Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

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Pressure Washers

4/28/2014 9:07:00 AM

Tags: pressure washers, Bruce McElmurray, Colorado

pressure washer 001 jpg

It seems that I discover each day that remote living requires constant change and the ability to adapt. Unforeseen circumstances are thrust upon those who live outside the city and suburbs of more congested areas. Take for example the road grader that came down our previously good dirt road while it was soft from snow melting on it. While suitable for passenger vehicles a piece of heavy machinery like a grader sunk deep enough into the road that the blade scraped the road base and gravel off the road leaving us with dirt and rocks. Apparently once was not enough so a month later the same thing was repeated leaving us with a very muddy road.

To keep our vehicles from being damaged it is necessary to keep the mud from building up in the suspension and wheel wells of our 4 wheel drive vehicles. That requires a lot of effort with a hose and spray nozzle or a pressure washer. We have found a pressure washer to be of enormous benefit in maintaining our vehicles as well as having other uses around the property, like cleaning our BBQ grill, tractor and implements, and cleaning the deck area before applying sealer. It is also used for cleaning the stone fascia of the house and many other minor tasks.

In my opinion a pressure washer is an essential tool when living remotely to keep equipment and surfaces clean. We have gone through two smaller electrical pressure washers that were adequate but severely tested and did not hold up to the heavy duty use on our homestead. We went to a gasoline powered model that produces 2500 PSI and found it comparable to a do-it-yourself car wash. Since we do most of our shopping on line we checked various models and found that the one in the photo would be suitable for our needs. We thought Generac made generators but found they also make a power washer for home use which is affordable. For what we paid for the two previous smaller electrical power washers that failed to hold up we could have bought this one initially (lesson learned).

It was purchased on line with free shipping. When it arrived at our local Walmart we headed into town and picked it up, the store staff even took it to our vehicle and loaded it (75#) for us. Assembly was easy and it was ready to go in no time. The manufacturer even includes a container of oil to use. It should be noted however that it does require 87 octane gasoline and no more than 10% ethanol. I keep gas for my chain saws on hand which is only 85 octane and therefore I had to make another trip into town for additional gas. I feel sure it would have operated on 85 octane but the manufacturer should know what is best to use and therefore that is what I went with. I would suggest having the owners manual at hand when you start the engine the first time. I ended up flooding the engine and it took some real effort to then get it started. Once started it ran very well even at high altitude which is not always the case on small engines. I was able to clean the mud and dirt off our two vehicles in no time at all.

I would suggest that if you live on dirt roads that can unexpectedly become muddy this would be a good purchase. Dirt and mud cause considerable wear and tear on vehicles and having a power washer that can remove it promptly is a very useful tool to have on hand. Our nearest self serve car wash is over 40 miles away and while the pay back time -vs.- the cost of the machine is considerable I consider it a worthy investment. It will do other things that you can’t accomplish in a car wash, and is more convenient than heading to a car wash each time you need to clean your vehicle. We believe we have made a good purchase and time will tell how well it holds up to our conditions. We expect that it will do exactly what we need it for and setting it up is simple, just connect the water hose and crank the engine and it is ready to go. In fairness to the less powerful electric models they really are not designed for our use. The wind blows a lot in the mountains and we found the drift of mist from the unit would often saturate the unit and short them out. The first one just simply was under powered and wore out early. In a less harsh environment I feel confident they would be well suited.

For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray and the challenges of mountain living go to: www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com



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