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Mastakilla

Cleaning my own Velux windows and solar panels

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Mastakilla
Posted (edited)

Hi all,

I'm not a window cleaner professional. I'm just a home owner who likes to be informed before buying something...

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My house has a 45° angle roof, starting at 2,5m. This roof has 10 solar panels (yellow 1-10), a large bay window and many Velux windows:

  1. Bay window: Ground floor. Cannot open. Max 3,5m from standing position in the garden. Not reachable without a pole or climbing on the roof.
  2. Velux window: Ground floor. Cannot open. Max 3,4m from standing position in the garden. Not reachable without a pole or climbing on the roof.
  3. Velux Window: 1st floor. Cannot open. Max 4,6m from standing position in the garden. Reachable with a chair / ladder from inside, using Velux window 5 or with a pole from outside.
  4. Velux Window: 1st floor. Cannot open. Max 4,6m from standing position in the garden. Reachable with a chair / ladder from inside, using Velux window 6 or with a pole from outside.
  5. Velux Window: 1st floor. Can open. Max 5,8m from standing position in the garden. Reachable from inside or with a pole from outside.
  6. Velux Window: 1st floor. Can open. Max 5,8m from standing position in the garden. Reachable from inside or with a pole from outside.
  7. Velux Window: 2nd floor. Can open. Max 9,8m from standing position in the garden. Reachable from inside.
  8. Velux Window: Staircase / Attic. Cannot open. Max 12,5m from standing position in the garden. Only reachable from Velux window 7 (about 5m away).

As you can see, some windows are not easy to reach. Because of this (and because of lazyness 😉), many windows haven't been cleaned since we bought the house about 4 years ago. I'd like to change that now and buy a telescopic pole for this job.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to change in a cleaning-fairy overnight 🤣. I'll probably clean them just once a year, so I don't want to spend a fortune on a 10m carbon pole (which still can't reach all windows directly).

My intial plan was to spend about 100-150 euro, but after doing some research, I'm leaning towards investing a bit more (200-250 euro max), so that I can enjoy the job a little more and so that the material lasts longer (10 years+?).

I'm thinking of buying a Gardiner CLX-22 pole and attaching that to my tapwater outside. But I do have some concerns / questions:

  1. My tapwater is quite hard, so I'm afraid I'll get a lot of limescale stains over time. Maybe the advantage of cleaning my solar panels will even go away because the limescale stains that get added. Is there a solution for this? Something like adding a soapdispenser and filling it with vinegar? I suspect buying a pump / rainwater reservoir will certainly be out-of-budget...
  2. I'd prefer getting only 1 all-purpose brush, as it will be hard enough already to stay under 250 euro as it is... Also, buying 2 brushes for something I'll probably only do once a year, sounds a bit crazy. I'll probably need a not-so-soft brush for cleaning the extreme dirt from the windows, but it may not be too hard either, as I don't want to scratch my solar panels. Is the Gardiner Ultimate Medium Soft a good compromise? I understand that it has soft long hairs on the outside and harder short hairs on the inside. Do I then need to be careful not to put much pressure on it, because the short hard hairs can scratch the solar panels?
  3. Are the standard 2mm jets ok for me?
  4. Is the all season tube ok for me? Or should I pay a little extra for an enforced tube or Ultra Flex PU tube? Keep in mind that I won't be using it much and I do want it to last really long...

Or do you advise something completely different in my situation?

Thanks!!

 

Edited by Mastakilla

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Part Timer

Yes get someone in that knows what they're doing to do them for you, after the lock down has ended. If you are honestly contemplating to clean windows with hard tap water the type of jets, brush or pole hose you use won't make a blind bit of difference. 

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Mastakilla
Posted (edited)

Ok, so if I understand you correctly, using hard tap water is simply a no-go? And there are no "solutions" (like adding vinegar or dishwasher salt) for solving that "problem"?

Also the fact that they actually offer accesoires to attach the pole to a tap, is assuming that this tap is supplying soft water / rain water only?

Then what is the correct "solution" for doing this? Does it require a pump and demineralised water or something?

About your advise to let someone else do it:

With windows so hard to reach and the fact to you can't even reach this roof from the street side (you need to go through the house in order to reach it), even an aerial work platform is not an option (unless you want to go over the house with it :p). I can't imagine this to be cheaper than 100 euro. And I'm not really willing to spend 100 euro / year on this... That is why I'm trying to find a longer term solution for doing it myself, because I know myself and if it costs 100 euro, it simply won't happen enough...

Edited by Mastakilla

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Part Timer

You would need filtration equipment, room to store water and said equipment, back pack and pole so circa €500. Someone with a trolley / backpack could do that easily.

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Mastakilla
Posted (edited)

I see... So even collecting rain water or buying demineralised water from the supermarket is not an option?

So in short: These telescopic poles with watering are completely not meant for home / personal usage?

Edited by Mastakilla

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Part Timer

I would guesstimate that that would take you a few hundred litres of water. Good luck buying that in a supermarket. The poles would be ok to use on polycarbonate roofs and on windows that you can dry.

You still need to get the water to the brush so need a pump. Collected rain water would work if you made sure the water butt is kept clean. But you're still looking at at least €400

 

 

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Mastakilla
Posted (edited)

Thanks for all advise so far!

I found demineralised water for 0.85 cents / 5 liter, but I wasn't aware that it would use soooo much water though... Perhaps I could use tap water for the cleaning and demineralised water only for rinsing afterwarths?

Or even better... How about only cleaning (using hard tap water) when it sufficiently rains? 😁 (perhaps I don't even need a watered pole in that case and just buy a simple Unger pole)

If I'd still go the "watered-way", then what kind of pump would I need for this? (minimal specs) A pump is something I'd typically buy second hand...

And idea what it would costs (roughly) to have professional come and clean it for me?

Edited by Mastakilla

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Pjj
8 minutes ago, Mastakilla said:

Thanks for all advise so far!

I found demineralised water for 0.85 cents / 5 liter, but I wasn't aware that it would use soooo much water though... Perhaps I could use tap water for the cleaning and demineralised water only for rinsing afterwarths?

Or even better... How about only cleaning (using hard tap water) when it sufficiently rains? 😁 (perhaps I don't even need a watered pole in that case and just buy a simple Unger pole)

If I'd still go the "watered-way", then what kind of pump would I need for this? (minimal specs) A pump is something I'd typically buy second hand...

And idea what it would costs (roughly) to have professional come and clean it for me?

Don’t have any idear what it costs for window cleaning in Belgium, but it would be easier and cheaper to get someone to do it for you every 4-8 weeks , solar panels generally only need doing once a year unless in a very dirty environment 

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Part Timer
29 minutes ago, Mastakilla said:

but I wasn't aware that it would use soooo much water though

That is for the first wash, it's probably only going to be 50-100 if you do the windows quarterly and the solar panels annually. Cleaning in heavy rain isn't as daft as you think. You would still need pure water to rinse the windows, not the solar panels.

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Mastakilla
Posted (edited)
On 24/03/2020 at 16:06, Pjj said:

Don’t have any idear what it costs for window cleaning in Belgium, but it would be easier and cheaper to get someone to do it for you every 4-8 weeks , solar panels generally only need doing once a year unless in a very dirty environment 

I guess prices are very similar to the UK... I can't imagine this being cheaper than 100 euro per clean, lets say 75 euro to be extremely optimistic. So your suggestion would be about 500 euro per year (minimum)... So I don't really understand how you can say this would be cheaper?

Also, for some it is very important to have clean windows all the time, others might like to go out for dinner once a month. Many probably want both, but most probably have to choose... And I'm afraid I'm one of those that has to make a choice and my priorities do not lie in in having super clean windows all the time 😉

I understand that people here are motivated to promote hiring a professional, but that is not the correct option for everyone I think... With all do respect... I am more of a diy person...

On 24/03/2020 at 16:25, Part Timer said:

That is for the first wash, it's probably only going to be 50-100 if you do the windows quarterly and the solar panels annually. Cleaning in heavy rain isn't as daft as you think. You would still need pure water to rinse the windows, not the solar panels.

I'm not sure that I understand what you're saying here... First it seems you say that it is an ok idea to clean in heavy rain, but then you say that I then still need to rinse with pure water. But only the windows, not the solar panels? Can you explain?

Also is there any strategy / product you can advise for my situation / budget? I was hoping that by doubling my product-budget I would not be in the too-cheap-for-anything-decent category anymore. I guess many uninformed people in my situation would just buy something like this for half the price and attach it to the tap and be done with it:

https://www.marketonweb.be/nl/telescoopsteel-met-spiraal-en-borstel-tot-10-meter

Is it perhaps better to use a simple non-watered Unger pole in my situation and put a squeegee on that pole after cleaning?

Edited by Mastakilla

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Pjj
14 minutes ago, Mastakilla said:

I guess prices are very similar to the UK... I can't imagine this being cheaper than 100 euro per clean, lets say 75 euro to be extremely optimistic. So your suggestion would be about 500 euro per year (minimum)... So I don't really understand how you can say this would be cheaper?

Also, for some it is very important to have clean windows all the time, others might like to go out for dinner once a month. Many probably want both, but most probably have to choose... And I'm afraid I'm one of those that has to make a choice and my priorities do not lie in in having super clean windows all the time 😉

I understand that people here are motivated to promote hiring a professional, but that is not the correct option for everyone I think... With all do respect... I am more of a diy person...

I'm not sure that I understand what you're saying here... First it seems you say that it is an ok idea to clean in heavy rain, but then you say that I then still need to rinse with pure water. But only the windows, not the solar panels? Can you explain?

Also is there any strategy / product you can advise for my situation / budget? I was hoping that by doubling my product-budget I would not be in the too-cheap-for-anything-decent category anymore. I guess many uninformed people in my situation would just buy something like this for half the price and attach it to the tap and be done with it:

https://www.marketonweb.be/nl/telescoopsteel-met-spiraal-en-borstel-tot-10-meter

Is it perhaps better to use a simple non-watered Unger pole in my situation and put a squeegee on that pole after cleaning?

For us professional window cleaners it takes a lot more time to do the initial clean so we charge more for that and promote a 4 or 8 weekly service on private houses , some do other frequencies ,this will keep the windows looking good all year round , you go out to work and come home to clean windows , for most home owners it’s something that they could do but is one of those jobs that never get done , so it’s more convenient and one less thing to have to think about . 

Solar panels if they have a few spots on them it doesn’t matter but on windows it will look bad that’s why they need doing with pure water , cleaning solar in the rain aids with rinsing but isn’t a pleasant job . Hope this makes sense .

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scottish cleaning service

I have a big first clean on Saturday if its still on. I only have 2 bi-monthly cleans and I don't look forward to them already.

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Part Timer
9 hours ago, Mastakilla said:

I'm not sure that I understand what you're saying here... First it seems you say that it is an ok idea to clean in heavy rain, but then you say that I then still need to rinse with pure water. But only the windows, not the solar panels? Can you explain?

Also is there any strategy / product you can advise for my situation / budget? I was hoping that by doubling my product-budget I would not be in the too-cheap-for-anything-decent category anymore. I guess many uninformed people in my situation would just buy something like this for half the price and attach it to the tap and be done with it:

https://www.marketonweb.be/nl/telescoopsteel-met-spiraal-en-borstel-tot-10-meter

Is it perhaps better to use a simple non-watered Unger pole in my situation and put a squeegee on that pole after cleaning

Firstly you don't need to get your solar panels spotless, you therefore don't need to rinse them with filtered water if you clean them using rain water.

Your own windows, to clean them to a standard somewhere close to what a professional cleaner would, needs to be rinsed with pure.

I clean windows on all sorts of different time schedules. I do one job which is annual, I do about4 jobs that are 6 monthly and do a lot 3 monthly. The annual windows and sills are very dirty but one of the 6 monthly jobs is still relatively clean. If your house isn't close to the sea, isn't close to a building site / industrial area or near a main road they might only need doing 6 monthly and your solar panels yearly or less.

My advice, before you invest in equipment I've never seen, let alone used, would be to get someone into clean them and then monitor how long before they need cleaning again.

Working in heavy rain with a 10m pole isn't easy, and definitely isn't pleasant, work.

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