Under Pressure: How Hose Length Affects CLEAN

How often have you been working on a pressure washing job and had to stop to move your equipment so that you had enough hose to reach the far edge of a surface? Using a pressure washer means that you’re tethered to your machinery, with the length of your hose dictating how far you can move before needing to reset your operations.

For many, it’s tempting to overcome this limitation by increasing the length of hose used on the job site. However, adding more distance for your water and detergents to travel can also present other problems.

The Science of Hose Lengths

Assuming a best-case scenario – working on flat ground and normal operating conditions – you typically won’t lose much pressure as you increase the length of hose that you use. For instance, on a 3/8-inch hose with a 3 gallon/minute flow, the loss of pressure per 100 feet is about 50 PSI. When you consider that pressure washers often operate at 3,000 to 5,000 PSI, that’s a fairly negligible loss for the increased distance.

Other factors can increase this pressure loss, however still at negligible levels. For example, if you’re spraying at a height of 50 above your pressure washer, the loss in pressure is approximately 22 PSI. That means if you were using a 100-foot hose, you’d have a net loss of approximately 75 PSI at the spray nozzle, not considering any other variables like hose interior smoothness, fitting style and even water temperature, which can all play a role in pressure.

If you think about that loss with a typical 3,000 PSI pressure washer, the pressure loss works out to only about 2.5 percent – fairly negligible and still providing ample cleaning power for most applications. It also means that, in theory, you could run a hose for several miles before losing pressure entirely – not that you should.

The Practicality of Hose Lengths

While that math all looks great on paper, in the real world there are more practical limits to hose lengths.

For example, there are few scenarios in which more than 100 to 200 feet of hose would be appropriate. Investing in the additional length of hose for infrequent use would be cost prohibitive when your Hotsy pressure washer has wheels and can easily be moved from one end of even a large warehouse building to the other.

In addition, more hose length also means more hose weight. Dragging an extra 50 or 100 feet of hose, filled with water, adds a burden of weight to operations. Let’s roughly estimate that every 100 feet of hose contains one gallon of water and, for the sake of simplicity, let’s say that with the weight of the hose that totals 30 pounds. That means if you add another 100 feet, you now have a hose weighing 60 pounds to drag around the job site. That’s not a ton, but it brings us to the third issue with increased hose lengths – wear.

With more hose being used, more hose also ends up lying on the ground. That means that as you move, you drag the hose across the terrain which can wear at the exterior of the hose and lead to premature failure. Longer lengths may also reach across access areas like driveways or vehicle bay entrances, increasing the possibility of a vehicle driving over and damaging a hose.

Less Is More – More Effective, That Is

All told, as tempting as it might seem to add another length of hose to your pressure washer, for most practical reasons it simply isn’t needed. While you may save a few minutes for projects that require you to move the pressure washer around to reach the full length of your surface being washed, the detractions and real-world practicalities of additional hose typically make it not worth the hassle.

Instead of investing in adding hose, make sure you’re using the best hose. Even 50- and 100-foot lengths of hose can suffer wear and tear, and failures in these hoses can pose a full range of problems and hazards. Find high-quality hoses and replace any worn hoses with the team at Hotsy Carlson. Give us a call today and find the right hoses for your cleaning needs.