Exactly How Dangerous is a Pressure Washer?

There are hundreds of people in this world with no idea of the problems and dangers that are associated with power and pressure washers. A simple project of cleaning off the vinyl fence, driveway or house can quickly turn into a trip to the emergency room and a lesson on the dangers of power washers. Be sure to inform yourself on all the dangers before you begin using them, and always be cautious.

Pressure washing presents dangers if not used correctly including flesh wounds, destruction of the surfaces, electrical or gas hazards, dislodging particles, and causing damage in a home. According to Consumer Reports 6,057 people went to the emergency room in 2014 because of pressure washer accidents.

Going through each of these dangers will help you to see the magnitude of such a machine and the power it has to damage your house, you, or your loved ones. Below we will also discuss how to use one and still remain safe. When properly informed and instructed on how to use one you can do so more safely.

1. Pressure Washers Cut Through Skin

With a hose, you can wash off your feet and water the yard in your flip-flops, you can even spray off the kids and leave it unattended. Water is only harmless in large quantities, or at incredibly high pressures like a power washer is. As a matter of fact, “a pressure washer expels a jet of water that’s 30 to 80 times more intense than a hose” Source. They also operate at a whooping 1,500 to 2,000 PSI (pressure per square inch). That sort of pressure has the power to cut a finger straight to the bone or carve a pumpkin. It can also take the stain right out of wood. All of these examples go to show the power which pressure washers hold.

Not only can the stream cut right through your skin, but it can also cause “high-pressure water injection, which is extremely dangerous. These injuries many times result in amputation or severe nerve damage” source. Because of these injuries and more, it is important to wear good gloves and thick boots. This way if any water comes near you by accident it will deflect and cause little to no damage.

Pressure washers also pose great threats to the human eye. Be sure to never point one at someones eye as it can cause serious damage, as it will to other parts of there body as well.

2. Pressure Washer Present Electrical and Gas Hazards

When using any sort of electrical or gas-powered device there are hazards presented. These can be avoided but are also greatly enhanced when there is water present. With an electrical power pressure washer, you need to ensure that there is no standing water around the cord or the outlet. If water happened to get inside the cord it could easily ignite a fire or be a pool waiting to electrically shock you or a nearby person. This can be prevented by checking to ensure all cords are new and sturdy, and the cord out of standing water.

A gas-powered pressure washer used in an enclosed space will also emit carbon dioxide that can quickly fill up a space without being noticed. Be sure to always have proper aeration and wear a mask if needed to stay away from the fumes.

3. Pressure Washer Dislodged Particles

Obviously, pressure washing uses lots of pressure to accomplish the task of freeing surface of debris and dirt. This can also lead to dislodged particles flying through the air. The extreme pressure of the water can send such particles flying into an object or a person, or the person power washing. Flying objects never leads to great results and could potentially lead to other injuries. There is not much way to prevent this other than to sweep off a surface before you begin pressure washing and taking away whatever loose particles you can before you begin.

A careful consideration is the pressure you are using, ensure that your nozzle is not a zero degree nozzle which can easily break off particles and send them flying into you or someone else.

4. Pressure Washer Cause Damage to A Home and Surfaces

The amount of pressure spraying out of the nozzle and directly onto the siding of your house can do a variety of things. Not only will it strip the surface of any protective covering, but it could potentially penetrate the entire surface and force water into the inside of your home. Water inside the insulation or walls can lead to mold or rotting.

To avoid this, be sure that the nozzle you are using helps to decrease the pressure significantly. If needed, it may be beneficial to hire a professional to power wash for you to ensure that no damage is being caused and that safety precautions are being met.

Pressure washers also contain enough power to remove paint from a building, stain from wood, erosion of concrete and other materials. It could even break a window or ruin decoration. Leaving a pressure washer in one spot for an extended amount of time will often cause damage, so be sure to keep it moving quickly and keep the flow even.

Safety Precautions

Overall, pressure washers present a plethora of possible hazards, the best way to overcome these problems is to stay educated. Secondly, it is important to be safe. Lastly, if needed hire a professional to do that job for to! This way you are able to accomplish what is needed without the hassle of hazardous cautions.

  • Get and check to ensure you have the correct nozzle and the right amount of pressure.
  • Learn about how susceptible the surfaces you are spraying are to high pressure.
  • Always have the hose and nozzle pointed towards the surface you intent on spraying.
  • Do not make rash movements with the hose.
  • Read the manual before you begin to use it so you know how to correctly operate it.
  • Make sure any lose items around are secured or no sprayed.
  • Check the cords to ensure that all wiring is good.
  • Wear closed toed shoes and eye protection.

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