Pressure washers are a great cleaning tool, as they use high amounts of pressure to clean the dirtiest substances from your tools, construction equipment, home, patios, decks, and other hard surfaces. But how much water do they use?
A pressure washer uses two to four gallons (9.1 to 18.18 L) of water per minute of use, which comes out to 120 to 240 gallons (545.53 to 1,091.06 L) of water per hour. However, this amount changes based on the make and model of the machine.
The rest of this article explains in detail how much water pressure washers go through, tips for minimizing the amount of water used when using a pressure washer, and some pros and cons of using a pressure washer.
If you’re interested in getting one for your home, or if you want to know more about how to efficiently use the pressure washer you already have, read on!
How Do You Measure How Much Water a Pressure Washer Uses?
Most standard pressure washers use between two and four gallons of water per minute, but this amount varies based on the washer’s brand, make, and manufacturer.
To measure how much water a pressure washer uses, you will need to know the machine’s PSI and GPM. PSI stands for Pounds Per Square Inch, and GPM stands for Gallons Per Minute. PSI measures how much force comes out of the pressure washer’s nozzle, and GPM is the volume of water used by the washer.
To find the number of cleaning units, you multiply the PSI by the GPM.
For example, if a pressure washer has a PSI of 3,500 and a GPM of 3, it has a total of 10,500 cleaning units.
How much water a pressure washer uses is based on the GPM measurement. The average washer, which uses two to four gallons per minute, comes out to 120 to 240 gallons (545.53 to 1,091.06 L) per hour.
That seems like a lot of water, and it is, but this is much less water than a standard garden hose uses. A standard hose has a GPM of a staggering 24 gallons (90.85 L). That’s 1,440 gallons (5,450.99 L) per hour of constant use!
Pressure washers have a smaller opening nozzle than a hose, and this smaller opening means that the water goes through a smaller hole and has an intensified power.
Some higher-end pressure washers use even more water than this, as large pressure washers can use up to eight gallons per minute, or 480 gallons (1,817 L) per hour!
Tips for Saving Water With a Pressure Washer
There’s no way around it– pressure washers use a lot of water. However, if you need to use a pressure washer and want to minimize how much water you’re using, here are some tips:
- Use a low GPM pressure washer. You don’t necessarily need a washer with a super high GPM. Anything under 3 GPM will generally suffice. I like this 1800W Pressure Washer (available on Amazon.com) because it only has a GPM of 2.11, and it has 4 quick-connect spray nozzles and a 20-foot (6.1 m) hose to reach tricky areas, including under your car.
- Use soap and hot water. Adding soap and hot water to your pressure washer will get the cleaning done quicker, so you’re not using the pressure washer for as long. Even if you minimize your pressure washer use by five minutes, that’s an average of 10-20 gallons (37.85-75.71 L) of water saved!
- Be as efficient as possible when you’re cleaning. Try to get the job done thoroughly and quickly to minimize the amount of time you’re using your pressure washer, and don’t just constantly hold the trigger down.
- Adjust the pressure if possible. Some pressure washers are adjustable, so you can change how much water it uses per minute. Only use as much pressure as you need.
By following this advice, you can minimize the amount of water you’re using while you’re cleaning with your pressure washer.
The Pros and Cons of Pressure Washers
Pressure washers are helpful machines for cleaning hard surfaces.
The Pros of Using a Pressure Washer
Here are some benefits:
- They use less water than hoses. Even though 120-240 gallons (545.53 to 1,091.06 L) per hour is a lot, pressure washers use less water than the standard garden hose, so if you’re swapping your hose out for a pressure washer instead, you’re saving water and money on your water bill.
- They’re easy to use. Most pressure washers are simple in design and come on wheels, so you can move them around to reach hard-to-reach places for cleaning, and the hose attached makes it possible to clean almost any surface, including your roof. Make sure you read any instructions that come with the pressure washer, but in general, these machines are very user-friendly.
- They clean efficiently. The power of a pressure washer means that dirt and grime come off quicker than if you were just using a hose instead.
The Cons of Using a Pressure Washer
However, no product is perfect, and there are some disadvantages you should know about:
- They can be dangerous. Pressure washers are forceful; that’s part of the reason why they’re so effective for cleaning. However, if you’re not used to this amount of force, you could injure yourself. Make sure that you read the instructions carefully to avoid any injury!
- Pressure washers can damage some surfaces. The force of a pressure washer can be too much for some materials, including loose vinyl, wood, or aging paint. Therefore, the pressure of the water can damage or crack the surface.
- Pressure washers can be expensive. These machines, especially high-quality ones, aren’t cheap! You can choose to rent a pressure washer instead of purchasing one if you want to save on the cost, but renting every time you need to clean can get expensive too.
Ultimately, whether or not a pressure washer is best for you depends on your property, how dirty your surfaces get, and your personal cleaning preferences.
Pressure washers are a quick, easy, and effective way to get some serious cleaning done on hard surfaces around your home.
They typically use two to four gallons (11.36 to 15.14 L) per minute, which is a lot of water, but less than if you were using a garden hose.
There are ways to minimize your water usage, though, so you can get a deep clean without depleting too much of a precious resource and adding to your water bill!