Pressure Washing in the Winter

Can it be done? If so does anyone do it? Do you need to have a hot water machine?

I know my state California really doesn’t apply as we can PW & use the WFP year round.

I do however believe you’ll be limited to what you can & can’t do in the colder states in winter time.Water freezing is always an issue as well as a BIG liability,as for pure water cleaning i know many guys put them up till spring to avoid running the risk of possible damage & tanks/units freezing up.

I only clean concrete so I don’t do any pressure washing if it’s going to be below 40 degrees for freezing and slip issues. Always make sure it won’t be below 40 degrees for several hours after you work too, because the standing water could freeze long after you left. You ‘could’ work when it’s colder… say stop when it’s 35… but that’s too risky for me. Most people understand once you explain. Chemicals are MUCH less effective in the colder weather. You also have to make sure your rig is protected in the cold weather. Freezing water in the pump, lines, and/or heating coils if you have a hot water unit will slow you down in a hurry!

However, it is nice to have that hot water when your pressure washing and it’s a little chilly at night. Most times I won’t wear a jacket. It’s like a sauna with all that steam :slight_smile:

I power wash year round if it at least 50 degrees. Any colder than that and the chemicals are very ineffective.

Chemicals are less effective in colder weather - unless you have a hot water rig. Many chemicals work better when they are heated, which you can easily do with a hot water rig. Powdered chemicals will mix much better in hot water, thus you can get a higher % of powdered chemical in hot water. If you only have a cold water unit, I would agree with Steve’s post. It is much easier to clean with cold water when the chemicals are more effective.

Chris, we close up shop from December til Mid April. Nothing happens in resi work during that time. We have two house washes left and we are done for the year. This is something many guys do not factor into their pricing.

Side Note: Be sure to winterize your machine with antifreeze to avoid pump damage in freezing temps. Even a miniscule drop of water left in a pump (and water stays in your pump for a long time after use) will freeze and expand. The tolerances are so tight inside a pressure washing pump that this tiny bit of expansion will cause leaks and damage it. If you are washing in winter months you have to prime your machine with antifreeze every day.

PS: Chris, check your pm’s at TGS

[COLOR=Blue]Hi Ken, I’ve decided to put the power washing away for the winter this year. My question is about antifreeze. I have the unit inside the shop, it’s not heated but I haven’t seen anything freeze out there either. I drained the PW unit and blew out the system with compressed air. Do you still recommend the anti-freeze?



Hey Steve, sorry about the delay in response. I’m spread a little thin with forums and personal projects these days.

I do recommend you get anti freeze in your machine even if there is a slight chance of freezing temps. Its unlikely you would get freeze conditions inside a shop but depending upon location I’m sure it could happen. Better safe than sorry.

Don’t take the chance. Damage can happen very easily, all you need is a little frozen water you can’t see. Winterize the unit (antifreeze) and you will be much happier in the spring. If you get winter work, you will have to de-winterize and re-winterize it for use. Sounds like a paint, but that’s life.

When washing in the winter be aware that any surface you wet can freeze very quickly and become a sheet of ice ( like black ice) which is dangerous. We try to wash when we know temps will be above freezing for a couple days to allow us to be safe (and the area). Last thing you need is a frozen area where pedestrians can fall and hurt themselves.