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Can You Start a Pressure Washer Without Water in 2023?

Yes, you can start a pressure washer without water, however, it is not recommended. Note that when you start a pressure washer without water connected to it, you are taking a very big risk.

The damage to your pressure washer will be quick and devastating especially to the inner workings of the pressure washer. The initial damage will be to the pump, then other areas will gradually become damaged a few seconds later. And the more often you start it without water, the more the damage will add up.

Note that when you start a pressure washer without water, even for only a few seconds, it forces the pump to work harder than it should be.

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The primary duty of the pump is to take in water from the supply hose and move it out through the nozzle. The pump is made to function with water flowing through it, and this water helps to lubricate the pump and also keep it cool. Without the lubrication and cooling properties of the water, dry starting will cause the pump to wear down quickly.

Once your pump gets damaged owing to the fact you started the pressure washer without water, the motor may also suffer. Additionally, the motor will be striving so hard to work under a heavy load because it is trying to move a pump that is under a lot of friction, which will cause it to lock up or overheat.

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In little or no time, you may go from a clear working pressure washer to one that has a damaged pump, motor, seals, gaskets, and other components.

An explicit sign of damage to the pump is when water does not come out through the wand. At that initial point, a new replacement pump is the ideal and easiest fix. However, in a case where the motor sounds loud or differently, replacement becomes undeniable.

Always remember there is a great probability that damage to a motor, pump, or both may spread to gaskets and seals. Therefore, a rebuild of the whole machine may be necessary. Pressure washers always need a water source to work properly, and if you are in a location where a water source is not available, and then you have to bring your water source.

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How to Properly Use a Pressure Washer

Always remember that the high pressure of the water spray can damage property. It can genuinely damage windows, strip paint from your car, or gouge holes in brick. It can also cause bodily harm such as lacerations, electrocution, and deadly falls. Therefore, before you start to use any pressure washer, ensure you understand how to use it safely.

1. Read the manual

First and foremost, you must consult the pressure washer manual. Note that this will tell you exactly how to use your machine, and also it will include information about replacement parts, customer service, warranties, and troubleshooting tips.

2. Never toss the zero degree nozzles

Don’t forget that it is the highest pressure (red) nozzle that shoots a very narrow stream of water, which entails that it is the most dangerous in terms of physical injury and property damage. You will hardly if ever, have a cleaning job that needs anything remotely that strong.

3. Wear protective gear

According to experts, you should never wear shorts and flip-flops. Always think safety goggles, work gloves, enclosed shoes (preferably steel-toed boots), ear protection (especially with gas power washers), and pants.

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4. Prep your surroundings

Before you start using a pressure washer, cover exterior lights and vents, and close your windows. Ensure to get all tripping hazards out of the way, including furniture, hoses, wires, toys, potted plants, pets, and kids.

5. Hands off

When using a pressure washer, one thing that is very important to remember is to never, ever, get your hands or any other part of you in the way of the pressure washer spray. You should not also spray it at anyone either. Never let children use a pressure washer unless they are older teens that understand the risks.

6. No ladders

Also note that pressure washers can produce a heavy kickback force, which can cause very a nasty fall. Instead, go for extension wands to reach high areas or seek the expertise of a professional cleaner.

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7. To start the engine or motor

For a gas power washer, adjust the choke and throttle if required, then brace your foot against a wheel to steady the machine, then pull the starter cord to start the engine. For electricity, plug into a grounded, GFCI outlet and flip the on/off switch to “on”.

8. Connect a garden hose to the water inlet

You should always make sure your hose can supply the required GPM for the machine. To measure, calculate how long it takes for your garden hose to fill a 5-gallon bucket at full flow. For a 2.5 GPM washer, you will need at least a 50-foot hose with a ¾ inch inside diameter.

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9. After work

Before uncoupling hoses, stop the machine, turn the water faucet off and squeeze the spray wand trigger to release all water pressure in the system. Always remember to turn on the safety lock on the trigger when you are not washing and when changing nozzle tips.


To deliver the best results, your pressure washer requires a source of power and a source of water. Have it in mind that most products in the market today are made to simply attach to your garden hose and draw water from the outdoor faucet or tap.

Pressure washers can be a useful and fast way to clean every form of outside service. Note that they work a lot better than the standard garden hose, and they are ideal for various materials too.