Pressure washing the patio, grill, and lawn care equipment can be one of the more rewarding spring projects. It’s the top homeowner chore that marks Old Man Winter’s exit and leaves you with a clean area to enjoy the outdoors again. Before starting your weekend of washing – make sure your pressure washer is up to the task.
Before starting maintenance or equipment repair, disconnect the battery and/or spark plug. Always wear protective safety clothing.
Inspect air filter, fuel filter, oil level and condition, spark plug, and replace if necessary. Fuel should be changed if it has been sitting for longer than a month.
Check the water system from the garden hose washer to the high pressure nozzle. Clear debris from filters and screens as well as anything in the chemical/soap tank. Replace any washers that look worn as well.
Start the pressure washer by following the steps in your owner’s manual. Look for leaks in any of the connections like the hose, wand, or pump. If it's time to replace the hose or wand, you can find them here. If you don’t have pressurized water or notice drop in performance, there is a good chance you need a new pump.
Unfortunately you can’t pick up a pump at a local hardware store – but you can order online. The Homelite (Part Number 308653045) is one of the most common replacement pumps around. For under $70 you can replace the part and continue to get years of use out of the machine.
If this is your first season with a pressure washer, a word
of caution: cleaning siding, windows, and the exterior of the house can do more
harm than good. Vinyl siding, paint, and screens are no match for a 3000 psi hose!
Do your research and don’t rule out calling a professional.
The key to success with any equipment is proactive maintenance. Making sure your pressure washer is in good working order before you need it, avoids aggravation and ensures a successful weekend washing project!
Give the machine a once over to identify any loose or broken parts. Addressing problems now will be much easier than next winter, when on the day of the first storm, you attempt to service the machine.
If you are considering selling your snowblower and upgrading to a new machine, the best time to do so are the weeks leading to the first snow fall. Getting the machine cleaned up and serviced now means you’ll be able to quickly list the old machine at the first sign of snow next season. Additionally, most power equipment stores have the best pricing on new snowblowers in the fall, so quickly selling the old machine means you’ll buy the new one at the best price!
What should be completed for the season ending “tune-down”? Work on outdoor power equipment always starts with the owner’s manual to identify and document specific steps related to your machine. The manual will provide safety steps and part numbers so can easily order replacement parts! However, the following steps can be completed on most equipment.
- Fuel. Yes, we said it again… gasoline has a shelf life and old gas can harm your engine. You wouldn’t drink milk that’s sat around for a couple weeks – so remove any gas and run the engine dry. Grab a can of “ethanol free” fuel from the power equipment store and run that through until it reaches the carburetor and turn it off.
- Change the oil. It’s quick, easy, and not freezing cold out. Grab a bottle of 5W30 oil and make the change.
- What condition are the skid shoes and scraper blade in? Replace or adjust if needed.
- If chipped paint or rust are a problem, sand and paint to prevent further damage.
- Assess condition of the belts, cables, auger, chute, wheels, and controls. What’s missing, worn, or needs further attention?
- Get a heavy duty cover and store the machine indoors if possible. If storing outside, get it off the ground and sealed up – you don't want flat spots on the tires. Plus, you don’t want to provide a home to this guy!
Many will ask: “Tune-down for what?” The short answer is that the sooner you identify and fix problems with the snowblower, the longer it will last.