How to Winterize a Pressure Washer

After a joyous summer full of pressure washing works, fall starts to blow in and you feel that chill in the air and know that it is time to protect and winterize your pressure washer. You might be thinking of your pressure washer as a lawnmower that you can just store in the shed until the next spring when you are going to need it again. But lawn mowers do not have any water in them. 

Physics tells us that water expands in freezing temperatures and freezing water creates enough force to crack open boulders. Your pressure washer doesn’t stand a chance against freeze damage. Winterizing your pressure washer is a minor hassle but it can protect your investment. 

Why is it Important to Winterize a Pressure Washer

Though getting your tools winter ready is a pain, winterizing your equipment has to be as scheduled and regular as spring cleaning. The purpose of winterizing a pressure washer is to protect the internal seals by lubricating them for the freezing winter months when they are not in use.

Imagine you are ready to work on a power washing project on one beautiful summer day with your pressure washer unit you bought last summer and set a whole saturday afternoon to wash your house siding. But when you take out your pressure washer, it turns out it needs intensive repair. You get it to the pressure washer store for repairs and face the question whether you want to repair the machine or just buy a new one because the costs are just comparable. 

You will be disappointed to find out that the warranty of the power washer doesn’t cover all that. If you fail to drain and winterize the pressure washer, the manufacturer’s warranty does not cover the damage. Usually, all the pressure washer manufacturers highlight this one particular fact.

How to Winterize a Pressure Washer?

The process of winterizing a gas pressure washer is different from that for an electric pressure washer. We will discuss the winterizing process for each type of power pressure separately. So let’s get on to it.

Winterizing a Gas Pressure Washer

Gas pressure washers are more likely to get damaged as it runs on the actual fuel unlike electric power washers. If you fail to provide required maintenance before storing it in winter. It can be pretty disastrous.

Winterizing a gas pressure washer require three different systems:

  1. Preparing the fuel system 
  2. Adding antifreeze to the water pump
  3. Protecting the cylinder from rust

Here are some important steps to winterize your gas pressure washer to ensure it stays safe in this chilling season.

Cleaning Pressure Washer Inside

To clean a power washer pump system from inside, run it with clean water without any mixed detergent. Put the detergent injection tube into a bucket of freshwater and run the washer for a few minutes on a low pressure setting which will push out any remains of detergent. Get to know about the pressure washing of cars.

Use a Fuel Stabilizer

Power washers that work on fuel need a fuel stabilizer in the fuel tank to protect the fuel system. Fuel stabilizer breaks down sledge and water in ethanol and prevents fuel problems. This allows the engine to burn up smaller particles safely and increase the performance and efficiency of the engine. It also prevents fuel lines from getting clogged during storage.

You can add pump saver oil or RV antifreeze to the pump. Check the manual of your pressure washer to make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions and use the correct pressure washer pump saver. 

Fuel stabilizer prevents the gasoline fuel from degrading in the fuel tank. Also, it prevents harmful varnish or gum from forming inside the engine.

Many pressure washers come with sealed pumps on which you cannot do maintenance. However, if it has an accessible drain and a fill bolt/plug, you can do maintenance on it.

Turn off both the water and water supply and detach trigger gun and drain hoses from the body.

Winterizing the Pressure Washer Pump

Add pump saver solution to get it done easily and quickly. Disconnect all the components; hoses, the wand and the trigger spray gun from the body and drain out as much residual water as you can from them. 

You can use a funnel or a piece of garden hose to fill the pump with solution. Or you can fill the pump inlet with R.V. antifreeze or Pump Saver until it runs out of the outlet i.e. where the high pressure hose is connecting to the pump. Furthermore, check out this amazing guide about presser washer nozzles.

Attach the pump saver pump to the clean water inlet through the garden hose and turn on the knob. Pull on the starter cord a couple of times so that the antifreeze cycles through the pump and the pump saver solution starts to come out.  

Dry the Pressure Washer

Dry your pressure washer completely before putting it away under the shed as any remaining water can damage the metal casting of the machine. 

Disconnect the garden hose and run the pressure washer to ensure all water has come out and then pull the recoil handle a couple of times to ensure there is no water left.

Oil the Engine

Use oils to protect the cylinder from getting rusty. Oil the spark plug hole and move the engine a couple of times.

Winterizing Electric Pressure Washers

Winterizing process for an electric pressure washer is a bit different from that for the gas pressure washer as it doesn’t run on gasoline or ethanol.

For an electric pressure washer, you just need to winterize the pump only with a pump saver.

Winterizing an electric pressure washer requires a bit different steps than for a gas-powered pressure washer, but it is manageable. Make sure you read the owner’s manual to winterize your machine the right way. Moreover, discover this awesome guide about the pressure wash a pool and spa.

Remove all the Detergent Residue

Place the suction type into a bucket of warm and clean tap water and run the machine or add some lukewarm or hot water to the detergent container. Then turn off the water supply and engine, and remove the pump inlet. Relieve any trapped pressure by squeezing the trigger of the spray gun. It will eliminate the detergent residue that has been stuck inside. Engage the trigger lock on the spray gun to ensure safety. 

Disassemble the Machine

Disassemble the components of the pressure washer. Start with disconnecting the hose and lance from the body and squeeze out all water and residual detergent. When coiling the hose for storing, make sure you take all the remaining water out by raising the hose as much as possible. Or you can pull the recoil handle a couple of times to take out all the water. Additionally, check out these amazing pressure washers for house cleaning.

Run the Machine Without the Hoses

Run your pressure washer once more without the hose and lance. This will stir the remaining water out of the system. Run the power washer like that and gently shake it for about half a minute or so.

Store Your Pressure Washer away from any Water Leakage

Once you have winterized the hose pipes and all the other components, and maintain the pump system, it is time to store your pressure washer for the winter. Make sure you put it in the place where it doesn’t come in contact with any kind of water and there is no chance of water leakage. The place should be dry, warm like a basement or an attached garage to ensure your pressure washer stays safe from rust, dust, and mineral deposits. Check out these amazing tips to stop a pressure washer from pulsating.