Window Cleaning & Pressure Washing Educational Content
WINDOW CLEANING METHODS
Some residential window cleaners hand-wash windows. This method lets the cleaner work with a lot of attention to detail. Water-fed pole cleaning is quicker and lets the cleaner stay on the ground for most residential jobs. For this method, the cleaner washes the windows with a long tube that sprays high-pressure purified water. Be sure to ask about the cleaning solutions the company uses. It’s very important that they not use anything with hydrofluoric acid. Hydrofluoric acid is used in some commercial cleaning solutions, but it can cause etching or pitting on glass. The general rule of thumb is to have your windows professionally cleaned at least twice per year. If you live near the ocean or in an area with high mineral content in the rainwater, have your windows cleaned more often.
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, the quotes may not all 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 change 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. This way, the company will know how much time to schedule for your job.
The window cleaning industry’s professional organization is the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA). The IWCA outlines a code of ethics and sets industry standards for service and safety. Contractors that are members of the IWCA also have access to extra training in industry-specific safety methods. The IWCA recommends checking that your window cleaner has liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage.
Any company working at your house should be fully insured. This is especially true for window cleaners. Property damage can happen. Due to the heights involved, there is also the potential for worker injury.
Many window cleaning companies offer other types of window services, like recaulking and screen replacement. A company that offers these services can do all your window maintenance at one time.
Pressure washing, or power washing, is a great way to clean exterior surfaces. This service is frequently offered by window cleaning companies. Over time, mildew, algae, and dirt can dull your house and plenty of other surfaces around your property. Stains and discoloration are hard to remove by hand. A pressure washer can clean a larger area in a shorter period of time than one person can accomplish with a scrub brush and a bucket of soapy water.
A pressure washer can spray a jet of water with up to 3,000 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure. For most residential jobs, however, this level of power isn’t necessary. Low-pressure power washing, also called soft washing, works well for most residential jobs. In some cases, the technician will use cleaning solutions to get rid of tough stains.
PRESSURE WASHING EQUIPMENT
Professional pressure washing companies have specialty tools and cleaning solutions at their disposal. They are all designed to clean a variety of surfaces. High-quality equipment is important, but a knowledgeable pressure washing technician is key to a job well done. Most professional pressure washing companies use gasoline-powered pressure washers. Electric pressure washers are available, but gas-powered machines offer more power. That increased power translates to more efficient cleaning. For that reason, electric machines are not as popular with the pros.
Gasoline-powered pressure washers use a small engine to create power. This means that they need periodic maintenance and oil changes. Gas pressure washers are great for cleaning large properties because they don’t need an electrical outlet. Electric power washers need less maintenance than their gas-powered counterparts. But because they’re dependent on a nearby power outlet, they are less convenient for cleaning large surfaces.
The power of a pressure washer is measured in a couple of ways. Pounds per square inch (psi) is a measure of how much pressure the machine’s compressor can create. Gallons per minute (gpm) is a measure of how much water can flow through the pressure washer. When they’re combined, these two measurements indicate the pressure washer’s power and efficiency. The psi and gpm ratings of a pressure washer are important, but so is the operator’s nozzle choice. Nozzle size directly impacts water pressure. It also affects how much cleaning solution the tech will need to use. The pressure washer nozzle determines the angle of the water sprayed by the machine’s wand. The narrower the angle, the harder the water hits.
Most pressure washer nozzles range in spray angles from zero degrees to 65 degrees. Zero-degree nozzles spray water with enough force to gouge surfaces and strip paint. They should only be used by professionals when necessary. Pressure washer nozzles that spray water in wider angles are easier and safer to use around the house. Adjustable nozzles and wands make cleaning tight or awkward spaces easier. Professional pressure washers know which nozzle to use to clean a surface without damaging it.
Professional pressure washers typically use a standard wand and nozzle combination. Depending on the surface they’re cleaning, however, they sometimes use specialized attachments. Surface cleaners, for example, are attachments that can clean large areas more efficiently than a wand.
PRESSURE WASHING COMPANIES
Pressure washing takes skill, experience, and knowledge of techniques and chemicals. It is not a job to DIY. Because of the potential for damage and injury, be sure that the pressure washing company you choose has plenty of experience. Also check that the company has state-required general liability and worker’s compensation insurance policies.