Common Pressure Washer Issues and How To Prevent or Address Them

Last Updated: by Peter Lynn

Common Pressure Washer Issues and How To Prevent or Address Them

A pressure washer is one of the most useful and versatile pieces of equipment that you can buy for your home, so it’s no wonder that so many homeowners are making the investment. Perfect for a wide range of tasks, from cleaning the sidings and patio to keeping your car and patio furniture sparkling, there is a multitude of uses for your pressure washer, but the key to making the most of your investment is to know how to use it properly.

While using your high-pressure washer to clean the exterior and interior of your home can cut down your workload dramatically and achieve super speedy results, you need to know how to use your machine and how to care for it properly if you want to avoid the common problems that plague owners everywhere.

Before you use a gas-powered high-pressure washer, you need to think about a number of factors. For example, you need to consider the pressure with which the water is hitting the surface to be cleaned, the type of detergent or cleaning product being used, the type of surface you are cleaning and the process that you are going to undertake. While a gas-powered pressure cleaner can blast off dirt, dust, mold, algae, moss, and fungi with minimal time and effort, it can also cause just as many problems through lack of understanding and incorrect usage.

Here is a guide to a few common issues, the reasons behind them and the steps you can take to rectify the problem.

Water Leaking From Inside The Washer

This is one of the most commonly experienced faults and usually happens after the washer has been out of use during the winter. The water kept inside the pressure washer freezes in the cold temperatures, causing it to expand and split the plastic components. Another possible cause is an old, worn-out pump. You can avoid this issue by always draining the washer before storing it over the winter. Always keep your pressure washer in a place that is frost-free if possible. If the fault is a worn part, you can often buy replacement parts and fit them yourself.

Lance Failure


If no water comes out of your lance, it could be that there is a blockage in the nozzle. However, if the lance is leaking, the cause is probably a failure in the seals or a split in the plastic from wear and tear. You can avoid these problems by checking that the nozzles and lance have been assembled properly before you turn on the trigger. Never drop the lance while using it and always ensure the nozzle is not blocked before use.

Lost Pressure

If your high-pressure washer doesn’t seem to have very high pressure, there are a few causes to consider. One could be a blocked water inlet or nozzle, another could be a poor supply of water, or alternatively, there could be air in the pump or inlet water supply hose. If you are experiencing pulses of pressure, you should check first that you have fully turned your water supply on, and also that the hose has no kinks in it. Clean your water filter and then run the washer with the spray handle open at low pressure until a normal pressure resumes. Should the pressure below but steady, the problem could be a worn-out start/stop valve. You may be able to get it working by squeezing your trigger 5 times quickly. If the nozzle is worn, it will need replacing.

Seal Failure

Seal Failure

Seal failure is also likely to be caused by damage from frozen water over the winter, or just wear and tear over time. You can avoid this by storing the washer away from very cold environments or by replacing the seal wherever possible.

Pump Failure

Cracked or frozen pump components are the most likely cause of pump failure, but one more cause could be running your pump when the water isn’t flowing, or ignoring some other problem which has caused the washer to function incorrectly. You can avoid this before storing your pump properly and always ensuring that you have turned the water on at a suitable pressure before you run the pump. If your pressure washer is pulsing, take steps to rectify this as soon as possible.

Do’s And Don’ts Of Using A Pressure Washer


  • Check a small part of the surface you are going to clean first as this will help you to discover the right pressure for cleaning that specific item
  • Wear protective clothing for your hands, eyes, feet, and body when using a gas-powered cleaner
  • Always check that your pressure washer is in good working order before use
  • Check your hose and small components for any sediments or clogging
  • Check your fuel level before you start work
  • While cleaning, move your hose in a pendulum motion
  • Clean the surface, washing off with water from the top to the bottom. Keep at right angles when cleaning to achieve the best result
  • Remove all objects, items, and plants from the surface you are cleaning before you start work to avoid accidental damage
  • Keep the engine away from the area you are cleaning to prevent any water falling on it


  • Never point the hose of your machine at anyone as they could be injured or worse
  • Never keep the engine running if you are not using the machine
  • Never leave the machine unattended while it is in use
  • Never spray water at yourself, even if the machine is turned off since pressure may build up inside the hose and could be suddenly released
  • Never fill the tank with gas while the machine is being used
  • Never use an acid-based cleaner on your machine as it will cause damage
  • Never pressure wash a delicate surface like glass as it could break due to the water pressure

Follow these steps and you will improve your pressure washing experience. Click here to find out more information about pressure washers and how to choose the right one for you.

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