How To Start A Pressure Washer First Time

How To Start A Pressure Washer First Time?

In the words of Mighty Thanos, the curse of knowledge gets the best of us. Once you use the incredibly versatile pressure washer, there’s no going back!

There’s nothing quite like a pressure washer when it comes to cleaning your home, siding, floors, and even cars. These machines can clean up dirt, stains, and grime in no time with half as much effort.

But you already know that is why you bought yourself the best pressure washer, right? And now you’re only wondering how to start a pressure washer. Well, wonder no more. Project Pressure Wash has got you covered.

In this guide, you will learn how to set up a pressure washer, how to hook it up, and how to start a pressure washer. We will also give you a few tips on how to start a pressure washer that has been sitting for a while or one that won’t start. So, stick around, and let’s get started!

Before Getting Started

Before we get into explaining how to hook up a pressure washer, there are a few basics that you should check. These will ensure the pressure washer runs at optimal conditions and has a longer and more efficient service life.

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1.    Oil Check

There’s a misconception that electric pressure washers don’t need an oil check since there is no engine like in gas pressure washers. However, electric pressure washers do have a water pump, which requires an oil check from time to time. So, ensure your pressure washer has sufficient clean oil for operation, whether it is gas or electric. Make an oil check, especially after it’s been sitting for a while, and replace it after around 100 hours or three months of operation.

2.    Hose Check

Take a quick look at your hoses for leaks and repairs, you don’t want any water spraying out while you are cleaning.

3.    Owner’s Manual

This goes without saying that you should always read the owner’s manual specific to your pressure washer model. If you don’t have one or have misplaced it, you can easily find it on the official website of your pressure washer brand. For example, if you’re wondering how to start a Generac power washer, you can read ahead or view the owner’s manual available at Generac’s official product support page.

4.    Check the strainer/filter

The water filter should be located around the water inlet slot. Make sure the strainer is in place and free from debris. Also, you should clean your filter after 50 hours of use or replace it overall.

5.    Level Ground

Okay, we are about to get into using your pressure washer but first, make sure the pressure washer is on level ground. You don’t want the machine tipping over while you’re cleaning. Also, keep the machine from rocking to a minimum, as dangerous vibrations can cause serious damage to the components.

Step-By-Step How To Start A Pressure Washer

About Gas Pressure Washers and Electric Pressure Washers

There are two major types of pressure washers – electric pressure washers and gas pressure washers. Electric pressure washers are smaller and lighter than gas pressure washers and are much easier to maneuver. You can also easily store them inside your home if you want to winterize your pressure washer.

However, gas pressure washers deliver more power and are typically used for outdoor cleaning. There might be a few more steps to starting a gas pressure washer compared to electric pressure washers (both are discussed below), but first, let’s discuss a more generalized step-by-step approach to how to start a pressure washer.

  1. Connect your water source to the water inlet, usually the garden hose.
  • Connect the high-pressure hose that is included in your pressure washer unit to the water outlet slot of your pressure washer.
  • Attach the gun assembly to the other end of the high-pressure hose, depending on your pressure washer model.
    • The plug on the bottom of the gun assembly of some pressure washers can be slid onto the other end of the hose. Make sure the collar on the water gun assembly snaps into place.
    • Attaching the water gun assembly to some pressure washers is as easy as screwing the bottom of the water gun into the hose.
  • Select a suitable pressure washer nozzle for your cleaning task. Usually, high-pressure is used for just washing and low-pressure for cleaning with soap and detergent. Click here to read about how to select a pressure washer nozzle to use with detergent .
    • Let the water run a little to remove air or particles to install a pressure washer nozzle.
    • Now, pull back the collar on your water gun and wand assembly.
    • Attach the pressure washer nozzle and release the collar. Make sure the nozzle has correctly snapped into place and is secured.
  • Fill your detergent tank with soap or detergent, and ensure the feed tube is immersed all the way in. Here’s how you can make homemade detergent for different purposes.
    • Most pressure washers have their own detergent tank, but you can also use a wand attachment which can be used with a bucket of soap or detergent.
    • Detergent bottles are also available that can be screwed onto the end of the pressure washer gun.
  • Now, turn on your water supply via the water faucet and start cleaning with your pressure washer (how you turn your gas or electric pressure washer is discussed below). Ensure the water pump has sufficient water supply, or the pump can be damaged.

How To Start An Electric Pressure Washer?

How To Start An Electronic Pressure Washer

Electric pressure washers are the more popular choice in the market, especially regarding household use. How to start an electric pressure washer is quite similar to the steps mentioned above, but here’s a general overview. You should also have a quick look at these if you own an electric pressure washer, as step 5 is unique to electric pressure washers.

  1. Check the water strainer or water filter and clean it if needed.
  • Fill the detergent tank with a cleaner of your choice.
  • Connect the water source or garden hose to the machine at the water inlet slot. Ensure it’s properly secured; you don’t want it to get loose mid-operation as it can be frustrating.
  • Attach your high-pressure hose, spray gun, wand attachments, and nozzle to the machine.
  • Plug the machine into the electrical socket and turn it on.
    • Always plug your electric pressure washer into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI).
    • The GFCI will light up when there’s an electrical current, indicating it’s getting power.
  • Get rid of excess air in the system by squeezing the wand trigger.

How To Start A Gas Pressure Washer?

How To Start A Gas Pressure Washer

Honda pressure washers are usually gas pressure washers with an electric start, but we have you covered if you’re wondering how to start a Honda pressure washer. A gas pressure washer involves a few more steps than an electric pressure washer, but the overall process is straightforward. Here’s how you can start a gas pressure washer.

  1. Check the oil and fuel.
    • Before starting your pressure washer, ensure it has sufficient oil and fuel.
    • Small residential pressure washers are usually gasoline operated, while larger commercial ones may require diesel fuel.
    • Oil should be changed after 10-15 hours of operation on a new machine. After that, it should be replaced every three months or after 100 hours of operation.
  • Connect water source, high-pressure hose, spray gun, wand attachments, nozzle, etc.

Switch the fuel valve to the on position, or it may also be called “open” on some gas pressure washers.

  • Move the choke to the left or in the open position to allow air to flow into the engine.
  • Similarly, move the throttle to the left or in the full-throttle position.
  • Move the engine switch to the on position.
  • Start the engine.
    • First, prime the pump by pressing the primer button several times to get the fuel flowing to the engine.
    • Pull the engine cord while pressing the trigger on the spray gun to relieve any built-in pressure.
  • Once the engine is started, close the choke.
  • You are now ready to use your gas pressure washer, happy washing!

How To Start A Pressure Washer That Won’t Start?

It isn’t uncommon for pressure washers to cause problems during startups, especially if they have been sitting for a while. For example, if you’re wondering how to start a Craftsman pressure washer or if it’s causing you issues at startups, you can visit their official website and look up details about your specific pressure washer model on the manual available online. Or you can just read on ahead about these few troubleshooting tips. These will also help if you’re using your pressure washer after a prolonged storage time, for instance, reusing it after winterizing it.

  1. Examine the oil level or change it if dirty.
  • Check the fuel level or completely drain it if it’s been sitting for over 30 days – gasoline loses its potency around that time.
  • Inspect spark plugs. You can also use a spark plug tester for this purpose.
    • Spark plugs send electrical signals to the fuel responsible for jumpstarting gas pressure washers with an electrical start.
  • Unused fuel in the engine becomes thicker and stickier, which can clog up the carburetor. So, you will have to clean the carburetor regularly as well.
  • Sometimes, a bad ignition coil might be the culprit, not the spark plugs.
    • Remove the starter housing to expose the ignition coil and inspect it.
    • Connect the ignition coil tester by disconnecting the wiring harness.
    • Now, start the engine.
    • If there’s no strong spark in the tester, the ignition coil should be replaced.
  • Check the battery by connecting a multimeter. If the voltage reading is below the recommended value, it should be recharged or replaced entirely.


Do you turn water on before starting pressure washer?

Yes, you should turn on the water before starting the pressure washer, but only after you’ve securely connected everything else and taken care of some prechecks. For example, ensure sufficient fuel and oil, the water inlet is tightly secured, the spray gun assembly is fastened correctly, the nozzle is attached, etc.

Where is the choke on a pressure washer?

Chokes can be located on the carburetor body, just behind the air cleaner housing. You need to open it for close starting and then close it after the engine’s started. However, if the engine keeps shutting down after closing the choke, the fuel filter might be clogged.

How do you start a pressure washer after sitting?

To start a pressure washer that has been sitting in storage, you should use fresh gasoline. Also, replace the oil if it’s dirty. Make sure the strainer and fuel filters are clean. Additionally, unused fuel can leave behind stickier deposits on the carburetor, so clean it as well. You may also need to recharge the battery for electric start pressure washers.

How do you use a pressure washer step by step?

After getting your pressure washer started, press the trigger gun to remove any trapped-up air in the system. Then attach the suitable nozzle for the cleaning job. Start cleaning by pointing the spray gun at the floor from a distance and slowly moving closer. Then clean your desired surface. Do multiple overpasses, use pressure washer detergents if necessary, and then rinse the soap from the surface to remove any residue.

Why is my pressure washer not starting?

There can be several reasons for this, but you can start by cleaning the water strainer, oil, and fuel filters. Inspect the spark plugs as well as the ignition coil for degradation. Recharge the battery. Make sure the choke is opened for cold starting on gas pressure washers. Also, double-check the fuel valve, throttle switch, and engine switch, and make sure they are in the “ON” position.


There you have it, folks – how to start a pressure washer – as simple as possible. Whether you own a gas pressure washer or an electric pressure washer from any brand, now you’ll be able to begin your cleaning activities safely and efficiently.

Oh, and did we mention you’d be able to do it more frequently too? Yeah, with the mundane cleaning task made so easy and fun (most boys will agree with us for the fun part), you’ll find yourself not delaying your cleaning chores every weekend!

Just remember to give the owner’s manual a quick glance, and happy cleaning!

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