Power and pressure washing are terms that are regularly used interchangeably, even by industry specialists. So the question of whether there are any big differences between the two can seem bewildering.
And, indeed, the functions of both are basically the same – to remove dirt and similar debris from hard surfaces using pressurised water. Equally, both techniques use similar amounts of pressure to do their work. (However, the amount of pressure varies according to the kind of machine used.)
Best uses for a pressure washer
Essentially, a high-pressure water spray is involved. This means a unique capacity for cleaning bigger surface areas and shifting grime, dust, mud, mould, salt, stains and even chewing gum.
It’s an effective technique for patios and driveways. But people also use it on stairways, pavement and public spaces.
So how is it different from power washing?
The main difference is heat. In a power-washing machine, the jet wash uses hot water. In a pressure washer, the water is unheated. However, it does a good job nonetheless, and is fine for regular household use.
Equally, it’s not as harsh on some surfaces. So it’s ideal for giving your outside areas a speedy once-over.
Benefits of heated water
Clearly, the warm water makes it more effective when cleaning seriously grimy spaces, in particular salt, grease and mildew, especially when combined with the high pressure.
At the same time, a powerful blast of hot water can stop weeds and moss from growing back.
What’s more, this heavy-duty cleaning technique is ideal for hard surfaces like concrete, for example a garage floor, which this type of washing will not damage. (However, you will want to use power washing more sparingly on softer surfaces.)
One thing to bear in mind is that it’s nearly always best to hire a professional to take care of this kind of cleaning for you. Unless you’re properly trained in steam pressure washing, you can end up damaging your surface. There are also some potential risks to your own safety unless you really know what you’re doing.