Pressure washers have two main components - the engine and the pump. The high-pressure pump is the core of the system and a good quality pump, such as a General Pump, will last for years with minimal maintenance.
Any pump that puts out pressure over 150 PSI (pounds per square inch) is considered a high-pressure pump. The most common high-pressure pump is the positive displacement reciprocating plunger/piston type pump. General pumps are of this design, using solid ceramic plungers. General Pumps come in two basic designs. For medium to heavy home use, the most popular is the GPEZ series 44 with a triplex plunger pump and direct-drive system. They start at about $300.00. The General Pumps GPT series 47 solid shaft pump series 66 is a high flow triplex pump for belt-driven equipment. This General Pump is preferred in pressure washer applications and start at about $500.
There are duplex and triplex plunger pumps, but the triplex creates a smoother flow and is used most often with today's pressure washers. Axial pumps are sometimes found on cheaper consumer models of pressure washers, and serve the purpose for homeowners who only use them occasionally, but they are usually just thrown away and replaced when broken. If you plan to keep and use your pressure washer regularly, you are better off with the triplex, ceramic plunger models such as the General Pump Series 66 high flow triplex pump.
Positive displacement pumps work with the positive displacement of fluid and fixed volume. The fluid is mechanically pushed through the channels on a regular cycle. The pressure and volume remain constant. Pressure is created when this flow is pushed through the restrictive nozzle orifice. The size of the nozzle orifice is chosen for the desired pressure at the desired flow. If you notice a decrease in pressure, check the nozzle for wear before thinking the pump is failing. High-pressure pumps today, such as General Pumps, are very robust and when properly maintained, can be virtually trouble free.
What size pump do you need? Pressure washer power is calculated by multiplying the pressure per square inch (PSI) by the Gallons per minute (GPM). The easiest way to determine the right pump size for your engine is to multiply the engine horsepower by 1100. This gives the cleaning units (CU's) that your engine is made to deliver. (Cleaning units are figured by multiplying GPM x PSI.)
To keep your General Pump in top shape for years to come there are some things you should be careful to do. You should change the oil every 3 to 5 months or after 500 hours of use. This schedule should be maintained AFTER the initial oil change, which should be done after the first 50 hours of break-in.
You should always flush your General Pump with clean water after each use and use an environmentally friendly anti-freeze. Never store your General Pump with water left in it, and be careful to check the manufacture recommendations when using strong chemicals in the pump.
General Pump has been in the high-pressure pump business for over 30 years. They use forged brass manifolds, guaranteed for life. General Pumps have oversize connecting rods and wear resistant solid ceramic plungers with continuous lubricating packing.
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