Other than making sure the AC works, there’s not a lot of special summer home maintenance that needs to be done. But just as we prepare our bodies and cars for winter, we must prepare our homes - both inside and out. Your home is at risk as soon as the weather begins to turn cold, so don’t put winterizing off. Start today with these tips for end-of-summer maintenance.
Get your gutters in tip top shape
Your gutters are about to be hit with an onslaught. The summer months are an easy time for gutters, but fall with its copious leaves and winter with its ice and snow present unique challenges. That’s why it’s vital that you get your gutters in tip top shape before the colder seasons arrive.
According to Home Advisor, the average price to clean gutters and downspouts is $141 - $258. The average project timeline is around 6 hours. This means that there is no excuse to forgo this important maintenance task - even if you’re too busy to do it yourself. Apart from just cleaning your gutters you can also install mesh covers to prevent leaves and other debris from piling up.
Prioritize a furnace check
Your heating system doesn’t get much use during the summer, so it’s easy to put off a routine furnace check. But you definitely don’t want to find out your system has a major problem when you wake up in a freezing home. There’s a good chance you’ll call around and your local HVAC repair services will tell you to get in the back of the line. Stay ahead of the curve by scheduling a furnace check when it’s still warm outside. Even if you know nothing about HVAC systems you can check to make sure your unit is getting power (no circuit issues), is properly supplied with gas (no disconnected pipes, hoses, or pilot light issues), and has a brand new filter.
Beef up your insulation
One of the major causes of over-inflated energy bills during the fall and winter months is a lack of proper insulation. Attics are a major entry point for cold drafts, so it’s important to beef up your home’s insulation there - but drafts can enter from almost anywhere in your home. Here’s a good guide to improving your home’s insulation.
And while we’re on the subject of drafts, make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed. Don’t underestimate how much warm air you lose to loose portals.
Trim your trees
There are a number of reasons why trimming the trees on your property is an extremely important end-of-summer home maintenance task. For one, it’s healthy for the trees. But beyond that, overgrown trees pose a huge risk to your home and other property (like your car or garage) as the weather turns colder. Cold weather makes trees more susceptible to breaking, and strong winds, snow, and ice, make branches crack, break, and fall. Prevent property destruction by trimming your trees before it gets too cold.
Tackle your paint projects
You’re probably thinking hey, I can paint anytime. While this is true, there’s a solid reason why it’s a good idea to do your painting projects (major and minor) before it gets too cold. If you paint while it’s still a little warm, you can leave your windows open for ventilation.
The best time to buy a winter coat is before you really need it. The best time to change over to winter tires is before the snow hits. This sort of preparation is easy to understand, but somehow people still neglect end-of-summer home maintenance. Don’t get left out in the cold.
Photo credit: Pixaby
Many people dread those two times of the year when the gutters have to be cleaned and at best, they consider this task disgusting and tedious. The worst case scenario that they envision is that cleaning gutters can be dangerous and plain scary. A misstep is all it takes to find yourself in the hospital with a nasty injury and probably a bruised ego. To make the most of things, here are a few gutter cleaning tips.
If you will be using a ladder when cleaning your gutters, let someone know. Ensure that you use a sturdy ladder, one that can hold the combined weight of you and your tools. If you can find one that has a shelf that can hold the bucket into which you’ll be dumping the debris, then use it. For a single story house, a four legged step-ladder is okay while an extension ladder will suffice for a two story house. Orchard ladders aren’t recommended because they have three legs which don’t offer much when it comes to support. Wooden ladders are also a bad idea as they tend to get wobbly. Fiberglass ladders are the sturdiest and the heaviest. As such, if you have to move the ladder several times, a fiberglass ladder will only lead to muscle fatigue. An aluminum ladder is best for support and strength.
Before climbing onto the ladder, inspect it for any defects. All the bolts and screws should be tightened in place and if using a step-ladder, the extension hinge arms should be extended fully as well as locked in place. You can also jump on the ladder’s first rung a few times as way of ensuring that the ground on which it stands is secure.
The most general and basic way of cleaning gutters is scooping out all the debris. You can use a standard gutter scoop tool bought from the local store for this task. Don’t use a metal scoop as it can damage the seams and bottom of the gutter.
After you have removed the larger debris, clean out the rest of the dirt using a standard garden hose. Clean out the dirt working your way towards the downspout. If the downspout leads to the street, make sure that you disconnect its base and release the dirt here to avoid clogging. If necessary, you can adjust the pressure of the garden hose.
Wear protective gear
Gloves will help prevent contact with squirrel, pigeon and bird droppings that may contain harmful bacteria. They can also help prevent cuts by torn metal shards. Suede gloves are preferable as they are of superior quality as compared to rubber, cotton or thin leather gloves. Eye protection is also mandatory as you have no idea what may come flying out or leaving the downspouts
When it comes to cleaning your windows, you need equipment that is reliable and gets you the best of results. That said, this post reviews the best window cleaning equipment based on the quality of results, value for money and ease of use.
During rainstorms, gutters route runoff water from the roof to a point where it can drain off and by so doing, they help protect foundations, doors, windows and siding from water damage. They also help prevent flooding in basements. To remain effective at what they do, gutters have to be properly maintained and cleaned regularly. If not, dirt and debris collect and the rainwater ends up overflowing and eventually the gutters become loose. Of course, you can always hire a professional cleaning service to get the task done but accomplishing this yourself can save you some money.
Blast out the gutters using a hose: Wash the length of the gutter using a high pressure nozzle mounted at one end of a hose and work your way towards the drain outlet. This task can get messy quickly so avoid splattering mud all over the building. A stiff scrub brush can help clean up the encrusted dirt.
Tackling the obstructions in the gutters: The water should drain freely through the drainpipes but if that doesn’t happen, you can try hosing down the debris. You can also push the debris from the top or pull it from the bottom using a plumber’s auger.
If you don't have the time or energy to do this yourself, we specialize in gutter cleaning to help keep your gutters working as they should. Give us a call for a free estimate at 206-539-1110.
Safety is one of the primary requirements of the window cleaning industry, particularly when high rise windows are involved. Many of the developing countries have put in safety regulations for working on high rise buildings and those countries that don’t have such regulations have well defined practices. When it comes to cleaning high rise windows, the responsibility of ensuring safety lies on the contractor, sub contractor, building manager and facility management companies. Accidents have been known to happen as a result of negligence when cleaning windows on high rise buildings. The best way to avoid unsafe occurrences are to practice a few safety tips below.
Extensive training and certification
Like most jobs, high rise window cleaning requires extensive training and certification. It is important to ensure that all the workers on site meet the above requirements. They should know which machinery to use and how to use them as well as the safety practices and features. In addition to machinery, the workers need to be skilled at working on heights.
Many high rise window cleaners work on buildings that are 50+ feet high and for this reason, being checked for medical conditions that could interfere with their work performance is important. This is something that should be done when one takes on a contract with a company. Ailments to be checked for include epilepsy, obesity, psychiatric illness, diabetes, difficulty with balance, high/low blood pressure, drug dependence, and impaired limb function.
Using the rope access kit
Always ensure that you are connected to both the working and safety lines. These are usually adjacent to one another. Wearing a helmet helps protect you from head injury in case of a fall while a back up rope adjustment device prevent a fall in the event that one loses control or slips, or the main working line fails. Always wear a chest harness when ascending the rope as it will keep you safe if all the other equipment fails when climbing down. Other tools that a basic rope access kit should have include a descender and work harness.
Safety anchors should be installed on the sides of the buildings before one can descend for cleaning. Choose for anchors which have been tested for a pullout load of 1000k. The safety and main lines usually go through the eye holes of the anchors and as such help prevent accidents if a bolt gets unplugged. Also ensure that the anchors are tested at least once a year.
If you have been wondering what is the best window cleaning solution then you have come to the right blog post. I have tried so many different solutions in the past and have decided on this perfect solution which has never failed me.
The way to successful window cleaning is purchasing a good squeegee. Be sure to keep it fitted with a sharp, new rubber blade. You can purchase window washing tools at home centers like Home Depot and hardware stores. The whole purchase is inexpensive and will last many years. Also, make it a 10 inch or 12 inch squeegee and also purchase scrubber, a 5 gallon plastic bucket , hand dish washing liquid(Dawn) and a some lint free rags or smaller towels.
Make sure to purchase a quality squeegee and replace the blade frequently. When buying replacement blades, which can be called rubbers, pick up a few to have on hand. I like to change my squeegee blades as often as once a day. That's because I can't do a good job if the edge of the blade becomes nicked, jagged or dull from over use. If your squeegee starts to leave streaks or is not performing like new, be sure to replace the blade. You can get a so much more time out of blades that aren't nicked or jagged by simply flipping them to reveal a fresh edge. When you store your squeegee, be careful that nothing touches the blade.
You don't need special buckets or an expensive soap solution. Next, it is time to fill your large bucket with the solution. Add a couple of gallons of water and about one teaspoon of (Dawn) dish washing liquid to the 5 gallon bucket. That is all it takes to shine those windows. In warm weather you want to use cooler water to help your solution last longer and work better. If you've waited so long that you're washing windows in very cold weather, add wind shield washing solution so that the water doesn't freeze on the surface of the glass. It's It is up to you whether you want a scrubber, sponge or a squeegee. A scrubber works perfect and is worth purchasing if you have a lot of large panes of glass. It also helps with medium panes as well. I recommend a good quality sponge especially if most of your window panes are smaller. Of course, the best tool to clean windows is with a squeegee. That's how the pros do it. If you need a pro, I am here to help.
Remember to never purchase those industrial window cleaners that are expensive. The best window cleaning solution is simple, effective and easy to make. It only takes water and dish washing liquid. It is all about the tool and the method which can leave you with super streak free shiny windows.