Consumer Reports is recommending people stop using a standard power washer attachment immediately because of a risk of injury.
John Gould has owned Dominion Power Washing business in Metro Vancouver for 29 years and has cleaned more than 9,000 buildings. He says an attachment standard with most power washers can cut off toes and fingers and take out eyes.
The attachment is a zero degree tip. It’s usually red and it is the most powerful attachment in most kits and Gould says it is completely unnecessary.
“I've had my employees cut their boots. I've cut my hands with them by accident,” says Gould. He advises people to throw away the zero tip, and Consumer Reports agrees.
"We're particularly concerned about the zero-degree nozzle because it concentrates all of that power and pressure into a single pinpoint blast, " warns Doris Sullivan of Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports tests power washers. They’re usually sold with interchangeable coloured tips or a wand tip that adjusts to different settings to spray at different angles. The most powerful, the zero degrees tip, is usually red.
It is no longer recommending any pressure washers that come with nozzles or adjustable wand tips that produce sprays of less than 15 degrees, like the zero tip.
"If you already own a pressure washer, we recommend that you get rid of the red zero-degree nozzle. And if you have a spray tip with a zero-degree setting, don't use it, " says Sullivan
“They’re dangerous for your physical health and cause structural damage,” says Gould.
Gould also recommends sticking with a standard 36-inch pressure washing wand and not using the shorter wand. He says the smaller one can be dangerous if it flips back in the users face.
No matter which type of spray nozzle you’re using, wear safety goggles and protective shoes and never point it at a person or your pet.
Consumer Reports is asking manufacturers to make products without the zero-degree setting. But the Pressure Washer Manufacturers' Association in the U.S. says the instruction manuals and markings on the products show how to use them safely. And it stands by the use of a zero-degress nozzle for tough jobs and for reaching longer distances.