Consumer Warning! Read This Before you Hire a Power Washer to Clean your Deck or House
By: Dan Galvin, Owner East Coast Powerwashing, Inc.
We’ve all seen them. The simple handwritten signs tacked illegally on telephone poles around town offering to power wash your deck or house on the cheap. It’s probably tempting to consider using someone who will charge less – after all, it’s just a bit of high powered water, right? What could possibly go wrong?
Let’s start with the equipment these “splash and dashers” use. If you wanted to power wash your own house (and you’d be surprised how many people try), you’d visit your local big box store and purchase a little pressure washer. This is the same thing these guys do. These machines aren’t intended for use on big jobs like houses or decks, which is one reason they don’t come with long hoses. They also don’t have the cleaning capacity that professional pressure washing equipment does, so your house won’t be as clean as it could be.
Inappropriate Cleaning Solutions
One of the worst things you can apply to your home’s exterior is bleach. Bleach is not a cleaner, it simply eats away at things – including your vinyl siding, wood deck and unsuspecting plants. Bleach is great at masking a problem like mold, because when the splash and dashers are finished, the mold is gone. But is it? Guaranteed, within six months you’ll see mold growing on your house again and your cheap power washer guy? He’ll be off doing something new and be totally unaccountable for his shoddy work.
Unsafe Working Conditions and Insurance
A ladder, to the professional power washer, is a dangerous tool. Our Power washing wands can reach up to over 30 feet. That’s why we very rarely use ladders. Splash and dashers use ladders and frequently have several with them on any given job. The problem is that a ladder isn’t a stable object. If the pressure is too high in the washer, it could literally blow a ladder – and the person on it – away from the house and down to disaster.
Which brings me to my next point: Insurance. Many homeowners assume that anyone in business for himself has insurance. This is a dangerous assumption that could cost you more than just money. Always ask to see proof of liability and Workman’s Compensation insurance. If someone tries to show you their auto or health insurance certificate, do not hire them! A cheap cleaning job isn’t worth it if your uninsured contractor has an accident, and you lose your house to cover his medical bills.
Why Hire a Professional Power Washer
Professional power washers are trained in the best practices for cleaning, restoring, water reclamation, environmental issues. They take the time to learn their craft and become certified by the Power Washers of North America (www.pwna.org), an organization dedicated to the support, education and being the voice of the power washing industry.
There really is more to power washing that putting water into a pressure washer and turning it on. For example, remember the bleach discussion? Bleach is the product of choice for the splash and dashers because it’s cheap and appears to do the job. But what bleach does is dry out your vinyl siding, eat away at your wood decks and kill plants that happen to be in the way. Bleach is caustic and bad for the environment. Professionals don’t use bleach because it doesn’t work and isn’t safe.
Professional power washers use cleaning and sealing products appropriate for each surface. In addition, because they’re environmentally conscious, they use as many products as possible that are earth-friendly. This also includes safe and prudent water use so that they not only don’t pollute, but use just enough water to get the job done…and no more.
Professional power washers will also guarantee their work and work with you until you’re satisfied. And they’ll still be around next time you want to reach them.
Because I believe so strongly in what I do, I’ve written a book, “Seven Costly Mistakes Smart Homeowners Make When Hiring a Power Washer.” In it, I discuss some of the ideas introduced in this article in more detail and give you other mistakes to avoid. While it’s a quick read, the information I provide can save you time and money the next time you look to hire a power washer. Get your complimentary copy by going to http://eastcoastpowerwashing.com.
Your home may be one of the largest investments you make in your lifetime. Protect its value and beauty by hiring a professional power washer the first time and every time.