Pressure washers typically require a substantial amount of water to be able to operate efficiently, with the supply needing to be pressurized enough so that it flows into the pressure washer before being sprayed out of the gun. More often than not, pressure washers are connected to an outside tap, but what if you don’t have an outside tap? What are you supposed to do then?
This article will provide you with all the relevant information on alternatives to using an outside tap to provide water for your pressure washer.
Pressure Washing with Water
When using a pressure washer, it’s important to be aware that they draw a significant amount of water. Some more industrial-like, heavy-duty pressure washers will use as much as 8 to 10 gallons of water per minute during their operation. The three key things you have to ensure you have when using a pressure washer with a water source that is not an outdoor tap:
- Adequate amounts of water: the source of water should have enough storage or volume to feed the pressure washer’s pump
- Adequate pressure: there needs to be enough suction or pressure to move the water from the source to the pump of the pressure washer
- Clean water: the water you are using should be clean and the water source shouldn’t have any particles or debris in it that can damage the pressure washer
You should have no problems running a pressure washer if you are able to fulfill these three requirements. Since outdoor taps have water coming directly from the tank, they have enough gravity pressure to supply an adequate amount of water to the pressure washer.
To put it simply, pressure washers need water flowing into their pump in order to pressurize it and then shoot out its gun. The pump of the most pressure washers is unable to suck water from a water source such as a bucket because they’re not designed as transfer pumps.
If you were to simply leave the end of the pressure washer hose in a reservoir and run the pressure washer you are likely to risk burning your pressure washer’s pump. On top of this, you need to ensure the water you’re feeding into your pressure washer is clean.
How to Use a Pressure Washer Without an Outdoor Tap
Of course, the ideal way to use a pressure washer is by connecting it to a tap outside, but there are some methods to allow you temporarily and even permanently to use your pressure washer without an outdoor tap, these methods include:
- Using a bucket of water
- Using a water barrel or tank
- Using an indoor tap
- Opting for a portable pressure washer
- Installing an outdoor tap
Let’s take a look at each in more detail!
Using a Bucket of Water
A bucket of water is one of the many ways to allow you to provide water to your pressure washer. It’s not as simple as filling a bucket with water and placing a hose inside it, you need the pressure to be available in order to move the water from the bucket and through to your pressure washer.
Taking the time to conduct necessary research will ensure you by pressure washing equipment that comes with a suction hose that is specifically designed to help people use their pressure washers without an outdoor tap. One end of the sucking hose can be inserted into the bucket while the other end into the pressure washer.
This method isn’t the most ideal, however, depending on the size of your bucket, and I imagine that it isn’t too big, your pressure washer is going to empty it really fast which means you will have to constantly walk back and forth to refill it and bring it to your work area.
With that being said, if you have a small project then maybe a small amount of water will suffice and this will enable you to complete your job fast.
If you do wish to adopt this method, it can generally be advised to use a filter on the top of the suction hose to stop it from drawing any rocks, debris, or other contaminants into the pressure washer. It’s easy for dirt and other particulates to enter a bucket, and so filtering them out is important to protect your power washer from becoming damaged.
This is probably the least effective substitute for an outside tap due to the limited amount of water. If your pressure washer didn’t come with a suction hose, they are easily accessible to buy, and here is an example of one readily available on Amazon.
- Connects to your Kärcher pressure washer's water inlet
- Allows you to use ponds, water buckets and tanks as an alternate source of water
- Includes filter to prevent debris from entering the pressure washer
- 9.8 feet (3 meters) in length. Max water temperature 104° F
Last update on 2023-09-14 at 11:53 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Using a Water Barrel or Tank
As I mentioned, the bucket method is the least effective method, and this is due to the fact that pressure washers typically require gallons of water to get something clean. Therefore, the idea to use a water barrel or tank that contains all the excess water from your downspouts is an excellent method if you don’t have access to an outdoor tap.
The majority of water barrels available for purchase in today’s market have taps installed that is compatible with the hoses on pressure washers, allowing you to easily run a hose between the two. Given that the gallons of water in the barrel contains natural pressure of cavity, the water moves more effectively than in a bucket.
This method is a good option for those looking to save water when using a pressure washer, as the barrel can collect and store rainwater, protecting you from excess waste. Their already installed taps, allow you to get to work very quickly.
Water barrels of a decent size tend to be able to hold up to 300 gallons of water which will be enough to run a pressure washer continuously for an hour. You can also fill the water barrel from an indoor tap and garden hose to provide additional use of the power washer if necessary.
The drawback here, is again you need to think about using a filter to protect the power washer from any unwanted contaminants that build up in the barrel.
Using an Indoor Tap
If you don’t have a tap outdoors, then why not use one of your indoor taps? Depending on how far the tap is from your work area and how much hose you have available, you may be able to supply your pressure washer with water from taps inside your home!
It’s crucial that you have a long enough length of hose to run through to the indoor tap and connect it properly. To connect the hose to the indoor tap you will typically need to purchase an adapter that will allow the outdoor hose to connect to your standard faucet. Here’s an example of the adapter you would need!
- Functional set: This tap connector lets you connect the adapters included in the set to many modern...
- Compatibility: The adapter is compatible with most taps with M 24 x 1 female thread and M 22 x 1 male...
- Quick and easy, ready for use: The set contains a spanner to make it easy to screw in and unscrew the...
- Part of the original Gardena system: Easily and quickly create a watertight fit to your tap using various...
Last update on 2023-09-14 at 11:53 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
It’s important to not use too much hose, and you should consider threading the hose from your tap through a window into your garden so that the water has the least possible distance to travel.
The greater the length of the hose, the greater pressure drop across its length. You will need a sufficient flow of water being supplied from the tap. If the length of the hose between the indoor tap and the pressure washer is too big, you will not be able to get enough water pressure for the pressure washer to work properly.
If you do not want to draw water from an indoor tap, you could always use the washing machine tap. The majority of household washing machines available today have taps just like the ones on your average outside tap. If this is the case, then they will have the same kind of threading, allowing you to easily connect your pressure washer hose.
Of course, how frequently you want to use your washing machine tap to power your pressure washer may become a nuisance unless you invest in a two-way tap. This tap will allow you to stay hooked up to the washing machine permanently, while the other will allow you to occasionally connect to your water pressure washer.
It doesn’t matter which tap you use, you will be required to run a hose through your house and outside, and so, you may need to invest in a longer hose.
Opting for a Portable Pressure Washer
If you’re still pondering ways to use a pressure washer without an outside tap, there are alternative designs that may suit you. In steps the portable pressure washer, a real ideal option if you don’t have an outside tap available. Portable power washers are designed with an onboard water tank so they can be moved freely around the place.
These types of pressure washers have an easy-fill tank that can be filled from an indoor tap or any water supply. You do not need any additional attachments or technology as both the tank and washer are integrated into a single system.
Portable pressure washers are more suited to light pressure applications like cleaning garden furniture. If you require a pressure washer for more heavy-duty tasks then I will not recommend a portable type because they do not have a lot of power.
Portable air washers free you from the trouble of connecting the pressure washer hose to a source because you can simply fill the built-in tank without much work or the need for awkward pump hoses. Here’s an example of a portable pressure washer readily available on Amazon!
Installing an Outdoor Tap
Maybe you’ve already considered it, but if you haven’t, why not consider installing an outdoor tap if it is such a worry? Pressure washers work at their best when they’re connected to outdoor taps, allowing you to collect as much water as necessary through the garden hose without having to refill anything.
Installing an outdoor tap really isn’t a difficult task for plumbers. You can drill a hole into a side of the house to connect the pipes you have indoors quickly and easily and this will offer you multiple benefits. Not only do you now have sufficient water available for your pressure washer, but you now have an outdoor water supply to water your plants!
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
It is possible to use a pressure washer without a hose connected to a tap, but you will still need a suction hose inserted into a bucket or barrel of water to supply the pressure washer with water to power. An alternative option is purchasing a portable pressure washer that runs off its built-in water tank.
Yes, you can run a pressure washer from a bucket if you attach a suction hose to the pressure washer inlet and have it placed in the bucket to draw the water into the pressure washer. The limitation here unfortunately is the size of the bucket, and how little water it can hold and supply to the pressure washer. You will constantly need to refill the bucket to be able to use the machine.
A few alternatives from using a pressure washer include the old-fashioned way of cleaning by hand, using industrial soap and regular hoses. Another option is foam cleaning where a thick foam is spread on the surface and biological cleaning agents within the foam sink down deep into the dirt to remove it. Finally, heat cleaning is a good alternative to pressure washing but will be more painstaking.
Yes, portable pressure washers contain built-in water tanks which allow you to be free of connecting a hose to a water source, and so, allow you to use the pressure washer wherever you require. The drawbacks include the limited size of the water tank which will need refilling and the lack of power that they produce. Portable pressure washers are ideal for light-duty tasks but not heavy-duty.
If you have any questions about using pressure washers without a hose, leave a comment below, so that someone can help you!