Potential Problems

Insurance for pressure washing can be high depending on where you go. Could someone explain to me the different problems that can come up when doing this work? I am thinking one thing might be water getting inside of a house. Or doing damage to different surfaces because of the high PSI of the water. PWs can reach a PSI of 4200. I know that water can be used to cut glass. Another problem might be swapping chems part way through a concrete floor job and leaving different “shades of clean”. All of this is quite fascinating. But I expect these are the things that separate the novice (which I am) from the pro!



Ignorance. Either a willful lack of knowledge or only dealing with the worst case scenerios.

Seriously, my agent was hell-bent that I might “blow the wood right off the house”. Thank-god and underwriter did the policy and not her.

You may have to shop around to find a decent quote.

What can go wrong?
Blow the wood right off the house…

Flying rock from a concrete cleaning job slamming through a store front window or hitting a Lambo parked in the parking lot.

Are you working off the ground? Falling off a ladder - worst case - death.

Not sure about chems - I could see fines from EPA or something, but not sure insurance would cover what is illegal activity (dumping into storm drains or polluting water ways).

Maybe a damaged roof - on a high-end upscale custom home, a new roof could be $40K or more.

Happen to Schertz not long ago - bad main electrical box, sprayed with water and house could quite possibly go up in flames. While not your fault for the bad electrical box, you will get it pinned on you as you were the one spraying water when it arched and caught the house on fire.

What else - busted windows - your tip not locked in on the lance, you don’t have the habit of always shooting into the grass when you first pull the trigger and it is aimed at the window or maybe a person. You basically have a bullet shooting from your lance at that point.

I am sure other have tales they can share

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A kid trips on your hose thats laying across the sidewalk, you kill $5000 in Japanese Maples, your mix gets on a bare wood door or a new metal one, you blow a pressure hose or ball valve and it slaps grandma in the hip, you have a clogged nozzle in your surface cleaner causing deep circles in the cream of a nice stained driveway, it looks like you damaged something that was already broken cause you touched it last, you forget to tape keyholes and electrical, you set a house on fire, your surface cleaner chucks a rock at cousin eddie’s kids good eye, you get sued for pre-existing conditions and werent warned cause BLAMING YOU WAS THE PLAN FROM THE START!!! stolen equipment, shall I continue?

And in California, heaven forbid a thief throws his back out while reaching over to snag your hard earned surface cleaner…


WOW! Unbelievable. I am thinking being very aware of everything that is going on around you and everything you are doing. Never be willfully unaware. Always thinking about everything.

Thanx so much guys!


Operate using common sense, your insurance should cover the other stuff. Buy traffic cones, keep up with the equipment, keep your head on a swivel. Buy good insurance. I have decent coverage (I think) through Erie but Im still gonna try to get opinions on it. I still get nervous sometimes. Might see if @squidskc @Racer or @Innocentbystander would be willing to look it over and identify shortfalls in my coverage.

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I’m no legalize guru. I just carry more than is required by my vendors, have a large care, custody and control policy, an umbrella policy, document training and take no chances. Eire underwrites me as well.


The California Part :joy::joy::joy::joy::joy:


I’ve often considered if power washing is even worth the risk compared to window cleaning. There’s just so much more that can happen.

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Yeah, financially :money_mouth_face:! But really, common sense and education play a huge role. I dont do windows but looks SUPER boring. Like cutting grass. When I do offer it, and I will soon, employees will be doing it not me. But Ive spent most of my working life around moving parts, moving people and equipment. Just dont get too comfortable.

Your only regret to getting into washing is that you didn’t do it earlier.


From the chemical side here are the calls I have personally received:

  1. Some of my deck stripper fell on the chickens below the deck, is that a problem?
    -Yes, yes it is.
  2. I dropped some deck stripper on an asphalt driveway and it looks like like an oil stain, can I fix that?
    -No dude, you burned the driveway
  3. The house wash removed the paint on the side of the windows.
    -Um, the house wash is 95% water, YOUR pressure washing removed the paint.
  4. I was soft washing a house and all the new grass in the back looked weird and it had a really bad smell
    -That is called ammonia in the fertilizer reacting with the bleach, congrats, you just made a noxious gas…no the grass won’t survive :roll_eyes:
  5. I washed a house with a bit stronger of a mix than you recommend, now the windows look kind of chalky
    • just a bit stronger huh? I don’t think it was a “bit” stronger, since you etched the windows dude!

And my all time favorite:
6. I used the roof wash mix on my car engine since it did so good at removing all the gunk off the roof, I thought it would work good on my engine, but now there is a weird color on my engine.

  • That would be rust, you basically just stripped your engine. No you can’t fix it! :unamused:

Sitting in my doctor’s office getting weird looks due to my random laughing.


@CaCO3Girl Can this happen from a “normal” mix? Does pre-wetting the windows prevent the glass from etching?

Those are great. I love 1 and 6. A little humor to start the day off.

Etching occurs from too much contact time with the chemical. It could be caustic, it could be metasilicate, in either case it is the contact time that is the problem. The correct mix ratio and the correct dwell time are the key.

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Don’t let the windows even think about drying with solution on them, even a weak mix.


Keep in mind, I’m not allowed to laugh at them. I’m not allowed to call them dude, or dumbass. Sometimes my job is REALLY trying.


YUP! I agree

I wouldn’t be able to help myself. Compliments on your obviously outstanding restraint.

One thing you can do to cover your butt is always take before pictures of each wall so if your customer thinks you did something you can go back and show them it was like that before you started. I walk around and take pictures and closeups of everything that is damaged before hand including windows with busted seals that already have moisture in them. I also point out that damage to the customer before I wash because most of the time they don’t walk around their home looking at every detail until they inspect it after you wash. You can also have customers sign contracts stating that if windows and doors weather seals fail to do their job and keep water out that you won’t be responsible. The customer is paying you to spray water on their home. Now if you’re being negligent and using way too much pressure you should cover damage but customers also need to be aware of their responsibilities. If you go to a house with old single pane wood windows you can guarantee some will leak even if you use low pressure and have the customer make preparations inside the home to prevent damage. Sometimes if something small happens and it’s not your fault it’s best to spend a couple hundred dollars out of pocket to fix it and not have an angry customer out to ruin your reputation.