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Hot water pressure washer vs. steam cleaner for grease.

Doug580l

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2018
Messages
301
Location
Southern Illinois
I agree about needing more pressure but unfortunately, I only have around 3gpm available here. That leaves me pretty limited on my options. Especially since you're supposed to have a gpm or so more available than the machine is rated at.
 

treemuncher

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
790
Location
West TN
Occupation
eatin' trees, poopin' chips
I agree about needing more pressure but unfortunately, I only have around 3gpm available here. That leaves me pretty limited on my options. Especially since you're supposed to have a gpm or so more available than the machine is rated at.

I'm not sure what your limiting factor for gpm is. I use my washers with either tap water (well) or water in a tote/drum when on a job site. Pressurized water is best but gravity fed reservoirs work fine. I could always add an RV type pump if I determined that I needed pressure to feed the pump or had to mount the reservoir lower than the pump.
 

673moto

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
320
Location
NorCal
Occupation
Slacker
You also have to be careful no matter what you use. You don't want to damage parts from too high a temperature, damage the paint or worse, force grease out and water in bearings and bushings. Washing dirt bikes, for example, some people have no clue. They put the nozzle too close and draw grease out of the suspension linkage allowing water in to replace it. It's pretty common for kids to not think too much and blast water down the muffler/silencer destroying the packing inside. On a 2 stroke especially it's very easy to tell who needs new silencer packing. Equipment might be a little more forgiving but you still have to be cautious with a washer. One thing you never want to do is blast away at engines with ECM's and electronics. I've read on here of people having constant problems because the wiring and electronics got wet.
Absolutely!
Had a buddy show up to ride and his shock linkage was rusted solid! gotta use your head when pressure washing to not blow out seals too.
I got a bit overzealous on an old ford 445 and blew out the steering knuckle seal... that was a lesson learned.

I have a question:
If I don’t have a couple grand to pick up a hot water pressure washer could I rig up and feed hot water through a normal pressure washer?
 

skyking1

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2020
Messages
8,002
Location
washington
yes up to the temperature limit of the pump. I used to build car wash systems and we made it all from scratch, and had to size and design the combinations of pump and instant hot water heater.
You can put together your own system with a gas fired instant water heater, a high pressure pump, and even a feed pump so you can run it off a tank or barrels in a truck bed. Make it so it has picking eyes and/or fork pockets to load up and take with you.
 

Welder Dave

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2014
Messages
13,183
Location
Canada
I think most cold water p washers are designed for 104F max. temp. Good triplex pumps will handle hot water but always check with the pump manufacturer.
I'm just setting up a low cost gravity fed (hopefully) pressure washer. Water will come from the 2000 gallon tank on my water truck. I picked up a Teejet 3/4" 50 mesh strainer since I will be using pond water. Pond water is soft and apparently cleans better. I went with a bigger filter so it would have a larger surface area for filtering. I'd be worried the little micro filters would get clogged too easily. One place told me to do a bucket test to make sure there is enough water flow. He said if the pump is 2.5 gpm you want at least 3 gpm flow and preferably more. Book for the washer says 3.7 gpm and 20 psi but many people have had success with a gravity feed system. I have a small pump if necessary. I also had a 3/4" hose made up that is stiff and won't collapse. It cost about $80 to set up the inlet line but should greatly extend the life of the pressure washer.
 

Welder Dave

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2014
Messages
13,183
Location
Canada
It's probably not good to feed the pump hot water, but I did so frequently back in the day and it never seemed to hurt anything. It's a risk you take for being cheap.
I think where there could be big problems is when you're not pulling the trigger. Most pressure washers recirculate the water when the trigger is let off and it causes the water to heat fairly rapidly. Starting off with hot water would accelerate the heating which could/would damage the pump in short order.
 

Jonas302

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
1,210
Location
mn
I have ruined pumps quite quickly hooking them to the hot water heater and another one has been hooked to hot water for years its a little more commercial looking and the others were simple homeowner jobs
 

skyking1

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2020
Messages
8,002
Location
washington
that bypass water that comes out the carwash is the key. It is not just circling through a bypass valve and back through the pump.
 

Birken Vogt

Charter Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2003
Messages
5,408
Location
Grass Valley, Ca
The one I used to abuse had a temperature relief valve as well as an unloader. The unloader would trap pressure in the hose and recirculate the water with no load. But it would still get hot eventually. The temp relief valve would spit it out on the ground until it cooled. When I had it hooked to the water heater, that temp valve was spewing constantly. Good for keeping the water in the hose hot when not spraying, I said.
 

treemuncher

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
790
Location
West TN
Occupation
eatin' trees, poopin' chips
I have a question:
If I don’t have a couple grand to pick up a hot water pressure washer could I rig up and feed hot water through a normal pressure washer?

Look at the "Hot Box" that I posted in a previous reply. It is plumbed in downstream of the PW pump so it handles 4000 psi incoming water and then heats it to hot water or steam depending on the thermostat setting. It has a flow control switch that shuts the burner off when the water flow stops. It's not designed to be plumbed ahead of the pump.

Any pre heated water before the pump is asking for problems, IMO. The thermal expansion of the pistons and seals due to heating would likely wear out a pump quickly. Every hot water system that I've looked at always heats the water after the pump pressurizes it. To me, this would just be common sense to plumb it up this way but then I'm not (much of) a PW engineer either. Although I did build my own PTO driven system for my work truck via hydraulics.
 

Labparamour

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2013
Messages
746
Location
Washington
Treemuncher,
Funny you mention the hot box at Northern tool. I had seen that before and it always piqued my interest.
I went to their site last night to post the info here and I can’t find it on there now...maybe not a big seller?
 

treemuncher

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
790
Location
West TN
Occupation
eatin' trees, poopin' chips
Treemuncher,
Funny you mention the hot box at Northern tool. I had seen that before and it always piqued my interest.
I went to their site last night to post the info here and I can’t find it on there now...maybe not a big seller?

Here: https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200377863_200377863
It's even on sale. I complained when I paid $950 for mine a few years back but it's been a worthy purchase and works well. It does not have a pressure pump built into it so you must have a pressure washer upstream of this heater.
 

Zewnten

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2018
Messages
569
Location
Earth
Is there much difference between a hot water pressure washer (Approx. 180 degrees) and a steam cleaner? It would be used mainly for cleaning grease and grime off of equipment.

Thanks,
Doug

I didn't see any mention of it but industrial soaps (Hotsy stripper 2 works really well) in a weed sprayer (wear a face shield becasue blow back on skin sucks).

Procedure: Scrap the grease and dirt off, quick spray down to wet everything, soap, and spray away all the dirt and grease. For best results do this over some kind of grating to avoid walking and dragging the hose through all the sprayed off grease and mud.
 

Labparamour

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2013
Messages
746
Location
Washington
TM,
Thanks for the northern tool link.
I tried their p washer category and p washer accessories and even search function and couldn’t find it.
 
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