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How to use a pressure washer: A guide for beginners

Pressure washing is a great way to clean and restore all kinds of surfaces around the exterior of your home. Here’s what you need to know to get started

A pressure washer can help you quickly clean large areas of all kinds of hard outdoor surfaces. You can use a pressure washer to spray off a wooden deck, siding, a car or a concrete surface such as a patio, walkway or driveway. They’re great for when the old “brush and soapy water” routine would take forever. Pressure washing is also useful because it can get rid of some of those hard-to-deal-with soils like grease, tar, gum, wax or even rust.

In this guide I’m going to tell you about the basics of buying a pressure washer, what kinds of jobs a pressure washer is good for and how to apply a pressure washer to various surfaces. I’ll wrap up by talking you through a few examples of a pressure washer in action.

When do I need a pressure washer?

A pressure washer is useful for cleaning any exterior surface that has caked-on dirt, grease, plant residue or other material across a large surface area.

To prevent injury, avoid pressure-washing anything living, whether it’s people, animals or plants. If you’re pressure-washing near plant beds, use garbage bags or other plastic coverings to keep the spray from damaging your plants.

Since pressure washers are mainly used for larger or dirtier jobs, it also doesn’t make a ton of sense to use them on very small areas, unless it’s a stain that you just can’t get rid of. If it takes longer to pull the machine out and set it up than the amount of time you’ll be using it, consider cleaning by hand.

Pressure washers come in two varieties: gas and electric. The price can range from about $100 for a low-end consumer-grade model up to thousands for larger commercial units.

The specs associated with pressure washers are pounds per square inch and gallons per minute. Psi tells you the force of the spray. GPM tells you the volume of water passing through the spray wand.

If you want to save time and backache cleaning off your sidewalk, deck or patio, or maybe you’re looking for an easier way to wash the car, look for a pressure washer with specs under 2,000 psi and 2 GPM. You should be able to find one at your local home store for between $100 and $300.

For more cleaning power — maybe you have some tough stains on your driveway or your deck, or you want to clean the exterior of your house — look for a pressure washer in the range of 2,000 to 3,200 psi and 2 to 3.2 GPM. Most homeowners won’t need a pressure washer with higher specs.

Do I need protective gear to operate a pressure washer?

It’s important to remember that pressure washers are not toys. You will definitely want to wear protective gear and avoid spraying other living things, such as pets, plants or pesky neighbors. For comparison, a standard garden hose probably has a psi of about 60, fire hoses start around 100 psi, and a medium-duty pressure washer can have a maximum pressure of 2,800 psi. Make sure to put on eye protection when you use a pressure washer. Ear protection isn’t a bad idea either for any loud, gas-powered model.

How does a pressure washer work?

The trick to getting such high psi from a normal garden hose connected to your pressure washer is the pump. Each pressure washer, electric or gas, has a pump that pressurizes the water before sending it to the spray wand.

How do you hook up a pressure washer?

The pressure washer itself has one connection for a standard garden hose to bring water to the pump and another connection that connects the pump to a high-pressure hose that has the spray wand on the end of it. Most units have some type of siphon hose for detergents, and any electric pressure washer will have a power cord.

The spray wand of your washer should come with different interchangeable tips that allow you to customize angle of spray for each job. Changing the angle of the spray also changes how hard the water will hit the surface. The sharper the angle, the less direct pressure on whatever surface you intend to spray.

A spray of 0 degrees concentrates the water into one small powerful stream. As you increase the angle, the spray spreads out across a wider area, which decreases the power of the spray at any one point. The greater the angle of the spray tip, the lighter the touch on the surface you want to clean.

There is no exact guide for which tip is most appropriate for which job. The combination of spray angle and the psi rating of your washer will determine the end result. If you’re not sure about the hardiness of the surface you want to spray, start with the sharpest angle tip and work your way up.

Universal color coding should also help you decide which tip to use. Usually, the tips map to the following order, from most dispersed spray angle to the most direct: black (65 degrees), white (40 degrees), green (25 degrees), yellow (15 degrees), red (0 degrees). Still, it’s a good idea to check your manual to determine the best tip for the job for your specific pressure washer.

 

How long can you run a pressure washer?

Assuming you have correctly set up your pressure washer, there should be no real limit to the amount of time you can run an electric model. If your unit is gas-powered, the tank capacity will be the limiting factor for run time.

What’s the difference between a pressure washer and a power washer?

A pressure washer uses water at ground temperature. A power washer uses a heating element to heat the water before spraying it out. Because of the heat, power washers are more suited to removing stains containing living bacteria, like mold. Most residential washers are pressure washers and not power washers.

Can you damage concrete with a pressure washer?

Absolutely. The main contributor to unwanted surface damage with pressure washers is using the incorrect tip. If you’re unsure, or if you’re using a new pressure washer or washing a new surface for the first time, it’s always best to start with a wide spray tip and switch to a tip with a more direct angle as needed. The white 40-degree tip is a good place to start.

You can use almost any type of liquid soap or detergent with a pressure washer, although there are pressure washer-specific detergents for jobs of all types. Your pressure washer will have a siphon hose or basin of some type, which you fill with the desired soap. Make sure any detergent cutoff valves are on, and then you can run the pressure washer as you normally would.

How do you winterize a pressure washer?

For a gas pressure washer, add a fuel stabilizer following the instructions in your manual. Also, follow the manual for instructions on how to clear any detergent. Finally, run a pressure washer pump saver through your washer by connecting it to the hose inlet. The engine doesn’t need to run during this step, nor does the spray wand or high-pressure hose need to be connected. Once you see the white foam coming from the high-pressure hose connection, you’re done.

For an electric pressure washer, you can omit the fuel stabilizer step.

And there you have it. I breathed some new life into things around the house without too much trouble. Pressure washing can be a great home maintenance tool. Get the right machine and be safe!

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Categories: News

Top 10 Uses of Air Compressors

Air compressors convert normal air into denser and high pressurized air for different uses under three classifications: consumer, professional, and industrial.

  1. Construction
  2. Manufacturing
  3. Agriculture
  4. Engines
  5. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
  6. Spray Painting
  7. Energy Sector
  8. Pressure Washing
  9. Inflating
  10. Scuba Diving

1. Construction

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Construction sites use large air compressors to power drills, hammers, and compactors. Power from compressed air is essential on remote sites without reliable access to electricity, petrol and diesel as compressed air provides uninterrupted power.

2. Manufacturing

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Rotary screw equipment ensures that food, beverage, and pharmaceutical manufacturing deliver clean, contaminant-free, and tightly sealed products. Rotary screw equipment can simultaneously power the conveyor belts, sprayers, presses, and packaging.

3. Agriculture

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Tractors, sprayers, pumps, and crop conveyors are powered by air compressors to complete the farming and agriculture operations. Dairy farm and greenhouse ventilation machinery also require compressed air that distributes steady and clean air.

4. Engines

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Vehicle engines contain air compressors for heating and cooling, as well as in air brakes for larger trucks and trains. Compressed air also runs many theme park rides.

5. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

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Air and heat pump systems of HVAC units usually have rotary screw models built in. Rotary screw models conduct vapour compression refrigeration that entails compressing air vapours, raising the temperature, and modulating the all-important refrigerant cycles.

6. Spray Painting

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Small air compressors are used in spray painting by powering airbrushes for personal and commercial use. Airbrushes range from delicate desktop brushes for artists to larger brushes for repainting vehicles.

7. Energy Sector

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Oil drilling relies on air compressors for functionality in the energy sector. Safe and dependable air compressed drilling equipment in oil rig operations is imperative to the safety of the crew. Air compressed oil drilling equipment is unique with its spark-free delivery and stable outputs.

8. Pressure Washing

air compressor pressure washing

Compressed air is used to pump high pressured water through pressure cleaners and water blasters for more effective cleaning of concrete floors and brickwork, stain removal, and engine bay degreasing.

9. Inflating

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Air compressor pumps can be used to inflate vehicle and bicycle tyres, balloons, air beds, and other inflatables with compressed air.

10. Scuba Diving

air-compressor-scuba-diving

Scuba diving is reliant on compressed air with the use of tanks that store pressurized air allowing divers to stay underwater for longer.

Looking to buy an air compressor?

Tech Africa is Southern Africa’s largest supplier and distributor of Quality Domestic Tools, Hardware Tools, Industrial & Agricultural equipment at affordable prices. For air compressor purchases across Zimbabwe, browse through our air compressor categories. Alternatively, call us on +263772156504 or email us at enquiries@techafrica.co.zw.

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Categories: News

FARM GENERATORS FOR AGRICULTURE PURPOSES – WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?

The agriculture industry is critical to our nation’s economic health and impacts every Zimbabwean’s personal survival. To ensure farms and fields produce healthy crops and livestock and remain in operation, agricultural businesses require a dependable supply of electricity. That’s why backup farm generators are vital.

If you are a Zimbabwean farmer, you know how essential an uninterrupted electrical supply is to support your livelihood. Continuous electrical power is mandatory, especially in today’s increasingly automated agricultural world where complex systems are helpless when the power grid drops off. However, that would not be a problem if you have a backup generator for your agriculture business.

AUTOMATION NEEDS IN AGRICULTURE

In the centuries since the Industrial Revolution caused the Agricultural Revolution, farm mechanization allowed increased yields with less human effort. Harnessing electricity and delivering it through a nation-wide grid system allowed distant areas to capitalize on generated power. Reliable electricity helped develop automated agricultural equipment to increase productivity and profits. The key to successful electric farm automation was making sure the power supply was dependable.

Today, Zimbabwean and at large, world agriculture is a huge economic generator. Because of automation, farmers can parlay their human and mechanical assets into greater yields than possible even a few decades ago. Statistics establish how important employment is in the agricultural and farming sector. Overall, the bigger umbrella of agriculture employs thousands of workers while the farming subsidiary also supports thousands of people, which makes up a chunk of the entire Zimbabwean workforce. This wouldn’t be possible without electricity supporting advanced automation in every agricultural facet.

THE RISKS FARMS FACE WITH POWER OUTAGES

The farming industry depends on an immense electrical power supply. Farming and agricultural business use automated systems to keep production running. Automated processes have shifted over time, and today’s automation is highly evolved. Because automated agricultural systems are so intertwined with core business functions, it’s never been more necessary to back up the electrical supply.

A modern automated farm can’t allow their electrical flow to be interrupted. Even short term electrical outages can have devastating effects on livestock and crop survival. Although automation has improved almost every farming process, high technology has created an Achilles’ heel for the modern agricultural industry.

Fortunately, there’s a proven solution to this problem. You can easily protect yourself and your business from the electrical stoppage vulnerability by incorporating a generator into your farm’s infrastructure. A backup generator lets you continue regular operations while waiting to tie back into the communal grid.

BACKUP POWER GENERATOR FOR FARM USE

Backup power generators are necessary for farms and other businesses involved in agricultural production. Investing in a backup farm generator is just as critical as carrying general insurance policies that cover farm buildings, production equipment, and living assets.

Electrical power interruptions will cause immense grief to plants and animals being raised in human-created artificial environments. Defending crops and livestock from power loss is a top priority for responsible farmers. In fact, no farm incorporating an automated production system should be without an auxiliary power generator.

Successful farming means that electricity keeps flowing when the regular power supply stops. The main reason for commercial power outages is Mother Nature. Harsh weather creates high winds, heavy rains and storms that sever transmission lines. Although you can’t do anything about the weather, you certainly can protect your farm or agricultural operation from power loss with a backup generator.

Power interruptions also happen from grid overloads that cause rolling brownouts. These happen when electrical demand on a grid exceeds the supply at a given time. Brownout periods will likely increase as areas of the country grow, placing more draw on a maximum-capacity electrical grid. Having a backup generator protects your farm against brownout interruption or other electrical downtimes.

WHO DO FARM POWER OUTAGES AFFECT MOST?

Farming is a primary contributor to the agricultural industry, even though not all agricultural activities happen directly on farms. However, it’s frontline farmers who suffer the most when their automated systems fail from power outages. Power failure affects both of these two primary farming segments:

  • Crop producers: Farmers produce a wide array of crops that require electrical support. Many greenhouse operations are fully automated with electrically controlled lighting, irrigation, nutrient, and ventilation systems. Crop producers can’t afford electrical interruption and must have generators backing up their power supply.
  • Livestock producers: Many livestock farmers raise their animals in indoor conditions where life support systems depend on electrically powered automation. Live creatures in close quarters are at the mercy of mechanical components. Most livestock can’t survive for long when an electrical failure happens. Back-up generators are a livestock lifesaver.

Although living crops are vulnerable to power loss, their health risk isn’t as severe as livestock. Artificially grown crops like vegetables and flowers quickly distress from a lack of light or water. However, crops are nowhere near as risky compared to livestock such as poultry, meat, and dairy stock.

Losing any living animal on a farm due to unnecessary electrical downtime can cost an agricultural business a lot of money. Prolonged power loss could be fatal to a farm’s bottom line through losing an entire crop or barn full of livestock. Backup generators will protect you from a loss no matter what agricultural sector you operate in. Here are principal agricultural segments that benefit from farm generator use.

1. DAIRY

Automation has revolutionized the dairy industry. Since the milking machine was invented, technological advancements led to computerization and automation of dairy production. Today, every part of a modern dairy farm depends on an unbroken electric supply to keep production steady and safe.

Electrically powered computer systems track cow location, milking schedules, and feeding timelines. Electricity also keeps milk storage facilities at a healthy level. Any power loss in a dairy farm would have a serious economic impact, and this can easily be prevented with an auxiliary electrical generator.

2. POULTRY

Farm-raised poultry like chickens and turkeys also depend on electricity for survival. Many birds raised for meat and egg production reside in tight quarters that contain automated systems controlled by electrically powered components. Poultry farms implement complicated feed and watering systems.

Automated farms also require continuous ventilation and air conditioning controls to keep healthy stock. Even short electrical interruptions in a poultry barn could have fatal consequences. That risk is completely managed by having a backup generator for poultry farm automation.

3. GREENHOUSES

Technological advancements in the greenhouse industry allow for higher crop yields in smaller areas than growers can achieve under natural field conditions. Automation drives greenhouse efficiency, which results in higher profits from denser settings. Automated greenhouse features like light control, precise heat settings and intricate ventilation systems are vital supports to greenhouse operations.

Computerized water and nutrient supplies also increase crop yield. Greenhouse automation and plant health depend on uninterrupted electrical energy flow. For that, a backup generator for greenhouse operations is mandatory. Generators ensure crops never fail from power loss and that supports a greenhouse business’ bottom line.

4. ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Animal husbandry is the science of breeding farm animals as well as caring for their welfare. Farmers who raise meat animals like hogs and cattle have a lot invested in their livestock. Many modern animal husbandry farms have sophisticated automation systems assisting their operations. Every automated system depends on continuous electricity for animal welfare.

Total confinement facilities are highly productive for livestock like hogs. While confined pens and corrals allow easy stock management, they pose extreme risks to the animals’ health and survival when the power supply stops. That’s because confined facilities have precision heat and ventilation controls, and animals can quickly overheat or suffocate from dangerous air conditions. Looking after animal husbandry responsibilities is a principal benefit of farm generator uses.

5. HARVESTING

Automation makes harvesting crop yields and livestock returns highly efficient. Electrically powered automation systems help dairy farmers milk cows, hog farmers harvest stock, and egg producers gather inventory. Automation also helps greenhouse growers harvest crops quickly and profitably.

While automated systems are invaluable when it comes to harvest time, they also have to be dependable and available. Harvests can be delayed or destroyed because of sudden and unexpected power stops. Investing in a backup generator prevents delays or destruction, and lets harvests proceed as planned with produce delivered to the market on time. Without a doubt, generators for harvesting are excellent investments.

POWERING AREAS OFF THE GRID

As the agricultural industry expands, it moves into areas that are off the grid. Those are untapped regions where land is available but conventional electrical supplies are not. That used to be a major restriction for expanding farmers while they waited for commercial power suppliers to extend their grid.

Grid restriction isn’t as big an issue as it was in the past. Today, many enterprising farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs choose off-grid locations because they have a reliable and economical power alternative. These energy alternatives are technologically advanced electrical generation systems that run independently of a high-voltage power grid.

Powering Areas off the Grid

Off-grid locations also include specialized zones where economic benefits make farming attractive despite having no available electrical grid. Benefits include plentiful water supplies, the right weather conditions, and even tax breaks. Many off-grid farmers also benefit from the solitude that remote farms offer and capitalize on the get-off-the-grid factor.

Off-grid agriculturalists are resourceful people. They choose this lifestyle for personal reasons. Some like the freedom of off-grid life. Others enjoy the challenge of developing non-traditional farming methods and make the most out of challenging conditions.

Growing crops and raising livestock off the grid still requires some sort of power. Some resourceful off-grid farmers experiment with alternative energy sources like water, wind, and solar power. While these use natural energy sources to convert into electricity, the cost of infrastructure can be prohibitively expensive. That’s not to mention intermittent interruptions and general unreliability that alternative energy production offers.

CONTAINED GENERATOR SYSTEM – BEST CHOICE FOR OFF THE GRID

The best choice for off-the-grid agricultural electrical energy needs is a contained generator system. There is no better alternative electricity provider than a quality generator that’s carefully chosen and properly sized for your off-grid farm. Today’s high-tech generators provide you with a continuous and dependable electrical supply. That’s regardless of weather conditions or how far in the future the mainstream electrical grid reaches your location.

Off-grid farmers usually choose diesel-powered generators. Stand-alone electrical generators using diesel fuel to run engines driving generation units are efficient, economical and safe.

If you’re an off-grid farmer, your best choice for continuous and dependable electricity is a generator. You can certainly experiment with wind, water or solar alternative energy sources, but you’re wise to mix in a mainstay diesel-powered generator. Your crop and livestock lives depend on it.

DOES MY FARM NEED A GENERATOR?

Your farm will benefit from a generator whether you’re on or off the electrical grid. As a large capacity farmer who depends on a commercial electrical supply for mainstay power, you still need a backup generator for those inevitable moments when the grid goes down. When your diesel or natural gas-powered generator kicks in, your operations continue as normal.

The same applies if you’re a smaller scale farmer making a living off the grid. Your farm needs a dependable generator to keep you running on a day-to-day basis. Your generator becomes the backbone of your agricultural operation, and you can’t prosper without it.

There’s a lot at stake for all farmers when they don’t invest in backup generator insurance. Even short and temporary power outages can have devastating effects on livestock and crops. You might not be able to financially recover from losing your animals due to heatstroke or suffocation and your crops from cycle interruption shock.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT GENERATOR FOR AGRICULTURE PURPOSE

Investing in a backup generator prevents lost revenue and unnecessary agricultural waste. Whether you choose a new electrical generator or a premium used generator, a high-quality generator is a perfect solution to power problems no matter where you are.

There are two crucial factors in choosing a backup generator for your farm or agricultural application. One, make sure your generator is the correct size for your current and future needs. The other critical factor: partnering with the right electrical generator supplier. Your next step is finding that right supplier.

TECH AFRICA IS YOUR AGRICULTURAL GENERATOR SUPPLIER

TECH AFRICA is your agricultural generator partner. We specialize in selling new high-quality generators in Harare, Zimbabwe. At Tech Africa, you can choose from a wide range of diesel and petrol powered generators in sizes from 2KVA to 1000KVA.

 

To learn more about how TECH AFRICA can help you with agricultural electrical generating problems on and off the grid, call us today. We’ll help you assess your specific needs and find the right agriculture generator.

Call and ask to speak with Daniel on +263772156504, or you can always reach us through our online contact form.

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Categories: Updates

Halsted Brothers Simon Mazorodze Branch Grand Opening

Visit our Tech Africa Stand at Halsted Brothers Simon Mazorodze Official Opening on the 28th March 2020 and stand a chance to win various prizes.

Tech Africa will be offering the below on the day
– Live demos
– Product Quizzes
– Technical Advice

Big Announcement
There will be a Tech Africa TGP50 Petrol Water Pump on the Deluxe Draw (3rd Prize draw) on offer

1 purchase = 1 entry, no value limit and 10% off all stock for 1 day only.

12:30pm live draw – BE THERE TO WIN

SEE YOU THERE

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#TECHAFRICATRUSTEDBRANDS
#DELUXEDRAW                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Halsteds Promotion with Tech Africa