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Buy Washer

A pressure washer is a highly useful tool for keeping hard exterior surfaces clean. Although you can hire a professional to do the job, you can save money by buying or renting a pressure washer and doing the work yourself.

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Pressure washing is a term often used interchangeably with power washing. It is virtually the same process, though there is one notable difference: heat. Pressure washing uses a high-pressured stream of cold water that makes removing dirt and other residue easy. Power washing adds heat to build a stream of wet steam that is powerful in removing oil and other hard-to-clean grime. Cleansers can be added to both power washers and pressure washers to achieve optimal results.

A pressure washer is used to remove dirt and other buildups, like mold or mildew, from exterior surfaces. This tool is particularly good at cleaning sidewalks, wood decks, concrete sidewalks and paths, and home exteriors including vinyl siding, brick, stone and stucco. A pressure washer can also be used on fences and even patio furniture. Pressure washers come in both electric-powered and gas-powered models.

The major disadvantage of buying a pressure washer is that you have to store it. While there are some pressure washers on the market that are very compact, they will still take up room in your garage or shed. If space is already at a premium, you might not be willing to use some of it for equipment that you will use infrequently.

Of course, this is fine if the pressure washer is still operable and efficient. But you might need it to be serviced at some point, and if your pressure washer model is discontinued, you might be out of luck. If you do purchase a pressure washer, be sure it comes with a warranty.

The cost to purchase an electric pressure washer is between $100 and $400. A gas-powered one will cost between $300 and $600. There are commercial-grade pressure washers that can cost thousands of dollars, but for the average homeowner, there are much more economical models on the market.

If you do not need to use the pressure washer more than once a year, it might be more cost-efficient to rent one. Again, it all comes down to the cost per use. However, price is not the only reason to rent a pressure washer. Here are some other factors to consider when making your decision:

While renting a pressure washer might make fiscal sense, there are some things that could cause a hassle. For starters, transporting the rental could prove to be tricky. The weight of electric-powered pressure washers ranges from 15 pounds up to more than 60 pounds. Gas-powered models are much heftier, with many weighing more than 100 pounds. Depending on the type that you rent, transportation might be an issue. Be sure that your vehicle and your own strength are enough to ensure the safe transport of the pressure washer to and from the rental place.

Another disadvantage to renting a pressure washer is that the weather will dictate when you can use it. If you are waiting for a dry spell to wash the exterior of your home, know that other homeowners are doing the exact same thing, so a rental might not be readily available. On the flip side, if you rent a pressure washer and it rains, you will have to wait until it lets up before using it. If you find that the weather is eating into your rental timeline, call the rental place to negotiate a longer time frame.

The cost to rent a pressure washer is between $40 and $100 per day. When determining the true cost of the rental, be sure to include transportation costs (ex., gas and tolls) that you will incur in the picking up and dropping off of the pressure washer.

Just as some refrigerator brands are better than others, some washer and dryer brands have a better reputation than others. We spoke to a few esteemed experts, who revealed the best washer and dryer brands to invest in this year. Need more advice? Here is the best time to buy a washer and dryer and a step-by-step guide to doing the laundry.

But a lot of factors come into play in today's appliance market. From washers with built-in sinks to dual units with two cleaning tubs, laundry really doesn't look like it used to. Fortunately, we're here to help. Think of this article as your laundry spirit guide, leading you to the perfect washing machine for your home.

Beyond the obvious -- that front-load washers open from the front and top-load washers open from the top -- there are some significant differences between the two styles. These distinctions will help inform your purchase, as every washing machine you'll look at will be either front- or top-load.

While the majority of traditional front- and top-load washers measure roughly 27 or 28 inches wide and 30 to 35 inches deep, their height dimensions are quite different. That's because front-load models have front-mounted displays (much like a slide-in front-control range) and top-load models have back-mounted displays (much like a freestanding back-control range).

Because of this design difference, many front-loaders have optional stacking kits so you can literally install your matching front-load dryer over your washer (always stack the dryer on top of the washer because it weighs less).

Stacking is ideal when you have limited square footage for your laundry pair, since you can take advantage of vertical space. The last place I lived had a closet set aside for the water heater, the HVAC system and a small washer and dryer. In that case, the decision was easy -- it was either a compact front-load stacked laundry pair or nothing.

But that doesn't mean front-load washers are only suitable for tight spaces. If you find a stackable front-load washer and dryer you like, it's also common to install them side-by-side. For top-loaders a side-by-side install is (perhaps obviously) your only option.

In addition to a washer's external dimensions, you will also want to think about the size of the washing drum inside the unit. Excluding compact units, most of which have a drum somewhere in the 2-cubic-foot range, the majority of standard-size front- and top-load washer drums today range from roughly 4 to 5 cubic feet. That's a great range for a typical 8-pound load.

Of course, as a washing machine drum gets closer to 5 cubic feet, the more easily it can handle larger loads. You'll also find subtle drum size differences when you compare front- and top-load washers. Most front-loader drums range from 4.2 to 5 cubic feet (with the odd sub-4-cubic-foot exception from GE and some 5-plus-cubic-foot exceptions from LG and Samsung).

Top-loader drums are all over the map, ranging from 3.2 to 6.2 cubic feet, and they're complicated by the fact that less expensive models still rely on a traditional agitator -- the plastic rod that extends from the bottom of a top-load washer to the top of its tub. Agitators are a legacy feature left over from the last generation of washer tech and they suck up precious cubic footage from your washer tub. So, a top-loader with an agitator is almost guaranteed to have less than a 4.5-cubic-foot capacity, simply because the agitator is hogging some of the space typically reserved for clothes.

In the US, most washer manufacturers have replaced their old-school agitators with a lower-profile alternative called an impeller. Less intrusive than traditional agitators, impeller-style washers typically have larger capacities because you don't have that agitator spindle in the way.

No matter what, you're probably going to shell out a minimum of $500 on a new washing machine, but there are also clear cost disparities between front- and top-load washers. Here's a table to help guide your budget:

We've reviewed dozens of washing machines. While we still have a long way to go before we've tested all of the models on the market, top-load washers have earned our best (and worst) stain removal performance scores so far.

We found this to be *mostly* true during our testing. Specifically, we used two flow meters (one each for hot and cold water) to calculate how many gallons of water a washer uses during a normal cleaning cycle, with normal soil, hot water and high spin settings.

That 17.94 gallons of water average for top-load washers is also slightly misleading, since some top-load models used as little as 5 gallons. Others required as much as 38 gallons during their cycles.

In contrast, not every top-load washer earns the HE designation. ACI explains that, "Top-loading washers that are labeled 'HE' use low-water volume wash cycles. They have either no center post or a smaller-sized center post instead of a traditional agitator." That means traditional agitator-equipped top-load washing machines don't qualify as high-efficiency appliances.

Note: You can use HE detergent in a non-high-efficiency top-load washer, but you should always use HE detergent in a front-load washer. Most of the Tide liquid detergent available today comes in both regular and HE varieties -- look for the HE logo to be sure, or check the price marker.

Here's what the ACI says on the subject of HE detergent: "As a result of extensive research, HE detergents are formulated to be low-sudsing and quick-dispersing to get the best cleaning performance with HE washers. Excess suds can cause problems in HE washers by 'cushioning' -- or even preventing -- the tumbling action. This can impact proper cleaning. HE detergents are also formulated to hold soils and dyes in suspension in low water volumes, so they don't redeposit onto cleaned laundry."

Certain mid- to high-end washers work with apps that let you start, stop and pause a cycle remotely or simply view the status of a cleaning cycle from your phone. GE even offers IFTTT integrations so you can time your Philips Hue LEDs to flash when a wash cycle ends, as well as a voice control integration with Amazon Alexa. Select Whirlpool appliances work with Alexa, too, so you can say: "Alexa, start the washer."

Case in point: the GE Laundry app for Android and iPhone. Follow the steps to connect compatible GE washers and dryers with the app and it will display a nice readout of the time remaining on your wash/dry cycle. It looks great, but you can't actually initiate a cleaning cycle remotely. 041b061a72


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