Fixing Electric Pressure Washers: How to Troubleshoot
You’ve finally found the time to do the pressure-washing project that you’ve been putting off all summer. The pressure washer is plugged in and you’re finally ready to cross this project off your to-do list, but then your pressure washer begins to object to the task at hand. Maybe it’s losing pressure, or pulsing, or randomly shutting itself off in protest? How do you know if your pressure washer needs some professional repair work, or if it’s something easily fixable?
Before you call for backup, try some basic pressure washer trouble-shooting, and you might be able to cross this project off your to-do list after all.
Common Pressure Washer Problems and Possible Solutions
• Low pressure? Often this is due to a problem with your water source, not the machine itself. Double-check your water source to be sure the water tap is fully opened. Check your hose for any kinks, and make sure the hose itself is large enough, and not leaking. Also, check your water inlet and remove any debris or mineral build-up.
• No pressure? You could possibly have a damaged unloader valve. Check for damage to your springs or seals, or try readjusting your unloader screw.
• The pressure is pulsing? This usually indicates damage to your pump inlet, manifold, or valves. Try disassembling your pump and cleaning the components of your inlet manifold. If this doesn’t resolve the issue the components may need replacing, or the nozzle needs cleaning. You can clean the pressure washer wand nozzle with a vinegar solution to remove mineral deposits. You can also try turning off the water, but not the pressure washer, and then pulling the trigger to release any trapped air. If none of these tips solve the problem the pump may be faulty and need replacing.
• The pressure is dropping a few seconds after beginning use? The nozzle may be blocked. You can clear the nozzle unclogging the holes with a needle to clear the blockage, or by washing with vinegar to remove mineral build-up.
• Water leaking from the pump? Try tightening bolts on the pump assembly to make sure your pump casing is sealed together properly. Leaking water could also mean the thermal valve has activated. Turn off the washer and allow it to cool for five minutes before trying again. If these attempts don’t resolve the leak, you may have a cracked or broken seal which would need replacing.
• Water leaking from spray wand? You may have a broken O-ring inside the hose connection. You can replace the ring or purchase a new hose.
• Pressure washer won’t start? First, try plugging in to a different socket to ensure the problem isn’t with your electrical outlet. Then check your extension cord to make sure you are using the correct type. If it’s longer than 25 feet it must be a 12 gauge wire cord to work properly. Lighter gauges won’t provide enough power to run your pressure washer.
• Spiking pressure? This is generally a problem with calibration. Double-check your owner’s manual and adjust the calibration in the unloader valve.
• The pressure washer isn’t removing dirt from surfaces? You may need a higher pressure nozzle.
• The motor is stalling during use? This is generally from low voltage or voltage that is fluctuating.
• Detergent injector isn’t working? The soap inlet filter or valve may be clogged. Remove the filter and rinse it with pure water. The valve can be cleaned by using a needle to unstick the ball-valve. Also, make certain you are not using a soap that is too thick to flow through the detergent injector pump. If it is, you may be able to thin it by adding water.
Know When to Call a Professional for Your Pressure Washer
If you yourself are not a professional repair person and you’ve tried all of these troubleshooting tips to no avail, then it’s time to call for back-up. Your electric pressure washer may need more serious repairs and replacement parts. And of course, that means you have a legitimate reason for putting off until tomorrow what you tried to do today. Maybe you can go back to your favorite recliner and your binge-watch session. Or possibly move on to the next item on the to-do list while your pressure washer is receiving care.