pull it part. BTW, Bob don't let the wife think you love the new washer too much. No telling what she might have you do!
    Last edited by wittsend; 07-12-2018 at 02:06 PM.
    '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

  6. #6
    Golden Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Greer, sc, USA.
    Back in the late 1970's through the 1980's before we began to seriously over-regulate and chase away our manufacturing industries, I had many huge manufacturing plants as my customer base. Back then, there were no inexpensive self-contained pressure washers like the ones available today. You could buy the old "Steam Jenny," (I have a 195? model) or a specially built unit about the size of a pick-up. One day I wandered into the dye shop of a huge textile finishing plant. There I found a technician cleaning out the very fine screen of a rotary screen printing machine. He was using one of those handheld high-pressure sprayers made by Wagner corporation like you can now go to a Lowes or Home Depot and buy for about $100. Problem was, due to the huge size of rotary print screens, (8 foot long by about two feet in diameter.) and each color has it's own screen, it would take almost three days to clean each cylinder.

    I mounted a 5:1 ratio pneumatic piston pump on a set of hand trucks, attached a high-pressure hose, and an airless spray gun. I installed the appropriate air filter/regulator, high-pressure fluid regulator, etc. By the time I was done, I think I sold the unit for about eight thousand dollars. However, the unit worked so well, that the customer was happy to pay the price. I reduced the labor and time for each screen from approximately three days down to thirty minutes!

    Now, I have a gas pressure washer I purchased from Northern Tool, that works as good (probably better) than those I built that cost me less than three hundred bucks.

    Also, I have a little Karcher electric unit that is about 5 years old but quit working last year. I tore into it and got it working again...until I put the cover back on. With the cover off, it works, put the case back together and it doesn't. I probably should throw it away, but the tinkerer in me wants to investigate and repair...some day...

    One note about pressure washers (cheap, expensive, electric or gas), just make sure to drain them completely before you put them away in winter. Probably today, within everyone's locality, except for the Gulf coast states, you can find small gasoline motors for sale on craigslist. Dozens of them "like new" because the pump froze and cracked during winter.
    John Clary
    Greer, SC
    SDC member since 1975

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