This is our thanks to our clients for helping make 2016 such a successful year
Holiday Closures / Frost Delays / And other important info
2016 Year in review
No better time than when the world is frozen stiff, to compose the next issue of The Window Viper Newsletter. With snow packed on the roofs, and solid slabs of ice in the gutters, we have been enjoying some extra down time and making the best of a wintery December.
2016 was a very challenging and successful year for us, thanks to clients like you. The service continues to evolve, and with the implementation of the new online billing system, we have made it more convenient for the customer to pay simply with a click of a mouse. This process mends seamlessly into our accounting software also so it has cut down on paper consumption drastically. Our online quotes are also 100% paperless now as well, which has not only stopped paper consumption, but has also streamlined the quoting process so you get the quote in your e-mailbox within seconds of the assessment.
Our roof cleaning services are the best in the business and we have seen such a huge demand for this service that plans are in the works to branch out a second service named "Moss Masters". Right now we have purchased the domain www.mossmasters.ca and it currently points you to the Window Viper roof cleaning page. Keep an eye on our newsletters and blog for updates on this new venture, you might be seeing a new truck on the road soon!
Our crew now consists of myself and two full time technicians (Tyler & Luke) and each of us now carry a valid rope access ticket for any rope and harness related work. We will most likely expand the crew again in 2017, and as always we will seek out the most qualified individual. At The Window Viper everything is green, except for our staff!
We will be closed for Christmas break Dec 26th until Jan 2nd
Potential Frost Delays
Nature has her way with us this time of year. When temperatures drop, and things ice up, we can't risk working on roofs or putting ladders on icy surfaces. We ask for, and appreciate your patience & understanding when forced to re book your service call due to snow or ice. So far this year we have been very lucky with a warm wet November, but December is turning out to be a cold frigid month. Hang in there, we will get to you as soon as it warms back up. We want to get back to work just as bad as you want us to!
In previous blogs we talked about soft washing and roof wash treatments and we need to update the info for you because that info is no longer relevant. After a year of trying some different things we have finally cracked the code to provide optimal results using the safest chemical compounds available. For roofs and siding we have two separate systems in place now and I would like to inform you on both in some detail:
First off lets talk about siding washing. When we started out we were using simple water fed poles and manually scrubbing siding vinyl siding. Using nothing but tap water gave great results but, without some sort of algaecide to sterilize the surface as an additive, we would see the green stuff coming back to the wall within a year of the last wash. We needed to prolong the results and so, the research began. After a few weeks of talks with other professionals across north america we were introduced to "Soft Washing". A very effective and safe method of washing siding that uses a concentrated detergent (Sodium Hypochlorite, soap, & water) to dwell on the walls for a few minutes, then it's rinsed of and diluted by simple tap water. The key word here is "SOFT". Never in this process do we use high pressure of scrubbing. The benefit is that no water is forced into the walls, and the mould, algae, and mildews are 100% neutralized which prevents any new growth for years to come. Think of it as returning your siding to a sterile, fresh our of the box condition, yes, you can now eat off of it (if it weren't vertical). We have been using the soft wash system for a couple of years now and it's been great for roofs with black stains, siding, and restoring black slimy wooden decks. The chlorine smell is pretty noticeable for the duration of the cleaning but soon after disperses. It is important to heed the instructions for preparation provided by us prior to a soft wash to ensure none of the product lands on anything that could be stained. Sodium Hypochlorite is a powerful cleaning agent that, when used properly, is safe for the environment. Since we dilute it at least 100 times to 1 by the end of the process we are left with essentially swimming pool water or even less than. When that water evaporates the only by product to remain is trace amounts of Sodium aka Salt.
The next product to go over is our moss killer which is as amazing as it is effective. We tried all the consumer brands like MossOut, 30Seconds, Spray&Leave, Tide, etc and we were never happy with the results, we needed something that was safe on the earth, and that we could guarantee will work. We found a product named WASH SAFE Roof Wash, a powdered hydrogen peroxide that you mix into water and spray the roof. We found that once we take as much moss off of the roof FIRST, and spray after, that we could provide same day results to our clients and guarantee no moss for a year, if not more. Hydrogen Peroxide is a great product, very safe to handle and it oxidizes very quickly. Once it comes into contact with the roots and bits of moss on the roof it quickly turns into foam and burns into the moss, killing it to the root. After a few minutes the hydrogen and oxygen gas evaporates and the by product is H2o. We have been using this system for a couple of years now and we can confidently say that we sell the most effective and eco friendly moss removal system that there is.
A battle of wits and courage!
A nesting mother sea gull is a worthy foe to any intruder and she fearlessly defended her nest with the courage unseen by any window cleaners before. She'd attack from the front, the side, and the rear. The most effective play in her book was the "retreat and fly around the building, then surprise attack from behind" method. We were close to defeat when we rallied to the cause. One man would clean while the other defended from the Alfred Hitchcock-esque death from above using our ten foot long water fed pole extension module. Minutes seemed like hours and each cry of the ferocious bird was another death threat as she swooped and whirled with all intention to maim the human intruders. Finally, when all glass was cleaned and we made our hasty retreat, she signalled to us that we may have won the battle but not the war, by promptly delivering her current bowel movement onto the glistening glass like a Jason Pollock painting.
Thankfully nobody was injured in the battle and that these acts of nature are beyond our control and all we can guarantee is that the pre existing mess was removed. I wish this mother Seagull and her young a fruitful life in Victoria harbour. I guess in a way we should be thankful to her and her family. Without her to defile the glass on a daily basis we might not have as much work on this particular building.
THANK YOU SEAGULLS! YOUR POOP PUTS FOOD ON OUR PLATE!
Toot! Tooot! Just have to blow my own horn here for a sweet moment to celebrate our recent accreditation from the Better Business Bureau and 'A' rating. It's really nice to know that after three years of commitment to service and quality above all, that we've built a solid reputation for those things and it's not going unnoticed.
The Window Viper is still just a small family owned business with a lot of growing to do. As time rolls by and we continue to grow our little business it's crucial for us to make sure we have the right people on our team to maintain the passion that drives us to excellence.
Thanks to all of our loyal clientele and we are always welcoming new ones to experience what a real professional window cleaning service is all about.
A lesson learned....
I thought I had it all in the bag! Early this year I hired an exceptionally skilled window cleaner to help take the company to the next level. The two of us were crushing through jobs like an unstoppable train. With all the work adding up and the long days I was blinded to the fact that I had all my eggs in one basket. Ya, the old saying.
Well, my guy was a very hard worker and had a tendency to overexert. Eventually I got the call on a monday morning that he had to rest his sore arm. Days later his doctor advised him to stop using it. Disaster struck, and very quickly the unstoppable train was derailed and the struggle to avert disaster was the new non stop beast.
Another famous saying - everything happens for a reason. Once I got news that I needed to replace my main crewman I decided to make some serious changes to the company structure and started to create and staff another crew, in another truck. And never to have all my faith lying on one single card.
We're now about ready to get back full swing into the service end of things. I'm very thankful to my loyal clients for their patience during the sudden overhaul. Trust me, it's all for the best.
We wish Dennis a fast recovery and hope that in time he can return to the work force and once again be a word class window cleaner.
INtroducing "Soft Washing". The latest In Eco Cleaning!
Just added to the Window Viper arsenal of eco friendly cleaning services is a state of the art soft wash system. What it is and how it works are two questions I will answer in this latest blog post. How I came upon discovering this method was kind of funny after one day posting a before and after photo of some siding washing I recently did in Chemainus BC.
I shared this to a Facebook group, thinking how great it was that I could wash this wall in 45 minutes with a water fed pole. The response I got was an un expected barrage of "Soft wash would only take ten minutes" comments, and within 24 hrs I had been convinced to try it out myself.
How a soft wash system works is quite simple and very effective, but you need to invest some money in it to get yourself going. I searched for the best and most eco friendly water additives and came across a Vancouver based company that sells the product and also a professional / portable soft wash system. The active ingredient is Hydrogen Peroxide instead of bleach or other sulphates and chemical compounds. The mixture is pre mixed in a reservoir and then pumped at low pressure onto the roof or whatever it is you're cleaning. The you wait for five or ten minutes to let it do it's thing and then, with gentle pressure, rinse. The amazing thing is how fast and safely a roof can be restored to pristine condition.
No more waiting for weeks to see the results of a traditional roof clean using rakes and powdered moss killers. With this new system the results are instant and gratifying.
Re-investing for you and your property
Have you ever wondered about the latest technological developments in professional window cleaning? Probably not, and I don't expect that you would. For years, and years the squeegee, hands down the greatest invention ever, has been the undefeated go to tool for perfect window cleaning - and I will not disagree. Invented by Ettore Steccone, the rubber squeegee is regarded by all as the end all be all due to it's versatility and ability to completely remove water from glass, leaving no streaks (when used properly). However - times are changing .. .
For over 50 years there has been another tool known as the water fed pole, or WFP that has slowly gained popularity in the window washing community due to the removal of the ladder. Only until a few years ago the WFP used soaps and detergents to attempt a wet window wash technique that would dry without streaks. The new science is simple and it's results are proven! Read this:
Using a portable water purification unit (De-ionization) the minerals that are collected by H2o molecules by electro static energy, are removed from the H2o through this process, providing PURE WATER without any foreign particles or residual minerals that can dry and leave unwanted spots or drops. The PURE WATER dries free of any particulates on the glass. This is best window cleaning product on earth today. And it only makes me laugh to know that as an ECO Friendly company, not onl yard we doing the best to give results, we are doing ZERO harm to the environment.
To sum this up, the system is not cheap, it costs a LOT to invest in this stuff. Thanks to you, the client, I was able to invest in this so that The Window Viper can stand strong behind it's ECO standards, and provide the public with the best latest technology that will protect and clean your property. This is not a replacement for the almighty squeegee, but more like the squeegee's heavy artillery division, ready to blow away large commercial jobs efficiently and safely.
Another really challenging situation put me to the test. A house with an entire ceiling made of glass, separated by wooden post and beam construction. How to reach the interior and wash it? Well lately I've been brushing up on my extension pole skills and decided this was the quickest, and safest method to use in the situation before me. The results were very nice so I decided to set up the camera phone and document it for all to see. I love how every day this work brings a different hurdle to overcome, and how if you are smart, you can turn it into a field goal. Enjoy this little film
When your worst fears come true...
There's been some bad mojo floating around the last few weeks and it's caused a few close calls among myself and my colleagues. Every window washer has that tiny bit of fear in their head that we have to silence in order to do what we do. But what happens when we completely ignore that little voice and get too confident? The results can be devastating, and even deadly. This is the subject of my latest blog entry, because it seems like a few people (myself included) are maybe getting a little to cocky and taking un necessary risks.
The Window Viper handles a lot of roof cleaning jobs and we pressure wash many metal roofs without incident. However, last week I was on a pretty steep and slippery one on which I had to get creative with the ladder. It was brought up to the roof and set up with the feet locked and secured to the roof with a safety lanyard.
While reaching for the peak of the roof I was standing on the second rung from the top when the pressure washer hose got snagged on the gutters. I gave her on good tug and the force was enough to dislodge the feet of the step ladder from the snow guards and it slipped down about one meter before the safely line bought it. This jarred me pretty good and I had to wear a wrist brace for about 24 hours afterwards. Without the safety line it could have been way worse. For the rest of this job I increased the tension on the safety strap to make sure that the ladder would not budge and that is how it will be done from now on forward.
A couple days later I got a text from my friend Dennis at Perfectly Clear Windows. He was working on an initial interior window wash in Nanaimo and had his 24 footer setup to reach some high windows in the great room. The hard wood floors were still covered with paper for protection and taped around the edges. Something we've all seen a million times and had no issues. I believe that this time, he must have had the ladder leant out on a pretty low angle because his ladder feet slid with the paper below them and his ladder came down with him on top with enough force to break the window trim and shatter the window below. His head missed the broken glass by only a couple of feet.
Think he was scared?
It's time to slow down and take extra precautions. Be careful out here everyone. We love to work faster and make more money but when your body is your paycheque, it's your most valuable tool.
The Window Viper