Advantages Of Using A Waterfed Pole System
Pure Water Window Cleaning –
How does it work?
Sound a little far fetched? How can only water be used to clean with out using any kind of soap? You will find the answers in this article. The quick explanation on how the WFP system works is; the window and frames are scrubbed with a wet brush to loosen dirt and then rinsed with highly purified de-ionised water. Because the water is pure, it leaves no marks when it dries. You can think of it like the “spot free rinse” at the drive thru car wash, times 100.
The Technology behind it
Water in its purest form (rainwater, depending on the pollution where you live) has zero Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in it. Purified water is well known to be a great cleaning agent for many applications such as cleaning clothes and taking showers. Those of you that have children more than likely have bathed your kids in purified water, and of course mix the baby formula in it as well.
Pure mineral free water naturally wants to bond with minerals, dirt, and organic material. Its all part of the natural cycle that our planet produces. So when water passes through carbon, sediment and RO filters, then on to DI resin it is nearly as good as rainwater in purity (with regards to mineral and some chemicals that have been removed from the water).
**Please note: This filtration process DOES NOT REMOVE BACTERIA, VIRUS, OR ANY ORGANISMS THAT ARE SMALLER THAN A HUMAN HAIR. Please do not assume the water has been purified enough to keep you or your children from being sick. The water is ONLY FREE OF METALS, MINERALS and only SOME CHEMICALS that are in the water from being treated or picking up from pipes along the way and the water table
When the water is purified, it is forced through hoses to a water fed pole delivery system. It travels up the pole, and to a brush.
How the window gets clean, is by agitating the dirt on the glass. The water acts as the lubricant to break the bond between the dirt and the glass, and then when the glass is clean, a rinse is given so that all contaminants are rinsed away.
The systems that professional window cleaner use vary and many custom design their own based on the types of buildings they are servicing the most. A vast majority around the USA use portable water tanks that will carry as little as 50 gallons, or as much as 275 gallons which is pumped up the WFP to the window. Small companies whose majority of their clients are those with restricted access (like at the back of a home) use trolleys or backpacks to move a small container and pump unit. There are companies that manufacture portable purification systems that are about the size of a rectangular window cleaning bucket!
What determines the type of set up, or system to use is dependent on the application it will be used for. For example;
There are many buildings where it is not uncommon for access to be limited due to the way a structure is built, or the neighboring buildings’ proximity prevents lift or ladder access. Some buildings may have systems in place so the window cleaners can descend from the roof but for one reason or another it is not possible, or the tie backs need to be corrected etc…On most buildings this method is actually the safest and the most cost effective means to have the building’s windows cleaned
That does not mean that it’s a magic wand by any means! Here are some factors that would prevent this method from being effective:
- No water access
- Glass has an oily buildup on it
- Decorative architecture (eyebrows, outcroppings, overhangs etc…) that prevents access
- Over 70 feet tall at the highest elevation
Of course, it is not the magic wand of window cleaning. There are windows that it simply won’t clean for one reason or another. Having this innovative tool, and knowing how to use it safely, is a highly valuable option to consider-especially if you are a property manager looking for safer ways and possibly less expensive ways, to keep your building’s windows maintained.
The advantage of a WFP system is that it leaves windows, frames and mullions cleaner than with a squeegee, it removes more dirt from the grooves on window frames and it reaches windows in places too dangerous to put a ladder. No rental equipment is needed, bringing costs down. No personnel ever leave the ground, keeping Workman’s comp down and keeping accidents to a minimum provided proper training is in place with the company that uses these tools. Plus, it cuts the time to get the job done by about 60%! For the property manager, that’s a dream! The less people on their property the better.
Also WFP systems can be used in the rain as rainfall will not re-activate any soap residue that causes white rain spots. Elite Window Washing uses several water fed pole cleaning systems in its San Diego commercial window cleaning arm.
Currently as of this updated writing, we carry 12 water-fed pole systems, 8 of which are the most advanced in the world made by Gardiner and other brands and are pure carbon fiber making the poles light weight and rigid which in turn keeps fatigue to a minimum compared to cheaper, heavier poles.
The less expensive, heavier poles are made from Aluminum. Some are made of pure fiberglass. While poles made of these materials will be able to get the job done, and much more effectively than a traditional squeegee would, in the hands of an untrained person it could be very dangerous. These poles made of these materials tend to bend and are operators are less likely to be able to control them at heights.
We have tried to cover the most common topics and questions that our commercial clients ask. However, if you have a question that is not answered on this page, or you require further information, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your query.
How does using this commercial window cleaning system save you money?
In the window cleaning industry prices are inflated due to risk, the greater the risk the higher the price, as danger money is then applied. Also the hiring of expensive lifts and using traditional commercial window cleaning techniques that takes 50% or 60% longer inflates prices greatly. Because there is no risk and no high access equipment required, we can pass on these savings to our clients.
Here is an example. Lets say that the building you see in this photo is yours. The main lobby/entryway is the tallest part of the building. You can’t put a ladder on that glass. There are no tie backs on the roof to make any kind of drops, and whats more is, its only 46 feet to the highest point. There is no need for tie backs on the roof from the builders view and rightly so. So the only option without using a water-fed pole is to get a lift and do it by hand-until now.
But lets talk about how it can save you money.
For instance, as of this writing (May 17, 2011) just one 60 foot articulating boom lift for a one day rental here in San Diego will cost about 630.00 (drop off, pick up, fuel, tax etc…) and only 2 men at best can be in that lift. There must always be someone on the ground running safety, making just that one single lift a 3 person job. So labor for 3 persons and the cost of the lift rental in addition to how much work can be done in one day by those people in the lift will cost somewhere in the ballpark of $1000.00 more or less depending on skill level and other factors.
Is it safe?
Yes. Because the operators work from the safety of the ground and no ladders or other equipment are used. Commercial window washing has never been safer!
How much money will the Water Fed Pole system save us?
In terms of how much is a difficult one to answer as every commercial window washing job is different and has its own problems and complexities. However through past experience and customer feedback, on average, we are saving our clients around 35-40% of their total commercial window cleaning costs, by using this system. This is in comparison with the more conventional methods used before, such as ladders etc.
Are any chemicals used during this filtration process?
No. All filters contain natural elements such as salt, resin beads and carbon sediment and are environmentally safe.
Can the water damage or stain my property or building?
No. More damage is caused from pollution in the rain or atmosphere. The water is pure, with no contaminants it. It will not damage or stain your building in any way.
Are the poles heavy and how do you control it so high?
It depends on the material that the pole is made of. Aluminum and Fiber Glass are extremely heavy and very difficult to control at heights over 30 feet. Carbon fiber poles are the lightest and easiest to control at heights of up to 80 feet!
The poles that we currently use are made from pure carbon fiber. Previously we used aircraft grade aluminum poles, however we have found them to be outdated in comparison to the more rigid and lighter, taller waterfed poles that we are using now. The poles weight approximately 6 pounds and under. When at heights of more than 60′ we station one person on the roof of the building securing the top of the pole with a rope until the pole can be lowered and easily controlled.
On top of the pole is a nylon monofilament, flocked bristle or hogs hair brush head with a small channel that lets out a constant supply of pure water. First we clean the frames and then the glass by moving the brush head (which is constantly wet) over them. We then rinse the windows and frames and leave to dry to a spot free finish. That’s it! Commercial window washing in a nutshell. Very simple, very efficient. No more dirty streaks on the frames where they have been wiped. No more disruptive window cleaner at your window when you are trying to finish your work.