What does WFPS stand for?
stands for Water Fed Pole Systems.
What are WFPS used for?
are used for cleaning windows, signage and even cladding ~ at heights up to 20m
~ without using ladders, scaffolding or expensive cherry pickers.
What are the advantages of
– using WFPS allows the operator to work from the ground i.e. without using
ladders, and so removes the risk of working at height completely.
– WFPS use only pure water and so there are no detergents or chemicals to
pollute the environment.
– windows cleaned using the system stay cleaner for longer, as the surface of
the glass becomes sterile from the use of only pure water.
– cleaning windows using a WFPS is usually 30 to 80% quicker than conventional
window cleaning methods.
No damage to
– because WFPS do not require ladders or scaffolding, there is no exterior
marking or damage to walls and windowsills, and no unsightly ladder marks or
damage in lawns and borders.
How do Water Fed Pole
Systems (WFPS) work?
Pure Water is pumped
through a hose reel, up a telescopic Water Fed Pole and through jets in the
brush at the top of the pole, where it is sprayed onto the glass. The brush
contacts with the surface of the glass and frames, and lightly agitates the
surface, loosening the dirt. Any dirt or dust particles are flushed away by the
constant stream of pure water.
What would happen if normal
tap water were used to wash a window?
The glass will appear milky
white and/or streaky when it dries, and you will be able to write on the glass
surface with your finger. This effect on the glass is due entirely to the
mineral content of the tap water.
Water Fed Pole Systems
work... because they use the equivalent of distilled water.
WFPS use Pure Water (i.e.
water without any mineral content), so as it dries it leaves the windows
perfectly clean. Pure water strives to return to its natural (dirty) state, and
so when applied to the window, pure water automatically absorbs the dirt.
All tap water contains a
quantity of minerals. The quantity differs from one area to another because of
the variety of environment and ground rock strata that rainwater passes through
before it reaches our rivers and ground-water storage reservoirs.
If you were to buy bottled
spring water from the supermarket and read the label you will notice that water
contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium, chlorides, nitrates, sulphates,
bi-carbonates, sodium, potassium and silica etc, that are dissolved in the
Totally Dissolved Solids
meter is required to identify the total quantity of minerals that are dissolved
in YOUR water. A hand held TDS meter will give a three-digit reading. If you
were to test the water at your tap, the meter would probably show a reading of
between 035 parts per million (035 ppm) and 600 parts per million (600 ppm).
While this is OK for drinking, it is of NO use for window cleaning!
If you want to wash glass
and end up with perfectly clean windows, all the minerals need to be filtered or
extracted from the water, resulting in a TDS reading of 000 ppm (indicating zero
mineral content or total demineralisation). This is called “Pure Water”.
The higher the initial TDS
reading, the higher the costs and more involved the methods required in
demineralising the water.
There are a number of
different filtration methods used to produce demineralised water – but some
methods are just too expensive to even consider. The most cost effective methods
A de-ionised resin vessel on its own. (Sometimes called a polisher)
A de-ionised resin vessel and a reverse osmosis filter along with
A de-ionised resin vessel, a reverse osmosis filter along with
pre-filters and a water softener.
Which filtration system is best?
The answer depends on the
initial TDS reading of your water. As a general guide, consider the following.
If you have very soft water, option 1 would be cost effective in the
If your water is harder, you may need Options 2 or 3 depending on calcium
and magnesium levels.
filtration system do you need?
If the water is hard (i.e.
it has a high TDS reading), a 4 or 5 stage system is recommended. The last stage
(DI vessel) should always be mounted in the vehicle as a final polisher before
the water hits the window. It is also recommended that, if possible, the
filtration system should be static (i.e. located in a garage or workshop)
rather than mobile (i.e. mounted in the vehicle or trailer).
Of course there are many
variables governing the choice of filtration system, such as quality of
available water, type and proximity of work, number of operators, volume of
water required and type and size of vehicle or trailer available.
If you have a static
filtration system near to where you are working and you run out of water at
midday, it is very convenient to drive to base and refill. Obviously if all your
work is near to your static system, your business can operate with a smaller
capacity tank and smaller vehicle.
If most of your work is far
away from base, it is likely that you will require the filtration system fixed
inside the vehicle, which usually means a larger vehicle with the biggest tank
that the payload permits.
Filtration System (Garage or Workshop)
Once the correct choice of
filtration system has been made, the choice of vehicle or transport system must
Essentially the choices of
mobile WFPS are:
systems (Van or Bakkie)
Backpack and DI systems
Experts in the Water Fed
Pole System Industry all over the world recommend the use of a vehicle (van or
bakkie) as the preferred solution whenever possible!
Ease of use!
Driving, Parking and Operating! (It is so much easier to step into your
van at the start of the day and drive to the first job, park in the best
place and then set up your equipment and work!)
Can be expensive to
buy / maintain
All tank sizes can
(Vehicles come in all shapes and sizes and loads can vary from 250 litres
to 1500 litres)
All types of
systems can be used.
(You may want to operate as a one-man system or up to a four-man system.
Vehicles can be adapted to whatever system you prefer.)
(A WFPS is an investment and it needs to be protected. Vehicles have
excellent security in the form of alarms, immobilisers, wheel clamps etc.
Outside ports can be fitted enabling total security while you are working
even if the vehicle is out of sight.)
What size Vehicle?
Firstly - do you intend for one person to operate from the vehicle, or two or
The answer to this question
will make a massive difference to your choice of vehicle because water weighs
1kg per litre (500 litres of water would weigh 500kg or half a tonne), and a
Water Fed Pole can use up to 120 litres per hour or more unless you restrict the
flow. A quick calculation tells you that 500 litres of water may last one person
over 4 hours when used continuously, and a 1000 litre tank of water may last one
person 8 hours when used continuously. (1000 litres of water weighs 1 tonne.
Continuous use is only normal on very large buildings. If you are constantly
stopping the flow of water or moving on to other sites, or restricting the flow
of water by means of a flow regulator, then the water will last longer than
A smaller vehicle with a
payload around 650kg such as a Corsa Bakkie or a Renault Kangoo may carry about
400 litres of water maximum. That’s about 3.5 hours of continuous use for one
A medium sized vehicle with
a payload of 900 kg may carry about 600 litres of water, which represents around
5 hours of continuous use for one operator.
A larger vehicle such as a
Hyundai Bakkie would have no problem carrying 1000 litres and more (depending on
the payload specification), giving enough for an 8-hour day of continuous use
for a single operator.
Remember however the option
to install the filtration system in the vehicle and produce pure water on-site.
While the above suggestions
are approximate ~ it remains the operator’s responsibility to ensure that the
total weight of the water plus all other equipment does not exceed the
designated payload of the vehicle.
A Trailer with a WFPS on
board is an option to consider instead of or in addition to a Van system.
Types of Trailers
Typically there are braked
and un-braked trailers. Braked trailers cost more to purchase, but there is a
limit on the payload that the law allows to be un-braked. Typically un-braked
trailers can carry loads up to a maximum of 500 litres of water or 500kg. Braked
trailers are safer to tow and can also improve the braking performance of the
towing vehicle. Braked trailers can be fitted with a range of tanks from 500
litres to 1500 litres. Single axle trailers can be difficult to control (when
un-hitched) if not used with the aid of the jockey wheel. Double axle trailers
are much safer to un-hitch because the fluid weight will be more stable between
a pair of axles but they are more difficult to manoeuvre around bends by hand.
A box trailer is more
desirable because the tank and system is protected and unseen, and there is room
inside for the poles and other window cleaning equipment. However - an open
trailer can be one of the most cost effective ways to get started.
water fed pole should you choose?
Once you have decided on
the filtration system (static or mobile) and the type of transport system
(vehicle, trailer or trolley) - it is time to decide which water fed pole is
best for your business. The factors to be considered are how high is the work;
and which of the following are most important to you – Lightness, Durability,
Rigidity or flexibility, Serviceability and Cost. No one pole will have all of
the above features and it should be understood that whatever pole you choose
will be a compromise.
up to 9m
up to 14m
up to 10m
up to 14m
– can take Knocks
wearing -needs more care
– can take Knocks
wearing -needs more care
Flexible over 7m
Flexible over 14m
Rigid up to 18m
up to 18m
Most larger window cleaning
companies use a combination of pole types for different reasons.
Fibreglass poles are the
cheapest to buy and are generally robust in every day use, however the sections
can wear very quickly. Although it is possible to get replacement sections, it
is sometimes more cost effective to purchase a completely new pole.
Fibreglass poles are
particularly heavy to use over 9m and also become very flexible.
Aluminium poles are made
with aircraft aluminium alloy and are one of the best poles available. (Not to
be confused with squeegee poles that are made of low-grade aluminium.) They are
very light and strong up to 14m, and are also very reasonably priced. Extremely
hard wearing this pole should last many years if looked after and all parts are
replaceable and cost effective to buy. A disadvantage to aluminium poles is that
the sections can dent if treated carelessly. Over 14m they are too flexible.
Some aluminium poles, but
not all, have slow clamping methods or threads that can easily jam.
Carbon Fibre Poles
Carbon fibre poles (like
fibreglass) are robust, and very rigid and are often used to reach heights of 14
– 20m. The drawback with carbon fibre is that they are very heavy to use and
expensive to buy.
Carbon Kevlar Poles
Carbon Kevlar poles are
similar in weight to aluminium poles and are therefore good to use up to 20m and
rigid. They are however the most expensive type of pole.
General info on Water
It is important to remember
that poles are made in various length sections (1.8m, 2.4m and 3.6m) when you
consider whether the pole may fit inside the vehicle or you may have to use a
rack or pole tube. The length of the closed down pole will be longer when you
take into account the telescopic sections, the gooseneck and brush.
Water Fed Poles utilise a
variety of different types of brushes, some better than others.
come in a variety of lengths to enable you to get over wide sills and make
contact with the bottom of the window.
Most Water Fed Poles have a
single hose that connects to jets in the brush. The water is contained
between the surface of the glass and within the bristles of the brush and you
can control and contain the spray. To clean the window and leave it gleaming you
will have to lift the brush off the surface of the window and rinse the glass
with the jets of water.
This will, unfortunately,
cause a spray/mist, take more time and be more difficult to accomplish.
We hope that this
information helps you with the basic selection of your WFPS!
Please feel free to
contact us should you require further information or assistance.