Below is a list of frequently asked questions and information for troubleshooting regarding pressure washers and other industrial equipment that Great Lakes Cleaning may carry. Please note: the information listed are only suggestions. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of what could be wrong with your equipment. GLCS does not guarantee the information below to be a diagnosis of a machine problem and does not assume any responsibility for misdiagnosis on machines that we have not quoted for.


If you have any questions or would like to get a service quote, contact Great Lakes Cleaning Systems at 1-800-882-9274, visit us in Grand Rapids, Michigan, or email us at info@greatlakescleaningsystems.com.


Remember, for user safety, always be sure that the power supply is disconnected before servicing your equipment! 


What temperature water can I use in my pressure washer?  Hot or cold?

Always use cold water, never use hot! Hot water can cause the heat coil to over heat, damaging the unit and its parts.


Why is there water coming out of my pump?  Is that normal?

It is not recommended to run your engine for any length of time without spraying the wand as it could cause the unit to overheat.  If the machine is in danger of overheating, the pump should automatically purge water to try to keep the unit cool.  This is called the automatic cool-down or thermal relief system.  Although most/all machines should have this, it should not be relied upon as the primary means to avoid overheating.


If water continues to drip from the pump replace the ceramics, plunger retainer oil rings, or plunger pack if needed.


Why is water leaking from the pump manifold?

Worn plungers or packings can cause leaking.  Check and replace as needed.


Why isn’t my pump motor running?

First confirm that the power source is adequate and you are using the proper drop cord.  Check that the pump motor switch is on and the GFCI has not been tripped.  Clean water nozzle as needed.


Why is the pump so noisy?

There could be air in the suction line, check the inlet water fittings.  Make sure the pump oil isn’t low.  If oil is low, add 5EA 30wt. non-detergent.  Confirm that the incoming water is not hot, reduce temperature, if needed, to ambient.  The pump valves may be dirty, clean or replace as necessary.  The valve springs or pump bearings could be worn, replace parts or rebuild pumps as needed.


Why is water in the crankcase?

The crankcase could have been subjected to worn seals, high humidity, or direct water spray.  Check and replace seals as needed.  Reduce oil change intervals.


Why is there water in the oil?

The machine could have been subjected to high humidity, change oil frequently.  The oil seal or plunger packing may be worn, replace as needed.


Why is there oil dripping from my machine?

The manifold may be cracked or the oil seal may be worn.  Check and replace as needed.


What kind of water source can I use?  

It is best to pull from a tank.  Avoid sources that is stationary or one that may contain debris. This can cause damage to your machine, pump, nozzle, etc.


My machine won’t start, what’s wrong?

First check to see if the machine is plugged in and turned on.  Then check to see if the GFCI is tripped.  If it is, reset the GFCI.  The overload on the motor may also be tripped, allow the automatic overload to cool or reset the machine by pushing the reset button located on the motor.


My machine is running but water won’t eject, what’s wrong?

Verify that the water supply is on.  If on, the nozzle may be plugged, clean or replace.  The trigger gun may be off or failing, repair or replace.


My machine will not produce hot water, why not?

First, run the machine so that enough water has gone through the coil to have the chance to heat up.  If the water is still coming out cold, check that the burner switch, pump switch, and thermostat are all on.  Then check that the fuel filter and the burner nozzle are not plugged, and confirm you have fuel in the machine.  Clean, replace or refill as necessary.  It could be a fuel pump malfunction or an improper electrode setting.  Clean/reset to specifications or replace fuel pump.


Why is there excessive burner smoke coming from my machine?

Are you using the correct fuel?  Use diesel #1/#2 or Kerosene.  There may be water in the fuel, drain and replace.  Readjust fuel pressure to specifications and the air band/altitiude as needed.  Check for air leaks or bubble in the fuel lines.  Realign electrodes to specifications if needed.  Clean soot off of coils/burner assembly and clean or replace the burner nozzle as needed.


How far can I safely extend the hose?

Check your owners manual for specific length recommendations. A general acceptable length is 100 feet. If you extend the hose farther than recommended, the machine will still operate but the water pressure will decrease and chemical injection may not operate satisfactorily.


Why is the pressure relief valve leaking?

Adjust unloader to specifications if needed.  Clean or replace nozzles as needed.  Replace relief valve if defective.  There may be a restriction discharge hose, flush accordingly.  Check for a scale restriction flow in coil, clean if needed.


The hose pressure is low?  What’s wrong?

Confirm that you have a sufficient water supply and that you have the correct nozzle on for this application.  Also check the hose for any possible kinks or abrasions.  If the hose looks fine, check for a plugged spray nozzle or inlet screen, clean or replace.  Also check that the unloader valve isn’t stuck open and the inlet or discharge hoses aren’t plugged.  Clean, repair, or replace as needed.  The pump valves could be dirty or worn, clean or replace.  If applicable, the chemical valve could be open.  Close valve or submerge hose.


Why is my hose pressure fluctuating?

Adjust unloader to specifications if needed.  Your pump could be sucking in air, check that your water/chemical supply is not low.  Inspect for and replace andy worn or dirty valves and plunger packings.


Do I always have to replace a nozzle if it is clogged?  

Not always. First try cleaning the nozzle and recheck the pressure. If cleaning doesn’t solve the problem, then yes, put on a new nozzle.


You clean a nozzle by disconnecting your wand from the gun, clearing the debris with a small rigid piece of wire, flush the nozzle backwards with water, reconnect the wand and the gun, start the pressure washer and check the water pressure again.


Why is it important to clean a clogged nozzle?

A clogged nozzle can lower water pressure and increase pump pressure. This can cause damage to your hose or machine pump. It can also produce a burst hose, which can be dangerous to the machine operator.


Which nozzle is best for me?

In order to choose the correct size nozzle, you must first know what application you’ll be using the pressure washer for.


0′, red nozzle – Narrow, powerful stream of water.  Used for very difficult to remove stains.

15′, yellow nozzle – Uses a small angle of spray for focused cleaning.  Used for somewhat difficult to remove stains.

25′, green nozzle – Uses a medium angle of spray for cleaning sensitive and soft surfaces, like a deck, fence, aluminum, etc.

40′, white nozzle – Largest angle of spray used for cleaning surfaces quickly and for rinsing.

65′, soap (black) nozzle – Soap tip is used in conjunction with a low pressure soap injector and the cleaning fluid.


The unloader isn’t bypassing, what’s wrong?

The valves or unloader seat could be fouled.  Check, clean, or replace as needed.


Why is the unloader cycling off when the gun is turned off? 

There may be a leak in the trigger or discharge.  Check for leaking fittings, repair or replace as needed.


What kind of chemicals can I use in my machine?

It is important that you use only the chemicals that are approved for pressure washers!  Visit our Chemicals page to see a list of what GLCS offers.


What is the chemical to water ratio that should use for my machine?

Check your owners manual for specifics as each machine/unit can differ!  Typically the ratio is between 12:1 and 18:1.


I have low/no chemical flow.  Is the Chemical Injector working properly?

Check to be sure that both the valve and the wand are open, and that the valve is turned on.  Check chemical level in container, refill as needed.  Check if the chemical screen is dirty, clean as needed.  Check to be sure that the injector and the injector pick-up hose are not clogged, clean or replace as needed.  Lastly, your discharge hose may be too long.  Reduce hose length or reposition injector to a forty foot range of the trigger gun.


Do I need to put oil in my pump?  If so, what kind?

Yes, you need to put oil in the pump on a regular basis.  Please refer to your owner’s manual for the exact type of oil.