How Long Can You Run a Pressure Washer? Ultimate Guide

Every homesteader should be aware of the dos and don’ts of using pressure washers. People who utilize these machines to provide commercial cleaning services should be aware that if they are used recklessly, they can outlive their usefulness sooner than planned.  When you fail to follow the recommendations in the user handbook to the letter, pressure washers can develop mechanical difficulties or get entirely grounded. This blog post will give you insights of how long can you run a pressure washer and how will your pressure washer be effected if it is used for a longer time.

How long can you run a pressure washer?

A pressure washer should not be used for more than five minutes (unless it is professional equipment). While the time will vary depending on the model, it should last between 3 and 5 minutes. Overheating might occur if you leave your pressure washer running for more than five minutes.

We’re sure you don’t want to spend a lot of money repairing a grounded machine because you were negligent. While some scenarios are inevitable, such as receiving a phone call in the middle of a cleaning routine, the fact that they will divert your attention implies you should not use a pressure washer in by-pass mode. The greatest suggestion we can give is to turn off the device before doing anything else to avoid damaging the pump.

Most importantly, make a note of your pressure washer’s gallons per unit rating (GPM) to ensure that there is enough water flow. If the pump on the device is rated at 5 gallons per minute, for example, be sure the water supply is at least 5.0 GMP. Cavitation, a process in which a trigger gun creates a pressure spike, will occur if the pressure is too low. In the worst-case scenario, the pressure washer could be permanently damaged. The hitch is that these machines require a steady supply of water to function properly. While water does not act as a lubricant, ensuring that enough water flows through a pressure washer prevents overheating.

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Do pressure washers get too hot

Yes. Overheating is a problem with pressure washers. The next thing that comes to mind is: what causes power washers to overheat? Well, based on our experience, it could happen for a variety of reasons:

  • When using hot water in pressure washers that are designed to handle cold water.
  • Excessive heat build-up in the unit could be caused by a mechanical problem with the heating system.
  • Inadequate water pumping into the unit. GPM standards should be followed while pumping water into a pressure washing equipment. For directions, always check the pump rating.
  • Time: If you leave your power washer running for longer than five minutes, it is likely to overheat, which might harm the pump.
  • Excessive fuel pressure in gasoline-powered pressure washers leads to overheating. Before turning on the unit, it’s a good idea to double-check the manufacturer’s fuel pressure requirements.
  • Improperly mounted burner nozzle and incorrectly configured unloader are two more reasons of overheating in pressure washers.
  • Thermostat: A thermostat in a pressure washer can malfunction in some situations, resulting in extreme overheating.

Detecting overheating in pressure washers

When your power washer is in by-pass mode, you should be able to feel the heat. Overheating units are characterized by a rise in pump pressure and extremely hot water. As a result, the best advice we can give is to turn off the computer and seek professional assistance. Because heating issues in power washers are mechanical, you should avoid using the device if the issue persists.

You should also avoid attempting to resolve the problem yourself, especially if you are unsure of how to do so. When it comes to troubleshooting overheating power washers, we advise against relying on speculation because you could end up causing more damage.

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The thermostat’s role in pressure washer temperature regulation

In most, if not all, machinery, a thermostat is an essential component. It’s a fitting that controls temperature so that it doesn’t go too high or too low. To help you troubleshoot the overheating problem, you should understand how a thermostat in your power washer works.

Thermostats on pressure washers can be either adjustable or non-adjustable. Water will naturally heat above the ideal temperature. When heating persists, diagnosing a thermostat will help you rule out or confirm a problem. By cycling the burner nozzle on and off, fixed thermostats maintain the desired water temperature. As a result, in order for the thermostat to work properly, you must set it to the desired temperature. If the temperature of the water fluctuates, don’t be concerned. Reduce the heat output of the burner nozzle to achieve a steady water temperature.

Pressure washers with non-adjustable thermostats, on the other hand, provide a unique issue. The water temperature is predicted to rise at a steady rate when running the machine because the burner nozzle will be burning nonstop. If this is the case, a safety switch can be used to prevent overheating. It works by turning off the safety switch as soon as you reach the desired water temperature.

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Is it dangerous to leave a pressure washer on?

Yes, leaving a pressure washer running for more than five minutes is a poor idea. If you can’t turn it off after a minute or two, leave it on for more than five minutes. Leaving your pressure water running will harm its inner workings since the pump will be damaged as the temperature rises.

Pulling a trigger gun on a pressure washer assures a steady flow of water in and out of the unit at a specified GPM. Constant flow means the machine’s interior components stay cold, normally at a temperature of 60 degrees. When you pull the trigger but leave the motor running, however, the water flow ceases. Water recirculates in the pump as a result, frequently at high pressure and bypassing the pump exit. Water continues to heat up as recirculation occurs.

Consider a scenario in which the temperature of the water in the pump head rises to 145 degrees. If the water continues to heat up, your power washer’s health will be jeopardized. The worst happens if you do not turn off the system within five minutes.

The unit is damaged by overheating caused by water recirculation in pressure washer pumps. As a result, leaving pressure washers running/idling should be the last thing on your mind. Shut it down if something disrupts your cleaning procedure, especially if you’re using a power washer. Pull the trigger pistol to allow in freshwater if it’s a temporary interruption that won’t last more than three minutes. Within a few minutes, the pump should have cooled down.

The pump in a pressure washer will be damaged immediately if it overheats. Other issues, such as the ones listed below, will begin to emerge:

  • O-rings: O-rings wear out more quickly.
  • Water seals in the pump and other sections of the machine will start to fail sooner than intended.
  • Warping of various components is possible, especially on low-pressure sides.
  • Valves will be deformed as well.
  • Preventing heat damage to pressure washers

The cost of repair and maintenance for pressure washers will be doubled due to thermal damage. As a result, you should avoid it at all costs. We recommend installing a thermal valve in addition to not keeping the machine in by-pass/running for more than five minutes.

When the pump reaches 145 degrees, a thermal valve opens. The opening valve allows warm water to escape. The system is subsequently cooled down with fresh cool water. Always double-check that the thermal valve is properly reset after use. There’s no need to be concerned if your power washer’s plunger is made of stainless steel. The steel plungers’ ceramic covering normally conducts heat to prevent overheating.

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Final Verdict

We believe that you would have got to know about all the consequences related to the question of How long can you run a pressure washer. If you leave a pressure washer running for more than a few minutes, it will overheat. It’s because when the trigger is turned off, water recirculates in the pump head by design. You also run the danger of ruining your most useful cleaning machine due to overheating, which is a significant cause of damage to devices like pressure washers. Do not leave a power washer on by-pass mode if you plan to do something in the middle of a cleaning procedure.

We recommend reading the user handbook before purchasing or using a power washer for the first time. It will give your more insights of how long can you run a pressure washer of specific brand. To minimize overheating, make sure you pump 5 gallons of water per minute if the pump is rated at 5.0 RPM. Because there is less water flowing through the system, some components will overheat, resulting in warping in low-pressure zones. Here’s a guide by CNET regarding Pressure Washers, if you want to know more.

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