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We offer the leading gas power washers, electric power washers and accessories for sale.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pressure Washers




How do I start my electric pressure washer? †
  • Attach garden hose between water supply and pressure washer.
  • Attach high-pressure hose between spray wand and pressure washer.
  • Turn water on.
  • Depress trigger on spray wand to purge any water or air from the unit.
  • Depress and hold the trigger on the spray wand to relieve any built-up pressure within the pump and continue to hold the trigger while switching to the "ON" position.


Why won't my electric pressure washer start? †

If you are having troubles starting your electric power washer, there are a few things you should check.

Do not use an extension cord. They can drastically shorten the life of your machine. If you must use one, it must be 12 gauge wire if over 25 feet in length. Using any length of 16, 18 or lighter gauge extension cord will not supply enough power to your pressure washer and the motor will not start or run properly. This will also cause your fuse to blow or circuit breaker to trip. Running an electric pressure washer on a light-duty extension cord will cause permanent damage to internal switches and/or electric motor.

If your machine isn't making any noise at all, the first place to look is the electrical cord. Make sure that it is plugged directly into a wall outlet, has a tight connection and that your outlet can provide adequate grounded power to operate your pressure washer.

If the motor has stopped but is making a humming sound, it is usually a faulty capacitor.

For your protection, electric power washers use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) which sometimes trips. In order to reset it, follow the instructions provided in your owners manual.


Why has the motor on my electric power washer suddenly stopped? †

Do not use an extension cord. They can drastically shorten the life of your machine.
  • Check to see if the electric cord has become unplugged.
  • Check to see if the GFCI has been tripped.
  • Check the main fuse box to see if the breaker has been tripped. Replug all cords and flip the breakers.
NOTE: to reset the GFCI, plug the GFCI into a "working" outlet and press the "Reset" button. The GFCI MUST be plugged into a working outlet for you to reset the switch. If the GFCI is not plugged into a working outlet it will not reset. DO NOT PLUG A GFCI PROTECTED CORD INTO A GFCI PROTECTED OUTLET. This will more than likely cause the GFCI to trip repeatedly.

An electric pressure washer requires a good stable supply of power with no other high amperage draw appliances running on the same circuit. High amperage appliances such as refrigerators, coffee machines, heaters, motors, etc., running on the same circuit as your pressure washer will cause fuses to blow or breakers to trip. If the motor has stopped making noise entirely, it could be a faulty power cord.

If the motor has stopped but is making a humming sound, it is usually a faulty capacitor. In either case,these parts would have to be tested to be certain.


Why is my electric machine cycling? †

When you connect your power washer to water and turn it on, the motor will run for a few seconds, building up pressure. Once it attains a specific PSI inside the pump, a pressure switch engages and turns the motor off. When you release this built up pressure by pulling the trigger on the trigger gun, the pressure inside the pump drops, turning the motor on again. When you let go of the trigger, the pressure builds up inside the pump again and turns off the motor.

Cycling is when the motor turns on and off when the trigger on the gun is not being pulled. It only occurs with electric units because our gas machines do not have a pressure switch.

The pressure switch inside the pump controls when the motor turns on and off. Any release in pressure causes the pressure switch to activate the motor. Leaks are the biggest contributor to a cycling machine.

You should check the following:
  • Verify if connections are tightened properly. Water leaking from a loose connection can cause the unit to cycle on and off.
  • Verify if the high pressure hose has an O-ring at the connection. If missing, this will also cause the unit to cycle on and off.
  • While the unit is running look for any water leaks that may cause the unit to turn back on.
If you have low pressure, you should look at the FAQ titled "Why doesn't my pressure washer reach full pressure?"


Why doesn't my pressure washer reach full pressure? †

For Gas and Electric Machines
A loss of pressure can be caused by a number of things. Here are the things you should check first:
  • Make sure your garden hose and high pressure hose are not kinked, leaking, or blocked in anyway and that the water is turned on full force and supplying the correct amount of water outlined in your owner's manual.
  • Remove the water inlet filter and make sure it is free of debris.
  • Check the trigger gun and nozzles. They should be clean as well.
If you have completed these steps and the washer is still fluctuating from high to low pressure, there may be air trapped in the pump. To bleed the pump of any air, turn the machine off and disconnect the high pressure hose and trigger gun from your power washer. With only the garden hose connected to the machine, turn on your water source and allow water to run through the pump of the machine for 20 or 30 seconds. Turn off the water and connect the high pressure hose and trigger gun and try using the machine again.

For Electric Machines
Often times, a machine producing low pressure will surge, cycle on and off, or continue to run. This typically indicates that the machine is losing pressure somewhere, such as a leak in one of the lines or inside the case of the machine. The machine tries to compensate for this leak by running harder or more often than it should.


Why is the pressure on my machine surging or fluctuating? †

Water flow may be restricted to the pressure washer.

Check that all hoses are free of kinks, leaks, or blockage. Make certain all hoses and fittings are connected properly. Make sure to open the faucet/spigot to full force. Set the spray wand to high pressure.

Clear any debris from the nozzle. If the nozzle has even a little bit of dirt in the tip, it may cause enough obstruction for the pressure washer to pulsate. If your pressure washer came with a nozzle cleaner, use it to clean the tip. If not, you can use a pin or paper clip to clear the nozzle tip of debris that may have become lodged in it.

If these have been checked and the washer is still fluctuating from high to low pressure there may be air trapped in the pump. To bleed the pump of any air, turn the machine off and disconnect the high pressure hose and trigger gun from your power washer. With only the garden hose connected to the machine, turn on your water source and allow water to run through the pump of the machine for 20 or 30 seconds. Turn off the water and connect the high pressure hose and trigger gun and try using the machine again.


† Information Provided by Kärcher.
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