With winter well on its way, we’re running out of days to power wash the ol’ abode. And if your home looks a little lackluster before the coldest days of the year, well, it will look that way throughout the winter, since it will be too cold to power wash those surfaces. Now’s the time to give your house some attention, but how do you power wash your home without damaging its exterior? And how do you power wash your home safely? As Northern Colorado’s home painting company, we know a thing or two about maintaining the exterior of your home. Let’s answer those looming questions and delve into some additional tips to make the most of your power washing experience, ensuring that your home is as clean as can be until next year.

Safety First

First thing’s first, you should to stay safe and take steps to mitigate the hazards of power washing. Be sure to clear away furniture and obstacles around the house. Always wear protective glasses to avoid harm that can be caused by airborne debris. Be mindful of electrical cords, outlets, and power lines — avoid these obstacles, since water is present! Be sure to cover any openings and protrusions from your home (like vents) — you can use tape and plastic (like plastic bags) to cover these openings. Of course, you should also make sure that your windows and doors are shut securely. Finally, take breaks as you power wash (it can be tiring on your arms and hands!). Here are a few more essential safety tips.

Power Wash at Above-Freezing Temps

As the temperatures swing below freezing from day to day here in Colorado, it’s important to refrain from power washing in freezing temps. Doing so can damage your home’s siding (since the water on the surface will expand as it freezes. Moreover, power washing with cold enough water can damage the pressure washer, which could be costly. Plus, you’ll be frigid if you get wet! Power wash on a warm day, and give your home plenty of time to dry before the temperature sinks to freezing.

Never Use a Ladder — Invest in an Extension Wand

For homeowners that have multi-story homes, you’ll need to invest in an extension wand to reach those high places. Never use a ladder to reach upper stories, since the pressure from the washer can push you off the ladder. If you can’t reach the top of your home, you can use sturdy scaffolding to get the job done, or you can hire a professional cleaning company. Please, don’t risk a fall.

Consider Buying a Pressure Washer

While you can rent pressure washers from your local hardware store, you might want to invest in buying one. Why? Well, rentals often run around $100 per day (and it will likely take a full day or more to clean your home). Meanwhile, buying a decent pressure washer costs about $300. So, if you ever use a pressure washer more than three times, purchasing a washer will have paid for itself. That said, if you’re only planning on pressure washing once, or you don’t have the money or space for a new pressure washer, renting is certainly an option. Either way, we recommend using a gas-powered washer (over an electric), since it’s more mobile, less dangerous, and more powerful.

Always Use Detergent

Look for a detergent that is designed for pressure washing homes. Check the label to ensure that it is designed for your home’s siding material — some detergents are universal and can be used on any home siding. We recommend using a detergent that is eco-friendly, since it will seep into the soil around your home — be sure to spray down any plants around your house after cleaning to remove residue. Follow the instructions on the detergent you bought, and use a soaping nozzle to apply detergent. Using detergent makes the job far easier, and it means that you won’t have to use as much pressure to clean your home, so you won’t damage the surface. Apply detergent over the surface of a section of your home at a time, starting from the ground up; let it rest for a few minutes; then power wash it so the detergent doesn’t dry; then move on to the next section and repeat.

General Guidelines

Now that your home is ready for a proper cleaning, it’s time to get started. Put a 25 or 40 degree spray tip on the nozzle, set the pressure to 1,500 psi (you shouldn’t need more than 2,000 psi), and start spraying with the tip at 3 feet away from your home. You can move closer to your home until the pressure is just enough to remove all grime, but never get closer than a foot away. Work from the top of your home down as you complete section by section moving around the home. Once you’re in the swing of things, you’ll power through power washing your home, and you’ll love that brand-new look of your home that a thorough cleaning can provide.

Home Painting From Horner

We hope that our tips help you to keep your home looking its best for years to come. As always, if your home’s exterior has paint that’s discolored, chipping, or damaged, we’d be happy to provide you with a fresh coat of paint. Plus, with all of our exterior painting jobs we always ensure that the surfaces of your home are clean, dry, and ready for new paint. Curious about our services or ready to get started? Don’t hesitate to give us a call — we provide painting services throughout Northern Colorado from our hometown of Fort Collins.