Friday, March 16, 2012

Power Wash Spring Cleaning

If you're looking for advice on power wash cleaning and specifically what to look for in a power washer, you've come to the right place.  Since the weather has been great for much of the country this year, I imagine lots of folks will be doing some early Spring cleaning. I thought it would be a good time to share some info about pressure / power washers.  The one pictured here is definitely a great power washer to consider and now that I have a years worth of usage under my belt, I wanted to share my findings. 

I did about a weeks worth of online research last year before I purchased the AR Blue Clean AR383.  When comparing one washer to another it can get very confusing with all the different terms they throw at you.  I will highlight the key things to keep in mind. 

The 3 main terms are:
  • Pounds per Square Inch (PSI). PSI refers to the measurement unit of water pressure. Generally speaking, lower PSI power washers (1400 to 1900) are electric-powered, while higher PSI (2000 and higher) are gas-powered.
  • Gallons Per Minute (GPM) . GPM is a measurement of water flow. As expected, the larger the GPM, the more area a power washer can clean.
  • Cleaning Units (CU). The CU can help you compare pressure washers. The higher the CU, the more dirt and debris the machine can clean. CUs are determined by multiplying the PSI by GPM. 

The higher the CU (PSI x GPM) is, the more powerful the unit will be and the more $ you will likely spend. 

There are 3 general ranges power wise:
  • Up to 3,000 CUs - Light duty (Examples: lawn furniture, grills, small decks, cars, patios/driveways)
  • 3,000 to 5,000 CUs - Medium duty (Examples: large decks, boats, large pool decks/patios/driveways)
  • 5,000 to 8,000+ CU - Heavy duty to Industrial Strength (Examples: trucks, pools, exterior siding, store fronts, kennels, graffiti)

The AR383 is a 1,900 PSI unit with 1.5GPM for a total of  2,850 CU, which is at the higher end of the light duty range.  I utilize mine primary to remove the dirt/grime/slime from my concrete patio and driveway 2-3 times per year and it has done a great job.  The gas powered units are very heavy/pricey/bulky/difficult to drag around.  This one is very easy to maneuver and the power cord and cord for the water gun are very long and when you are done you can roll them up nice and neat for storage.  

Check out the reviews on Amazon to see for yourself what some of the others are saying to get a range of opinions.  There are some reviews that mention a leak when you hook the plastic hose adapter to your water hose.  I had read that the company fixed that issue and I can confirm that as of early 2011 when I ordered mine from Amazon, the issue has been fully resolved.  I have not had a leak the 4 times I've utilized mine for a total of probably around 6 hours.  The reviews also mention great customer service.  I've found that it does everything I need it for very well.  

Here is an example of before and after on the driveway:



Even though it is considered in the light duty category, it is still very powerful.  I used it at close range to clean off some outdoor patio furniture and I would recommend being careful doing that.  It was enough pressure to cause the fabric on the seat cushions to break apart slightly.  Moving back about a foot put a stop to that.  And be sure not to swipe the gun on top of bare feet while it is in use, that doesn't feel so good.  :o) 

The AR Blue Clean AR383 is a really great middle of the road pressure washer in my opinion, both power and price wise.  I wouldn't recommend going with the $99 and under units as they probably won't have enough power unless you're using it strictly to wash your car or something very light duty.  You probably also do not need a super high end gas unit, unless you are trying to reach a very high distance, want to complete the job super fast or are doing something like removing graffiti from the side of a building.  So if you are looking for a middle of the road type of unit, I'd definitely recommend including the AR383 in your research.  Hope that helps!



2 comments :

Jen said...

I didn't know you had a pressure washer. Very good info. We like the heavy duty ones to wash the moldy yucky off the side of our house occasionally. ours is a rental from a family member though so not sure exactly what it is.

Chris said...

Yeah, I had looked into the cost to have someone come pressure wash and it was more than the cost of this unit, so I went for it. I use it a few times a year on the patio and did the driveway this year too. Works good.

 
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