Disadvantages of using Water-fed poles?

[FONT=Georgia]For all you water-fed pole users, what are the [I][B]dis[/B][/I]advantages of using a water-fed pole?

We all hear about their advantages, but what circumstances do they [I][B]not[/B][/I] work well on? Are there optimal conditions (weather, number of floors that they work best at…etc).

Just curious what some actual user experiences are and what things do you find irritating about using a WFP.

I’m hoping that this thread doesn’t get filled with horror stories since I am wanting to go ahead and buy a set-up. I am still researching my options and weighing the pros and cons-- hence my question to you all.[/FONT]

[FONT=“Georgia”]This is a good sign-- nobody is telling horror stories yet;)[/FONT]

Good question. I have had my wfp system for a little over a year now and learned a few things.
It is a tool added to our window cleaning arsenal and like all tools, they have their place. It is not the whit elephant, but close.
#1) Expense: plain, simple and rather painful when compared to what we are used to paying for tools in our industry. But worth it.

#2) Learning curve: Easy to get started? Yes. A monkey could do it. However, it takes a little used to. It takes time to get a system down so you angle things right as your cleaning and not spraying water all over the Soffit of houses creating dirty drips as you move on to other windows. Water spots occur if you don’t correctly wash the glass.

#3) A little painful: If you don’t stretch and give your neck a break on big jobs you will fatigue muscles your are not as used to using. But not as much as carrying a Little Giant around all day :slight_smile:

There may be other things that some may add, but I would not discourage getting one.
WCR has been such a help to me with my wfp. The free manual you can download is a must. If you haven’t got it yet I would suggest you download it and get familiar with it ahead of time. It will all make sense when you do make that purchase.

[FONT=“Georgia”]Jeremiah, while those are disadvantages in a sense, they actually reinforce the “pros” in my book. If the worst that can be said about WFP’s is that they are expensive, require a skilled operator and will give you a workout-- then I’ll be happy!

Thanks for sharing your experiences![/FONT]

“Just curious what some actual user experiences are and what things do you find irritating about using a WFP.”

Irritating? I find with a cart maybe the fact we have to unload it on every job. But the only time it actually irritates me is when I plan on using it on a big frenchie job but the paint on the second story is all cracked and I can’t use it. I don’t want big chunks of glazing falling all around me. That adds time to the job and my investment sits in my pull trailer… not cool.
But that is rare. We use it every chance we get!
I don’t yet see it working well for storefronts or rout work but I have just added a backpack and that remains to be seen all the benefits I may find there too.

I will be honest, its hard to make wfp use a horror story. I know many have been in business much longer than I (2011 is only ten years) but I have done ladder work off and on since I was 16. I am very happy not having to pull out my ladders all the time. To me that is worth anything else that comes from wfp use. Not to mention my customers are happy with the result!

[FONT=“Georgia”]What is it that makes it not a good fit for storefronts?

I plan to use a backpack as well if I decide to go the WFP route.[/FONT]

Maybe its just me, but you get in a pretty fast routine with storefronts. You know how it is, you know the perfect channels and you have learned to do a good job fast. Sometimes with the wfp, by the time you scrub and rinse well you didn’t save any time.
Maybe I just have to get faster with my wfp but it seems there are times where the conventional cleaning is still the way to go.
Not to mention people don’t like water dripping on their heads when walking into a store.

If you don’t have fan jets in your brush hydrophobic glass can be a headache. Depending on your set up wfp can be useful on storefronts but it all depends on your route size and location. If there are windows over the doors dripping on customers is a concern.
For residential poorly maintained glazing and/or paint makes it near impossible to get good results.

[FONT=“Georgia”]That makes sense.

I also wonder about the added liability of having water everywhere and someone walks by and slips.[/FONT]

[FONT=“Georgia”]Per your previous advice Tony, if I buy a set-up, I’ll be getting the brush with both types of jets.

Good to know that the pole doesn’t work well on old windows that have poorly maintained/excessive glazing and/or paint. That’s the kind of stuff I want to know about ahead of time.[/FONT]


Still looking to hear any cons to WFP’s. Thanks ;)[/FONT]

Somtimes you get a bit of a disconnect with what your cleaning. Especially with deep sills and overhangs. YOu dont see what your cleaning. Also if it’s an older house with thin paint or loose stucco, can run off and create big streaks. Theres solutions to both of these problems though and would be caught during a quality check. I wouldnt give up my WFP for anything.

[FONT=“Georgia”]Does this problem go away on repeat cleans? In other words, is it only a problem when you clean it the first time or two? Thanks for the heads up![/FONT]

I’m getting better and better at doing a quality job in all kinds of situations. My current irritation and it’s all my doing, or not doing in this case, is still not having hose reels to keep my lines organized and smooth. My set up and break down time for that reason are a lot longer than I’d like.

no its something you have to watch out for every time. I have some historic homes that have tones of french panes that I cant use the WFP on.

or if I do WFP them i do so then go back with foaming glass cleaner and detail with microfiber.

Theres no reason NOT to get a WFP though. It means less time on a ladder and less chance of having an accident. Im a big proponent of minimizing risk now.

I hadn’t really thought much about the hose reels. Thanks for the info- I’ll check them out.

[FONT=“Georgia”]I mean this in a good way- but you and Simon Hill are the two main reasons why I have started looking into the WFPs. Before your accident, I never really paid much attention to WFPs. Primarily because I viewed them as expensive toys that really didn’t do as good a job as “nose to glass” work. Plus I thought they were mostly used to speed things up.

However, after your accident and having learned about Simon, I really started to think about ladder safety. I realized that regardless of how cautious one is or how much experience one has, an accident is still always a possibility. We can reduce the risk as much as possible but we can’t eliminate it. So I realized the only sure-fire way to not fall off a ladder or roof-- is to not get on one.

Now obviously we can’t totally avoid it, but I want to keep my feet on the ground as much as I possibly can. So I decided to look at WFPs again, but from a safety perspective.

I realize now that my initial assumptions regarding their use was wrong. I was simply ignorant of the facts about WFPs. So now I’m trying educate myself on their “pros and cons”.

The [B]pros[/B] seem to far outweigh the [B]cons[/B] so far. But I figured that if I give window cleaners the opportunity to bitch about some type of product-- they will;) However, it seems that nobody is bitching so far! Everybody is making valid points about the use of WFPs. What they are good for and what they aren’t.

This thread has so far, only reinforced my new beliefs regarding WFP use.[/FONT]

Glad to have inspired you to be safer… even if it does mean a cracked ankle :slight_smile:

I use my WFP as often as I can to offset risk of a ladder fall. Not only that it does an amazing job and saves SOOOO MUCH TIME. It’s an incredible marketing tool, and you sound really knowledgable when you start talking to your customers about TDS levels and DI RESIN and 5 stage purification.
Dont hesitate get one. It is NOT just a toy. I spent 6,000 on mine when I had first gotten back from Iraq and had the money. I got a “Caddi model” 5 stage, electric. The reason I went all out on it with confididence was because I had talked to other WC (Josh Cronin) and said if your gonna get one might as well do it and do it right.

IT also allows for relatively low skilled workers to clean windows 2nd storey like a pro. I also let kids try it out when im on resi job. They get a kick out of it.

im also getting ready to buy a 60ft pole from WCR. So you have so many options out there. find whats best for you.