Pressure Washer Valves

Pressure Washer Valves

Pressure washer

Figure 1: Pressure washer

A pressure washer is a device used to clean surfaces effortlessly. Pressure washers can be used for various tasks like cleaning backyard decks, and vehicles or preparing surfaces for painting. This article discusses the basic working principle of a pressure washer and the role of various valves within the device.

Table of contents

What is a pressure washer?

A pressure washer uses high water pressure to remove dust, mold, loose paint, grease, and stains from surfaces. Pressure washers can be powered by electricity or fuels like petrol and diesel. The volume of a pressure washer can be measured in gallons or liters per minute. The pressure generated by the pressure washer is expressed in pounds per square inch (psi).

Pressure washer parts

A pressure washer has a simple design. The structure consists of parts that take in water and accelerate it to high pressure. The main components of a pressure washer are discussed below:

  • Water inlet: Apart from connecting the pressure washer to the water supply, the water inlet system allows water into the pressure water. Equally, it helps filter debris.
  • Water pump: A water pump accelerates the incoming water to produce high-pressure water. Water pumps handle 4-8 liters of water per minute.
  • High-pressure hose: These hoses connect the pressure washer to the cleaning attachment. High-pressure hoses can handle the high pressure generated by the pressure washer. Wire mesh and high-density plastics reinforce the strength of a high-pressure hose.
  • Cleaning attachment: It is an added component depending on the cleaning purpose. For light cleaning, a trigger gun can be effective. A rotating brush and a spinning wand spray are used for sophisticated cleaning purposes.
  • Pressure water ball valves: Ball valves control the flow of water to the motor and the flow of pressured water through the nozzle, as discussed in the next section.

Pressure washer working principle

Pressure washers utilize a high-pressure jet of water to remove stains from surfaces. The high-pressure jet loosens and flushes away the dirt on the surface. The working of a pressure washer is discussed below:

  1. A hose connects to a container containing washing detergent. Another hose is connected to a water supply.
  2. The water pump pulls in water and detergent when you turn on the pressure washer. The water and detergent form a soapy solution. Some pressure washers can also heat the water.
  3. The high-pressure hose then pressurizes the soapy water. Attachments have narrow nozzles to increase the pressure of the water stream flowing out.

Pressure washer valves

Ball valves

A pressure washer ball valve controls water flow in the pressure washer. It also allows the user to temporarily stop water flow through the pressure hose. Usually, ball valve assembly for a pressure washer consists of the following:

  • A ball valve installed at the water inlet controls the liquid flow to the device when it is powered.
  • A ball valve is installed near the motor that functions as a discharge valve enabling pressurized water flow.

Pressure washers have ball valves that control water flow to help them perform better. As ball valves come in many shapes and sizes, choosing the ideal one for your pressure washer can be challenging. These valves can be controlled manually by rotating the lever or actuated electrically or pneumatically.


  1. Ball valves can control the flow of water in a pressure valve. Too much water in the pressure water may damage it.
  2. A ball valve can isolate the water pump from the rest of the pressure washer. This is crucial in preventing the pump from being damaged by water.
  3. Ball valves regulate water pressure. It is vital to regulate the pressure of water applied to surfaces.
  4. It is easy to install and operate a ball valve.
  5. Ball valves are durable.


Follow the following steps when installing a ball valve on a pressure washer.

  1. Turn off the pressure washer and disconnect it from the power source.
  2. Disconnect the pump from the hose by unscrewing the bolts.
  3. Connect one end of the ball valve to the pump.
  4. Connect the other end of the ball valve to the hose. Read our article on ball valve installation for more details.
  5. Connect the pressure washer back to the power source.

Check valves

If the main water source supplies dinking water, a check valve is installed at the pressure washer inlet to prevent any backflow before reaching the pump. Check valves are also installed in a pressure washer to let enough water flow through the manifold and pump to pressurize the water at the nozzle. The pump won’t build pressure if the nozzle check valve is damaged. Air in the water inlet supply or chemical residues within the pump can damage the pressure washer check valve. In this case, replace the damaged valve with a manufacture-approved check valve for the pressure washer. Read our article on check valve installation for more details on installing a check valve.

How to choose a pressure washer ball valve

Ball valves are manufactured in a variety of designs and sizes. Often, it is challenging to choose the design that fits your needs. To choose an appropriate ball valve, you have to consider the following factors:

  1. Size: Size is the primary factor you need to consider when choosing a pressure washer valve. The chosen size should also fit your pressure washer.
  2. Material: A pressure washer valve is a material that can withstand high water pressure of up to 4000 psi and high temperatures. Read our article on the chemical resistance of materials to check the suitability of a medium while working with water. Since the medium used is water, the material used should not be susceptible to corrosion or rust. Recommended materials are:
    1. Valve body: Stainless steel, PVC
    2. Seal: EPDM, PTFE
  3. Pressure rating: The valve needs to effectively handle the pressure used. Its pressure rating should be higher than the pressure washer's pressure ratings.
  4. Flow rate: You should ensure that valve can handle the flow rate of water from the pressure washer. A valve that can handle a high-pressure rate is convenient in most cases.
  5. Price: Pressure ball valves are available at different prices. Its price should match your budget.


Can the pressure washer ball valve be cleaned?

You can clean the pressure valve using a soft cloth. However, it is not advisable to use chemicals during the cleaning process.

What is the standard pressure rating for pressure washer ball valves?

The pressure rating depends on the pressure washer used. The value is typically up to 4000 psi.

Can a pressure washer ball valve be repaired?

You can repair ball valves in pressure washers. You may need to replace the valve if the damage is severe and irreversible. Read our article on replacing ball valves for more details.