Unloader Valves for your Pressure Washer

Published: 28th February 2011
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Pressure washer unloader valves are the principal "safety" within your pressure washer system. By far the most regularly used is the "pressure actuated" kind of valve. In the event the pressure gun trigger is pressed the valve detects the stress increase and just like a "traffic cop" it diverts water stream from the pump outlet directly into the intake part of the pump. This is what's called "bypass mode." Without this fundamental ingredient this closed-gun situation might develop pressure enough where it may well stall the power supply, break the washer hose or even the pump as well.

The most basic function of the unloader is to behave as a "policeman" to the water flow in the system. Dependent on the type of valve it can either sense "pressure build" or "reduction in flow". Depending upon the type, when one of these circumstances is achieved the unloader will then actuate to divert the water flow back again to the inlet side of the pressure pump, where it will rotate through the pump back again to the inlet side of the valve to the inlet side of the pump again in what is known as bypass loop.

When this is happening the pump is said to be in "bypass mode" plus the unloader valve is said to be "cycling". This finishes as soon as the trigger is squeezed notifying the unloader valve to reroute the flow to the high pressure nozzle once again. Although this may appear to fix the trouble it's not necessarily without dangers. When the water flow is in bypass new cool water isn't coming into the system. The moving parts in the pump are generating friction which generates heat which is transmitted to the water flow in bypass. Since a limited amount of water is in bypass this exchange of heat can take place quickly.

A lot of pumps are created to handle water temperatures of 140 F. If the water in bypass reaches 155 deg Fahrenheit harm to the pump can commence. Damage can take place to the pump packings, plungers and seals and even to the short bypass hose in external bypass setups. It is a good idea to get a pump that has a thermal relief valve to provide some protection against extreme heat accumulation. It can be a better idea to not leave a pump in bypass mode for more than 2-3 minutes, as by just squeezing the trigger gun you will bring new cool water into the system.

Ryobi Pressure Washer is dedicated to all things related to pressure washers, and pressure washer unloader valves.

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