Low e glass cleaning risks

I have had a few jobs recently with Low E glass windows.
On one job, the client approached me with manufacturers guidelines warning that use of a Squeegee one E glass is not recommended.
It seems to me that the big issue for window cleaners when going against manufacturers recommendations is liability. Even for pre-existing damage, it would be hard to avoid blame if you could be accused of using a method not approved by the manufacturer.

I recently wrote to a manufacturer here in Australia and raised the question of approved cleaning methods.
This was their response:

“Hi Michael, Thanks for your enquiry regarding the cleaning of Viridian Low E glass.
Viridian do not offer specific advice on the use of squeegees however our concern in cleaning with this would be the aluminium stiffening rods that form part of the squeegee having contact with the Low E coating.”

So it seems that manufacturers are mainly concerned with any metal contacting the glass… which makes perfect sense.

Nevertheless, when manufacturers clearly state that squeegees must not be used on E glass, it does put the window cleaner in an awkward position in terms of liability and blame.

I have spoken to a few other window cleaners in Australia who told me that they use pure water on the coated surface… but of course, getting a good rinse is always going to be an issue with using pure water on the interior windows. Others tell me they just use the traditional squeegee method with a lot of extra care, making sure that the scrubber is 100% free of grit, a new rubber is used each time, and the least amount of pressure is applied.

In my mind, unless a manufacturer specifically states not to use a particular cleaning method, the window cleaner has the freedom to choose. But going completely against specific warnings from a manufacturer is playing with fire.

Nevertheless, it seems inevitable that these specialized coatings do increase the liability of anyone who has to deal with them.

One manufacturer states that: “Professional glass cleaners have significant experience and access to equipment, materials and methods which the general public may not. As professional glass cleaners are acknowledged experts in the cleaning of glass, [we] offer the information on this page as general advice only for the professional glass cleaner to consider as part of the development of their own cleaning processes.”

On the one hand the above statement boosts the window cleaners status as a glass cleaning ‘expert’, but also their liability should their expertise fail.

Well, Mr. Ettore was using a sponge and towels when he got the idea to invent the squeegee…Maybe we can clean those windows the old way, and charge accordingly?..I’m brand new to the biz, but I’ve given this a lot of thought ever since that Pella scapegoat policy was posted a while back. (The Unger indoor pure water system works well for MAINTENANCE cleans, but I still have to clean with trad techniques the first time)

The manufacturers want to sell an inferior product at a high price, pass the liability on to the window cleaners, then say “I told you so” and hang you out to dry…We have to be able to do our job SOMEHOW.

Atlas Window Cleaning
North Carolina

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maybe [MENTION=7230]c_wininger[/MENTION] or [MENTION=7935]Gary[/MENTION]mauer could give us thoughts

I had this same problem many years ago, i was doing a final clean on the windows on the new convention center in Adelaide, when a architect or who ever he was come running up to me telling me me to stop and i cant use my squeegee to clean them, where my reply was how do u expect me to clean the glass, he told me i needed to use a plastic squeegee, i proceeded to inform him that there were no such plastic squeegees, to his reply yeah there are, my wife has one she uses on the shower… where i laughed at him and told him that that’s not a product that will get the job done to the quality u want. ended up his concerns were the same as the manufactures.
I assured him that no metal parts of the squeegee would come into contact with the coated surface, which it did not, i was using a brass 16" ettore channel with a swivel handle,
Here is a pic of one face of the convention center,the highest point is around 5-6 stories which is all a void inside only accessible via boom lift and the dude wants me to use a $2 shower squeegee on it LOL

You should have told him to get his wife down here with her plastic squeegee… I am out of here !!


Are you sure its Low E?

That doesn’t make any sense. Low E coatings are not on the outside of the unit.

Are you sure its not the self cleaning coatings? Can you post a photo of the label warning?

The only windows that you can’t run a squeegee across are these kind.

Waterfed is the method to use on a self cleaning panel.

If its a CCU, and there’s more than dust on that glass…walk away.

-room facing low e coatings are becoming more common, and will eventually be very common.
-windows such as pella inserts give the cleaner access to the low e coated side when taken apart.
[MENTION=1407]thorSG1[/MENTION], can you give an example of the type of self-cleaning glass you are referring to? this could cause some confusion.

-some self-cleaning glass has a titanium dioxide coating, and depending on which manufacturer you talk to, can be cleaned with a squeegee. manufacturer’s guidelines on “self-cleaning glass” are all over the map, even though many of them use the same technology.

here’s a thread with a lot of technical info on low-e glass maintenance

The one in referring to is Anderson Renewal. Yeah, titanium coat on these as well.

Sorry, I mistakemistakenly thought you were new. You obviously know what you’re doing… So there is a low e on the exterior huh?
Is this a first for you? I have never seen or heard of anything like it. And where I am there are very few homes with Pella windows, at least I’ve never had a job that had them.

Thanks for the schooling.

Looks like I have some homework to do.