To get started on this subject, it’s essential to take this point of view: Approach winterizing your pressure washer the way you approach winterizing a car, the water pipes in your home, and so on.
But, before you start taking these individual steps, you should understand why it’s important to winterize this intricate machine.
If you protect your investment for the sole purpose of keeping the internal seals and other small parts lubricated when not in use, you’re doing more than some people do.
However, there are several other parts that should be protected, which you’ll encounter as you get into the details of winterizing gas equipment and/or electrical equipment.
As just mentioned, it’s very important to protect the engine of your washer, so it might be best to start with basic steps for preparing a gas pressure washer.
Winterize your Gas Pressure Washer
When do you winterize? Any time you’re not going to use the equipment for a month or more, you should do what’s necessary for engine protection.
Here’s a short video demonstrating the steps you should take, if don’t want to watch the video follow the steps below.
Gas pressure washer winterization Steps overview
- Add Fuel Stabilizer
- Remove water and cleaning solutions
- Add anti-freeze “Pump Saver” to pump inlet
You might consider using a fuel stabilizer and you should definitely clear out water and residual detergent from the pump and lines/hoses.
Fuel stabilizer is often used for small engines, because it helps when you start the engine the next time.
Gasoline stored in air-tight containers should remain stable for a long time.
But in a tank on gas-powered equipment, particles and “gummy” substances may form if the engine is unused for too long.
If you use an ethanol-blend gasoline, it’s even more important to use a stabilizer, because this blend breaks down even more quickly.
Running the engine for a couple of minutes should circulate the stabilizer sufficiently before you turn the pressure washer off.
To get the old water and cleaning products/detergents out of the system, hook your washer up to your garden hose.
Then feed clean water through the detergent feed by placing it in a bucket of water.
Turn the washer on and use the trigger to let it run at a low pressure for a few minutes.
This should clear out the lines and the system.
Turn off the garden hose so there’s no new water coming in and use the trigger to remove the remaining water.
Before putting the equipment away, take the last step of adding an anti-freeze solution (pump saver), especially if you live in an area where temperatures approach the freezing mark.
A few important details:
- If your equipment doesn’t have a float tank, use a short piece of hose to run a 50/50 water/anti-freeze mix through the system. Anti-freeze can be poured directly into the float tank for this process if your washer has that tank
- Manufacturers recommend letting the equipment go into “bypass” mode once to properly circulate the anti-freeze solution
- The final step includes protecting your power washer with a good covering to protect it from weather.
Winterize your Electric Power Washer
Naturally, you won’t have to be concerned about fuel stabilization with this equipment. So, your focus will be on getting the pump and feed lines ready.
Here’s a short video demonstrating how to winterize your electric pressure washer, though you can just follow our steps below.
Electric pressure washer winterization Steps overview
- Remove water and cleaning solutions from the pump
- Store the pressure washer indoors for winter
- Add “Pump Saver” antifreeze to the pump inlet to protect inner seals.
Clean tap water in a bucket should be used, with the detergent suction hose placed in it, as described earlier.
Turn on your washer and spray clean water for a couple of minutes to clean out the detergent. Once you disconnect the garden hose, you should use the trigger to empty the water out of the system.
Your power washer should be stored inside to fully protect it from freezing.
This also prevents damage to internal seals. If you use the pump-saver product as mentioned earlier, you’ll be taking an extra step to protect these seals.
Whether you have a gas-powered or an electric-powered washer, the few minutes you take to go through the winterization process will significantly extend the equipment’s life.
With proper attention, you’ll be able to start up again quickly and efficiently.
Your owner’s manual may have additional details about proper care and winterization.
While they may get by for several years without serious damage, in the long term there can still be some deterioration, externally and internally.
Any water left in the system can expand and cause damage that would be expensive to fix. Be the smart owner and devote a few minutes to the winterization process.
Then, you can relax, knowing your equipment is protected and ready to start for the next use.
To put the process in a few words that are worth repeating:
- Flush pump
- Flush detergent source
- Squeeze trigger with power off to empty lines remove pressure
Power washers are an efficient and powerful alternative to the garden hose, providing a jet of water that will remove grime, dirt, and buildup on many surfaces.
This is a great preparation tool when you’re going to paint the exterior of your home, for example.
But, you’ll want to be sure this equipment is working perfectly when you start it up the first time.
While this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised at how many people don’t take this important, final step.
You should have a dry, temperature-controlled place to store your pressure washer, preferably indoors.
If you store your equipment in an outdoor shed or outbuilding, make sure it’s clean and dry, with a reliable roof to keep the elements out.
When you’re ready to restart your washer in the spring, set the regulator at the lowest point.
With a gasoline engine, you should always check to make sure there’s sufficient oil that’s also clean. Connect the supply line and run it through the pump for a couple of minutes.
This will help you identify any leaks that have developed during storage. As you go through the test/restart process, you should gradually change the regulator setting until you reach the desired pressure.
If you’ve taken all the necessary winterization steps, you should be working without stress or worry in a matter of minutes.