Power (Wash) To The People

Yesterday, before the fury of the thunderstorms that hit our area, Helaine was in full bore fix-up mode. She had reserved a 2 HP powerwasher from a local equipment rental place.

Thanks to Bernoulli’s Principle, the tiny nozzle on the powerwasher shoots a jet of water with enough power to perform home liposuction or add a second navel to anyone nearby. The powerwasher’s task – remove two years of grime and gunk from the back deck and patio furniture.

I helped Helaine get it out of her SUV. These powerwashers are heavy and a little unwieldy. There’s a little bit of plumbing, with brass fittings, and a medium sized compressor.

We wheeled it to the back, attached our garden hose to the intake and opened up the sillcock (Don’t look at me. I didn’t name it). The pump on the washer started whirring as Helaine pointed the wand down toward the wooden deck.

It didn’t take more than a minute for the end fitting on our hose to pop off! I guess a winter outside isn’t the best for plastic fittings under pressure.

While I got ready for work, Helaine and Stef went to get another hose… and just in cast it was repairable (it was) another hose end and clamp.

Our problems out of the way, we hooked everything up and Helaine squeezed the trigger. For two seconds the spray was strong… and then it wasn’t. She tried again. She tried again, again.

Sure, you could powerwash a deck this way, if you had a week or two. I called the rental place. Long story short, by late in the afternoon, we had another powerwasher. And then the rains came.

This morning, Helaine went at it again. When Steffie turned on her blow dryer, on the same GFI circuit as the washer, we popped a breaker. No problem. Easily reset, but this project was beginning to feel ‘snake bit.’

Later, the extension cord plug jostled loose. That popped the breaker on the washer unit itself (who knew it had one).

Part way through the job, Helaine called me so I could see her work. It’s not the kind of thing you’d notice in the abstract, but when you compare the before and after – wow! Our wood was now wood colored, as opposed to the darkened yuck it was.

The washer goes back this afternoon. Right now, it’s sitting in the sun, drying off before we put it back in the truck.

Helaine’s sense of satisfaction is quite evident. She set out to do this grimy job and damn it, it’s done. Mission accomplished!

One thought on “Power (Wash) To The People”

  1. The electrically-powered pressure washers are impressive, but if you want some real danger, try a 5 horsepower gasoline powered one. That tends to remove more than grunge and paint, and will really cut you badly if you get in it’s path. The one I have is very good at removing tire marks from concrete–I suspect by simply peeling off the first layer of concrete.

    I’ts not really a good idea to use one to strip paint off wood that is to be re-painted or stained. it temds to really rough up the surfae and raise the grain of the wood, which makes it hard to repaint it.

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