Whether you are brand new to WaterFed® or have been using pure water technology to clean for years now, the whole innovation of WaterFed® and the science and technology behind using pure water to quickly and safely clean windows is still relatively new to the window cleaning industry. With that said, it is not only important you as a consumer are informed, but it will also help you to purchase smarter. This post covers how to choose which WaterFed pole(s), sometimes called Water Fed Poles, Water-Fed Poles, or even Water Feed Poles, to purchase when getting into pure water cleaning. Of course, we think that our Triple Crown poles are the highest quality and best value poles since we directly import them. But, this post addresses more general WaterFed® pole characteristics and how each effect you, so that you can make an informed and confident WaterFed® pole purchasing.
Height Considerations:The first step is to determine the pole height that would best suit you. To do this, look at your current jobs and determine how high your pole needs to reach. Once you have an idea in your head, consider the angle the pole tilts against the building, as well as the possible flex that may occur. To add enough height so that your pole perfectly reaches the windows you have your sights set on, multiply the number of feet in your original height by 1.2. This number will add just a few feet, but will be enough to compensate for the pole’s tilt and flex.
Working Height vs Actual HeightNow that you know how high you need your pole height to reach, you’re well on your way to the next step in choosing your WaterFed® pole, but you’re not there yet! Check to make sure the pole height is being shown in actual height, as opposed to working height. For example, we list our poles at the actual height, meaning a pole that is listed as 45 feet is actually 45 feet, top to bottom. Working height, on the contrary, includes the height the pole is held, meaning a 45-foot pole might actually be 43 feet. It’s important to know which is being listed so that you can compare poles accurately and so that you can know how much reach you actually need.
Price, Weight, & Flex:
PriceTo continue your search for the perfect WaterFed® pole, there are three pole traits that will determine which type of pole is best for you. The first characteristic is, of course, your budget. After all, chances are you are interested in a WaterFed® pole for your cleaning business and money is usually the bottom line (well, that and spectacular cleaning results, but your WaterFed® system will be sure to take care of that).
FlexThe next step is determining how much flex you can work with. When deciding how much flex you can or can’t work with, know that the higher up your pole will be working, the more important flex becomes. A significant amount of flex can make a pole harder to work with because it adds another variable to consider when cleaning windows. Flex is manageable of course; it just makes the pole harder to control.
WeightThe last consideration is how much weight you can handle. The weight of the pole is a defining characteristic to consider because you will be lifting and lowering the weight of the pole during cleaning and will make a significant difference in how your back and shoulders feel at the end of the day.
Now that your brain is full of numbers and best estimates, we’re going to bring it all together. Since all three of these characteristics are so intertwined, something’s gotta give. Use this triangle we created about WaterFed® poles to help sort out priorities. For example, if you budget is rock solid and you refuse to work with a pole that has extreme flex, your pole will most likely be on the heavier side of things. But if you can’t imagine working with much flex or weight from your pole, you are most likely looking towards a higher end pole, aka not cheap. What this triangle looks like in reality is really just determining the material your WaterFed® pole is going to be made out of.
Material: Aluminum, Fiberglass, Hybrid, & Carbon Fiber:
Aluminum:These poles are cheap but are heavy and will give you issues with flex above two stories or so. This type of pole is the most common telescopic pole used in traditional window cleaning since you aren’t normally going as high. When using this type of pole for pure water cleaning, on the contrary, weight will be a problem and flex will become unmanageable over about two stories. The time and effort it would take to control an aluminum pole higher than about two stories would essentially cancel out the time and effort saved by cleaning clients windows with a WaterFed® system. Note that traditional aluminum poles generally use Acme threads. Most Water Fed accessories (brushes, goose necks, etc.) use European threading. These aren’t compatible, so you’ll need an adapter like our converter kit.
Fiberglass:Fiberglass WaterFed® poles are pretty well the standard beginners’ pole. They are a bit more expensive than the aluminum pole, but offer significantly less flex and are much lighter than an aluminum pole. They are particularly ideal for those new to WaterFed® users because they are much less of a financial commitment than other WaterFed® poles, but are still made from materials that is cater to pure water cleaning systems (meaning they are still really light and offer a controllable amount of flex when they reach above three stories). Fiberglass poles generally max out around 3 stories before flex becomes a significant problem.
Hybrid:Poles made from “hybrid” materials, refer to a mixture of fiberglass and carbon fiber materials. In other words, we use the materials from our two other poles, to create this hybrid pole that offers less weight and flex than the pure fiberglass pole, but is not the huge financial commitment that a purely carbon fiber pole can be. We recommend this type of pole for those beginners that are serious about adapting WaterFed® cleaning, and those who have some WaterFed® cleaning experience and are ready to take the next WaterFed® step (aka use it quite frequently). Hybrid poles are ideal up to about 4 stories.
Carbon Fiber:These Carbon Fiber poles are the highest quality materials used in the market for WaterFed® poles. These are the poles that are going to allow you to reach incredibly high, with relatively minimal weight and significantly more flex control. There are a few different types of carbon fiber that you will see on the market, each an upgrade from the last, allowing you more and more control, with less and less weight. Of course, if we check back in to our priority WaterFed® pole triangle, this means that the price of each upgrade goes up. If strictly carbon fiber poles are the entry level of the best material, the next upgrade would be high modulus carbon fiber. Each is an upgrade to improve flex and weight. We like to tell people that they themselves will know when they have reached a point in their WaterFed® career when they will need a high modulus carbon fiber pole, in fact, it’s usually their shoulders and lower back that lets them know.
Type: Telescopic, Modular, & Combo:
Telescopic:The next step in finding the WaterFed® pole that is right for you is to decide between a telescopic pole and a modular pole. All this refers to is how to pole itself is designed to extend. Telescopic poles are the most common type of pole. This means that all of the sections of the pole are inside each other, where by to extend your pole, simply adjust the collars, extend the section, and tighten the collar back down to hold it in place. This methodology is wonderful for its quick versatility.
Modular:A modular pole, on the other hand, does not have its sections stacked inside one another, but rather each section stacks on top of one another. This can reduce the weight of the pole if you need not use the whole length. For instances, if you have a 45 foot pole and you’re cleaning second story windows, rather than holding the extra sections, you can simply take them off. This too allows for as much additional length as the materials’ flex will allow (about 36 feet worth of extension could be added to a Triple Crown platinum pole, that is 6 extensions).
Combo:There is also the option to get a combo pole; you can probably guess what that means at this point. A combo pole is a telescopic WaterFed® pole until a certain point, and from there extension pieces can be added (to the bottom) to give the pole additional height. It really is the best of both worlds, cleaning lower window using the telescopic feature, then simply adding modular sections to increase the poles height when required for higher windows.
It’s also worth noting that you can remove sections on telescopic poles to reduce the weight of the pole when you don’t need the full length. It’s not as easy to remove sections as it is with a modular pole, but it’s a fairly simple procedure.