What is a Water Fed Brush?

What is a Water Fed Brush?

photo by Frank Rave

What is a Water Fed Brush?

To those unfamiliar with the window cleaning industry, a water fed brush may sound completely foreign, but what defines it is rather simple. Let’s first talk about where we would use one in the field.

The window cleaning trade has two subsects, traditional and water fed. Water fed window cleaning requires a professional to clean glass with a water purification system connected to an water fed pole that has a water fed brush attached at the end of it. A thin hose is then fed through the pole up to the brush that has jets to spray purified water onto the glass. Once the glass is soaked, then the cleaner can scrub dirt and grime with the brush’s bristles, all while a continuous flow of purified water rinses it away.

This method has grown in popularity over the years, as it is a versatile and incredibly effective method that allows you to clean hard-to-reach windows quickly without the use of soap. Plus, depending on how dirty the window is or what kind of climate you live in, window cleaners can customize their brush type through block size, bristle, jet type, and with accessories.

This form of window cleaning is super effective in cost and equipment longevity. That’s why in this week’s Window Cleaner University article, we’re going to talk all about what a water fed brush is and how you can add it to your window cleaning arsenal for the best results possible.

Bristles: Natural & Artificial

When it comes to water fed brushes, there are three main bristle types: boar’s hair, nylon, or a combination of the two called hybrid. These feature a dual-trimmed design, meaning the outer bristles are longer, so when pressed down against the glass, they splay out, enabling them to cover more surface area. The inner bristles are shorter, so they can get up close and personal with pesky dried-on dirt.

The most coarse of all the brushes is the boar’s hair water fed brush. A boar’s hair brush’s filament or bristles comes from a domesticated boar. These hairs are coarse, yet flexible and soft enough to scrub glass without scratching it. One of the most popular boar’s hair brushes is the Tucker Boar’s Hair Brush. This brush provides superior scrubbing power and is ideal for lower windows. You will also want to lift it away from the window to rinse off the debris you agitated up from the glass. A boar’s hair brush tends to get heavy and weighed down while used because it is a natural fiber and absorbs water. We recommend using a boar’s hair on windows that are under 35 feet. Otherwise, it can drag from being too heavy to maneuver properly.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have nylon brushes. Nylon brushes are stiffer than the boar’s hair, allowing the brush to glide along the glass more smoothly and dirt and debris to rinse through it faster. They are also better to use on higher windows as they aren’t porous like the boar’s hair and won’t absorb water. One example of a fully-nylon brush is the Tucker Nylon Dual Pencil and Pencil Jetted Dual Trim Brush. This brush is ideal for use on all windows, and best for windows over 35 feet. You do, however, need to apply more force when cleaning with a nylon brush.

If you want to use the best of both worlds, a hybrid brush will be your best choice. These brushes utilize nylon bristles on the outer trim and boar’s hair on the inner. This makes the brush’s glide silky smooth, all while employing the superior scrubbing power of the boar’s hair in the center. A great example of a hybrid brush is the Tucker Hybrid Brush with Euro Socket and Four Fan Jets. This 18-inch brush is perfect for use on high-up commercial windows where you need the fan jets to apply broad strokes as well as the 20-inch splay of the bristles for optimal coverage. But of course, there are configurations out there that include pencil jets if you want to pinpoint your jet’s stream.

To summarize:

  • Boar’s hair is best on lower windows because it gets heavy. It requires the least amount of pressure while cleaning and is the most aggressive option for windows that need a whole lot of TLC.
  • Nylon is best on higher windows because it is lightweight. Water and dirt easily run through it, as it is non-absorbent. The most pressure is required when cleaning with nylon.
  • Hybrid brushes, the most versatile and popular option of the bunch, are optimal for moderately dirty windows. These brushes have nylon bristles on the outside for better moveability and boar’s hair on the inside for better scrubbing power.

Depending on the job at hand, one bristle type might be better than the other. It is best to keep each kind in your truck.

Different Block Types for Different Job Types

Block types vary from 10 inches to 18 inches, with their splay, also known as how far their bristles reach when pushed down, generally extending to 2 inches. For example, if you have a 10-inch brush, its splay will generally allow for cleaning up to 12 inches of surface area. The size of the brush block you choose depends on the type of job site you’re working on. Residential jobs tend only to require a 10-inch brush, whereas a commercial site with windows tall and wide would require a 14-inch or even 18-inch block.

Water fed brush blocks also come with either single-jetted or dual-jetted configurations pre-installed in them. Single-jetted brush blocks have one set of jets, meaning there is one on each side. The Tucker Dual Trim Brush is an example of a single-jetted brush, as there are only two holes, two small pieces of hose, and one push-to-fit T-fitting connecting them.

Dual jetted brushes have four total jets, with two on each side. Various pieces of 5/16-inch polyurethane hose connect these jets to each other, and, depending on the configuration of the brush, can have two or three push-to-fit T-fittings. This makes it so that the flow of water is consistent and gap-free.

Now, let’s talk about precisely what these jets are and what they are for.

What kind of “Jet-Setter” are you: Pencil or Fan?

In the world of water fed window cleaning, living the “fast life” is what most professionals strive for. We don’t mean that of running after riches, but instead blasting through each job with speed and efficiency. Window cleaners need to make sure they’re knocking minutes off their pacing constantly to tackle more jobs and make the most of their time and money.

To help with this, they need to make sure they have the most ideal water fed setup, which means using the right jets in their water fed brush. Now, what are water fed brush jets?

Water fed brush jets are small fittings made of durable plastic or sleek metal that are connected to a thin hose that shoots water through their nozzles. They are installed on the top of the aforementioned brush block, where there are perfectly-cut holes that they snuggly fit into. Generally, there are two kinds of jets for water fed brushes: pencil and fan.

One can identify a pencil jet by its pin-sized hole in the center of its nozzle. Pencil jets shoot out a narrow, powerful stream of water ideal for cleaning areas with dried-on and cakey dirt and grime. Their long-reaching, high-pressurized power makes it so the brush does not need to be too close to the glass during cleaning. Pencil jets are essential when cleaning French panes for directly aiming into their numerous corners to shoot away dried-on pollen, dirt, and debris. They allow you to target saturated areas of filth and attack them with highly-pressurized pure water to get them to be shining again. Furthermore, this kind of jet is better when approaching hydrophilic glass, which is glass with an affinity for water.

Fan jets are most useful when you want to clean with broader strokes than the more streamlined pencil jets. These nozzles have a long line in the middle of them for releasing wide, sweeping showers of water to cover the entire pane of glass. These favor coverage over precision and are best when cleaning hard-to-reach windows. When it is more difficult to see where the dirt is most saturated, fan jets can cover more of the glass at a faster rate. This kind of jet is best for hydrophobic glass, as the molecules are smaller and can maximize contact with this type of glass, which generally repels water.

Accessories of All Kinds

Adding accessories can make working with your water fed brush even faster. Tools such as a rinse bar or a gooseneck can make all the difference in a window cleaner’s efficiency. The Tucker Over the Top Rinse Bar is made with durable plastic. Mounting this rinse bar onto a Tucker water fed brush will allow you to deliver a steady stream of water over the brush, making rinsing away dirt a quick job.

When using a water fed brush on your water fed pole, one incredible attachment you can add to your pole tip is a fixed or swiveling angle adapter. Adding an angle adapter allows you to change the angle of your brush onto the glass. Plus, if you get a swiveling one such as the Euro-threaded Tucker Swivel Gooseneck, your brush can move more fluidly as you scrub. If you prefer using your body only for maneuvering your brush, then a fixed gooseneck will be better for you.

Are you ready to check out the complete package?

Something that would get you off the ground running in full force is the Tucker Alpha Brush. This brush comes in boar’s hair, nylon, and hybrid options, and features the sought-after swivel and over-the-top rinse bar already on it, so you can get the top-of-the-line setup as soon as it hits your doorstep.

A System to Rule Them All: The XERO Fast Lock

If you don’t want to choose between fixed or swivel, or even between short and long, the XERO Fast Lock system has you covered in all areas. The XERO Fast Lock makes it faster to swap brushes, provides a more secure hold, and offers greater flexibility on the job site. The brush attachments can be found on the XERO Fast Lock Replacement Parts listing, where you can also purchase other pieces to complete your setup.

Once all of your brushes have this brush component, then all you’d need to do is get yourself either one fixed or one swiveling angle adapter. Then, a simple push-button locks in or releases your brush, making swapping brushes from pole to pole seamless.

Your Setup is What You Make It

With all kinds of water fed brushes out there, it can take time to decipher which is best for you. We at Window Cleaning Resource believe having a few variations at your disposal is best, as you never know the level of dirtiness you will be facing when out in the field. The more options you have, the better equipped you’ll be! So get out there and scrub to your heart’s desire.

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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