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Happily Cleaning Windows, Rain or Shine

Updated: Dec 5, 2018

"Whoever watches the wind will not plant;

whoever looks at the clouds will not reap."

- Ecclesiastes 11:4

How does rain affect a window cleaner’s schedule? Some window cleaners have the policy of rescheduling appointments given the forecast of any chance of rain. I have always considered such a tact as more of subjective emotional reaction and prefer a level-headed approach to window cleaning operations. We tell our cleaning technicians to show up and good things will happen. The exception to this rule is when there is an active thunderstorm. We use aluminum ladders and it’s not safe for the window cleaner to do the job when there’s lightning.

I make it a point not to pay attention to a weather forecast. I’ve found that they are more frequently than not inaccurate. If the forecast for example says 80% chance of rain on Wednesday, that is too broad to be actionable, Wednesday has 24 hours, and it is very unlikely it will rain for all of them. Another consideration is that there are just 168 hours in a week and we are booked solid all through the season many weeks in advance. There aren’t any make up days available.

I’ve learned that when there is a 70% chance of rain on Tuesday, there is no way of telling when this rain will start. (there is a thirty percent chance it won’t even happen) Most rain falls when it is cool, early mornings and nights. Oftentimes it ends before the window cleaner’s day begins. That doesn’t make exciting news for the networks because it is too ordinary but happens to be true. Also, since we clean both the interior and the exterior, if it is raining, we simply start cleaning on the inside and when this happens 9 out of 10 times the rain is through before we even finish the inside.

Third and lastly is that rain water has very little dissolved solid content (minerals). Rain water is more of a help to cleaning a home and windows than it is a hindrance. Some of the newer windows are specially coated with an element that coupled with rain water acts to help break down soils. Of course, those so-called self-cleaning windows don’t leave windows sparkling like a professional window cleaner does. But rain isn’t a problem for the customer, like say over-spray from a sprinkler which often does contain high concentrations of minerals and will leave water marks on glass. Rain water is very much like the spot free water at the car wash.

The truth is that window cleaners don’t like to get wet if we can help it. Given that we work in an occupation that gives us three to four months unpaid vacation each year, what we like even less is to lose another day being productive. We do carry rain coats just in case the rain is unavoidable. It rarely happens but if it does, we are prepared. The worst thing that can happen is that something from up above might get washed onto a window. If that does happen, we guarantee our work and won’t mind dropping by near the end of a different day to touch up if that is necessary. That certainly is a better alternative for us than blowing off an entire day. We show up and good things happen.

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