Pressure washing is an efficient way to prepare a home's siding for painting, and it's a project that many homeowners are willing to do themselves. Reaching a home's second, or even third, story with a pressure washer, however, can be challenging. If you want to pressure wash your home's siding, here's how you can safely clean its second story without injuring yourself.
Set Up Your Ladder Properly
In order to reach your home's second story, you'll need to climb a ladder. As with any activity that involves a ladder, there is a potential risk of falling. To reduce this risk, set up your ladder at the proper angle and anchor it into the ground. According to The Center to Protect Workers' Rights, ladders should be at a 75-degree angle.
You don't need a protractor to ensure that your ladder is at the right angle. The Center to Protect Workers' Rights says that bringing the base of the ladder out 1 foot from a wall for every 4 feet that the ladder ascends will achieve a 75-degree angle. For example, if you're using a 20-foot extension ladder to reach the top of your home's second story, its base should be 5 feet from the foundation of your house.
Once your ladder's situated, you should anchor it at both the bottom and top so that it won't shift when you're on it.
Purchase a Longer Hose for Your Pressure Washer
It's not safe to carry a pressure washer up a ladder for two reasons. First, their weight could throw your balance off while you're working on the ladder and cause you to fall. Second, they don't easily fit on the platform that some ladders have for tools and can easily slip off it.
Instead of bringing a pressure washer up the ladder with you, purchase a longer hose so that you can leave the tank on the ground. Top Pressure Washer Reviews notes that 25-, 50- and 100-foot hoses are common. A 25-foot hose might be long enough to reach up your ladder, but the length wouldn't give you much slack to maneuver the pressure washer. A 50- or 100-foot hose from a pressure washer retailer like Ben's Cleaner Sales will make it much easier to manipulate the pressure washer's nozzle, and the added length won't decrease performance.
Check for Power Lines When Using an Extension Wand
An extension wand increases the area you can reach without moving the water, but it also makes controlling the pressure washer a little more difficult. All wands produce kickback when they're first turned on, as the force of water throws the wand backward. The kickback on extension wands, however, can be more pronounced, because the nozzle on these types of wands is several feet from where they're held.
Before you turn on an extension wand, check for nearby power lines behind you. It's normal for an extension want to kick back initially, but you don't want it to come into contact with any wires.
If there are power lines nearby, hold the wand close to the nozzle when you first turn it on. Then, you can slide your hands back towards the base of the wand. This will help you control any kickback.
As you go to pressure wash your home's siding, make sure to do it safely. Pressure washing is a do-it-yourself project that many homeowners successfully take on, but you need to be safe. In order to safely reach your home's second story, set up your ladder properly, invest in a longer hose and check for power lines behind you. Taking these simple steps will help you efficiently prep your home's siding for painting without posing a significant risk to yourself.