You probably have heard of the “hand wash” and the water fed pole wash and I’ve had people ask me what are the differences? We’ll have a look at that today.
There is a slang for water fed pole: tucker pole, which is just one brand that is quite popular in Canada and the USA. In reality there are dozens of different brands and types but what you should remember about them is this: they all use your tap water (so need access to that, water turned on, etc.) and that it either has a water purifier system attached to it or it doesn’t.
There are those companies that use water tanks filled with purified water but that is rare in British Columbia. Here we’re blessed with “soft water” – not much minerals in it that could settle on the glass and ruin the washing done. By hand method we mean the good old squeegee and hand mop / applicator. Have to get to each glass within arms reach – save if one uses an extension pole to reach a few hard to reach spots. Here we use your tap water again with some window cleaning soap. Water fed poles don’t use soap usually (but some can).
In theory both methods work just fine. Some people have the consideration that a water fed pole will leave streaks – have seen it – which is true if the user doesn’t know how to prevent that (in case of hard water one has to use water purifier).
In practice one needs to be properly trained on water fed poles, some can be pretty heavy and hard on one’s upper body if used extensively. In the Greater Vancouver the main concern is the type of window we wash. We have character house, and some are quite old or heritage of whose windows can easily leak in, and in fact any window could leak in if its seals are worn out.
Going the squeegee route one has to master the use and set up of ladders.
Without trying to be all inclusive here are some of the pros and contras.
Water fed pole pros:
- – Can access otherwise inaccessible glass, therefore sometimes the only way to go.
- – Requires little storage
- – More feasible in face of ground obstacles (bush/hedge/etc.)
- – In cases of large complexes it is more economical because it is faster
And some contras:
- – It may seem “less effective” in quality which is usually due to other factors (not done often enough, too much mineral deposits on the glass, hard water used, etc.)
- – Windows have to be shut tight
- – Window seals must be in good condition to withstand the pouring water (rarely a problem, only with old or default windows)
- – Can’t be used in freezing temperature
- – Can’t be used on some type of glass (on leaded, on chalky putty framed, etc.)
Squeegee / hand wash pros:
- – Less chance to have quality complaint, easier to spot & remove dirt off glass (opposite of tucker pole)
- – Often windows can be shut by the window cleaner himself if left open
- – Always uses soap which helps remove heavier dirt (grease)
- – If window screens are removable from the outside one can do so
- – Only way to go if doing paint removal
- – In case of larger complexes it is slower thus more expensive
- – Need ladder access all around the building which can be an issue on a steep ground or excessive garden
- – Can’t reach everywhere (ties in with the previous point)
In summary, they are both valid and fine window washing methods and should both be used simultaneously. The professionals will know where and when to use which method.