Ask anyone off the street if power washing and pressure washing are the same thing and they will likely shrug and answer, "yes." Ask any professional in the industry if these two are the same and you will hear a much different answer. This is important because, as a consumer, if you sign up for one of these you should understand what it is you are getting.
Not to mention by understanding the difference you will have an idea of which one might be right for you. Don't make a decision based on just what you think you are getting or what some salesperson says. Do your research and be a wise and informed consumer.
Different and the Same
One reason the average person assumes that pressure and power washing are one in the same is that they both essentially use water in order to achieve the same final result. A power washer, as the name implies, is known for supplying a powerful stream of hot water at a steady flow. The higher velocity makes it decent for cleaning and even in more complex situations such as removing gum from surfaces or killing moss.
On the other hand, in some situations it is thought that the high velocity may be too much and not appropriate. For instance, many professionals now believe power washing is not the best approach for cleaning roofing because it can get under shingles and tear them away. Plus, water can get under materials, like shingles, and cause mildew or mold.
Generally, the main difference in pressure washing is that the velocity is less and the temperature is cooler if not cold altogether. This makes pressure washing ideal for cleaning surfaces such as walkways, patios and materials like concrete or brick. So how can you be sure you are making the right choice?
Making Sense of it All
Because the terms have become so interchangeable, even industry experts tend to use one term even if they mean the other. Make it a point to clarify which you are getting, especially if you have been told not to use power washing for certain materials on the exterior of your home. Otherwise, either one is a great way to clean up a surface that would be impossible to do any other way.
In some instances, it is mainly the time that is saved by using a higher pressure water washing system as opposed to another method. This high-pressure mechanical sprayer can be used to remove more than just dirt. For instance, many professionals rely on this for cleaning up buildings or vehicles and removing old paint or rust.
There are different nozzles that can be used which makes a difference in the stream. And the right choice of washer may be used for industrial jobs while a less extreme version is ideal for use even within the interior confines of a home. Washers can damage surfaces, forcing water deep into masonry and wood which can create a prolonged drying time or cause actual damage.
Other Things to Know
Keep in mind that there is also a difference between the system you rent from your local home improvement store and what a professional may use who comes out to clean your home. People often rent or buy their own and are then disappointed with the results they get. A pressure washer is the equivalent of a stronger garden hose so if you have a lot of mildew to remove for your siding, this may not get the job done.
There is also a difference in performance based on the manner in which the washer is fueled. The types of machines range from electric or diesel to gas or hydraulic. Of course using a soapy additive is another way to have better results, just make sure you rinse with pure, clean water following the wash.
It is of course important to use caution when using a washer, especially around electricity. When in doubt, hire a trained and experienced pressure washing professional to get the job done. The benefit is that they will already have all the necessary equipment and will get the job done right, the first time around. Make the most of your cleaning project by using a pwer or pressure washer to get the job done.