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Spruced UP

Spruced UP

The Real Cost of DIY Pressure Washing

Pressure washing units have become popular rental options among homeowners looking for a fast and efficient way to spruce up their home’s exterior. When done correctly, pressure washing your siding, deck, and driveway are a great way to add curb appeal and maintain the longevity of your property. However, buyer beware, not all machines are created equal and some can be DANGEROUS.

Many weekend warriors and DIY home renovators have seen the displays in your local home improvement store or have seen that Amazon deal on a pressure washing unit that is just too good to pass up. Who wouldn’t jump at the idea of owning a $99 pressure washer? Especially when hiring a professional can cost more than that just for one visit. Let’s break down the REAL COST of DIY pressure washing.

1. TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING
Many are unaware that there are different types of equipment meant for different surfaces and that without proper training, one can easily damage their property. The most common story we hear from customers is that they previously had their driveway cleaned and now their driveway has stripes. This is called etching. Etching occurs when either the amount of pressure used OR the tool used to clean a surface damages the material. This may seem like a minor aesthetic issue, but when etching occurs over a long period of time it will degrade the integrity of your curbs, deck, and driveway.

Hiring a knowledgeable professional will help avoid etching and will ensure that your property not only looks great but is also well maintained for many years to come!

2. GOVERNMENT FINES AND REGULATIONS
Did you know that water runoff is regulated by the federal government? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued some strict laws on how exterior cleaning that effects water resources can be done as part of the Clean Water Act, and the fine for violating these laws can be hefty. Property owners can face fines upwards of $50,000 per day if the runoff water used in pressure washing their property contains dangerous chemicals or if it contaminates storm drains. In 2012, the EPA imposed over $252 million in fines from both civil and criminal penalties related to water contamination. Take that in for a second. Not just civil charges, but CRIMINAL charges.

This can be easily avoided by hiring an educated, compliant, and insured professional service company. This is a more cost-effective route than receiving EPA fines and the associated legal fees.

3. MAN VS. MACHINE
Many residential pressure washing units are built to be light weight, have fun colors, and are sold as easy-to-use machines. Do not let this fool you, without proper handling pressure washing can be dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a pressure washer’s intense spray can cause wounds and other serious injuries that may at first appear minor. Many times, injured people will delay treatment – putting themselves at increased risk for infection, disability or amputation.

The CDC recommends the following tips to help prevent injuries:

1. Never point a pressure washer at yourself or other people.
2. Test the ground fault circuit interrupter before use.
3. To help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, refrain from using a gas-powered system indoors or in enclosed, unventilated spaces.
4. If you must use an extension cord, keep the washer’s power cord connection out of standing water. Use a cord rated for use in wet environments.
5. Wear rubber-soled shoes to help provide insulation.
6. Don’t cut or splice the washer’s power cord or extension cord(s).
7. If the washer trips a circuit breaker, have the machine inspected by an electrician.

4. WHAT IS YOUR TIME WORTH?
In today’s current fast-paced world it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day to day tasks that many forget to value their time, or more accurately what else you could be doing with your time instead. What should you take into consideration when determining what your time is worth?

First, the easiest question to answer. What is your earning potential per hour or day? If instead of spending 8 hours cleaning your driveway, you could be earning a full day’s pay – what is that number?

Second, what aspects of your life are a priority to you? For instance, if you work Monday through Friday and weekends are the only quality time you have to spend with your children – would you rather spend the day taking your children to zoo or would you rather spend your day pressure washing the driveway?

5. THE SECRET TO A BETTER, LONG LASTING CLEAN
Have you ever wondered why some properties just seem to stay cleaner, longer? The secret is 2 very important ingredients. Hot water and a good cleaning solution.

Most of the store-bought pressure washing units do not offer hot water features. Why is this important? Hot water is vital for cleaning grease stains and gum and can clean surfaces more quickly and efficiently than cold water units.

Do you have a patio that always seems to be covered in algae and organic growth, no matter how many times you clean it? They key to winning the battle is a good cleaning solution that kills and discourages future organic growth. Your local exterior cleaning service will be knowledgeable on what cleaning solution is best to tackle your most difficult cleaning jobs.

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