Save a Pump this Winter! How to Winterise your Pressure Washer
Monday, 28 October 2019 | Ben Marriott
Protecting your Pressure Washer
When the ground turns white and the first dustings of frost show on your windscreen the equipment we rely on should already be wrapped up toasty and warm. Ensuring that all of your kit is properly winterised can be make or break for your business. Whether you work through the winter or from spring to autumn the following tips should help keep your machines in tip top condition throughout the winter season. We always make sure our van is winter ready, checking the anti-freeze level, making sure the tyres can cope with the ice and snow etc., and we should also ensure that our cleaning equipment is cared for in the same meticulous manner.
The main problem we face during the winter months is obviously the sub-zero temperatures. When water freezes it expands, increasing in volume by roughly 9%; this expansion is what causes the cracking and leaks which too frequently cause leaking hoses and fittings and ultimately lead to ill afforded down time. Your entire systems is at risk when the frost comes calling, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that it is not only when you have parked up your van for the night that your equipment is at risk, most of us start work long before it gets light and only make it home well after dark. The drive to and from work in the back of your van during the height of winter is just as critical to your winter protection plan. Since it is only moving water that does not freeze (in most parts of the UK it is not cold enough) even shutting down for an hour at dinner can be enough to freeze the entire system. Typical symptoms in Honda GX390 or similar engines would be that the recoil cannot be pulled fully, indicating that the pump head has frozen.
Once your systems is frozen though there are steps you can take to get back to work - the most effective is just allowing your kit to warm up some where warm. De-frosting your equipment too quickly with for instance a blow lamp can causing cracking in metal components as the metal undergoes rapid changes.
It is worth noting that warranties on equipment and parts never cover damage from frost or freeze thaw events.
A Guide to Protecting your Equipment this Winter
1. The most important thing is to ensure that there is no water left in your pump and high pressure hoses, the easiest way to ensure that this is done effectively is to remove your lance or flat surface cleaner from your high pressure hose, remove or lift your suction hose above the height of the pump inlet and run the pressure washer at low RPM until no more water is pumped from the hose.
2. Remove and recoil your high pressure hose and repeat the process this time with the ignition turned off and pulling the recoil until no more water comes out from the outlet of your unloader valve. If you have one open your frost / easy prime valve as this will both allow water out of your pump and allow for expansion.
3. To further protect against freezing an anti-freeze solution can be drawn up into the pump head at the end of the day and pumped out into a suitable container the following morning so that it may be re-used. This will prevent freezing within your system and protect your pressure washer throughout the night
4. When storing your pressure washer is does not hurt to keep it wrapped up warm, a wooly hat and scarf is perhaps not the ideal method but popping a duvet, blanket or foil emergency blanket will keep the chill off and prevent frost setting in. Ideally your equipment should be stored overnight in a sheltered warm environment. Static units should be fitted with an electric frost heater inside the cabinet to keep the frost off (but don’t forget to keep it plugged in!).
Following these steps should protect your pressure washer over the winter avoiding any unwanted breakdowns along the way. It is always best practice to keep your equipment well maintained, regular servicing is perhaps the best investment you can make for the smooth running of your business.