The Affordable Window Professionals
08 Sep 2017

A Day In The Life Of A Window Cleaner

We spoke to a few of our fully trained, insured, and certified high-rise window cleaners and asked them to tell us about their job.

Cleaner #1: Sometimes, when I’m cleaning a commercial building, I hear pedestrians shout “Hey, Spiderman!” That always cracks me up. Oh, and I promise I wasn’t wearing the costume… or slinging from webs.

Cleaner #2: Yeah, people sometimes treat us like rockstars. I think it’s because it takes a lot of guts to hang from the side of a building as your profession. But I’m only cleaning windows, that’s what’s humbling about it. I’m just doing my job.

Cleaner #3: The job can be nerve-wracking, though. I became a window cleaner about six years ago after working three years in the maintenance industry. I did it because I wanted to do something more challenging with a little more of a risk… and gosh did I get it.

Cleaner #2: When I get nervous, I drown it out by listening to music or just by getting into a pretty solid groove. Oh, and I always look at the safety checks. Those are my lifeline; they are what will save me.

Cleaner #1: Honestly, the fatality rates are low. There’s no reason to be fearful. My favourite thing about the job is getting that exclusive look at life. We always get the best views. The tallest building I have rigged from was 18 stories high.

Cleaner #3: I see window cleaning as a craft. People always ask me what we put in the window cleaning solution. My response is the same each time, “It’s not the solution” I tell them, “It’s the technique”.

Cleaner #1: Yup, there are a lot of windows out there and only a small number of people who really know how to clean them. That’s why I always tell friends and family to hire professional cleaners rather than DIY. The difference is unimaginable. Sometimes, customers are so surprised by the difference that they give us treats!

Cleaner #2: The best treatment I’d ever received was from an elderly woman. She walked onto the balcony of her eighth story retirement home and handed me a Coca-Cola. It was so adorable. Of course I was happy and blushing. I took it from her and took a picture with her. It was cute. It was the most memorable moment I’ve had.

Cleaner #3: One time I was cleaning the windows of a hospital building, and about 30 kids lined up along the fence and cheered me on. I think they cheer because the job takes bravery. Even though it’s just window cleaning, it takes courage to go over the edge. It’s nice to be able to inspire people and do something that may scare you. It helps you grow.
24 Aug 2017

Off-Duty Fire Fighter Uses Pressure Washer to Extinguish Car Fire

Source: WALB

The Epic Story of Two Worlds Colliding

If there was a list of people who were just in the perfect place at the most perfect time, Aaron Tomlinson would definitely be near the top.

Aaron Tomlinson has been a firefighter in Albany, New York for eight years now. Besides being a firefighter, he also runs his own pressure washing and lawn care business. On Monday August 14th, the two professions collided.

Just as Tomlinson was driving home after he finished a pressure washing service for a client, a car bursted into flames and smoke all at once. The off-duty firefighter said he was leaving his last pressure washing job around 3:00 PM, and as he drove along Forrester Parkway, he noticed a big cloud of smoke. As he got closer, he noticed that it was a car that had caught on fire.

Right away, he said, his firefighter instinct kicked in. Tomlinson grabbed the hose on his pressure washer machine that sat in the back of his work truck and put out the flames before firefighters arrived. “We’re willing to do our duty on or off duty. It doesn’t matter,” said Tomlinson.  “Whenever we see something, and we’re there, we want to help. He was videoing it, and I didn’t even realize it. And it turned out to be a good video for that kind of situation.”

Thankfully, no one was injured. It was discovered soon after that the fire started because the driver was charging his e-cigarette while he was driving and the device started sparking, setting the car interior on fire.

Before this incident, Tomlinson actually took some time off to care for his newborn daughter. However, after this event the former firefighter realized how much he missed fighting fires and ultimately returned to the Albany Fire Department last week.

22 Aug 2017

6 Common Things Found In Unclean Gutters

We know how easy it is for homeowners to avoid cleaning their gutters because they’re “out of sight, out of mind”, right? But going season after season without cleaning your gutters is extremely harmful to your home and its foundation. An accumulation of debris and dirt will cause blockages and clogs. This will lead to water building up and spilling over near your home’s foundation, where it can cause significant water damage. To your surprise, your unclean gutters are probably carrying more than just leaves and pine needles. Here are six common things found in unclean gutters:

1. Leaves

Leaves are the most common clogging culprit. During autumn, your trees and the trees of your neighbours are likely to shed an abundance of leaves. These falling leaves find a home in your gutters, causing your free-flowing gutter system to become clogged. Although a few leaves in your gutters may seem like nothing, as blockages begin to form and water starts to spill over the sides onto the perimeter of your home, serious damages are very likely.

2. Weeds

Sadly, weeds are extremely resilient and resourceful, allowing them to grow in the toughest of conditions. Sometimes, all a seed needs is a tiny bit of moisture to sprout and take root. Debris in your gutters (like decaying leaves) are common recipes for soil that weeds love. Keeping your gutters uncleaned will lead to a small garden forming in your eaves, not only impeding on the flow of rainwater away from your home but also immensely depleting your home’s curb appeal.

3. Wildlife

Insects and rodents love damp places to put their nests as they can easily find food and create a safe haven for their families. Just imagine the day you finally decide to have your gutters cleaned, and a family of pests is waiting to attack above your head. Animals like raccoons, squirrels, birds, chipmunks, feral cats, possums, earth worms, lizards, and, yes, snakes are likely inhabitants of your uncleaned gutters. Doing a regular inspection and clean out will discourage this behaviour. If they continue to come back, gutter guards should help turn away animals.

4. Muck and Sludge

When twigs, leaves, pine cones, shingle grit, and mud get stuck into your gutters, it eventually breaks down into a black, slimy concoction of rotten material. This mixture will easily clog your gutters, interrupting the flow of water and rendering your gutter system useless, which can lead to costly damages to your roof, landscaping, and foundation.

5. Toys

If you live in a residential area with a lot of kids, expect balls, frisbees, and an assortment of other toys to be found in your gutters. It is likely that these toys landed on the roof and then travelled down toward the gutter where they became stuck.

6. Spinners and Tassels

Spinners and tassels can seem harmless until you realize that they are the reason behind your clogged gutters. Small needles, oak tassels, and maple spinners can quickly clog your gutter system and damage your roof, landscaping, and foundation. If spinners and tassels are continuously filling up your gutters, you might want to invest in gutter guards. If not, hire our affordable and professional gutter cleaners!

Interested in professionally-done gutter cleaning? Check out our service here!

18 Aug 2017

The Truth About Green Cleaning

It can get confusing weeding out the truth from the lies when it comes to green cleaning solutions. Today, we’ve debunked three green cleaning myths so that you can know the full truth behind environmentally-friendly cleaning products.

MYTH #1: GREEN CLEANING = HIGHER COSTS

In todays world, everyone is concerned about their environmental footprint. However, sometimes, the presumption that going green will cost you more forces frugal people to stray away from the growing trend. However, in all actuality, going green can actually save you money! With the prevail of green-living, environmentally friendly products have become very price competitive, making them more affordable.

MYTH #2: GREEN CLEANING ISN’T AS EFFECTIVE

This statement may have been true over 20 years ago, but now green cleaning products are just as – if not more – powerful than regular cleaning products. However, a product’s effectiveness ultimately depends on the type of surface being cleaned, the kind of service being performed, and how much product is being used.

MYTH #3: “GREEN” LABELLING IS A SCAM

Luckily, there are reliable certification organizations that determine whether or not a product has passed the necessary criteria to be considered “green”. These certification labels will be on the front of the product and will be from organizations like Green Seal, EcoLogo, or Design for the Environment. However, just because they are labelled green doesn’t mean they are non-toxic. Certain words like “natural”, “biodegradable”, and “green” are not regulated by the federal government which means they can be used by misleading marketers to put eco-spin on a certain product.

 

15 Aug 2017

The Reason Behind Your Flooded Basement

A flooded basement can quickly lead to damaged furniture, floors, and carpets, and will even invite mold growth. It is imperative to find out where the water is coming from immediately in order to discover why it’s coming from there and how you can stop it.

Where To Look

The first thing you should check for is if water is draining into your home in one location or at an exterior foundation wall. If so, this indicates that you have surface groundwater problems. Slip on your rubber boots because it’s time to go outside! Here are some things to look for once you get there:

  1. Check Overflowing Gutters: Your gutters could be overflowing because they are blocked by debris and dirt. Leaves, fallen branches, and bird nests could be the bottleneck in your gutter system. All this water overflowing out of the gutters is running down next to your home’s foundation, causing it to erode the soil under your home which can lead to cracks in your walls and ceilings. It is recommended to get your gutters cleaned twice a year, once before the spring season begins and once before the fall season begins. If your gutters are constantly becoming clogged, look into installing gutter guards which basically act as a shield against debris. If your gutters are clean and are still overflowing, you can consider adding another downspout or increasing the size of your downspout and gutter hole. Installing a second downspout is a good “backup plan” in case the first downspout gets clogged.
  2. Check Downspout Distance: Typically, downspouts should extend 10 feet away from your home, and this is only the MINIMUM distance to safely discharge water coming from your roof.
  3. Check Pavement Slope: If you have lived in your home for a while or have recently purchased an older home, it isn’t uncommon to discover that your home’s pavement has shifted so that water flow is being directed toward your house. If this has happened to you, it is imperative you get your paving removed and redone immediately.
  4. Check Irrigation System: Move your irrigation system as far away from your house as possible to limit the amount of water dispersed next to your home. Double check that your rain gauge is working so that your irrigation system doesn’t turn on when there has already been plenty of rain.

Hopefully after all of that checking, you finally found the reason behind your flooded basement. Luckily, that was the hard part. All you have to do now is fix it and your basement should stay dry!

10 Aug 2017

How to Protect Your Home This Winter

A residential home covered in snow.
Protect your home from the extreme cold weather by following these simple pro tips!

We hate to say it but to quote Game of Thrones, "Winter is Coming". The extremely cold weather can be hard on your home so we've compiled a helpful list of tips when the freezing weather hits your area. 

What To Do When Your Pipes Are Frozen

  1. Disconnect and drain your garden hose(s). 
  2. Close your garage doors.
  3. Use a heat lamp or a portable space heater to thaw frozen pipes.
  4. Open cabinet doors under sinks.

Keeping Warm in Your Home

  1. Keep blinds and drapes closed.
  2. Caulk any cracks or openings in your windows so that heat cannot escape and cold air can't get in.
  3. Insulate electrical outlets with foam seals.
  4. Apply draft snakes on your doors, windows sills, and window frames.

Protecting Your Home's Exterior

  1. Have your downspouts and gutters professionally cleaned during the fall season to prevent trapped water and debris from freezing in your gutter system. 
  2. Get ice repellent and spray it on your steps, deck, patio, and driveway. 
  3. Put rock salt on your step, patio, deck, driveway, and sidewalk.
  4. Ensure that air pressure in tires are high. 

31 Jul 2017

The Difference Between Pressure Washers and Power Washers

 

A professional cleaner pressure washing the exterior of a commercial building.
Our Gold Standard professionals provide state-of-the-art pressure washing services!

The Pressure Washer

There aren't that many differences between pressure and power washers. The main difference lies in the temperature of the pressurized water stream. Pressure washers are typically used with either cold or normal temperature water. Pressure washers are also said to have a more powerful stream than power washers which make it a great choice if your goal is to remove dirt, residue, or discolouration from your driveway, deck, patio, or the exterior of your home. Pressure washers are best used for cleaning masonry, brick, and concrete.

The Power Washer

Unlike the pressure washer which uses cold/normal temperature water, the power washer uses hot water in its pressurized stream. It's added component, a thermostat gauge, makes this feature possible. It has also been claimed that power washers aren't as strong as pressure washers however, their high temperature in combination with its notable velocity can remove otherwise adamant objects such as stuck-on chewing gum. Power washers are most useful for killing weeds and moss or removing mildew and mold. 

The Confusion

In most ways, the pressure washer and the power washer are the same. The main difference lies in the temperature of the pressurized water stream and its velocity.

Interchangeable Nature

Because of the similarities between the two devices, many people have come to call both pressure washers (some call power washers "hot pressure washers"). In fact, many of the components used to create the pressure and power washer are interchangeable as well!

11 Jul 2017

How To Check If You Need Your Windows Re-Caulked (and DIY Tips)

 

A lit candle placed beside a window.
Check if you need to get your windows re-caulked by holding a candle next to a window and wait to see if the flame moves!

Is there a draft?

Windows should be re-caulked when the current caulking is letting in outside air. You can tell if air is flowing through your closed windows by holding a candle or a match next to it. If the flame moves, you know that your caulking isn't doing its job anymore and can actually be costing you a lot more in heating and cooling expenses. 

Person holding a caulking gun up toward a window.
Follow these simple steps if you're interested in DIY window caulking!

#PROTIPS

  1. Select the right caulk: Splurging a little on high quality caulk is worth it. It's recommended to choose between 100% silicone or 100% polyurethane. Silicone lasts over 20 years, is completely water-proof, and is found in almost every hardware store. Polyurethane lasts between 10-20 years but unlike silicone caulk, it can be painted and is said to adhere to surfaces better than the former. 
  2. Remove old caulk: Because caulk hardens over time, it separates from the window and allows for moisture to enter into the crevices. Merely piling more caulk on top of the old one will leave all of that old moisture stuck on the surface of your window. 
  3. Use the right applicator: Buy a caulking gun. Do NOT use the caulking cartridge as your applicator because it will look messy and unprofessional. Look for a caulking gun that has a smooth plunger rod and a soft grip. 
  4. Don't apply too much product: Just because the cracks in your windows are wide and deep doesn't mean that you should go back in to apply more caulk. Instead, you can use a small piece of foam rope to fill the crack before caulking over it. This will seal the crevice, save caulk, and make your windows look professionally done. 
  5. Don't forget tooling: Remembering to smooth out the caulk after you applied it is the difference between a neat, expertly-done job and a novice's work. Dip your fingers in soapy water to avoid sticking to the caulking and flatten the caulk to ensure that it fills the crevice in your window. 

 

06 Jul 2017

11 Incredible Downspout Decor Trends

#1: The Ultra-Modern Downspout

Source: http://pin.it/27cA5W9

#2: The Treble Clef Downspout

Source: http://pin.it/1b3limp

#3: The Sculptural Downspout

Source: http://pin.it/CjUpcD2

#4: The Knitted Downspout Cover

Source: http://pin.it/4Z8VB4i

#5: The Granite Steps Downspout

Source: http://pin.it/2NZ8m0K

#6: The Cascading Dishes as Splash Blocks

Source: http://pin.it/RTBT9iH

#7: The Watering Can Downspout

Source: http://pin.it/t4qW-l7

#8: The Garden in a Downspout

Source: http://pin.it/RfgEfQW

#9: The Teacup Downspout

Source: http://pin.it/hxaT8In

#10: The Minimalist Downspout

Source: http://pin.it/YubL0sR

 

#11: The Fish Downspout

Source: http://pin.it/Kry7UtO

 


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