For a long time, cleaning windows has involved the application of chemical solutions to glasses with sleeves, the use of squeegees to remove the chemical solutions, and microfiber cloths to wipe, dry and polish the windows. Ladders, scaffolds and other suspended surfaces are used to access high-rise windows but not without hazards like falling, fatal injuries and even death.
This is changing, however, thanks to the innovation that is the water fed telescopic pole system.This technology uses telescopic poles that can reach up to 90 feet high with wet brushes and water jets attached to provide easy cleaning of windows from ground level, negating the need for ladders, scaffolds, squeegees and other traditional window cleaning equipment. The wet brushes at the upper end of the pole scrub and lift dirt off the glass while special purified water, pumped through the poles, loosens the dirt and gives a smear free rinse which allows the windows to dry clearly without need for wiping.
The water used is critical to the effectiveness of this window cleaning method, hence the particular use of deionized water. Deionized water is water that has been processed through a filtration system that removes nearly 100% of all elements in water – apart from the hydrogen and oxygen that form the water molecule – making the water completely pure and, in fact, four times purer than distilled water. Deionized water, when used in cleaning, draws in and binds itself to dirt, contaminants and other minerals, rendering it a great agent for cleaning surfaces. Since there are no minerals or sediments in deionized water, it leaves no residues, spots or stains behind after drying.
Water fed telescopic poles come in a variety of sizes, lengths and materials, from aluminium to glass fibers to hybrid makes – all with different capabilities – but the best telescopic poles are made from carbon fiber. The high-grade carbon fiber body makes these specialist cleaning poles incredibly robust, lightweight rigid and durable. They are best for everyday usage as the lightness relieves strain on the workers’ bodies caused by frequent use of the poles.
A big advantage of cleaning windows using water fed telescopic poles is the assurance of safety. The poles offer a suitable control measure for working at height from the ground without the risks of falling or slipping from ladders and scaffolds. Rocky, slippery or uneven grounds may pose a danger when using ladders, but with water fed poles workers can safely access and clean high surfaces from the ground level with minimal hazards.
Cleaning poles also simplify the process of window cleaning. Traditional use of ladders and scaffolds force workers to climb up and down while carrying their equipment and cleaning tools, not forgetting the laborious task of manually wiping and drying the windows. This process is exhausting and detrimental to the well being of workers in the long run.On the other hand, very few equipment are used with telescopic poles. They are also lightweight and thin,making them easier for workers to carry and move around. The use of purified water eliminates the need to manually wipe and dry the windows as they are left to dry naturally.Water fed poles make the window cleaning process faster and cuts up the time used by up to 60%.
Since water fed poles are not bulky they are excellent for using on buildings that are built on narrow alleys with very little space around them. Where ladders and other big equipment would be stressful to use due to lack of space,a water fed pole system would be efficient as it can fit in small spaces.Also, due to their lengths and flexibility,water fed poles can access hard to reach areas like window frames, soffits, fascias, sills, conservatory roofs and solar panels, providing a complete cleaning service.
Windows cleaned using the water fed pole method stay cleaner for longer. The purified water used draws in and removes all the grime and particles from the glass leaving it sparkling clean. Unlike ordinary tap water, it has no dissolved particles that leave unsightly residues and streaks on the glass. It takes significantly longer for dust and other particles to build up and attach themselves to the glass after cleaning with deionized water, an advantage that makes the windows stay cleaner, clearer and shinier for longer.
The water fed pole cleaning method is eco-friendly as it does not rely on chemical solutions and detergents which are harmful to the environment. Harsh chemicals are not only a health risk to the worker but can also degrade surfaces over time. Purified water alone is efficient for ridding windows of dirt, dust and other contaminants while sustaining the well being of the worker, the property and the environment. Water wastage is also minimized as the water for each chore is prepared beforehand and stored in a tank.
This cleaning method maintains the privacy of the building occupants. Ladders place workers directly at the window where they can see inside the building. This can make the occupants feel uncomfortable and in some situations, may be embarrassing for both the worker and the occupants. Since water fed poles keep the workers on the ground where close proximity to the windows is avoided, the privacy of the building occupants is preserved.
Furthermore, water fed poles can be used during harsh weather conditions like snow, rainstorm and high winds, where using ladders would be deemed unsafe.
Of course, this system is not short of hazards. For instance, the water underfoot can cause slipping while the pipes and lines present a trip hazard.Electrocution can also occur where cleaning is being done near power lines.Strong winds can cause harm as the brush head could be blown into a window and cause damage.There is also potential risk of Legionella contamination if the water storage is poorly maintained.Oily windows would be difficult to clean due to lack of soap, since soap is needed to break down oil. Other stubborn stains like bird excrement, cement stains, or windows that have been dirty for too long would be difficult to clean properly using a water fed pole.Repetitive motion-type injuries can happen as a result of using water fed poles.The risk is greater when using a heavier or floppier pole, especially for long hours daily while using poor handling methods.
Most importantly, the water fed pole window cleaning system is poised to fail if handled by incompetent cleaning operatives. Using the poles do not guarantee clean windows if the cleaner is not a trained and experienced professional. A cleaning professional knows the right techniques for using water fed poles to deliver desired results. They also know the correct methods for storing and maintaining the poles to keep them in good condition and give them longer lifespans.
Water fed telescopic poles make window cleaning easier, faster and safer, and it’s in the best interest of the FM industry and its clients to embrace this new cleaning system to enhance the cleanliness of homes and buildings while sustaining the health of the environment.