If you want to make your home look its very best, you are likely to go looking for the most powerful tools you can. This quest will often lead you to pressure washing equipment, but you need to exercise a little common sense before using these very high-powered tools on your home. Here are some of the risks you may be running if you try to handle your own pressure washing.
Forcing Water Into Your Home
Your home is built with a lot of different features designed to keep the interior dry and protected from adverse weather. Pressure washing will basically expose your home to a man-made storm with heavy rainfall and extremely high winds, and the odds are very good that these conditions will force water through vulnerabilities in your home’s exterior envelope.
Once water gets into the structure of your home, particularly the walls, it can cause significant long-term damage. It can degrade building materials, cause future water intrusion and most seriously, encourage the growth of molds and other health threats.
Damaging Exterior Finishes
High-pressure washing equipment also has the potential to do permanent damage to your home’s exterior finish. In extreme cases, the very highest pressure settings can blast siding right off your home. Even lower-pressure options can still cause damage as they can easily gouge wood and damage windows. Even brick walls may be vulnerable to pressure washing if your brickwork has any loose mortar.
Besides the above-mentioned risk of introducing water to the interior spaces of your home and fostering the growth of mold and other contaminants, untrained pressure washing can have other negative health implications. If there is lead paint on the exterior of your home, pressure washing is a good way to spread the dangerous material all over your property. Worse yet, pressure washing breaks up lead paint into very small particles, making it easier for family members and pets to ingest.
An article in Consumer Reports reported that in 2014, over 6,000 people had to go to the emergency room from injuries suffered while pressure washing! The pressure from a stream of water is able to cut through heavy duty boots. You have to pay close attention to where you are aiming the hose.
If you do cut yourself with a stream of water, even if it’s just a small cut and you are using chemicals in the pressure washer, you may end up with a bacterial infection.
You must also be aware of the dangers of electrical shock. The pressure washer uses electricity to operate and if the cord becomes damaged, you could experience being shocked or even cause a fire. Always be sure that you are using a socket that is protected with a ground fault circuit interrupter. You need to keep water away from any electric sockets or electric fixtures on the exterior of your home, as well.
Working With Trained Professionals
While all of these risks are very real, they can be overcome with proper training and careful preparation. This is why it’s always better to entrust power washing to professionals instead of trying to handle it on your own. Take the time to verify that the service you hire is trained and equipped to clean your home safely!
Look for specific certifications and licenses related to pressure washing. Bear in mind that many businesses that employ this equipment do so without comprehensive training or a proper respect for the risks involved. (Painting contractors, in particular, are frequent offenders when it comes to improper pressure washing.)
While pressure washing isn’t dangerous in every situation, you should recognize the fact that it can be hard to tell safe from dangerous usage without a lot of training and experience. This is why pressure washing is almost always a job for professionals. Experts will know which techniques are safe for use on specific portions of your home and refrain from using more power than is necessary or safe. That goes a long way towards minimizing the risks posed by pressure washing.
R.S. Hall is the owner of several successful businesses and the publisher of the website MoldRemovalRescue.com which provides solutions for mold problems.