Friday, September 29, 2023

Is There An Easy Way to Clean My Gutters?

Rain Gutters- Love Them and Hate Them!

In a perfect world, gutters would only fill up in the fall if you live in the northern hemisphere. We know painfully well that it is not a perfect world. Gutters can become a concern after a heavy wind or rainstorm, or if some unexpected object takes up residence in your gutter that is large or dense enough to create a backup. This can happen any time of year and will give property owners fits if they are not familiar with resolving this or equipped to do so. Water buildup will spill onto the ground and mess up landscaping. Sustained weight due to sitting water will cause stress on gutter supports, eventually ruining the proper pitch of the gutter run. If the water becomes ice, the body of the gutter may be forced to expand and alter the proper flow. Excess water can run down the side of the wall below and potentially undermine the foundation. 

Easiest Way to Clean a Gutter Clog

So, how does one remedy a problem gutter? Unless you can actually see what is in a gutter from a distance (large twig, tree branch, plant growing etc) you will need to safely set up a ladder to get a close look. If you have 2 or 3 floors in your house, you may be able to look out a window to a lower gutter and see what the culprit is. Or you may own a drone with a camera that can reveal where your problem is as well. A note about ladders- stepladders need to be opened up fully and have all four feet planted on the ground or pavement. If you can't make it sit level, beware. When you put your weight on each successive rung, there is going to be a slight shift in the concentration of your weight. Even a slight shift can turn into a ladder fall if the ground is soft or the user does not have a great sense of balance. Extension ladders have 2 feet, but the same idea applies. Soft or uneven ground, a dangerous climbing angle, or an improper end ladder height can be a serious danger.                                                                 All that aside, if you can safely see what the issue is, it will likely be a simple fix by pulling out what is causing the clog. Herein will lie another caveat- if it's a stubborn branch that's stuck under a brace or you have to lean more than a foot or two away from the ladder, you may very well lose your balance. So please be careful!

Other Viable Ways to Clean Gutters

There are special ladders and ladder accessories that can make cleaning gutters safer. Also, some professionals use gutter vacuums to do it all with feet firmly planted. A homeowner can rig up something similar that may or may not work with a shop vac, extensions, and a gooseneck end. Some roofs may be safe enough to walk and be either sprayed out or cleared with a leaf blower. Pressure washing can get results by force, but there are obviously inherent cautions with this method. They would be whether the user is in control of the process, firmly balanced, and very deliberate. While blowing the leaves out can cause an initial mess, imagine the mess that high-pressure water forcing gutter debris in every direction causes! A lot to consider!

 In Northeastern Pennsylvania, 'gutter cleaning season' is generally speaking, anywhere from late October to mid-late November. This is the time of year, of course, when most or all of the leaves have fallen off the deciduous trees in the area. As a result, nearby leaves fall onto or into gutters. It is a very good idea to have them cleaned at least once a year. Earlier in this post, potential issues were brought up that may create an immediate need for attention. When those fluffy, almost waterproof leaves are left to lay in a gutter, they will eventually break down into soil. I know this from experience, having cleaned gutters as an added service to window cleaning. I have literally pulled tiny maple trees from gutters many times! Clearly, this is not a place where you want to be with your own gutters. Also, beware that while there are a few gutter guard systems that work properly as advertised, there are countless installed covers that have failed. This could be due to a poor-quality product or poor installation. When guards become ineffective, the proper cleaning of your gutters will take even more time and effort. Some or all of the guards will have to be removed to clean what debris got inside and then replaced. More time translates to more cost. 

Hopefully, this short article has shed light on gutter cleaning. If you'd like to take care of your gutter cleaning, feel free to inquire on our website or call or text us at 5706300326. We serve many areas in Northeastern Pennsylvania.


Saturday, September 23, 2023

Are Microfiber Rags Really the Best Way to Clean Windows?

 Microfibers- The Cure-all End-all in Cleaning?

Since microfiber technology for cleaning became all the rage maybe 20 years ago, Mystic Maid, and other brands have made a real splash with consumers. I was introduced to Mystic Maid by one of my window cleaning customers. She told me it was a modern miracle! I bought one rag for around $10. Amazon sells a large version of the original right now for $31.99. I can't say it was great as a window cleaning tool, nor was it particularly bad. Certainly, for me as someone whose company cleans thousands of windows a week, microfibers would need to be both cost-effective and as good or better than what we would normally use to clean windows. That was not the case at all. Of course, we clean windows larger and higher than your average homeowner, for sure! I must say that we do use microfiber rags EXTENSIVELY for surface cleaning and sopping up dirty window sills and so forth. They have wonderful absorption and scrubbing abilities by their design and have been a boon to our efficiency and effectiveness. 

What About For the Professional Window Cleaner?

I would venture to say it is likely that most professional window cleaners use microfibers for one reason or another. When I'm on forums and FB groups, I don't see too many say they are using them as the best detailing method and none at all say they use them for a complete large clean. Some do use them for small panes, but that is a different scenario for sure. When one is required to choose between using a ladder or a pole to reach absolutely every bit of glass beyond standing reach, time and expenditure of energy surely come into play. A professional can do a stellar job cleaning glass by other means such as the old 'stand-by'- a scrubber and a squeegee. I find that for mass usage, huck towels, also known as surgical towels, are among the best detailers I've found. They last a very long time when properly cared for and are cost-effective. In my experience, huck towels are far less likely to leave lint on glass than all but an elite few brands of microfiber rags. 
Here's an example of a 'run of the mill' microfiber rag and one of my well-used huck towels. You can buy both items here  Only under the most extreme conditions such as very hot glass will surgical towels leave any lint. When I first started, the only thing I knew to use was paper towels. Back in the late 80's and some of the 90's I found Scott Towels was the best for me. I was told to try newspaper. I did and it really made the glass shine! But after a few windows my hands were black with ink and the paper was getting pulpy and useless. Surgical towels are hearty and can be laundered many times. If want to try them, don't launder them with bleach or fabric softener. They can be put in a drier or air-dried. Either way is fine. As time has gone by, of course, many professional window cleaners have other tools in their box that are just as viable for doing great work with a reasonable amount of speed. Well, that's my take on this part of window cleaning!   

If you live in northeastern Pennsylvania and just want to have somebody clean your window for you, feel free to get in touch with us. We've been serving the area since 1986. Here are some, but not all, of the areas we work in:  Honesdale, Waymart, Hawley, Carbondale, Forest City, Pleasant Mount, Scranton, Dunmore, Moosic, Damascus, Mount Pocono, Stroudsburg, East Stroudsburg, Tannersville, Beach Lake, Lake Ariel, Greenfield Township, Jefferson Township, Moscow

Call, text, or What's App me at 5706300326