With the pollen in the air, the dirt spinning under your car wheels, and birds flying through the air, by this time in the summer your home has no doubt taken on some tarnish. The quickest and simplest way most of us know to clean the exterior of our homes and driveways is a good pressure wash. Before you grab hold of the nozzle, here’s what you’ll need to know!
The first thing to remember is that pressure washing has the potential to do a lot of damage. True, it’s great at forcing the debris away, but it can also force away paint, cause abrasions in siding, tear screens, even shift gutters. Pressure washing works because it is powerful, and requires caution for the same reason. More important than the risk to your home, however, is the risk to yourself. Thousands of people are injured each year while pressure washing, some fatally.
With all the risks involved, our highest recommendation is to have your home professionally pressure washed. We know that not everyone has it within their budget for this, though. If you’re planning on pressure washing on your own, follow these guidelines for both your and your home’s safety.
Can Your Home Be Pressure Washed?
Before you begin, realize that not every home can be safely pressure washed. If you live in an older home, built in the 1970’s or earlier, your home is at risk for lead paint. Lead based paint is hazardous if it gets in the air and lungs. If you’re not sure about your home, you can purchase a test kit or have it evaluated by a professional painter. Note: If you find your home does have lead based paint, you should highly consider a new paint job.
When pressure washing your own home, there are too many safety guidelines to list in a single article. You need to know your pressure washer manufacturer and adhere to their safety instructions. Some washers are electric, some gasoline powered, and each come with different risks. Regardless of which manufacturer you use, you’ll always want to wear personal protective equipment, and be in a safe, grounded position. One of the most common mistakes people make that lead to injury is using a washer while on a ladder.
Once you are ready to wash, be mindful of protecting the home as well. Bleach and harsh detergents can damage your home’s finish and should generally be avoided. Only detergents designed for pressure wash use should be considered safe. Use as low of a pressure as you can get away with, especially when washing with detergents. Avoid windows, doors, and gutters, as these are particularly vulnerable to damage. If you are pressure washing your own home to save money, it’ll be entirely for naught if you crack a window!
Use Care and Get Results
Pressure washing your home’s exterior is a great way to keep it looking clean and new, and to eliminate mold, mildew, pollen, and other unwanted contaminates. Always remember that with the benefits come risk of damage as well. As with most home improvements, we recommend having a professional that knows the risks, and has the experience and skill to clean your home thoroughly and safely. If you’re looking for someone to take care of your home this summer, visit us online at www.responsiblecontractors.com for a list of professionals you can have confidence in! Our goal is to partner you with only the most reliable contractors, so you, your family and your home will be safe, clean and efficient all year round!