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How to Adjust the Unloader Valve on Your Pressure Washer

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Some people believe that you can turn an unloader valve to reduce the pressure output of your machine. This is not the correct way to adjust pressure. The unloader valve is designed to allow water to bypass through the pump when the trigger is not engaged. If you turn the unloader to reduce pressure, you are also reducing GPM, and reducing cleaning power. Cleaning power = GPM X PSI.

So if you have a machine that runs at 4 GPM and 4000 PSI, your cleaning power is 16000. If you change your nozzle to a 2000 PSI nozzle, your machine is still going to output 4 GPM. Your cleaning power is 8000. Lets say that turning the unloader down to 2000 PSI will reduce your GPM on this machine to 3 GPM. This would result in a cleaning power of 6000.

Less power means longer cleaning time. Longer cleaning time means higher labor costs. Nozzles are less expensive than labor. Messing with your unloader valve can also put undo wear on your machine. Nozzles are cheaper than buying a new machine. Do it the right way, and life will be easier!

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