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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The painters power-washed/pressure-washed our house today. Our house is stucco with wood trim. We have a lot of old brick patio in the back. The house and one of the garages smell pretty musty after the power-washing. (The other garage is fine, I think.) Is this normal?
 

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It's fine. When power washing a home, there's lots of mildew (some unseen) that is on the siding. This gets blasted off and ends up on the ground around your home causing the smell. Perfectly normal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's fine. When power washing a home, there's lots of mildew (some unseen) that is on the siding. This gets blasted off and ends up on the ground around your home causing the smell. Perfectly normal.
Thank you! I was worried! I guess the smell will go away when it all dries up. Thank goodness I live in Arizona!
 

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It could also be the chemicals/detergents they used. You never know what someone's concoction is. Of course in Arizona I wouldn't have expected much mold/algae on your home to begin with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It would be strange for a pressure washing company to use only water. Do you have a 1 story ranch?
Yes, I do, but even more than that, I'm a very chemically-sensitive person. It was the painters who did the power washing, not a separate company. They hooked up a hose to the spout on the side of the house, the hose went to a machine that I presume made the pressure, and from that machine came a hose and a wand that had variable pressure. They could blast hard on the stucco and gently on our old metal windows.

But I am interested in what you are saying, because it never occurred to me that some people would use a cleaner as well as water. I just did a search on the topic and I see that people spray on stain-fighters and mold-killers. We didn't have a stain problem, just a ton of dust that had to be removed before painting. (Arizona, you know.)

Why would painters likely to use cleaners on two-story houses than ranch houses?
 

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Well frankly it would be strange not to use cleaners on a ranch either. But the reason I mention is that they might feel they can use straight pressure, rather than any cleaners. But that requires they get close to the house (within a foot) and that's not too hard on a 1 story house, but very difficult on a 2 story house.

Normally the chemicals would be injected directly into the water stream from their machine, so you probably wouldn't even have noticed they were using any. Typically this is a blend of bleach and some detergent.
http://sears.outdoorcleaning.com/basics/overview/detergent_injection/

You're in Arizona, so maybe they can do without the bleach there. I'd be surprised if they did without any detergent though. If they didn't use it, and they didn't blast away up close to your house, then it probably didn't get as clean as it should have. Probably won't be a problem though.
 

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I'll never understand pressure washers. Everything on the exterior of your home is there to protect it from the weather. Roofing, flashing, siding, paint, caulk, etc are all there to keep moisture out of your house. Why on earth would you want to blast high pressure water at all of these water proofing systems?
 

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Hopefully they angled the nozzle at 45* to the house, direct at perpendicular would inject water into the stucco base possibly wetting the building paper below (if the sun was out and the AC on); http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/reports/rr-0104-solar-driven-moisture-in-brick-veneer, which would smell until dry. Stucco is a moisture reservoir siding, check the paint type used,.... is it listed in your contract?http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/information-sheets/reservoir-claddings

PW's use a lot of pressure; http://www.homedepot.com/b/webapp/c...53&N=5yc1vZbxdjZ1z0zy8v#/?c=1&1z0zy8v=1z0zy8v
compared to a house hose/nozzle at 40-80psi.

Probably worrying over nothing, but just in case.... now you understand it better.

Gary
 

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I'll never understand pressure washers. Everything on the exterior of your home is there to protect it from the weather. Roofing, flashing, siding, paint, caulk, etc are all there to keep moisture out of your house. Why on earth would you want to blast high pressure water at all of these water proofing systems?
You don't, of course.

There are different ways to use pressure washers. One way is up close, which is good on concrete. The tip is about 6" or less from the surface. This is just what you want sometimes.

Another way is to use the pressure to get the water stream up high - higher than a hose can go. At the same time, the pressure in the hose is used to suck the chemicals into the water stream. In this case your house doesn't get direct pressure, but it does allow the cleaners and rinse to get high up on a multi-story house from the user on the ground.

That's why I asked about the ranch house. It is possible to get close to the siding with direct pressure (not real close for absolute top pressure) without hitting the elements you mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
They might feel they can use straight pressure, rather than any cleaners. But that requires they get close to the house (within a foot).... Normally the chemicals would be injected directly into the water stream from their machine, so you probably wouldn't even have noticed they were using any.
As an extremely chemically-sensitive person, I would have, especially since I was right near him as he washed a few of the windows! Yes, he was very close to the house, and he could choose the flow rate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hopefully they angled the nozzle at 45* to the house, direct at perpendicular would inject water into the stucco base possibly wetting the building paper below
Thanks for the info! I'm glad the washing is over; I don't want to have to worry about this again!
 

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Getting that close to your window glass is silly. Besides, how do you know if he was washing or rinsing? Something is not adding up here.

What do you mean he could "choose the flow rate"?
 

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I'll never understand pressure washers. Everything on the exterior of your home is there to protect it from the weather. Roofing, flashing, siding, paint, caulk, etc are all there to keep moisture out of your house. Why on earth would you want to blast high pressure water at all of these water proofing systems?
Because any warranty we offer has to include THOROUGH cleaning of the substrate. If that is not done, the paint company WILL NOT honor their warranty even though their warranties mean very little anyway. You just can't get a surface clean by simple hand-washing or from a garden hose. The PW's do an excellent job if used properly. Most of us pros on here are very careful of how high we dial up the PSI. I've been at it for 35 years and rarely have had any problems with pressure washing causing damage to homes we do.
 

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I'll never understand pressure washers. Everything on the exterior of your home is there to protect it from the weather. Roofing, flashing, siding, paint, caulk, etc are all there to keep moisture out of your house. Why on earth would you want to blast high pressure water at all of these water proofing systems?
Come to Fl if you don't wash your ext you will soon have a green house. It is a part of painting. Your ext. collects dirt, the old paint gets chalky, while P/W you can find spots of loose paint and those areas can be dealt with.
By standing by him would not tell you if he was using anything unless it was strong, the cleaner is injected into the water stream at the washer not at the tip.
The moldy smell almost had to be there before, for something to get moldy it must be damp or wet for a period of time I don't see how 1 day could do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
At this point I should update and say that the musty smell went away by the next morning. As someone said on the thread, washing must have knocked loose and activated moldy dust that we never noticed before.
 
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