Pressure washing your house or commercial building is a great way to remove all the dirt and debris accumulated over the past months or years. It will certainly make your living and working environment healthier while simultaneously giving you a curb appeal boost.
However, no matter how fun it may seem, pressure washing your property is a job you should leave to the professionals. It's effortless to rent your pressure washer and start a DIY house washing project, completely confident this is something you can do on your own. Still, it would be good to know all the dangers of pressure washing your property by yourself before you do.
The emergency room statistic shows that in 2014 around 6,000 people needed treatment for injuries caused by pressure washers. As much as 15 percent of those have suffered injures so great, they had to be admitted into a hospital for further treatment.
Let's look at some of the dangers of pressure washing on your own.
Lacerations and Skin Injuries
You most likely already know that a pressure washer is a piece of equipment that projects water at high pressure (psi) and creates a jet so powerful it can remove the most stubborn dirt from your home's exterior. What you may not know is that it takes a force of just 100 psi to break human skin.
Now, not every pressure washer produces the same force, but most of those meant for home use go from around 1,500 psi to as much as 4,000 psi. And while most surfaces around your yard, including your home siding, only need about 1,000 psi of water pressure, it is still much more than 100 psi that can end up hurting you.
This means that if a stream of water higher than 100 psi accidentally hits your skin or anybody else's in your vicinity, it can cause the skin to break and sometimes form very deep lacerations. If this happens, seek medical attention at once.
The problem with the pressure washer-caused lacerations is that sometimes those lacerations go further than just skin-deep. When this happens, a whole other set of medical issues can happen to you.
Compartment syndrome is when air, water, or dirt gets lodged into your tissue. A pressure washer can cause this if the psi was much greater and exposure to the stream was longer. What this kind of injury may lead to is severe muscle infection.
If left untreated, this kind of infection on your arm, for example, can lead to amputation and, in some cases, death.
Electric Shock or Electrocution
This is something we learn at a very young age- combining electricity and water is very, very dangerous. However, electrocution caused by pressure washers is something that can quickly happen.
While most pressure washers have what is called a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter), how we operate the pressure washer can render the GFCI technology useless.
One of those instances is when we decide to plug the electric pressure washer into an extension cord, especially when pressure washing driveways, yards and walkways.
Now, extension cords are something that easily malfunctions and gets damaged. So, by dragging it along your wet grass, you are one second away from being electrocuted.
Falling From Ladders
One of the most common pressure washing-related injuries are those caused when a person operating the pressure washer falls from the ladders. This happens because, unlike pressure washing professionals, ordinary people don't know how to 'work' the pressure washing equipment.
While you may think pointing a stream of water is easy, in reality, this task requires a bit more experience, especially when you need to climb on the ladders to complete the job.
The number one thing that leads to people falling from ladders is the kickback force that the stream of pressurized water can produce.
It can easily knock you off the ladder, and even if they are not that long, you can end up seriously hurting yourself.
If you have a two-story home you want to clean, call a trusted pressure washing company in your area to do this job for you. Their technicians will have a multitude of additional equipment that allows them to pressure wash upper floors.
Injuries by Other Objects
While working with a pressure washer, you should always pay attention to where you point the stream of water. Even if you are being extra careful and manage not to point it to another person, accidents can still happen.
For example, you may end up pointing the stream to a random object like a flowerpot or garden gnome, sending it flying across the yard where it can hit your loved ones, a neighbor, or your pet.
Be very careful when trying to pressure wash your deck furniture. Use a lower amount of psi because a higher pressure can project those items across your yard, damaging them along the way and having them potentially hurting someone.