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How To Run A Pressure Washer Off A Water Tank? [5 Easy Steps]

how to run a pressure washer off a water tank

There are car wash services and facilities in almost every city that you’ll encounter. There are over 16,000 car wash establishments nationwide. Some companies are even equipped with Do-It-Yourself carwash to make the line as short as possible. But what if you need to clean multiple vehicles or do another detailing job?

This is where mobile or portable pressure washers are useful for the task. Pressure cleaning has been one of the effective last resort when cleaning grimes, molds, dirt, and others.

A portable setup sometimes solves the problems of all people who have a lot of detailing needs. Here are 5 easy steps on how to run a pressure washer off a water tank. But before that, here are some tools and devices that you need to have.

Things that you will need

For basic builds, if you’re aiming for minimal cost and maximum power, the main part includes water inlet, fuel engine, water pump, water tank, and a high-pressure hose. It’s up to you if you want to add more components for more features such as hot-water, detergent spray, and more. 

Water pumps and filters are optional but can provide huge benefits to your overall build. Here are some of the things you will need for your portable pressure washer.

  • Engine or Motor (either powered by gas or electricity)

  • High-pressure hoses

  • Nozzles (Detergent spray nozzle, flushing nozzle, and blasting nozzle)

  • Water And Fuel Tank

  • Base frame

  • Filter

  • Water pump

5 steps in running mobile pressure water via a mobile water tank

You need to have at least a water inlet, a fuel engine, a pump (or a gravity-fed system), the high-pressure hose, and the tank. Once all the needed parts are bought and accounted for, the next thing to do is building the system.

1. Prepare the base and the frame

First, you need to ready the frame that will hold your engine. Although you can use any sturdy material for the base, treated wood is commonly used for good reasons. These are easy to assemble and can handle gallons of water, along with your pressure washer and other things.

As for the water cage, it is recommended to get a second-hand one. Use your old water cage if you have a piece. Getting a brand new unit is also a great choice if you have the fund to spare. Before you get a water tank cage, take note that the size will be able to accommodate your tank.

2. Set up your water pump and filter

When the frame and the base are installed, install the tank and other equipment in your base. Make sure that these are held in place, to avoid knocking the machines out while moving. Now that all is installed in the base time to set up different components.

First thing first, you need to install the water pump unless you’re using a gravity-fed system. Systems with water pumps start instantly, but gravity-fed systems are cheaper and easier to install.

A filter is optional, but it will be very useful if you’re concerned about the longevity of your pressure washer. We recommend it if you’re using liquid type alongside the water.

3. Connect your water tank to your pressure washer

Next, connect the tank to your pressure washer by attaching the water inlet to the engine. If you’re using different hoses for different purposes, you might have to use a PVC inline with two branches: one for each hose.

Specific hoses need Teflon tape to secure the connection. It is recommended for people that will move around with the pressure washer a lot. 

If you attached an extra connection for regular use (e.g., filling a bucket, washing your hand), then you don’t have to attach that for your engine, as it can be powered regularly. For your pressurized output, attach the water inlet to your engine.

4. Install the hoses and valves, test your outloader

After you have connected the tank and the engine, as well as sorted out all the connections, you can now install the hoses. Make sure that each hose has a barb connector. If you don’t have these connectors readily available, grab one from your local hardware store.

To avoid confusion, it is recommended to buy hoses with different colours for different purposes. Install the nozzles for the proper connection. Take note: for the pressurized connection, make sure to use a high-pressure hose. Ordinary garden hoses can break if the pressure is too strong. Garden hoses are fine for regular use.

Install the valve to control when to actually open or close the connection. The valves used are usually ball valves, as they are easy to use and install. Test all the hoses to pinpoint defects by starting up the system. If no problem arises, you’re ready to go.

5. Make some adjustments

You need to fine-tune your system to know what area to improve or what features are lacking. You might want to install a pressure washer gauge if that will help your workstyle.

Install additional parts like a hose reel or additional cover for the whole system.

 Make sure that all connections are tightly attached and that there is no leakage of water in the main water inlet. Adjust the pressure and the nozzles to accommodate your needs. The final touches are up to your specifications.


We hope that this article has help you understand how to run a pressure washer off a water tank.

Portable pressure washers that comes with built in water tank can be used for a lot of situations, whether you’re cleaning your car, your house or cleaning machine parts extensively. If you would like to check out how one of these ready made machines looks like, check out our post on the best portable pressure washer with water tank.

    Verner Ellen

    Hi, my name is Verner Ellen. I am a homebody whose interest is in getting the best home tools and equipments to help with the the everyday house chores. I also love fitness, cooking and grilling. Maintaining a clean and comfortable home is my lifelong passion.