photo by Jeremy Pummell
How Do You Clean Windows with a Telescopic Pole?
Cleaning windows with a telescopic pole can make all the difference, whether the window is high up, you’d rather leave the ladder on the truck, or you want to conserve energy and save your shoulders from the burnout that comes from constantly reaching overhead.
If you’re just getting into window cleaning, a telescopic pole is a pole with sections that slide within one another in order to be extended or retracted. They either have levered, screwed-on clamps (that release or lock the pole to your desired height), or collars (that can be twisted to loosen or tighten them). Telescopic poles are used mainly for traditional window cleaning methods, which is comprised of washing with soapy water, scrubber sleeves, and squeegees. Certain kinds of telescopic poles can be converted for water fed window cleaning, which uses purified water, hose, and brushes to clean windows.
Now that we’ve defined what a telescopic pole is, Window Cleaner University will get into how to clean windows with one and what you’ll need to be ready to work.
The Right Type for the Job
Telescopic poles come in all kinds of materials, configurations, and lengths, and choosing the best kind for your type of work is the first step. The right pole will depend on your budget, frequency of work, and height of windows you’re cleaning.
Materials can vary from an inexpensive yet heavier aluminum, to a mid-priced and midweight hybrid, or the most-adaptable, lightweight carbon fiber. Although carbon fiber is the most costly option out there, it is also the most durable and highest quality material on the telescopic pole market. If you’re a professional window cleaner or looking to become one, carbon fiber telescopic poles will give you the most bang for your buck, last the longest, and be kindest on your body. Some even allow you to transition into water fed cleaning, which can eventually get you the highest paying jobs for window cleaners.
One of the most favored aluminum traditional poles out there is the Unger OptiLoc Extension Pole. This pole is loved for many reasons. Its price point is super affordable, it comes in a variety of configurable lengths both collapsed and extended, and is made with durable materials. Although the aluminum may have more weight than carbon fiber, this pole is excellent for when you’re just starting out.
If you’re in the market for a mid-range pole, the hybrid XERO J2 Extension Pole may be your best bet. It has three sections that extend out to six feet when cleaning, so it is perfect for smaller storefronts and residences. This pole comes with a wood cone adapter and an ACME tip to use with a wide array of tools. It is lightweight and made with a mix of carbon fiber and fiberglass. Plus, it’s short for easily maneuvering in tight spaces.
The most popular carbon fiber telescopic pole in the window cleaning industry is the XERO Carbon Fiber Pole - Trad Pole 2.0. This pole is a little bit pricier than the XERO J2, but, a more flexible investment for your business. You can start yourself off with the two-section, eight-foot version, and grow your pole as your business does with the XERO Carbon Fiber Trad Pole 2.0 Replacement Sections. Add on sections to have as many as five for reaching heights of twenty feet! You will be able to keep using it time and time again because of how durable the material is. It is the lightest option, too. Plus, you can turn it into a water fed pole if desired by just adding a few simple tools, which we will touch upon more later.
Not only do you need to factor in the materials the pole is made of when cleaning windows, but the length as well.
Configurations & Lengths
Take the previously mentioned Unger OptiLoc Extension Pole, for example. This aluminum pole with a plastic tip and collars comes in either 2 section or 3 section configurations with lengths spanning all the way up to 18 feet. These poles are excellent for using on residential or small storefront jobs. What’s convenient about having three sections is that they can become more compact to fit in a smaller vehicle and to clean lower windows without having to stretch your arm up over them. The two section poles are ideal for those who have a bit more room to store them and they are lighter weight too, as they don’t have that additional clamp.
If you want a more compact option to make sure your elbows are tight on your side for cleaning lower windows with proper posture, the established Ettore REA-C-H Extension Pole is available in a two foot option. Even if the window isn’t too far above your head, using a short pole is a smart way to save your shoulders from exhaustion while working.
Pole Tips: Literally a “Must Have!”
When using a telescopic pole for window cleaning, utilizing a pole tip is absolutely necessary. If you didn’t have a pole tip with your extension pole, you wouldn’t get very far, as it is impossible to attach a squeegee or stripwasher without one!
Professional window cleaning tools will need the specially curated pole tips made specifically for window cleaning. These most often feature a click-lock mechanism. Sometimes, you can even use different brands of handle with pole tip and use applied pressure to secure their hold, or a wooden cone tip when all else fails.
The most common type of pole tip for traditional window cleaning usually involves a click-locking system and varies from brand to brand. Generally speaking, if you have a favorite brand for squeegees and stripwashers, it would suit you best to buy the pole tip of the same brand. However, if you’re one who likes to mix it up, SteveO the Window Cleaner mentions in this video that the Unger ErgoTec Locking Cone is the most universal pole tip for traditional cleaning methods.
How this works:
By inserting the Unger ErgoTec Locking Cone into a squeegee or t-bar handle sideways while holding down the click-lock mechanism, you will be able to secure the handle into place. This makes the click-lock button raise inside of the handle, creating an optimal amount of pressure. One has to remember that not all pole tips are created equal, as some have different purposes. But, if you’re searching for a universal pole tip to use with all different brands of tools, that one will be your best bet.
Upon seeing the ErgoTec pole tip, you may notice that it features a small thread at the top. In fact, most click-locking pole tips have threads at the top. It may seem unnecessary for your squeegee or stripwasher, but this aspect of professional window cleaning pole tips allow you to use other tools such as cobweb dusters, lightbulb changers, and hooks.
Windows at Weird Angles? No Problem!
When cleaning windows that are built at unusual positions, getting yourself an angle adapter will let you strategically clean at all kinds of inclines. Not all angle adapters are made for traditional window cleaning, but those that feature click-locks similar to the aforementioned pole tips will do the trick!
Take the Moerman Dr. Angle, for instance. Although best used with Moerman tips or wood cones, this product can help you clean skylights and bay windows without the hassle that a straight pole tip may pose.
To clean with an angle adapter that is the same brand of the pole tip you are using, you would insert it as normal by click-locking it into its small hole located on its side. However, if you don’t have a compatible tip, consider getting yourself a few wooden cone tips, such as the Unger Threaded Wood Cone Adapter. Threading this onto the top of any brand tool can allow you to attach it to an angle adapter of a different brand.
For the Water Fed-Curious
Have the methods of water fed window cleaning caught your eye? You’re not alone!
The XERO brand has curated a combination of tools called the XERO Deluxe Trad Pole Upgrade Kit. If you have a XERO Carbon Fiber Pole - Trad Pole 2.0, this kit combines all the tools you’ll need to turn it into a residential or small storefront-friendly water fed pole.
Whether it’s aluminum or carbon fiber, two-sectioned, or multi-sectioned, the world of window cleaning has so many great options out there for telescopic poles. Becoming a master of the craft takes time, but starting off with the right tools at hand will put you in a powerful position. Keep on and clean on.
Still Have Questions?
Don’t sweat it! If there is anything you’re unsure about, want to learn more about, or need advice on, do not hesitate to reach out to us. Window Cleaning Resource is here for you 24/7, with the help of our super-friendly window cleaning experts.
Having owned their own window cleaning business, too, they have tons of information on window cleaning products, business tips, and more, even if you want to talk shop.
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