A high pressure cleaner is a very handy piece of equipment when doing a variety of DIY tasks at home. easyDIY spoke to industry expert Rod Dolpire of Kränzle South Africa.
Gone are the days of using a scraper to remove paint, brushes to clean roofs, brooms and hose-pipe to clean paving, sand-blasting off old paint, drain cleaning etc. A well-chosen high pressure cleaner can do all these tasks quickly, effectively and affordably. “Too often one sees adverts selling high pressure cleaners at very affordable prices – this is very much an industry where ‘one pays for what one gets’ and not all machines are equal,” advises Rod Dolpire of Kränzle.
Some important rules to remember when choosing and working with a high pressure cleaner:
1. The bar pressure of the pump is the important factor to “break through the dirt”, i.e. higher bar pressure is usually required to get through tougher dirt.
2. Water flow of the machine is the more important factor, as it is the water flow that “pushes along” the dirt you are removing – a smaller machine supplying 5 – 7 Litres of water per minute will take longer to move dirt than one using 10 or 11 Litres per minute.
3. Select the correct machine for the application – economy entry-level machines are usually made with high speed motors that run at 2800 r.p.m – these are cheaper motors and allow a more affordable pricing structure, but may overheat when used for long periods of time. These machines aren’t made for extended use and are more suited for domestic application.
4. High pressure cleaners do not like extension leads, which can lead to voltage loss over the length of the cable and can cause a motor to overheat and burn out. Rather use a longer hose. Always ask whether the machine has a motor protection overload switch.
5. Always ensure you have sufficient water supply to the machine – failure to ensure enough water flow will starve a high pressure cleaner and will damage the machine.
6. Look at the material from which your accessories are made – a gun fitted directly onto your hose means you must buy the complete replacement when it breaks.
7. Good things to look for are: a buffer water tank with low level cut-off; ceramic coated pistons; stainless steel valves; brass pump head; stainless steel lance; slow speed motor at 1400 r.p.m.; total-stop function that switches off a machine when the gun is released; a gun that can be repaired (doesn’t need to be replaced); steel braided hose; double braided hose; a buffer water tank with low level cut-off.
8. Check how long the hose is and what is it made from – industrial machines use steel braided hose, while machines with short hoses minimise the application area. A longer hose allows a larger area to be cleaned without the need to move the machine.
9. Check whether your machine has plastic lances or stainless steel and brass.
10. Pick up the machine – light in weight is generally a sign of plastic components. Look at the durability of the machine and the components.
11. Always read the instruction manual before operating a machine.