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Can a Pressure Washer Get Wet?

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A pressure washer is a tool that uses high-pressure water for outdoor cleaning, including removal of loose paint, dust, dirt, debris and other grimes from a surface or an item.

Although a pressure washer is a high-powered tool, it can still wear out if not properly used. So you might be asking: can a pressure washer get wet? 

Regardless of the brand, all pressure washers are made to handle a little bit of water. After all, with the powerful spray of water coming from its nozzle, it is impossible for this tool not to get wet.

However, pressure washers should not be exposed to huge amounts of water for long periods of time. 

Cleaning stone garden paths with high pressure power washer

Can you use a pressure washer in the rain?

The answer will depend on some factors, including the pressure washer’s durability, its quality, and the heaviness of the rain.

The easiest way to make sure that the pressure washer is safe to use in the rain is to look for a UL, or the Underwriters Laboratories, rating on the machine. The UL will help you determine if the pressure washer is designed to handle large amounts of water, including those coming from rain.

Without the UL, it is better to research first on the specific model or brand that you have.

One of the main issues about using a pressure washer in the rain is that the moisture from the rain may cause damage to the motor of the machine, causing it to malfunction.

Meanwhile, many of the high-quality industrial pressure washers have an IP rating. High IP rating means that the machine is more water-resistant, therefore can possibly be used in wet conditions. 

If you live in an area where it rains a lot, you will have to be extra careful in using a pressure washer, especially an electric-powered one since they have a small risk of electrocution.

So even if your pressure washer has a high IP rating, it is best not to use it when the rain is heavy. For this reason, it is also important to know the dangers of using a pressure washer in the rain.

Can you leave a pressure washer outside in the rain?

Never leave the pressure washer outside in the rain as it may cause rusting and corrosion which shortens the lifespan of your machine.

If you bought a pressure washer, make sure you have a safe place to keep it, such as your garage or storage area. Never leave it outside where it is prone to various elements. 

If you live in an area where it snows, you need to be extra mindful in storing your pressure washer. Make sure that it is kept inside when not in use because once the water freezes inside the machine, the pressure washer can be damaged severely.

If your pressure washer is gas-powered and you’re going to store it for a long time, it is best to remove the gasoline from the machine while it is stored.

If there’s an instance where you need to keep the pressure washer outside for a short time, it is suggested to build a strong and waterproof cover to protect your machine even if it rains.

Pressure washer cleaning machine on wet concrete floor

Electric Pressure Washer vs. Gas Pressure Washer

Because gas pressure washers do not use electric parts, they are more water-resistant compared to electric pressure washers. Therefore, gas pressure washers are more sturdy and safer to use in wet conditions.

However, that does not mean that they should always be used when it rains. Gas pressure washers still have an engine, and if used in the rain, it can cause some issues.

In some cases, you may be able to use electric pressure washers in the rain. However, they are more prone to malfunctioning once the rain penetrates the electric components of the machine. Also, using any electronic equipment in wet conditions gives you a risk of getting electrocuted.

Therefore, if you’re going to use a pressure washer in the rain, it is better to use the gas-powered one. Regardless, using this machine in wet conditions shortens its life span.

When is it dangerous to use a pressure washer in the rain?

Although your product says that it is safe to use in the rain, there may still be some weather conditions for you to look out for to determine if you should, or should not use a pressure washer.

Some of these includes the presence of:

  • Heavy rain. Heavy rains may blur and interfere with your vision. And, using powerful equipment such as a pressure washer is dangerous if you can’t see what you are doing. In addition, the presence of heavy rain means that there is a high chance to flood, especially if the area is prone to flooding.

    Therefore, never use a pressure washer in heavy rain as it may damage the machine.
  • Strong winds. High pressure of winds may cause the spray of water to blow in different directions. And, the high pressure of water coming from the nozzle can cause damage to an object you don’t intend to spray. Therefore, if there’s a presence of strong gusts of wind, it is better to stay inside than cause damage.
  • Lightning. You should not use a pressure washer, or go outside at all, when there’s a high possibility of a lightning strike.
  • Snow. When used in freezing conditions, such as in winter, the presence of snow and ice can harm the internal components of the machine. During these times, make sure to store your pressure washer somewhere dry.
  • Hail. The presence of hail can create dents to your pressure washer so make sure that you keep it in a safe place and not use it outside.
Worker power washing pavement in backyard of a house

Tips for using pressure washer in the rain

If you decided to use pressure washer in the rain, here are some tips you need to remember:

  • Before using a pressure washer in the rain, read the user’s manual first.
  • Store the pressure washer in a dry, safe, and covered area.
  • Before using the pressure washer outside, check the weather forecast.
  • Search for certification that your pressure washer is safe to use in the rain.
  • Keep in mind that exposing your pressure washer to water will reduce its lifespan.
  • Even if your pressure washer is waterproof, never store your pressure washer where it can be rained on.
  • There isn’t any pressure washer that is safe to use underwater.

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