October 19


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Can You Start a Pressure Washer without Water?

no water pressure washer


Never try to start a pressure washer without water.

No, starting or using a pressure washer without water can actually damage your machine. Remember, these are tools that are made to be used with water, so it isn’t a good idea to operate them without water. In fact, not only can it damage your machine but it can also cause the pump to overheat and break down, which could render your pressure washer useless. Some pressure washers come with their own water supply, but many others do not, so you’ll have to make sure that you start and use the machine with water.

Pressure washers are amazing machines that can do everything from getting rid of stuck-on dirt and debris to eliminating graffiti from walls. They are very powerful tools and because of this, it is a good idea to have one on hand for those tough household cleaning jobs that you just can’t do with a regular garden hose. But if you buy a pressure washer, you might end up asking yourself, can you start a pressure washer without water, and the answer to that question is usually a resounding “no.”

Power Washer Basics

Contrary to what many people might think, pressure washers are not complex machines. They are really very simple machines that contain a water pump, water inlet, a gas or electric motor, gasket, hose, and cleaning attachments. These high-pressure machines remove dirt and grime like no other machine can, and they can remove it off of brick, concrete, wood, and so many other materials.

Water flows through the pressure washer and lowers the motor’s temperature while also lubricating its components. This is one of the biggest reasons why you should never operate a pressure washer without any water.

One of the reasons why pressure washers do such a good job is because they use massive amounts of water to do the cleaning job itself, so neither starting nor operating the machine without water will enable it to work properly. The water always comes out of a pressure washer forcefully at a high speed and with a lot of pressure, so as you can see, water is an extremely important part of the pressure-washing process.

You might like our article on adjustable pressure washers.

What If You Damage Your Pressure Washer by Not Using Water?

water required for pressure washer

If you're wondering whether you’ve damaged your pressure washer because you started it without using any water, you’ll have to look closely at how the washer is operating since you did this. For instance, if you start your pressure washer and water doesn’t come out of the wand, it’s likely a sign that your pump is already damaged. If this is the case, all you have to do is replace the pump.

If you’re operating the pressure washer and the motor is running loudly or sounds different than it usually does, you can go ahead and replace the motor because it is likely bad. The thing is that if one component has to be replaced, you might as well check all of the other ones as well, simply because there may be more than one component that has something wrong with it.

you must use water

One of the things that you have to ask yourself when checking your pressure washer is, is it worth it to replace these components or should I go ahead and buy a brand-new pressure washer? That choice is up to you, but keep in mind that if your pump or motor is damaged, it’s possible that the seals and gaskets have gone bad as well. You can rebuild the entire machine if you like, but this might be more costly than buying a brand-new pressure washer.

While it is possible to operate a pressure washer with little to no water, it is  not advisable. If you’re going to use your pressure washer for a business, make sure you always have access to a water source.

Taking Care of Your Pressure Washer

Now that you know you should never operate a pressure washer without quite a bit of water in it, let’s take a look at some other ways to take good care of your pressure washer. If you use your pressure washer properly and keep it in good working condition, it should last you for a number of years.

Here are some tips for keeping it in great order so that you’re always prepared for the next cleaning job:

pressure washing with water
  • Make sure that you have the right type of fuel and that you never use fuel that isn’t recommended by the manufacturer. Check the user manual to make sure you’re using the right type of fuel.
  • Make sure that the carburetor is always clean. Cleaning your carburetor regularly will get rid of any obstructions that might be inside of this component, and sometimes the carburetor will need to be replaced.
  • Use the right type of detergent when using your pressure washer. A super-strong detergent could damage the internal components, causing them to rust and stop working properly.
  • Make sure the pump is lubricated regularly. This will help make sure that certain components don’t overheat, such as the pressure pistons and others.
  • Before you start your pressure washer, flush the inlet pipe so that all of the air is removed. This lessens the likelihood of a sudden drop in pressure, which can damage your valves.

Final Thoughts

Pressure washers need water to function properly, and one of the best things you can do is read your user manual and follow all of the recommendations. Some people think it’s acceptable to start or operate their pressure washer without water occasionally, but even occasional usage without water is not recommended.

Pressure washers were designed to be used and operated a certain way, meaning they need water to operate successfully, so you should never even consider using them any other way.

You might like our article about removing rust with a pressure washer.

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