There is a heated debate about the difference between these two types of washing, and many people are concerned that they might confuse the two terms. So let us clear the terminological confusion first. Strictly speaking, there is no difference between the two outside our profession.
These are synonyms that are often used interchangeably. Both are defined as cleaning or washing a surface with a strong jet of water, the high pressure of which helps to remove various particles from the surface, and wash the dirt away too. The tool used for the purpose is called a power washer or a pressure washer interchangeably.
However, we can pressure wash surfaces using hot or cold water, depending on many factors, which we will discuss on this page. And in our professional jargon, we speak of pressure washing when we do it with cold water, while power washing refers to using hot water for the job.
It is just a manner of speaking among the professionals in our field, and now that we have got that confusion out of the way, let us take a look at the difference between washing surfaces with cold and hot water in order to understand when one is better than the other.
When you use cold water, you rely entirely on the high pressure of the water jet to push the unwelcome particles off the surface. It is a lot easier to do than power washing, and there are no chemical detergents involved.
Therefore, it is a method of choice when all you want to do is remove some mold, dirt, mold or algae. It is also recommended for surfaces made of hard materials, like concrete, or when there is a risk that the high temperature or chemicals used in power washing might damage the coating.
And pressure washing is a must when you have to "scrub" something off the surface. For example, removing the pieces of old paint before repainting a wall. It works a lot better than actual physical scrubbing too, since you can achieve the same effect without damaging the surface.
Apart from that, this method is considerably cheaper too. For these reasons, it is highly recommended for regular cleaning, when no special treatment is required, and the material is appropriate for high-pressure cleaning.
However, there are cases when you cannot just remove the dirt, and some special treatment is necessary. For example, birds droppings and other kids of dirt may have stayed there for a while, becoming drying and sticking solidly to the surface. In this case, you will either not be able to spray it away, or you might even damage the surface when the particle breaks away together with a piece of paint.
Another example is a stain that cannot be simply sprayed off the surface because it has become part of the coating, and you can only "scrub" it off together with the latter. Besides, soft and sensitive materials may be too vulnerable to the very high pressure of a powerful water jet, when power washing roof shingles or windows, for example.
What you need instead is a delicate treatment of the surface, dissolving the dirt with chemicals and hot water, even though it is more expensive, and requires good professional skills. It is also a very intricate art, and requires a thorough knowledge of building materials too.
That is why you should only go for professional power washing instead of trying to do it yourself. If you require an expert assessment of your specific case, or want to apply for our power wash services, you can call us at 847 922 33 79 any time, except on Sundays and public holidays.