Pressure Washing Operating Errors That Cost You Money

Pressure washers are invaluable tools for thorough cleaning, but they're also high-maintenance machines. Seals, O-rings, and valves are just a few parts that require routine upkeep. While some maintenance is inevitable, operator error often leads to unnecessary costs. In this blog post, we will explore common mistakes people make when operating pressure washers and how these can be avoided to save money.

1. Operating Without Water Supply

Using your pressure washer without a water source can spell immediate disaster. Within minutes, running the machine dry will cause severe damage to the pump. Always ensure a consistent water supply to avoid this costly mistake.

2. Extended By-Pass Operation

Running your pressure washer in by-pass mode for extended periods can lead to overheating. In by-pass mode, water circulates within the pump manifold without being expelled, causing the temperature to rise. Excessive heat can deteriorate the pump, so never let your machine run in by-pass for more than five minutes.

3. Cavitation

Cavitation occurs when air infiltrates the pump, causing pressure loss and a hammering sound. This is often due to inadequate water supply. For instance, if your washer requires 4.0 GPM but only gets 3 GPM, the pump will still attempt to operate at 4.0 GPM. The resultant vacuum will draw in air, causing cavitation. To avoid this, ensure your water supply meets the pump's specifications and check for leaks in the water inlet system.

4. Freezing Risks

Water left in the pump during winter can freeze and damage the unit. To prevent this, either use anti-freeze or run the pump for a few extra seconds to expel any remaining water after use.

5. Lack of Lubrication

Just like a car engine, pressure washer pumps require proper lubrication for smooth operation. Insufficient oil levels can cause friction, overheating, and ultimately, failure of pump components. To avoid this, regularly check and maintain the oil levels in your machine, ensuring you use the appropriate type of oil for your specific pump.


While pressure washers are essential for effective cleaning, operator errors can quickly turn them into a money pit. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can extend the life of your machine and get the most value out of your investment.

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You can see some of our helpful 'How to' Videos on our Youtube channel. Checkout this video showing you 'How to Start Your New Kiam Petrol Pressure Washer'

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