Causes & Prevention: Why Pressure Washer Surging


Pressure washers are invaluable tools for cleaning various surfaces efficiently and effectively. However, users may encounter issues such as surging or pulsing, which can hinder their cleaning tasks. Surging refers to the irregular flow of water from the pressure washer, where the pressure fluctuates or pulses instead of maintaining a steady stream. This phenomenon can significantly impact the performance and effectiveness of the pressure washer, leading to frustration for users.

Identifying Common Causes

Several factors can contribute to pressure washer surging, ranging from minor issues to more significant mechanical problems. Some common causes include:

1. Kinks in the Hose: A kink in the hose can disrupt the flow of water, causing pressure fluctuations and surging.

2. Clogged Nozzles: Dirt, debris, or mineral deposits can accumulate in the nozzle, obstructing the flow of water and leading to surging.

3. Air in the Pump: Air trapped in the pump can interfere with the water pressure, resulting in surging or pulsing.

4. Faulty Unloader Valves: The unloader valve regulates the pressure inside the pump. If it’s malfunctioning or worn out, it can cause surging issues.

Troubleshooting Guide

When encountering surging problems with a pressure washer, it’s essential to follow a systematic approach to diagnose and address the issue effectively. Here’s a step-by-step troubleshooting guide:

1. Check for Kinks: Inspect the hose for any twists, bends, or kinks that may be restricting water flow. Straighten out the hose to ensure a smooth, uninterrupted flow of water.

2. Clean or Replace Nozzles: Remove the nozzle from the wand and inspect it for any debris or clogs. Use a needle or small brush to clean out any obstructions. If the nozzle is severely clogged, consider replacing it with a new one.

3. Bleed Air from the Pump: Turn off the pressure washer and disconnect the water supply. Squeeze the trigger on the wand to release any trapped air from the pump. Reconnect the water supply and restart the pressure washer to see if the surging has stopped.

4. Inspect the Unloader Valve: If the surging persists, it may indicate a problem with the unloader valve. Consult the pressure washer’s manual for instructions on how to inspect and potentially replace the valve.

Preventive Tips

To minimize the risk of pressure washer surging in the future, consider implementing the following preventive measures:

1. Regular Maintenance Checks: Perform routine inspections of your pressure washer, paying attention to hoses, nozzles, and valves. Clean or replace any worn or damaged components as needed.

2. Proper Storage Practices: Store your pressure washer in a clean, dry environment away from extreme temperatures and moisture. This helps prevent corrosion and damage to the equipment, reducing the likelihood of surging issues.

Product Recommendations

When addressing pressure washer surging issues, consider using specialized tools or products designed for maintenance and repair. For example, nozzle cleaning kits, hose repair fittings, and replacement unloader valves can be valuable assets for troubleshooting and fixing surging problems.

Safety Precautions

It’s essential to prioritize safety when performing any repairs or maintenance on pressure washers. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines carefully, and always wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and safety goggles, to prevent injury.

Avoid working on the pressure washer near flammable materials or in hazardous environments. If you’re unsure about how to safely diagnose or repair the surging issue, consult a professional technician or service provider for assistance.


Pressure washer surging can be a frustrating issue for users, disrupting cleaning tasks and reducing overall efficiency. By understanding the common causes of surging, following a systematic troubleshooting approach, and implementing preventive measures, users can effectively diagnose and address surging problems with their pressure washers. Additionally, seeking expert advice, utilizing visual aids, and investing in quality tools and products can enhance the troubleshooting and maintenance process. Remember to prioritize safety at all times when working with pressure washers to prevent accidents and injuries.

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