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Winterizing and Storing your Pressure Washer

When the time of year comes to store your pressure washer for the winter, it is important to winterize it. Garages and sheds usually aren’t insulated enough to protect against freezing temperatures, and prolonged storage times in sub freezing temperatures can cause water left in your machine to freeze. When water left in the pump freezes, it expands and causes internal damage to hoses and seals. Even without freezing, stagnant water in your system can grow mold and mildew which can also deteriorate seals and clog lines. Also, gas left in the fuel system can go stale in as little as 30 days. It is important to prevent the deterioration of the ethanol in gas which can cause corrosion, rust and and residue that can clog fuel lines. If you suffer damages due to lack of maintenance, your warranty likely won’t cover the repairs or replacement, and you’ve essentially thrown away hundreds if not thousands of dollars. 

 

What You Will Need:   

                                     

How To:

  1. Add the recommended fuel stabilizer brand and qty (in your manual) to your fuel tank and run the system for a couple of minutes to make sure it has adequately circulated. 
  2. Connect a hose to the inlet of the pump and have the other end of the hose connected to a bucket filled with a 50/50 water and antifreeze mix. You will only need a couple of gallons to fill your system.
  3. Start your power washer and hold open the trigger gun long enough to see the antifreeze mix coming out. Cycle the trigger gun several times to engage the unloader and displace any water inside it with the antifreeze mix.
  4. It’s also a good idea to change the oil in the engine at this time, based on the procedure outlined in your manual. 
  5. Disconnect the battery from the system and connect it to an automatic trickle charger set at a very slow rate. (Automatic trickle chargers shut off by themselves when the battery is fully charged.) Alternatively, after disconnecting the battery, charge it once every month.

NOTE: Allow anti-freeze to replace any possible water in hoses and booms. If a handgun is in the system, run anti-freeze through the hose and handgun into tank lid opening to clear and/or dilute water. (Depending on the length of hose and size of tank, more than one gallon of anti-freeze may be required to protect the system from freezing). **DO NOT RUN PUMP WITH FROZEN FLUID**

WARNING!: DO NOT PUMP OR FLUSH PUMP WITH ANY FLAMMABLE, EXPLOSIVE, CAUSTIC OR CORROSIVE FLUIDS. DO NOT USE ANY OF THESE PRODUCTS IN AN EXPLOSIVE ATMOSPHERE. FAILURE TO FOLLOW THIS WARNING CAN RESULT IN PERSONAL INJURY OR PROPERTY DAMAGE AND WILL VOID ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES.

 

Below is an excerpt from the Honda GX690 manual on storage for example: 

 

Fuel

Notice:

Depending on the region where you operate your equipment, fuel formulations may deteriorate and oxidize rapidly. Fuel deterioration and oxidation can occur in as little as 30 days and may cause damage to the carburetor and/or fuel system. Please check with your servicing dealer for local storage recommendations. 

Gasoline will oxidize and deteriorate in storage. Deteriorated gasoline will cause hard starting, and it leaves gum deposits that clog the fuel system. If the gasoline In your engine deteriorates during storage, you may need to have the carburetor and other fuel system components serviced or replaced. The length of time that gasoline can be left in your fuel tank and carburetor without causing functional problems will vary with such factors as gasoline blend, your storage temperatures, and whether the fuel tank is partially or completely filled. The air in a partially filled fuel tank promotes fuel deterioration. Very warm storage temperatures accelerate fuel deterioration. Fuel deterioration problems may occur within a few months, or even less if the gasoline was not fresh when you filled the fuel tank. 

Fuel system damage or engine performance problems resulting from neglected storage preparation are not covered under the Distributor's Limited Warranty

You can extend fuel storage life by adding a gasoline stabilizer that is formulated for that purpose, or you can avoid fuel deterioration problems by draining the fuel tank and carburetor. 

Adding a Gasoline Stabilizer to Extend Fuel Storage Life 

When adding gasoline stabilizer, fill the fuel tank with fresh gasoline. If only partially filled, air in the tank will promote fuel deterioration during storage. If you keep a container of gasoline for refuelling, be sure that it only contains only fresh gasoline. 

  1. Add gasoline stabilizer following the manufacturer's instructions. 
  2. After adding a gasoline stabilizer, run the engine outdoors for 10 minutes to be sure that treated gasoline has replaced untreated gasoline. In the carburetor.
  3. Stop the engine, and if the fuel tank is equipped with a fuel valve. move the fuel valve to the CLOSED or OFF position.

 

Draining the Fuel Tank and Carburetor

  1. Disconnect the fuel line to the engine, and drain the fuel tank into an approved gasoline container. If the fuel tank is equipped with a valve, turn the fuel valve to the OPEN or ON position to enable draining. After draining is completed, reconnect the fuel line.
  2. Loosen the carburetor drain screw, and drain the carburetor into an approved gasoline container. After draining is completed, tighten the carburetor drain screw securely.

 

                       

Engine Oil

  1. Change the engine oil.
  2. Remove the spark plugs (see page 10).
  3. Pour 5-10 cm (5-10 cc, 1-2 teaspoons) of clean engine oil into each cylinder.
  4. Turn the engine for a few seconds by turning the engine switch to the START position to distribute the oil in the cylinders.
  5. Reinstall the spark plugs.

Storage Precautions

If your engine will be stored with gasoline in the fuel tank and carburetor, it is important to reduce the hazard of gasoline vapor ignition. Select a well ventilated storage area away from any appliance that operates with a flame, such as a furnace, water heater, or clothes dryer. Also avoid any area with a spark-producing electric motor, or where power tools are operated. 

If possible, avoid storage areas with high humidity, because that promotes rust and corrosion.

Keep the engine level in storage. Tilting can cause fuel or oil leakage. 

Unless all fuel has been drained from the fuel tank, leave the fuel valve in the CLOSED or OFF position to reduce the possibility of fuel leakage. 

With the engine and exhaust system cool, cover the engine to keep out dust. A hot engine and exhaust system can ignite or melt some materials. Do not use a plastic sheet as a dust cover. A nonporous cover will trap moisture around the engine, promoting rust and corrosion. 

If installed, remove the battery and store it in a cool, dry place. Recharge the battery once a month while the engine is in storage. This will help to extend the service life of the battery.

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