There’s absolutely no denying that your pressure washer is an incredibly useful piece of equipment. Capable of cleaning off tough stains in a short period of time, it’s one of those tools that will absolutely change the way that you clean off your property. With that said, though, many pressure washer owners do underestimate the power of these machines.
Pressure washer use is not without its risks. In fact, hundreds of people get injured using pressure washers every year. The good news for you, though, is that all of these injuries can be prevented if you are willing to take a few basic safety precautions. When you’re ready to start getting more out of your pressure washer without risking injury, you’ll need to take a look at these basic safety tips.
The Most Important Pressure Washer Safety Tips
Never Aim At Anything You Don’t Want to Clean When Pressure Washing
Given that a good pressure washer shoots out high pressure water at a significant amount of force per square inch, you really want to make sure that you’re only aiming the nozzle at something that you actually want to clean. One of the biggest mistakes made by many pressure washer owners is treating the device like’s some kind of powerful water gun; given that the device can emit a stream that’s strong enough to bite into concrete, it’s absolutely not something that you want to ever point at a human being.
Always Wear Safety Equipment
Though a pressure washer can save you time while you’re cleaning, that doesn’t mean you need to rush into using the device. In fact, one sure way o leave yourself open to an injury is to go out to use the machine without wearing protective equipment. Any exposed part of your body is a part of your body that could get injured from the debris created by your pressure washer, so make sure that you keep yourself covered. At a minimum, wear gloves, boots, safety glasses, and long pants to keep your body safe.
Never Use a Gas Powered Washer Inside
Pressure washers come in both gas and electric varieties. It is vital that you never use your gas pressure washer in any kind of enclosed space. Doing so will lead to a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide, which in turn can make you sick or even lead to your death. If you absolutely have to power wash somewhere that doesn’t have good ventilation, you should think about using an electric pressure washer. Remember – gas pressure washers are only for use outside.
Stay on the Ground
Sure, it makes sense to think about using your pressure washer on your roof. Unfortunately, though, your pressure washer puts out enough pressure that it can actually cause you to lose your footing when you are above ground level. Never use your pressure washer in any place where it can cause you to fall – that means no roofs, no decks without safety railings, and no ladders. If you need to use your pressure washer to clean a higher spot, simply use an attachment so that you can clean while you maintain a safe footing.
Pay Attention to Hazards When Using Pressure Washers
Never use your pressure washer without checking the area around you for hazards. It’s incredibly easy to start cleaning and run into a problem that will make you panic, which in turn will cause you to have to use the device in an unsafe way. From having to move quickly because an animal is running around to tripping on a slick spot that’s already on your driveway, having to wash unsafely can get you hurt. Do a little bit of reconnaissance to make sure that you know where you’re going to be stepping before you start cleaning.
Choose the Right Nozzle for Every Job
There are many types of pressure washer nozzles, usually color-coded for your convenience. If you’re new to the world of pressure washing, you’ll want to start every job with the widest (read: weakest) nozzle you can and adjust from there. Choosing a nozzle that’s too strong for the job isn’t just a good way to damage the items you want to clean – it’s also a good way to put yourself in danger.
Pay Attention to Electricity
Remember, your pressure washer is a tool that combines electricity and high pressure water – a dangerous combination if ever there was one. Make sure that the cords on the machine are always in good shape before you start washing and never start up your machine in a puzzle. As an extra precaution, make sure that you avoid spraying any electrical outlets – the last thing you want is to end up in the hospital because you didn’t pay attention to where you were spraying.
Keep Your Equipment in Good Shape
Your pressure washer is a more delicate piece of machinery than you might expect. Small problems can stop it from working, but even worse some of those problems can also cause your machine to work in a way that can hurt you. As such, you need to take good care of this machine by storing it properly. This usually means keeping it somewhere dry, well-ventilated, and away from water. If you have to store the machine in a place that isn’t heated, you’ll also need to winterize the device so that it can make it through the colder months intact.
Know How to Assess Your Injuries
While all of the steps above should help you to stay safe, there’s always a chance that you could get injured by such a powerful machine. One of the most important things you’re going to need to learn how to do is to acknowledge that you’ve been injured so that you can get that injury treated as soon as possible.
Acknowledgment is only the first step, though. You’ll also want to assess your injuries to figure out if this is something that will require you to get immediate help. There’s a huge difference between a small scrape from flying debris and something that’s going to need stitches, but you’re the person who is going to have to make the call at the moment to determine which one of those injuries has occurred.
It’s never a bad idea to know some basic first aid if you’re going to work with one of these machines. Learn how to quickly clean and bind a wound, how to stop blood flow if the wound is bigger, and what to do if the injury is beyond your ability to deal with at home.
Don’t be afraid to see a doctor even if you don’t immediately see the signs of injury. Pressure washers are more than capable of causing internal issues, which can be far more dangerous than those that you can immediately see. If in doubt, make sure to get to a hospital or after-hours care for the help you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a pressure washer explode?
Though it’s unlikely to happen if you use the device correctly, a pressure washer can in fact explode. Using the device around flammable materials can lead to an explosion, as can using the device if it has been improperly maintained.
Can you die from a pressure washer?
Yes, you can die from an using a pressure washer improperly. There are actually a whole host of ways that you can die while using this device, ranging from wounds caused by being directly close to the high-pressure spray to trauma from high-velocity debris and even losing your footing and hitting your head because you weren’t paying attention to the kickback from the hose. That’s why you always want to be very careful when using a pressure washer, even if you’ve used one a thousand times before.
Can you hurt yourself with a pressure washer?
It’s remarkably easy to hurt yourself with a pressure washer. If you don’t pay careful attention while using the device, point it at places where you don’t want to clean, or simply fail to wear the right protective equipment, you can get injuries ranging from cuts and scrapes to more serious wounds that might require surgery. As such, you should always take these tools seriously when you use them.
What should you not do with a pressure washer?
There are many things you shouldn’t do with a pressure washer. Don’t ever use a pressure washer as a water gun. Don’t use one on a roof, ladder, or any area where the kickback could knock you over. Don’t use your pressure washer around flammable materials and don’t ever direct the stream at an electrical outlet. Most of all, though, you should never treat your pressure washer as anything other than a very serious power tool that requires careful usage in order to accomplish specific tasks. The more seriously you take the machine, the less likely you are to get hurt.