Power washing, pressure washing, high-pressure washing, steam cleaning, what’s the difference?
While much more detailed definitions are available, here are brief descriptions:
Power (or Pressure) washing is a general term used for any type of cleaning using water under what is considered moderate pressures (generally 1000-3000 pound per square inch).
High pressure or Ultra High Pressure cleaning uses specialized equipment capable of generating between 4000 and 40,000 psi.
Steam Cleaning, as the term suggests, uses water heated to between 212 and 350 degrees at very low volumes, and low pressures.
What are the applications of each type of cleaning?
Ultra High Pressure Cleaning can be used to remove coatings from many surfaces, including concrete. In fact, this machinery is increasingly used as an environmentally safer method to demolish old concrete roadways and bridges. Steam Cleaning has traditionally been used to degrease surfaces, engines, carpets, etc. Indoor applications lend themselves to this method because of the low water volume. Many non-trade people still use this word to describe all types of pressure or power washing.
Power/Pressure washing applications are limitless. This process can effectively clean all kinds of equipment (trucks, earth movers, engines), many building surfaces (graffiti, loading docks, dumpsters, awnings, storefronts, sidewalks, drive-through pads), and all types of residential surfaces (vinyl, wood siding, roofs, pool decks, patio furniture). As more and more rental yards and retail stores (Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc.) carry small, inexpensive models of this equipment, people are finding more and more applications.
Are there environmental considerations?
Absolutely. INSTA-BRITE has been a pioneer in the central New England region for educating customers regarding how to accomplish their cleaning objectives without damaging our environment. Each cleaning project and each site has its own requirements.
But aren’t all of your cleaning chemicals biodegradable?
Yes – our chemicals are considered biodegradable. However, “biodegradable” is a very relative term. We need to carefully bear in mind what happens to both the cleaning chemicals and the dirt being removed when determining what cleaning process and what detergents or chemicals to use at any site.
Does hot water matter?
Definitely, yes! Dirt comes off easier with hot water. Much of the cleaning we perform COULD be completed with cold water. However, by using water heated to between 160-180 degrees, we are able to accomplish two things which both minimize the impact of our efforts: First, we can use much lower pressures and therefore avoid the risks of damaging surfaces associated with higher pressures. Second, we are able to use much less cleaning solution, reducing both the cost of the cleaning and the environmental considerations.
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