The Affordable Window Professionals
11 Nov 2017

Why Fall Is The Best Season For Gutter Cleaning

Gutter cleaning can be a hassle, but not clearing out the dirt and grime trapped in your troughs could be detrimental to your home. With Autumn in full-swing, homeowners know that tons of leaves and branches are getting buried into their gutters day after day. It is imperative to make sure that debris is removed before winter comes and here’s why.

Leaves Pile Up In Your Gutters

All those beautiful golden and red leaves stemming from the tall trees near your home will soon fall off and many will end up in your gutters. As soon as you get hit with the first heavy rain storm, your gutters won’t be able to drain the water out properly because of the leaves. This will likely cause your gutters to overflow and potentially can cause water damage to the foundation of your home.

Healthy Gutters = Happy Wallet

Gutters are not cheap to replace which is why regular gutter maintenance is so important. A small investment of time and money now will save you a ton in the future.

If you live in a place surrounded by trees, you’re definitely going to have to clean your gutters a lot more often than those who live in desert climates. Most trees lose leaves in the fall, which makes a fall cleaning essential. If you have pine or any other needle trees, you might need to clean them 3 to 4 times a year.

Winter Is On It’s Way

If you don’t clear out your gutters before winter, all that debris and water will freeze when the temperature drops. When it’s frozen, any water from melting snow has nowhere to go, and can seep through your roof, causing water damage. This can also make your gutters heavier, which could cause them to sag. The extra weight can cause your gutters to completely fall down, which would mean you will need to replace or reinstall them.

22 Oct 2017

How To: Efficient Snow Shovelling

Snow shovelling is never fun, but we all have to do it. Leaving the snow until a thick layer of ice forms on your driveway is not our most recommended tip. Rather, consult this list of snow shovelling tips to the make the job go more smoothly and to even make it a little less boring (yes, that’s possible).

1. The Prep

  • Stretch your muscles.
  • Dress in layers.
  • Take breaks: Continuous shovelling can be hazardous to the health to some people.
  • Wax your shovel with Pam spray to make it more slippery and to prevent snow from sticking to it.

2. The Technique

  • Bend your knees and lift with your legs.
  • As you lift the snow, keep the shovel as close as possible to you to reduce back strain.
  • Switch between shovelling with your right hand and your left hand to work different muscles.
  • Periodically change your grip (from palm-under to palm-over) on the hand holding the bar.
  • When the snowfall is heavy, don’t try to clean right down to the ground with a single scoop. Instead, skim the top 6 inches off, then scoop up the bottom 6 inches. Otherwise, you could be hurting yourself by lifting too much.

3. The Placement

  • Don’t create huge piles right along the edge of your driveway. Some of the chunks will end up tumbling down back into your driveway, meaning you have to remove them twice. Instead, heave each shovel-full a decent distance away from your driveway.
  • This will give your more space to shovel easily when the next snowstorm hits.

Considering Buying a Snow Blower?

Think about these things first:

  • You may not receive enough snowfall in your area to warrant the investment.
  • If you have a small driveway, a snowblower may not be worth the bother.
  • Snowblowers take up storage space year-round.
  • Snowblowers are noisy and require maintenance and fuel.

Wondering If You Need To Clear Snow From Your Vent?

Yes, you do, for two reasons:

  1. A dryer vent blocked by snow is a fire hazard.
  2. It also puts you at risk for exposure to carbon monoxide.
15 Oct 2017

How To: Creating All-Natural Cleaners At Home

Do you have a spare five-minutes? In that time, you can whip up a cleaning solution that will help bring your home to tip-top shape! Here are four cleaning solutions you can make at home:

The All-Purpose Cleaner

What you will need:

  • 3 drops liquid Castile soap
  • ¼ cup washing soda, not baking soda
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • 4 drops tea tree oil (available at most drug stores)
  • 8 drops essential oil for scent (optional)

Microwave vinegar until boiling. Add washing soda and stir until fully dissolved. Add the Castile soap, tea tree oil, vodka and essential oil. Place the mixture into a spray bottle and shake! Mix one part cleaner to four parts water. This solution works great on counter tops, sinks and more.

The Bathroom Powder Scrub

What you will need:

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ½ cup sea salt (If using scrub on fiberglass tubs, omit salt to prevent scratching.)
  • 6 drops essential oils for fragrance, optional

First, mix dry ingredients. Then, add essential oils for fragrance, if desired. Store in a shaker container (e.g. an empty cheese container). Apply using a sponge. Disinfect sponges after each use by microwaving wet sponges two to three minutes.

Laundry Soap

What you will need:

  • 2 cups soap flakes
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup borax powder
  • 1 cup washing soda, not baking soda

To make soap flakes, simply grate a bar of soap on the large-hole side of a grater. Now, mix all ingredients thoroughly. Place in either a plastic or glass container with a lid. This soap works best with hot water. For top-loading washing machines, use ½ to 1 cup. For front-loading and high-efficiency machines, use 2 tablespoons.

The Glass and Mirror Cleaner

What you will need:

  • 1 teaspoon dish soap
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 3 cups distilled water

Place all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake and then spray directly onto windows and mirrors.

08 Oct 2017

How To: Removing A Lipstick Stain From Your Carpet

Although it’s not the most common stain, people don’t know what to do when it does happen. Here are the steps to take when lipstick gets smushed into your carpet.

The Fix

Step #1: Use a spoon to scoop up any solids.

Step #2: Dab a tiny amount of cleaning solvent on a white cotton cloth.

Step #3: Blot the mark, working from the outside in and alternating between the solvent cloth and a clean towel, until every trace of colour has disappeared.

Step #4: Wait a few minutes. Fill a spray bottle with hot water and spritz the area until it’s saturated. Pat with a clean towel.

Have a disaster that needs solving? Call Gold Standard Windows, our pros will help you out!

30 Sep 2017

Want a Clean Kitchen Quick? Follow this Route

When we’re cleaning our kitchen, sometimes we’re trying to do 6 tasks at once. Follow this step-by-step route in order to get a cleaner kitchen way faster.

1. Start with clearing the counters. Get rid of anything that doesn’t belong (i.e. mail, magazines, keys, etc.)

2. Fill the sink with hot water and a few squirts of dish soap. Drop in items that need soaking.

3. Empty the refrigerator, tossing anything that has expired.

4. Dust the high zones, knocking dirt and debris to the floor, where they will be swept up later.

5. Clean the upper cabinets and anything else on the walls, including a mounted microwave.

6. Head to the microwave. Wipe the inside area using a dry cloth.

7. Spray the stovetop with all-purpose cleaner and let sit for a few minutes.

8. Load the dishwasher with the items soaking in the sink.

9. Wipe the stovetop with a clean, dry cloth and, again, just let crumbs fall to the floor.

10. Clean the coffeemaker, toaster, stand mixer, and other small appliances from top to bottom, using glass cleaner or a multisurface formula.

11. Scrub the countertops with small, circular motions, using a cleaner formulated for your surface.

12. Get the fridge doors, the front of the dishwasher, and the oven with a cloth dipped in clean, sudsy water.

13. Clean the lower cabinets and drawers with a damp, soapy cloth.

14. Drain the sink and rinse with hot water. Buff the basin with a mild abrasive cleanser and a microfiber cloth; rinse with hot water. Wipe down the faucet and the handles.

15. Empty the trash, swiping the inside of the can and the interior of the top with a cleaning wipe before replacing the bag.

16. Sweep the floor with an electro-static dry duster, like a Swiffer Sweeper.

You’re done! Voila!

22 Sep 2017

How To Whip Your Home Into Shape Before Winter Starts

We know the winter season can be a busy couple of months for homeowners. However, with fall now in full-swing, you can use your free time now to whip your home into shape before winter starts. Use these must-do fall maintenance tips to keep your house in shape and help keep you warm this winter.

1. Clean Your Gutters

  • Regularly clean gutters and downspouts. Make sure all drainage areas are unblocked by leaves and debris. Consider installing gutter guards to make the job a lot easier.

2. Re-Caulk Your Windows

  • Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Use caulk to fill the holes or completely replace the wood.

3. Paint Your Home’s Exterior

  • Lower humidity and cooler temperatures make fall a good time to paint the exterior of your home.

4. Inspect Your Roof

  • Inspect your roof, or hire a licensed professional to examine your roof for wear and tear. If the shingles are curling, buckling or crackling, replace them. If you have a lot of damage, it’s time to replace the entire roof. Also, check the flashing around skylights, pipes and chimneys. If you have any leaks or gaps, heavy snow and ice will find its way in.

5. Drain Your Pipes

  • To prevent exterior water pipes from bursting when the weather gets below freezing, turn off the valves to the exterior hose bibs. Run the water until the pipes are empty. Make sure all the water is drained from the pipes, if not; the water can freeze up and damage the pipes.

6. Inspect Your Fireplace

  • Have your wood-burning fireplace inspected, cleaned and repaired to prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

7. Check Your Insulation

  • Check the attic to make sure the insulation is installed properly. The vapor barrier on insulation should face down toward the living space. If it is installed incorrectly then the insulation will trap moisture and cause water problems.
15 Sep 2017

Cleaning Hacks That Will Save Your Sanity

We know how it feels: You’ve been cleaning all day and you finally get to the last room of your house and everything just starts to go wrong. The soap scum in your bathtub isn’t coming off easily and you left the Windex to clean your mirror downstairs. Then you start to wonder, “What if there was an faster and easier way to clean my house?” So today, we’ve compiled a list of 5 cleaning hacks that will seriously save your sanity and your time.

1. The Kitchen Sink

Mix equal parts baking soda and lemon juice until it compiles into a paste. Rub that paste all over the sink, pour it down the sink drain, and then flush it out with hot water to ensure that it doesn’t clog. This solution is cheap, smells fantastic, and leaves your sink looking shiny and new.

2. The Stainless Steel Fridge

Spray your refrigerator with white vinegar and then wipe it away. Add a drop of coconut oil to your cloth and buff it into stainless steel to remove fingerprints or smudges.

3. The Mattress

To get rid of any oils or odours, sprinkle some baking soda on your mattress twice a year (when rotating the mattress). Leave it for a few hours, and then vacuum it up.

4. The Blinds

Mix one cup water, one cup vinegar, one cup witch hazel, and three drops Dawn dish soap into a spray bottle and shake it well. Spray the concoction on the microfibre cloth and wipe the blinds.

5. The Windows and Mirrors

If your windows and mirrors are in need of a heavy-duty cleaning, try this grime-removing solution: mix four tablespoons of Castile or dish soap, four tablespoons rubbing alcohol, and a half gallon of warm water. Use a squeegee for a streak-free shine!

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.
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.

 


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