Why Won’t My Pressure Washer Start After Sitting? Quick Troubleshooting Guide

why wont my pressure washer start after sitting

So, you’ve got your pressure washer all ready to go. You’ve checked the fuel, made sure there’s oil, and even given it a fresh spark plug. But when you go to start it up, nothing happens.

It’s frustrating, to say the least. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many pressure washer owners have experienced this same issue of their pressure washer not starting after sitting for a while.

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Imagine your pressure washer as a car that has been parked for an extended period. Just like a car, your pressure washer has an engine that needs to be properly maintained and cared for. Over time, if not properly stored or if it sits unused for too long, the engine can develop issues that prevent it from starting.

It’s like trying to start a car after it’s been sitting in a garage for months – it may take a few tries before it finally roars to life. There are several reasons why your pressure washer may not be starting after sitting. One common culprit is stale fuel.

If you’ve left fuel sitting in your pressure washer’s tank for an extended period, it can break down and lose its combustibility. In this case, you may need to drain the old fuel and replace it with fresh fuel to get your pressure washer running again. Another potential issue could be a clogged carburetor.

If your pressure washer hasn’t been used in a while, sediment and debris can build up in the carburetor, blocking the flow of fuel. This can prevent the engine from starting. Cleaning or replacing the carburetor may be necessary to get things back up and running.

Understanding the Problem

Have you ever tried to start your pressure washer after it’s been sitting for a while, only to be met with frustration and confusion when it just won’t start? It can be incredibly frustrating to have a piece of equipment that won’t do its job, especially if you need it for a specific task. So, why won’t your pressure washer start after sitting? The answer might lie in a few different factors. One possibility is that the fuel in the pressure washer has degraded over time.

If the fuel has gone bad, it can clog up the carburetor or fuel filter, preventing the engine from starting. Another possibility is that the spark plug has gone bad or become dirty. The spark plug is responsible for igniting the fuel in the engine, so if it’s not working properly, the engine won’t start.

Additionally, if you haven’t properly winterized your pressure washer and it has been exposed to freezing temperatures, the water in the pump may have frozen and caused damage. In this case, you may need to thaw the pump and replace any damaged parts before the pressure washer will start. Understanding these potential problems can help you troubleshoot and fix the issue, so you can get your pressure washer up and running again.

Possible Causes

Understanding the Problem: Possible Causes When it comes to understanding the problem of a situation, it’s important to explore all possible causes. In the case of a problem or issue, it’s essential to take a step back and examine the different factors that may be contributing to it. This is especially true when trying to find a solution or implement changes.

By understanding the problem at its root, you can address the underlying causes and not just the symptoms. There are often many potential causes that can contribute to a problem. It’s important to consider not just the immediate factors, but also the underlying issues that may be at play.

For example, if a company is experiencing a decrease in sales, it may be tempting to focus solely on external factors such as competition or market trends. While these certainly can play a role, it’s also important to consider internal factors such as product quality, customer service, or marketing strategies. By considering all possible causes, you can get a more holistic understanding of the problem and identify potential solutions.

Another factor to consider when understanding the problem is the concept of perplexity. This refers to how complex or puzzling the problem is. Some problems may have clear causes and straightforward solutions, while others may be more intricate and require a deeper analysis.

By recognizing the level of perplexity, you can approach the problem with the appropriate level of analysis and resources. Burstiness is another aspect to consider when understanding the problem. This refers to the tendency of problems to occur in clusters or bursts, rather than being evenly distributed over time.

Understanding the burstiness of a problem can help in allocating resources and determining if there are any patterns or underlying causes contributing to the bursts. By considering these factors and exploring all possible causes, you can gain a better understanding of the problem at hand. This will enable you to take a more targeted and effective approach in finding a solution.

why won't my pressure washer start after sitting

Lack of Fuel

Lack of Fuel Understanding the Problem In today’s fast-paced world, fuel is a critical component of our daily lives. It powers our vehicles, heating systems, and even our generators during power outages. However, there is a growing concern over the lack of fuel availability in certain areas.

This problem arises from various factors, including limited supply and distribution issues. So, what exactly is causing this scarcity, and what can be done to address it? One of the primary reasons for the lack of fuel is the limited supply. The demand for fuel is continuously increasing, especially in developing countries where industries are rapidly growing.

As a result, the existing production capacity is struggling to keep up with this rising demand. Additionally, factors such as geopolitical tensions, natural disasters, and global economic fluctuations can disrupt the supply chain and further exacerbate the problem. Another contributing factor to the scarcity of fuel is the distribution issues.

Even if there is an adequate supply of fuel, it needs to be transported efficiently to reach the end consumers. However, inadequate infrastructure, such as insufficient storage facilities and transportation networks, can hinder the smooth movement of fuel from refineries to retail outlets. Moreover, conflicts or unrest in certain regions can disrupt the transportation routes, making it even more challenging to distribute fuel to those areas.

So, what can be done to address this issue? Firstly, there is a need to invest in expanding the production capacity of fuel to meet the growing demand. This can be achieved through the establishment of new refining facilities and exploration of alternative energy sources. Additionally, improving distribution infrastructure, such as building more storage facilities and upgrading transportation networks, can help ensure a more efficient flow of fuel.

Furthermore, promoting energy conservation and exploring sustainable alternatives can reduce the dependence on fossil fuels and ease the strain on fuel resources. Embracing renewable energy options, such as solar or wind power, can provide long-term solutions for meeting our energy needs while reducing the environmental impact. In conclusion, the lack of fuel is a complex issue affected by various factors.

Clogged Carburetor

carburetor, clogged carburetor, carburetor problems

Dirty Air Filter

dirty air filter

Spark Plug Issues

spark plug issues

Troubleshooting Steps

If your pressure washer won’t start after sitting for a while, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take to try and get it running again. First, check the fuel level and make sure there is enough gas in the tank. If the tank is empty or the fuel is stale, it could prevent the engine from starting.

Next, check the spark plug to make sure it is clean and in good condition. If it is dirty or worn out, it may need to be replaced. Additionally, check the air filter to ensure it is clean and not clogged with debris.

A dirty air filter can restrict air flow and prevent the engine from starting. Finally, check the oil level to make sure it is at the proper level. Low or dirty oil can cause engine problems and prevent it from starting.

By checking these components and performing any necessary maintenance, you can increase the chances of getting your pressure washer started after it has been sitting for a while.

Check the Fuel Level

fuel level, troubleshooting steps

Clean or Replace the Carburetor

Clean or Replace the Carburetor When you’re having trouble starting your engine or it’s running rough, the problem could lie with a dirty or malfunctioning carburetor. The carburetor is responsible for mixing fuel and air in the proper ratio for combustion. Over time, debris can build up and clog the carburetor, causing fuel flow issues and poor performance.

In some cases, the carburetor may need to be replaced if it’s beyond cleaning or repair. But before you go out and buy a new carburetor, it’s worth trying to clean it first. Cleaning the carburetor is a relatively straightforward process.

You’ll need to remove the carburetor from the engine and disassemble it to access the various components. Once you have it apart, you can use carburetor cleaner and a small brush to remove any built-up gunk. Pay close attention to the small passages and jets within the carburetor, as these can easily get clogged.

It’s also a good idea to inspect the gaskets and seals while you have the carburetor apart to ensure they’re in good condition. If cleaning the carburetor doesn’t solve the problem, it may be time to consider replacing it altogether. This is often the case if the carburetor is severely damaged or worn out.

Replacing the carburetor is a more involved process, as you’ll need to disconnect and remove the old one before installing the new one. It’s important to choose the correct carburetor for your specific engine model to ensure compatibility and proper function. Before diving into the carburetor cleaning or replacement process, it’s always a good idea to consult your engine’s manual or seek the advice of a professional.

They can provide guidance and tips specific to your engine make and model. Additionally, if you’re unsure of your mechanical abilities or don’t have the necessary tools, it may be best to leave the carburetor cleaning or replacement to a trained mechanic. They’ll have the expertise and equipment to get the job done properly.

Inspect and Clean the Air Filter

Troubleshooting Steps: Inspect and Clean the Air Filter One of the common issues that can cause problems with your air conditioning system is a dirty or clogged air filter. As the air passes through the filter, it can pick up dust, dirt, and other debris, which can build up over time and obstruct airflow. This can lead to reduced cooling performance and higher energy consumption.

Inspecting and cleaning the air filter is a simple yet important step in troubleshooting air conditioning problems. Start by locating the air filter, which is typically located behind the return air grille. Remove the grille and take a look at the filter.

If it appears dirty or clogged, it’s time for a cleaning. To clean the air filter, you can start by using a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner to remove any loose debris. Be sure to gently brush or vacuum both sides of the filter to ensure a thorough cleaning.

If the filter is still dirty, you may need to wash it using warm water and a mild detergent. Allow the filter to dry completely before reinstalling it. Regularly inspecting and cleaning your air filter can not only improve the performance of your air conditioning system but also prolong its lifespan.

A clean air filter allows for better airflow, ensuring that your system can efficiently cool your home. Additionally, a clean air filter can help improve indoor air quality by trapping allergens and pollutants. In conclusion, when troubleshooting air conditioning problems, don’t forget to inspect and clean your air filter.

A dirty or clogged filter can restrict airflow and lead to reduced cooling performance. By regularly cleaning your air filter, you can ensure the proper operation of your air conditioning system and maintain good indoor air quality.

Check the Spark Plug

spark plug, troubleshooting steps

Preventative Measures

If you’re wondering why your pressure washer won’t start after sitting unused for a while, there are a few potential reasons to consider. One common issue is stale fuel. Over time, the fuel in the carburetor can break down and become less effective, making it difficult for the engine to start.

To prevent this, it’s important to either use fuel stabilizer or drain the fuel from the tank when storing your pressure washer for a long period of time. Another possible cause could be a clogged or dirty carburetor. If the carburetor is clogged with debris or varnish buildup, it can prevent fuel from reaching the engine properly.

Regularly cleaning and maintaining the carburetor can help prevent this problem. Additionally, a weak or old spark plug can also cause starting issues. If the spark plug is worn out or dirty, it won’t be able to produce a spark to ignite the fuel in the engine.

Checking and replacing the spark plug regularly can help ensure that your pressure washer starts smoothly every time. By taking these preventative measures, you can help avoid the frustration of a pressure washer that won’t start after sitting for a while.

Use Fuel Stabilizer

fuel stabilizer, prevent damage, fuel deterioration. Fuel stabilizer is a valuable tool in preventing the damage caused by fuel deterioration. When fuel sits for extended periods of time, it can break down and become less effective.

This is especially true for fuel that is stored in vehicles or equipment that are not used regularly. The process of fuel deterioration can lead to gum and varnish buildup in the fuel system, which can clog filters and injectors and cause poor engine performance. By using a fuel stabilizer, you can prevent these issues from occurring and ensure that your fuel remains in good condition for when you need it.

Fuel stabilizers work by preventing fuel oxidation and inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria and fungus. They also help to keep fuel fresh and stable, even in extreme temperature conditions. By adding a fuel stabilizer to your fuel tank before storage, you can rest easy knowing that your fuel will be ready to use when you need it, without any costly or time-consuming repairs.

So, before you store your vehicle or equipment for an extended period of time, be sure to add a fuel stabilizer to prevent any damage caused by fuel deterioration.

Properly Store the Pressure Washer

pressure washer storage, preventative measures, proper storage, prolong lifespan Properly storing your pressure washer is essential to prolong its lifespan and ensure that it is ready for use whenever you need it. One of the key preventative measures you can take is to drain any leftover water from the machine. This will prevent the water from freezing and causing damage during winter months.

It’s also important to store the pressure washer in a dry and well-ventilated area to prevent any rust or corrosion from occurring. If you have a gas-powered pressure washer, remember to remove any fuel from the tank before storing it. Additionally, you can use a cover or tarp to protect the pressure washer from dust and debris.

By taking these preventative measures, you can keep your pressure washer in optimal condition and ready for your next cleaning task.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential for keeping your vehicle running smoothly and avoiding costly repairs in the long run. Taking preventative measures can help extend the lifespan of your vehicle and ensure it remains in optimal condition. One of the most important aspects of regular maintenance is changing your vehicle’s oil.

Oil plays a vital role in lubricating the engine and reducing friction between moving parts. Over time, oil can become dirty and lose its effectiveness, which is why it needs to be changed regularly. By doing so, you can prevent engine damage and keep your vehicle running efficiently.

Additionally, it’s important to regularly check and replace your vehicle’s filters, such as the air filter and fuel filter. These filters help keep dirt and debris from entering the engine and fuel system, ensuring proper functioning. Ignoring filter maintenance can lead to reduced engine performance and potential damage.

By keeping up with these preventative measures, you can save yourself the hassle and expense of major repairs down the line.


Well, it seems your pressure washer has taken a page out of a toddler’s book and decided to throw a good ol’ fashioned tantrum after sitting for a while. Just like a stubborn child who refuses to put on their shoes when you’re already running late, your pressure washer is giving you some serious attitude. But fear not, dear friend, for I have a perfectly logical, yet delightfully witty explanation for this phenomenon.

You see, your pressure washer is a machine with a vendetta against idle time. It simply refuses to cooperate after sitting idle for too long because it believes that life is too short to waste on non-productive activities. Think about it – while you were sipping refreshing lemonade under the shade of a tree, your pressure washer was gathering dust, silently fuming and plotting its revenge.

It was probably thinking, “Why should I start up smoothly and take part in all those outdoor cleaning adventures when I could be doing…

well, anything else?” So, in its own mischievous and slightly juvenile way, your pressure washer is making a statement. It wants to remind you that it’s no ordinary machine – it craves action and purpose, and its engines will only roar to life when it feels like it’s truly needed. But fear not, dear friend, for there is a simple solution to appease this rebellious contraption.

Just give it a little slap on the back (figuratively, of course) by priming the pump, checking the fuel lines, and ensuring that the spark plug is in prime condition. Show your pressure washer that you understand its need for purpose and adventure, and it will reward you with its powerful streams of water, efficiently tackling any cleaning task you throw at it. In conclusion, your pressure washer’s reluctance to start after sitting is not a sign of its malfunction; it’s merely a unique personality trait that demands attention and purpose.

So, my friend, go forth and show your pressure washer that together you’ll conquer dirt and grime like the dynamic duo you were meant to be.


1. Why won’t my pressure washer start after sitting? A: There could be several reasons why your pressure washer won’t start after sitting. Firstly, check if the spark plug is functioning properly and replace it if necessary. Secondly, make sure the fuel tank has enough gasoline and that the fuel is clean. If the gas is old, it can prevent the engine from starting. Additionally, check the oil level and ensure it is at the correct level. Lastly, inspect the carburetor and clean or replace it if it is clogged. 2. How often should I start my pressure washer if it’s going to sit idle for an extended period? A: If you’re planning on letting your pressure washer sit idle for an extended period, it is recommended to start the machine at least once every three months. Starting it periodically helps prevent fuel and oil issues, and ensures that the engine stays in good working condition. 3. My pressure washer starts, but shuts off after a few seconds. What could be causing this? A: If your pressure washer starts but shuts off after a few seconds, it could be due to a faulty unloader valve. The unloader valve is responsible for regulating the pressure inside the pump. If it is not functioning properly, it can cause the pressure washer to shut off. Another possible cause is a clogged fuel filter. Check if the fuel filter is clean and replace it if necessary. 4. How can I prevent my pressure washer from getting clogged after sitting idle? A: To prevent your pressure washer from getting clogged after sitting idle, it is important to properly drain and flush the system before storage. Start by closing the water supply and squeeze the trigger gun to release any pressure. Then, turn off the engine and disconnect the hoses. Run clean water through the system to flush out any residue or debris. Lastly, make sure to store the pressure washer in a clean and dry location. 5. Why is my pressure washer not generating enough pressure after sitting idle? A: If your pressure washer is not generating enough pressure after sitting idle, it could be due to a clogged or worn-out nozzle. Inspect the nozzle and clean or replace it if necessary. Additionally, it could be caused by a malfunctioning pressure relief valve. Check if the valve is in good condition and replace it if needed. 6. Can I leave fuel in my pressure washer’s tank when storing it? A: It is generally recommended to not leave fuel in your pressure washer’s tank when storing it for an extended period. Gasoline can deteriorate over time and if left in the tank, it can cause clogging and other issues. It is best to drain the fuel tank and run the engine to use up any remaining fuel before storing the pressure washer. 7. Why does my pressure washer have a strong gasoline smell after sitting idle? A: If your pressure washer has a strong gasoline smell after sitting idle, it could be due to a leak or fuel evaporation. Check for any visible leaks and fix them if found. Additionally, make sure the fuel cap is tightly closed to prevent evaporation. If the smell persists, it is recommended to have your pressure washer inspected by a professional.

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