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How to Turn On a Pressure Washer

Welcome to “Using a Pressure Washer 101.” Today’s course is all about learning how to turn on a pressure washer. One would assume that operating this machine is as simple as pressing the on and off button. True, but there are a couple of steps in between that you are missing.


A single wrong step and instead of water, your pressure washer will be filled with air. The good news is ― the steps to starting an electric and a gas pressure washer are the same. To help you understand how both of these machines operate, we have divided the steps into three sections: Basic, For Electric Pressure Washer and For Gas Pressure.


Let’s take a look at them:

Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 Max PSI 1.76 GPM 14.5-Amp Electric High Pressure Washer, Cleans Cars/Fences/Patios

Steps to Starting a Pressure Washer


  1. Check the water strainer and make sure it’s clean
  2. Connect the hoses – one end is attached to a faucet and the other to the pressure pump
  3. Connect the spray gun (the wand) to the water pump (Most models come with a collar that offers a secure connection. Pull back the collar, insert the hose and snap it back into position)
  4. Pick your preferred nozzle and attach it to the other end of the spray gun


For Electric Pressure Washer

  1. Connect the machine’s power plug to a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)
  2. Start the engine by pressing the “On” switch
  3. As the water starts to course through the pressure washer, press the trigger to remove any excess air
  4. Wait for 2 minutes for the water to reach the hose and then press the trigger to start using


For Gas Pressure Washer

  1. Compared to an electric pressure washer, this one has a few more steps that you need to follow in order to start it
  2. Fill the fuel tank according to the recommendations in the owner’s manual
  3. Use a dipstick to make sure the oil is filled up to the mark and then remove the stick
  4. Switch the valve’s position to “Open”
  5. Turn the choke to the left
  6. Turn the throttle to “Max” position
  7. Press the “On” switch on the motor
  8. Place your foot on the machine wheel, hold the gun in one hand and pressure the pressure trigger. Simultaneously pull on the chord to bring the motor to life
  9. Give the motor a few minutes to warm up
  10. Turn the choke to the right and then press the trigger to start using


Pro Tip: After switching off the engine, don’t forget to purge the water coursing through the pressure washer. Make sure the hose is clear because this leftover water can cause the machine to rust from the inside.

Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 Max PSI 1.76 GPM 14.5-Amp Electric High Pressure Washer, Cleans Cars/Fences/Patios

Safety Tips on Using a Pressure Washer

Electric Pressure Washer

  • Set aside the extension cord. Water and electricity don’t exactly go together. Unless you want to be blasted five feet away from where you are standing, we suggest that you make a direction connection. To avoid electrocution, make sure to properly ground the main wire
  • The reason we are against an extension cord is because it shortens the lifespan of your pressure washer. Any damage to your machine after this will cancel your warranty. Before plugging in your pressure washer, read the owner’s manual thoroughly


Gas Pressure Washer

  • Since a gas pressure washer works on fuel, don’t use it in an enclosed space or indoors. The gas released from the pressure washer contains carbon monoxide, which can cause weakness, dizziness, vomiting and other “flu-like” symptoms
  • If at any time you have trouble breathing, turn off the pressure washer immediately and get some fresh air
  • A gas pressure washer often turns hot quite quickly. So, after turning off the machine, place it in a cool spot. Don’t forget to remove the hose to prevent it from getting damaged
Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 Max PSI 1.76 GPM 14.5-Amp Electric High Pressure Washer, Cleans Cars/Fences/Patios

Choosing the Right Nozzle

Not all pressure washers are the same. Some come with different nozzles and some with an adjustable pressure dial. Both machines will cost you anywhere between $89 and $500. If your pressure washer comes with a single nozzle, instead of buying all of them, you can get a dial-n-wash pressure regulator for just $25.


For your information, here’s a short guide on the different nozzles and what they are used for:

*The nozzles are color coded. The key to remembering what color corresponds to which pressure is ― the larger the orifice, the lower the pressure and vice versa.

  • Red(0°): Removes debris and tough stains (rust, dried gum, caked-on mud or sap) from small areas on metal or concrete. Should not be used for siding or wood! You will seldom need this one.
  • Yellow(15°): Removes dirt, paint or mildew and is mostly used for surface prep. Helps you remove tough grime on hard surfaces.
  • Green (25°):Is the most common nozzle and is used for basic washing purposes such as cars, decks, driveways, boats and lawn furniture.
  • White(40°): A gentle and wide spray that is ideal for fragile surfaces like flower pots, windows, blinds etc.
  • Black(Soap Nozzle With Low Pressure): Is best for applying detergents and soaps as it offers wide coverage.
  • Turbo Nozzle:This nozzle does not necessarily offer a pressure wash. It has pressure similar to the red nozzle, a spray area of 25° and rotates at 1800 RMP to 3000 RPM. Also known as a rotary nozzle, it helps you clean faster and removes caked-on grime and dirt more easily.
Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 Max PSI 1.76 GPM 14.5-Amp Electric High Pressure Washer, Cleans Cars/Fences/Patios

Our Final Thoughts

As you can see, the only difference between starting the two pressure washers is the “On” feature. An electric pressure washer comes to life with a simple switch, whereas a gas pressure washer roars to life with the pull of a chord.


When it comes to a gas pressure washer, leaks are a big concern. This is why most people opt for an electric pressure washer. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy the former pressure washer type. As long as you are storing the machine in a safe place and maintaining it, you don’t have to worry about any damages.


About Chris

When Chris first bought a house, he quickly realized that he was now going to need to be a weekend handyman. Every project that he worked on, he kept realizing that he needed more and more DIY tools. Chris is also someone who likes to do a lot of research before making large purchases. Since he had already done most of the research, Chris decided to put the info that he accumulated about his favorite daily tools onto