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Industrial Pressure Washer Tips: Pressure Washing in Cold-Weather

All experienced commercial pressure washers know that ice can be fatal for an industrial pressure washer. Consider that water expands 9% when it freezes. This means that if you leave water in your pressure washer over a freezing spell, you could very well break internal components. Read on to learn how to prepare an industrial pressure washer for cold temperatures. You’ll also discover the coldest temperatures at which commercial pressure washers should be operated.

1. DO NOT allow your equipment to freeze.

When freezing temperatures are in the forecast, it’s time to move your power washing equipment to a warm, dry place. If the washer is in a constricted space, such as a van, you may need to move a heater inside to keep it warm overnight. In a pinch, a 500-watt halogen bulb may be aimed at the pump to prevent freezing. If you have no place to keep your machine warm, you can either continually run warm water through it, or cover it with a tarp and hope for the best.

2. An anti-freeze flush is the ideal way to protect it.

Ideally, you’ll have plenty of warning time before cold temperatures hit. If so, washing out your pressure washing equipment with anti-freeze is the best way to go. Just make sure that the car or RV anti-freeze you’re using is rated to the lowest common temperatures for your area.

To flush anti-freeze through your machine, start by pouring anti-freeze into the float tank. Activate the industrial pressure washer to send the anti-freeze through the system. To defend the coils, pump, and plumbing, remove the spray tip off and then place the wand in the float tank. To send anti-freeze through the unloader bypass line, pump the trigger for a couple of minutes, activating and releasing the machine. Lastly, if your pressure washing equipment is compatible with chemical cleaners, you’ll need to send anti-freeze through the chemical line hose separately. It should be possible to capture and reuse the same five gallons of anti-freeze throughout this procedure. On the off chance that your pressure washing equipment lacks a float tank, simply use a five-gallon bucket instead; this is the pool that will feed the water intake hose.

If you are caught in an emergency without anti-freeze, you can flush an industrial pressure washer out with air. However, because this may leave trace amounts of water in certain components, this is not the recommended approach.

3. Avoid operating in cold weather.

The lowest safe temperature for commercial pressure washers to operate at depends on the wind conditions and your machine’s capabilities. If no wind is present, 15-25 degree temperatures are safe for hot water operation of your industrial pressure washer. (Only hot water machines should be run when temperatures are below freezing.) In contrast, on a windy day even hot water pressure washing equipment should be set aside when the temperature drops below 34 degree Fahrenheit.

Once the hot water has left your industrial pressure washer, it will soon turn to ice, which is a big liability on your part. To avoid creating hazardous conditions on your clients’ driveways and other surfaces, bring and apply calcium chloride or rock salt. Finally, do not aim your power washer at locks, brake drums, or other equipment that could break under ice.

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