Pressure washing is a great way to get rid of dirt, grime, and mildew from your home or business exterior surfaces.
The problem is, you can also damage your property by not winterizing it. If you don’t properly care for your pressure washer, you risk damaging it.
You want to ensure that your pressure washer is working at its peak performance throughout the entire year.
This means cleaning it regularly.
In addition, you’ll want to check the fluid levels and replace them before they run out.
When storing your pressure washer over the winter months, it’s essential that you prepare it to be stored in low temperatures.
You must winterize your pressure washer in order to store it safely in cold weather.
Preventing water from freezing in your pressure washer is important because if the water freezes in the pump, or the unloader valve, it could cause permanent damage.
If your pressure washers are going to be stored for longer than two months, some precautions need to take place to avoid this damage.
Why Bother Winterizing Your Pressure Washer?
Despite the fact that pressure washers are typically kept indoors, they must be prepared to withstand cold temperatures if you aren’t going to use it for many weeks over the wintertime.
This is especially true if you store your pressure washer in a shed or garage, because these places normally aren’t heated or insulated enough to keep out the cold sufficiently.
Even if the place in which you store your pressure washer doesn’t drop below freezing temperatures, an extended period of inactivity can also damage your pressure washer.
Prolonged times when you aren’t using your pressure washer can end up damaging the internal seals of your pressure washer.
This can lead to dry rot and cause the pump system to crack.
If you use a gas pressure washer, the gasoline in the fuel tank goes stale within a month.
Ethanol in the gas system deteriorates and causes corrosion and rust.
It can also leave behind sediment that builds up and blocks the fuel lines.
It’s also important to remove as much water as possible from the system, as the water expands as it freezes, causing the lines to burst under pressure.
Additionally, excess water in the lines can lead to the growth of mold and mildew over time.
If damage to your pressure washer occurs during storage, and it ends up leaking or damaged, this essentially warrants the pressure washer useless.
Warranties typically don’t cover pressure washers that end up damaged because of the lack of proper maintenance.
The proper storage and winterization of your pressure washer could potentially save you a lot of money, especially in the long term.
Each type of pressure washer requires a slightly different approach, but both types require some level of winterizing.
Gas pressure washers tend to take more time to prepare for the winter months.
How To Winterize A Gas Pressure Washer
Gas pressure washers use propane tanks as their main fuel source.
Propane tanks are designed to withstand extreme temperature fluctuations.
They are made of stainless steel and other materials that allow them to withstand high heat and cold.
The tank is located inside the pressure washer, so there’s no chance of it getting damaged by frost.
To keep the tank warm, you’ll need to remove the cap and turn the valve to release any remaining air bubbles.
Then, you’ll need to fill the tank back up with liquid propane. You’ll want to make sure that the tank isn’t full when you start filling it.
Once the tank is filled, you’ll need to wait about 24 hours before turning the valve again.
Once you’ve done all of that, you’ll need to let the tank cool down completely before putting it back together.
This will prevent condensation from forming on the inside of the tank.
Once the tank is cooled down, you’ll need to put the cap back on and tighten it securely.
You may want to add an antifreeze additive to the tank to help prevent any problems caused by low temperatures.
If you live in a colder climate, you’ll probably want to keep the tank inside during the winter months.
But if you live somewhere warmer, you’ll probably be okay leaving the tank inside, somewhere sheltered from sunlight.
If you live in a place where temperatures drop below freezing, you’ll certainly need to bring the tank indoors once the weather gets too cold.
How To Winterize An Electric Pressure Washer
Electric pressure washers use electricity to power the motor.
Unlike gas pressure washers, they don’t require a separate tank of fuel.
Instead, they draw energy directly from your electrical grid.
Electricity is also less likely to get affected by harsh weather conditions than propane.
So, unlike gas pressure washers, electric ones don’t require special care or preparation.
To prepare an electric pressure washer for winter, you’ll just need to plug it into a wall outlet.
If you’re not using it right now, you’ll want to disconnect the wires and wrap them up in plastic bags to protect them from the elements.
To avoid damaging the machine, you’ll need to unplug it before wrapping it up.
After you’ve wrapped everything up, you can store the unit in a dry location until springtime.
When you do decide to use the pressure washer, you’ll want to make sure it’s plugged in and turned on.
It’s important to remember that the water pump will continue running even after the engine stops.
This means that you’ll still need to check the pressure gauge regularly.
If you notice that the pressure has dropped, you can adjust the settings on the control panel.
The main thing to remember is to try to remove as much water as possible from the pump before you put your electric pressure washer into storage.
You may want to add some antifreeze for winterizing solution before you put it into storage, especially if you live in a particularly cold area.
How To Winterize A Cordless Pressure Washer
Cordless pressure washers are becoming more popular every day.
They’re great because they eliminate the need to carry heavy tanks around.
Plus, they save you time since you won’t have to worry about refilling the tank.
But like their corded counterparts, these machines aren’t as easy to maintain in the winter.
Because they run off batteries instead of gas, they don’t need to be stored in a specific way.
But this doesn’t mean that you should throw away your cordless pressure washer when winter comes around.
In fact, you’ll actually want to take extra precautions to ensure that it stays safe and ready to go.
The first thing you’ll need to do is recharge the battery.
To do so, simply remove the cover plate and connect the charger to the port located at the bottom of the machine.
You’ll then need to wait until the battery reaches full charge. This typically takes between four and six hours.
Make sure that the charger isn’t connected to anything else while charging.
Once the battery is fully charged, you’ll need to replace the cover to replace the cover plate and secure it back in place.
You’ll then want to turn the machine on and test it to see how well it works.
If there are any problems, you’ll need to fix them before storing the machine.
Once you’ve finished preparing the machine, you’ll want to store it somewhere where it won’t freeze.
The best option would be a garage or basement.
But if you don’t have access to either one of those places, you’ll need to find another spot.
If you live in a cold climate, you may want to consider keeping the machine inside.
If not, you must still monitor the temperature closely.
When the outside temperature drops below freezing, you’ll need to bring the machine indoors to prevent it from being damaged.
If you plan on doing this, you’ll also want to make sure that the machine is protected from the weather.
For example, you could install a tarp over the top of the machine. Or you could put some insulation around the base of the machine.
Either way, you’ll want to protect the machine from moisture.
As long as the air is dry, you shouldn’t have an issue with condensation forming inside the machine.
A Helpful Video on How to Winterize a Pressure Washer
Winterizing a pressure washer is fairly straightforward. All you really need to do is follow the steps outlined above.
And once you finish, you’ll have a machine that’s ready for action come springtime.
We hope that this article has helped you understand the process of winterizing your pressure washer, whether it is a handheld, gas, or electric pressure washer.