How much water does a pressure washer use?

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If you haven’t had the pleasure of using a pressure washer before, you won’t know how much of a blessing these machines are. By utilizing water at high pressure, we can deeply clean multiple surfaces, easily getting rid of dirt and debris accumulated over time. This is a great tool to keep the area around your house clean.

You might think that because these machines have so much pressure, that it only makes sense for them to consume a lot of water, especially if you use it often. But how much water does a pressure washer use exactly? Well, let’s find out! If you are looking to save some money on your water bill or reduce your water consumption, here’s what you need to know.

How Much Water Do Pressure Washers Consume?

A typical household pressure washer will consume around 2 gallons of water per minute if you use a light machine. Suppose you are using a medium-duty machine or a heavy-duty gas pressure washer. In that case, this can be up to 5 gallons or more per minute. It all depends on the gallons per minute (GPM) rating of your pressure washer.

Woman Cleaning Waill With High Pressure Water Jet

This is typically influenced by the brand, the particular model, and so on. Your typical high-quality unit will usually produce in the region of 1.8 gallons per minute (GPM) for home use, which will usually have around 2100 pounds per square inch (PSI) of maximum pressure.

As I mentioned above, the more powerful the pressure washer, the more water that is consumed. Some can even get to 8 or 10 gallons per minute. It all depends on the power of the model you are using. The more efficient the machine itself is, the more water pressure it will have, meaning that less water will be consumed as you’ll get the job done faster.

Does a Pressure Washer Consume More than a Garden Hose?

Most people believe that a garden hose will consume less water because it doesn’t spray the water at the same high pressure. It may shock you to know that actually, a pressure washer consumes less water and that by trying to use your garden hose to do the cleaning will lead to more water consumption per minute. This is because there is less pressure, so it takes more effort to remove the dirt.

While some pressure washers will use, for example, 2 GPM, your garden hose will typically take 20 gallons to achieve the same result, if it’s possible at all.

I’ve hinted at this, but a garden hose is much less efficient in cleaning deeply ingrained dirt. As a result, you will end up using the hose for longer and consuming more water. A pressure washer gets around this by increasing the water’s pressure, enabling you to remove that deeply ingrained dirt. As such, you save time, save water, and your garden is impeccable.

Look at it this way. Let’s say that your garden hose can provide 2 gallons of water per minute. That’s the most it can do.

You can use that 2 gallons per minute from the hose itself, or you can pass it through a pressure washer pump, which takes in 2 gallons and fires out 2 gallons. The only difference is the pressure washer will increase the water’s pressure.

So the gallons of water use doesn’t increase when attached to your pressure washer, so a garden hose and a pressure washer use the same amount of water.

Wait? Didn’t I say a pressure washer consumed less? I did, and here’s the trick.

To clean a small area with your hose may take 5 minutes. It just doesn’t have the pressure to shift the dirt quickly, even when you pinch the hose nozzle to get that high-pressure stream.

However, that same small area can be cleaned in 1-2 minutes with a pressure washer, as it has the power to lift the dirt out of the crevices and away with ease.

It’s for that reason alone that a pressure washer consumes less water.

Factors That Affect Water Consumption

The amount of water that will be consumed by your pressure washer is influenced by several factors.

  • Firstly, The way you use it.

When you use a pressure unit, the pressure, the water flow, the cleaning solutions, and the heat will impact how much water you consume.

These basically come together and influence how fast you can clean the surface and remember it’s that speed that reduces consumption.

For example, if you only use cold water, then the dirt will take a bit more effort to remove. Plus, by only using cold water, you may need to add a cleaning solution to lift the dirt and, ultimately, more water and time.

Now I’m not saying go out and purchase a hot water pressure washer.

  • The task. i.e. what you are pressure washing

What you are using your pressure washer for will directly affect the water consumption level. Suppose you are cleaning your sidewalk or driveway or even your house. In that case, you should use a medium-duty pressure washer or even a heavy-duty one, One that can produce between 2,300 and 2,500 PSI, as well as consuming 2.2 to 2.3 gallons per minute.

However, if you are using a pressure washer to clean your car, truck, or boat, a lightweight pressure washer will be more than enough to get the job done. These produce anywhere between 1,400 and 1,800 PSI, using a water rate of around 1.4 to 1.6 gallons per minute.

How to Reduce Water Consumption

If you are looking to use a pressure unit and also to reduce the amount of water being used by as much as possible there, there are a few things that you can do.

  • Use Hot Water

Using a hot water pressure washer is a much more efficient option than using a cold water unit to clean various surfaces.

How to Reduce Water Consumption

Warm or hot water works much more efficiently because it removes the dirt more efficiently, don’t believe me? Go do your dishes with cold water, then do another batch with hot, see how long and how much effort was required between the two.

Plus, when using warm or hot water, you reduce the cleaning time and the amount of cleaning solution you use, resulting in less consumed water. Savings all-round, as time and cleaning solution, aren’t really free.

If it’s possible the water temperature of the water used she be between 160 and 210 degrees F. If you are only going to use this for small household cleaning chores, then you can get a lightweight hot water pressure use, something that can handle around 5 hours of work a week.

  • Wash Carefully

If you know how to take care when washing, you will only use the necessary water, and as a result, this will save water.

For instance, when you are washing your car, it makes sense to do a light pre-soak before using any detergent.

This actually reduces the water use because it softens the dirt, so when you come to use the detergent it’s able to really penetrate, so when you rinse later it’s a case of just removing the detergent, there’s no need to spend ages working on tough bits of dirt.

If you can do this properly, you’ll only consume between 9 to 15 gallons of water.

Closing thoughts

When you are trying to decide which is better to use between a garden hose and a pressure washer, it really is essential to know how a pressure washer operates and whether it’s a good investment.

Hopefully, I’ve managed to highlight how much water can be saved by using a pressure washer, that’s to the time savings it gives you. By cleaning more efficiently, the job is done quicker and ultimately better, so you consume less water, less time, and do a better job, so for me, using a pressure washer is a win-win.

If you are only looking for something to clean your car or deck every now and then, you should go with a lightweight version, which will decrease your water consumption even more.