Some residential window cleaners hand-wash windows, which allows the cleaner to attend to the work in greater detail. Water-fed pole cleaning, in which the window is cleaned with high-pressure purified water forced through a long tube, is faster than hand-washing, and it allows the cleaner to remain on the ground for most residential jobs.
Be sure to ask prospective window cleaners about the cleaning agents that will be used. It is very important that the cleaning solution not contain hydrofluoric acid, which, though used in some commercial cleaning fluids, has a high reactivity with glass and can cause etching or pitting.
Most experts recommend that homeowners get their windows professionally cleaned a minimum of twice per year. However, more frequent cleanings may be prudent, depending on your area’s climate—in locations near the ocean or with high rainwater mineral content, for instance.
Window cleaning is often quoted over the phone based on the number and style of your windows. When the technician arrives and evaluates the job in person, he or she adjusts the price accordingly. If you compare phone estimates, note that not all of the quotes will reflect the same level or method of cleaning.
Once the technician arrives and quotes a firm price, that price should not change unless you change the scope of the work. If you want to alter the job’s scope after work has begun, be sure to get a firm, updated estimate. Request an on-site estimate for the most accurate quote (and so that the company knows how much time to schedule for your job).
The window cleaning industry’s professional organization, the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA), outlines a code of ethics and sets standards for service and safety within the industry. Contractors who are members of the IWCA also have access to additional training in safety methods developed by the industry. The IWCA recommends that homeowners ensure that a window cleaner carries liability insurance and workers’ compensation.
Many window cleaning companies offer other types of window services, including cleaning and repair of caulking and replacement of torn or brittle screens, so all window maintenance can be done at once.
Pressure washing, or power washing, is another service that is often provided by window cleaners. Typically used to clean decks, patios, concrete, and exterior walls, this process entails directing a jet of water exerting up to 3,000 pounds per square inch of pressure along surfaces at varying angles and spreads. Chemicals or solvents may be added to aid in cleaning specific types of stains and certain surface materials.