Winterize a pressure washer is easy and only takes a few minutes – add fuel stabilizer (for gas powered only), clean out the hose of detergent, disconnect everything and cover your pressure washer and store in a dry place ready for next use.
How to Winterize a Pressure Washer
Winterize a pressure washer is necessary for two reasons: to protect it against freezing temperatures and prevent the damages that can occur from long periods of inactivity.
The process only takes a few minutes, but it can make the difference between a pressure washer that remains in excellent condition during the winter months and having to replace the washer once spring arrives.
The good news is that when you winterize a pressure washer, it is super simple and super quick, so there is really no excuse not to take this one simple step.
What Could Happen Without Winterization?
Even if you’re just planning to store your pressure washer away for several weeks, winterizing it first is a smart idea. Some of the things that might happen if you don’t winterize a pressure washer, it include:
- The internal seals could dry-rot and crack the pump
- Gas can go stale and cause rust and corrosion that can clog fuel lines
- Leftover water can freeze, expand, and then burst your water hoses
- Mold and mildew could form and erode seals and clog lines
- The surface of the engine cylinder can corrode
Keep in mind that gas can go stale in just 30 days, wreaking havoc on your pressure washer and essentially rendering it useless. And since warranties don’t cover pressure washers with damages caused by lack of maintenance, you could lose several hundred dollars or more if you don’t winterize a pressure washer.
If you’re wondering if you should winterize a pressure washer either your gas or electric, the answer is that you should winterize both of them. Regardless of where their power comes from, all pressure washers need to be winterized each and every year.
Below are some basic steps to winterize a pressure washer that is gas-powered. Keep in mind that if the instructions on your pressure washer differ in some way, you should always go by those instructions instead. Here are the basic steps:
- Purchase both fuel stabilizer and antifreeze, also called a pump saver. Again, if the instructions on these products differ from the ones below, always go by the former instructions instead.
- Add the fuel stabilizer to the pressure washer, then let the engine run for two minutes so it is circulated through the entire system.
- Take a clean bucket and fill it with tap water.
- Attach your garden hose to your pressure washer as if you’re going to be using it. Take the detergent feed hose and place it in the water bucket. Turn the pressure washer on and pull the trigger (using a low-pressure nozzle) until all of the detergent is removed from the system.
Turn off the water supply from the garden use, then pull the trigger once more so that the rest of the water can be removed from the lines.
- Disconnect all of your hoses and make sure that all water is drained from all parts of the pressure washer, including the spray gun, hoses, extensions, etc. Then add pump saver/antifreeze to the pump inlet, going by the manufacturer’s instructions on the can.
- Lastly, cover the pressure washer and store it in a clean, dry place.
Winterize a Pressure Washer that is Electric Is Even Easier
Winterize a pressure washer that is electric is a piece of cake. It is both faster and simpler than winterizing a gas-powered pressure washer and involves the following steps:
- Take a one-gallon container and fill it with hot water. Next, either stick the detergent siphon hose into the hot water or fill the onboard detergent tank with hot water, depending on the design of your pressure washer.
- Attach your garden hose to the inlet and turn on the tap. Turn the pressure washer on, squeeze the trigger, and run it for up to two minutes so that residual detergent can be flushed from the lines.
Disconnect the garden hose then pull the trigger once more to eliminate any remaining water that might be in the system. Remove the high-pressure hose and disconnect both the trigger gun and the wand so they can drain completely.
- Add the antifreeze/pump saver to the pump system according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Store your pressure washer in a safe, dry area.
The cover for your pressure washer is important for the winterisation process because it protects it from bugs, spider webs, rust, pests, and, most importantly, moisture.
Covers are essential when you have no choice but to keep your pressure washer outside, but even those kept inside of sheds and garages should have well-made covers.
If possible, buy a cover made out of some type of cloth, such as polyester or canvas, with a water-resistant or waterproof coating. Covers can be either water-repelling, water-resistant, or waterproof.
Of course, the waterproof ones work best, but you can use other ones if you can’t find those.You can take measurements of your pressure washer before you shop for a cover, but many of these covers are one-size-fits-all, and therefore, that may not be necessary.
If you absolutely cannot find a cover you like, cover the pressure washer with a barbecue grill cover or even a tarp. A cover that isn’t made specifically for pressure washers and other tools will always be better than no cover at all, especially if you plan to store your pressure washer outside exposed to the elements.
Winterize a pressure washer because it is crucial, and the main thing you need to remember is to make sure that your washer is completely drained of all fluids before storing it away for the winter.
Even small amounts of moisture can wreak havoc on your pressure washer, and adding the stabilizer and antifreeze is just as important. Remember that the cold temperatures and the idleness of the pressure washer are its biggest enemies this time of year.
Fortunately, it usually takes only a few minutes to complete the winterization process for both gas-powered and electric pressure washers, but it saves you a lot of money and many headaches in the long run, every time.