Is your beautiful fence turning grey? Covered with mildew? Mold? Algae?
Time for a good cleaning. Soft and or pressure washing?
To get started, Cover/protect your plants and shrubs from damage by covering with a plastic tarp and cover the tarp with an absorbable second layer of protection (Old sheets) to prevent any of the cleaning liquid(s) from soaking through. Additional needed supplies are a large bucket, Chlorine bleach, garden hose with sprayer attachment, mild soap, stiff bristle brush. Protective eyewear rubber gloves and long sleeves are highly recommended. Safety first. Spray your cleaning mixture onto the fence then scrub down the fence giving extra elbow grease to areas heavily discolored. Once you’ve eliminated the stains, follow up with a thorough spraying down of the fence. Let fence dry. Once dry, check carefully for any damage, loose screws/nails and sandpaper any rough spots. This would be a good time to seal/stain your fence which we will discuss in a future blog.
Another cleaning method is soft washing your fence. (High) pressure washing can damage your fence. Low pressure only. Cover and protect plants and shrubs – and yourself – as above. Chemicals to do this job may be used in place of vinegar and are available at any supply store. TSP, Tri Sodium Phosphate is a commonly used chemical, but take extra care when using or mixing with bleach. Extra care should be taken, no matter which chemical is used and don’t forget to wear protective eyewear, gloves and be sure to cover any exposed skin. A TSP and bleach pre -mixed solution can be purchased, along with renting a sprayer. Renting a sprayer will save you the time and effort of doing the fence by hand. When applying the cleaner, be sure the fence is dry and remember, LOW pressure. Once the fence is sprayed, let the cleaner “Work” for a few minutes. Them scrub down the fence giving extra attention to the badly discolored areas. Rinse fence thoroughly with plain water using your garden hose.
Switch out your absorb-able materials (Sheets) covering your plastic drop cloths as they become saturated. You don’t want runoff from the cleaning liquids getting near your vegetation. Remember, chlorine bleach, TSP etc., are chemicals. Please be careful.
Fence cleaning is a time consuming, messy job. Why not let the pros do it for you? They have all the needed materials, the know how and most importantly, the experience to care for your fence no matter what the age or condition of your wood fence. A+ Window Cleaning Services can clean your fence quickly and efficiently to make it look like new. 512 535 4308
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An often overlooked but very important part of home maintenance is keeping gutters and downspouts clean and free of debris. This is a dirty and potentially dangerous undertaking. First, we’ll cover the cleaning aspect of this task and then the safety measures that should be taken.
Cleaning is a pretty straightforward job. Get on a ladder and (Wearing gloves) clean out all the slime, muddy mildew, leaves and whatever else you discover in the gutters. While on the ladder, check all the gutter connectors going into the fascia. If any of these connecting spikes have worked loose, or the hole in the fascia has rotted out, time to repair/replace. You want to make sure your gutter is securely fastened to the fascia wherever it is connected. Check the gutter for any holes or rusted out areas. Older gutters that rust can be a recurring problem. You can go to the trouble of chipping, caulking, sanding, priming and painting the rusted sections. However, odds are that rust will show up in other areas of the older gutters. Best to look into replacing them with more modern gutters of aluminum or vinyl. A gutter must function properly to protect your home. Gutter, downspout and splash blocks work as a team to keep water away from your home’s foundation. Periodically, check for signs of mold, water damage and mildew. Look for fascia wood rot and water not draining properly. Keep your “Gutter team” running as they should. You can rent a pressure washer to clean gutters. You should be “OK” if you have made sure that your gutters are 100% correctly and securely attached to the fascia. Take care not to damage any of the shingles. The key word here is “Pressure.” Use just enough pressure to do the job. Now your gutter is clean, your downspouts are running clear and your splash blocks are properly placed and facing away from your home.
Safety. We must always be mindful of safety. Safety first should always be uppermost in our minds. Gutter cleaning can be dangerous. To start, always wear gloves, protective eyewear and wear a pair of good rubber soled shoes. Gloves will protect from contact with debris in the gutter that could be a carrier of bacteria. Also, insects could be nesting in your gutters. The necessity of eyewear is self-explanatory. Proper footwear is a must when climbing ladders. Ladder rungs will get wet and slippery, so take necessary precautions. You want a safe, strong ladder, preferably one with a shelf to hold a bucket to put the gutter debris in. Make sure you place the ladder at a safe angle in relation to the roof. Do NOT try to reach too far when cleaning out the gutter to avoid another trip down and up the ladder. NEVER try to “Hop” the ladder over to the next section to be cleaned. A very dangerous practice. If there are electrical lines coming into your home close to where you are working, be doubly careful.
If you plan to tackle this job yourself, please be careful. However, there is an option out there that will alleviate you of this dirty, dangerous chore. Let the pros do the work. They have the latest equipment to do the job quickly, thoroughly and with minimum interference with your daily schedule. They will clean and inspect your gutters and downspouts and check your roof while up on the ladder. There are special gutter cleaning tools and accessories the pros use that would be very costly for a homeowner to purchase.
A+ Window Cleaning Services can handle all your gutter cleaning needs along with interior and exterior window and glass cleaning, roof cleaning, fence cleaning, soft washing, dryer vent cleaning, hard water stain removal, pressure washing and mold removal to clean your home’s stone surfaces.
Contact A+ Window Cleaning Services at (512) 535-4308. To view before and after pictures and see videos of A+ Window Cleaning Services, go to the website at www.apluswcs.com
Nearly everyone has cleaned out the little lint screen in their dryer. Cleaning the small lint screen in your dryer is a good practice, but does not clear the duct running from your home to the outside. Over time, this plastic or foil tube can become clogged with accumulated lint and pet hair or over time, bend or crimp causing an unseen clog. This clogging of this tube can lead to a build up of hot air which, if enough heat builds up, could ignite the accumulated lint. Dryer fires are all too common today. A thorough vent cleaning will help prevent this.
Both electric and gas dryers benefit from a professional vent cleaning. Keeping the vent of a gas dryer clean and venting properly has the added benefit of preventing carbon monoxide from escaping from a clogged vent and leaking back into the home.
If clothes are taking longer to dry, the problem is usually a clogged duct which slows venting to the outdoors. The dryer needs to run longer, putting extra wear on the unit and using more energy. The screen at the outside exhaust port can also clog affecting the function of the dryer. A clean dryer vent helps your dryer perform more efficiently. Clothes will dry more quickly and help control utility costs.
Is this a “Do it yourself” project? Not really. Aside from the dangers of climbing a ladder to reach a second story dryer vent cover, you would need the following supplies:
Let the pros do the ladder climbing. They will safely remove the outside dryer vent cover and thoroughly vacuum out all lint and debris from the vent tube using the proper equipment. Your dryer will run more efficiently giving it longer life, saving on energy, safe indoor air quality and the elimination of conditions leading to a dryer fire.
Here in Texas, most roofs are asphalt shingles. Soft washing, also known as low pressure washing is used for roof cleaning. No (High) pressure washing here. Soft washing will get the chemicals into all needed areas of the roof and allow the chemicals to do their job. Soft washing is a must as is careful scrubbing, if needed, to prevent loosening of the mineral granules from the shingles. Your roof protects your home from the elements and needs care just like the rest of your home. Black mold and harmful bacteria can grow and eat away at shingles, eventually damaging the roof.
According to a recent article in The American window Cleaning magazine, “Roofing shingles typically consist of three parts: fiberglass sheets, petroleum adhesive, and ceramic or stone aggregate. The most important portion of the roofing shingle is the aggregate, which protects the rest of the system from degradation caused by both weather and UV rays.
Over the past 30 years, shingle manufacturers have significantly reduced the amount of asphalt in shingles, adding other ingredients instead, such as limestone. Gloeocapsa Magma feast on limestone, which is why roof algae has become such a widespread problem. Left untreated, the algae literally eats away at the roof until the only option left is roof replacement, which typically costs several thousands of dollars.
Additionally, shingle granules are designed to help deflect UV rays and heat away from the roof’s surface. When the granules have deteriorated or are covered in algae, the attic get hotter and electric bills rise.”
What’s the Solution?
“The good news is that in many cases, a good cleaning using the proper techniques can eliminate the algae, prolong the roof’s life, and potentially lower electric bills. The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) recommends that shingles be cleaned using non-pressure, chemical methods. Using too high of pressure may remove the algae, but it can also remove granules from the shingles, which again will degrade the roof’s lifespan. In fact, using high pressure often voids any roofing manufacturer’s warranty.
Finally, in addition to killing the destructive algae from roofs, a clean roof is much more attractive than a dirty roof. A clean roof instantly increases a home’s curb appeal, and in turn, is one of the most cost-effective improvements a home or building owner can make.”
So, after clearing away any roof debris, soft washing with proper equipment and using appropriate chemicals will kill harmful bacteria and clean your roof of mold without damage to the shingles. After the application of cleaning products, the roof is left to dry, then rinsed with clean water. If mold or algae is heavily imbedded in your shingles, a gentle scrubbing should do the job, being careful not to loosen the mineral granules on the shingles. After the roof dries and has been rinsed. if needed, the soft washing process is repeated. The last step in the cleaning process is a thorough rinsing .
Plants and shrubs near the work site can be protected from chemicals dripping off the roof by being treated with a special liquid protectant or, watered and covered with a tarp.
Anyone doing this job must be safety conscious for all concerned at all times. Safety equipment will be used 100% of the time.
SOFT WASHING is a safe and effective low pressure process that gently applies products containing mildewcides, surfactants, rinsing agents and bleach that loosen and eliminate unsightly stains such as mildew, mold and algae. Lower pressure will safely and completely clean surfaces without the potential damage to surfaces and roofs from high pressure methods. Pressure washing might damage the soft stone surfaces we have here in Texas, and will only take away the top surface of the problem allowing the Algae to come back sooner. Soft washing eliminates this potential damage, and last 5 to 7 times longer than pressure washing. Using the low pressure soft washing method, your home or commercial building will be free of any unsightly buildup of dirt and debris. Clean water and a neutralizer is the final step in this process that will leave the surface on a home or commercial building reflecting a long lasting clean.
Soft washing is also used to clean roofs, both asphalt and metal which can also harbor unsightly stains and spores. We spray your plants near the work site with a neutralizer to keep them safe during the cleaning process. We also wash them down again after the job is finished and finally rinse with water.
You will need a complete array of tools needed for the job, ladder, water tank, pump, hoses, expanding pole, sprayer, mildewcides, surfactants and an assortment of mops, squeegees, brushes.
Welcome to our blog post about Exterior Window Cleaning. In our last post we discussed cleaning the inside of a homes’ windows and today we will discuss how to safely clean the exterior windows of your home safely.
Like the interior of your home you can clean your interior glass with traditional methods using a mop and a squeegee but how do you get the best results and what challenges will you face.
So, let’s look at some of the items you will need to do a professional job on the exterior glass.
· Ladder with stand off
· Mop and squeegee
· Right mix of detergent
· Hard water remover
· Steel wool 0000
· White scrubbing pad
· Tool belt
· Track brush
· Screen removal tool
· Microfiber Towels
Starting off with the ladders, as you noticed I also put a standoff in there. A standoff, attaches to the top of the ladder giving you room to push away from the glass so you are not right up against it tight. The problem with just laying your ladder against a wall is you have a very tight angle to try to get to the glass once you reach the top. This can make it unsafe and can leave you feeling a little vulnerable up there as you try to reach your equipment. The stand off really is a huge help and gives you room to work. Make sure though you purchase the right standoff for the ladder, after all it is holding you against the wall. The standoff is essential for the home owner to reach high windows safely. You would also want to have a leg leveler built into or included in the ladders for uneven ground as you make your way around the home.
Next a tool belt kitted out with your mop and squeegee, additional water, hard water remover, steel wool and track brush. When climbing your ladder, you will need to have everything on hand but put away within easy access, so you can leave your hands free for safety as you go up and down the ladder.
When you reach the level of the glass, you will need to remove the screen this can be done from either inside (safer way to do this) or the outside. You will first want to assess if you need hard water remover to take of the mineral build up left on the glass from rain. Hard water remover comes in different forms, the most popular being either a liquid that you can spray on or in a paste which you use a white scrubbing pad to polish in. You can tell you have hard water deposits as it leaves a white milky film on the glass which cannot be washed off with soap and water alone. Apply the product to the glass and use your scrubbing pad in a circular motion to remove the stains. You will then need to wash down the glass using your mop and squeegee off the water, once you have done this check to make sure you have gotten all the hard water stains off and then wash again as the hard water remover can leave a residue which will show up in sunlight.
You then need to wipe down the frame and clean out the track using your track brush and then you can exit down the ladder.
Often cleaning first floor homes you will need to have an extension pole handy to reach over plants and bushes. Washing the glass with a pole is simple enough but you must take care not to force the water and soap up in the frame. This is a common mistake, you will squeegee the glass walk away and then you will get runs on the glass. We call these tears. Now you have done the easy part washing down the glass the next part is not so easy especially when using a pole to reach over obstacles. Squeegeeing off the glass is really an art form, doing it with a squeegee, by hand is tough enough but doing it on a pole can be very difficult and will require a lot of practice to make sure you get into all the corners. Next you can close out with the squeegee either at the side of or at the bottom of the glass. Remember to go around the frame with a dry piece of microfiber cloth when you are done to pick up any excess water. You must use a clean dry piece each time you wipe, or you will leave lines.
A+ Window Cleaning uses a variety of techniques to get your glass gleaming and looking like new again. We use a combination of traditional mop and squeegee and a water fed pole. The water fed pole uses filtered water shooting through a small diameter hose up to a brush head to clean the glass and rinse leaving a spot free finish. This is a much safer way to clean glass at high levels from the ground as no ladders are needed. The operator uses a telescopic carbon fiber pole to get to the exact height and washes across the top of the glass cleaning the frames as we go. We use a special solution which leaves the glass streak free with traditional window cleaning methods and remove all the hard water from the glass.
Stay tuned to this channel for more tips and hints for keeping up with the ‘Joneses’, as we talk about shower door cleaning, broken seals, soft-washing and more.
So today I wanted to share with you some thoughts on traditional window cleaning and the methods we use at A+ window cleaning.
Our goal is to leave your home totally spot free with sparkling glass to make your neighbors envious.
One of the methods we use is traditional window cleaning but just what does that mean?
Traditional methods are done using a mop (applicator to put water on and scrub the glass) and a Squeegee to take off the dirty water. It is basically washing your windows by hand to leave a spot free finish.
So just using a window cleaning product from the store has the advantage that you can do it yourself in a relatively short amount of time. The downside to this is you are not really removing the dirt off the windows, more moving it around and taking some of the dirt away on the cloth. This tends to leave a haze and wipe marks on the glass often leaving the glass looking worse than it did before. Some brave souls with all good intentions head off to the hardware store and buy a squeegee off the shelf to get the results they are looking for. Using a squeegee takes practice and you need to keep your rubber clean of debris which can leave lines that you do not notice until the water dries. Any slight nick in the rubber will leave a line and if you are not at the correct angle, water can leak over the edge and again leave a swish mark that you will not notice until the glass dries. You then need to ensure you detail the windows around the top of the frame and edges, so you do not get what we call tears (runs) on the glass after you move away. The other thing people do not consider is the amount of time it takes to do a full clean on your glass.
So! what is the A+ way and why is hiring a window cleaning company a good investment in your home maintenance schedule?
Here is a list of the tools we use to give you that professional result every time:
To finish we wipe down all the sills to do a complete job in your home and then get ready to go outside and tackle the glass out there to be covered in another post.
Pressure washing is the use of high pressure water to remove caked on grime from a multitude of surfaces. You can choose from a variety of offerings electric or gas, cold water or hot water depending on what you are looking to clean. For smaller areas and occasional cleaning such as patio furniture you could use a cold water Electric pressure washer available at any good home store.
For tackling something a little larger like patios, a gas cold water pressure washer will work better giving you more power and so more cleaning power. You will get a variety of tips that come with these types of pressure washers allowing you to get more aggressive with your cleaning. The tips are color coded, the black tip will be used to dispense soap giving you a good coverage area with a light spray. Next you will have the green tip which is again a wider spray pattern, next you have a white tip, yellow tip and then a red tip. Each nozzle gets smaller giving you a tighter jet of water. The white tip is usually the most used. Take care with the red tip as this is a very aggressive tip for stubborn stains.
When using your wand to clean surfaces make sure you keep the wand moving at all times so as not to damage the surface you are cleaning, concentrating the nozzle on a single spot for too long can cause damage. You will also need to make sure you overlap with each pass, this is not to be rushed otherwise you will leave track lines.
Next for larger areas you would really want to hire someone with a larger more commercial machine that is built for the task. At A+ Window Cleaning we use a 4.5 gallon per minute hot water pressure washing system. The pressure washer itself has a heating coil which can take the water up to 220 degrees for maximum cleaning power. The advantage of having hot over a cold-water system is you use a lot less water and get the job done faster and more efficiently as the hot water cuts through the dirt. When we are cleaning larger surfaces such as driveways we use a surface cleaner rather than a standard wand. The surface cleaner covers a larger area and ensures we do not leave any lines giving the home owner or business owner guaranteed results. We also use a floor squeegee to remove excess water which leaves a great finish.
Pressure washing will give you amazing results if it is used on the right surface with the right tip and a regulated pressure. If you are unsure you should ask a professional or hire someone to get the job done right. You should never use a pressure washer on soft stone surfaces which we have a lot of here in Texas. The pressure on the machine is just too high and can chip the stone away causing a mess and damage. If you are trying to remove mold etc, a pressure washer is really going to remove the top surface and not be very effective at killing the mold. You will need to use a soft-washing service, which A+ Window Cleaning has and are happy to provide you with a quote. We will look at soft-washing and its many advantages in another blog post.
So this is our first blog post, something we have wanted to do to share our stories and work with everyone. I wanted to use this first entry to help everyone understand who we are and what we are all about.
A+ Window Cleaning came about because we saw a need in our local area for Window Cleaning. We were simply out walking our dogs one night and noticed that we could provide a fantastic service at a very reasonable price. When we began we went door to door and started to pick up clients for residential cleaning only. We have since moved in both residential and commercial cleaning of windows and added additional services like pressure washing, soft washing, screen repair, shower door cleaning and gutter cleaning.
The business is family run, and the posts you will see are going to come from myself Phil, my wife Lisa, and our daughter Ashley. We arrive at your home business together usually or Lisa and Ashley will arrive first. When we get to your home we will have already done a quote which you will have approved and you will receive a notification VIA text message to let you know we are on our way with an estimated time of arrival. We have a uniform on blue shirts with our logo and khaki pants.
Upon arrival at your home we will use shoe covers to protect your floors. Our first step is to remove any screens you have, usually from the inside. Many different types of screens are available but the usual two we find here in Cedar park, Leander, Round Rock, Liberty Hill and Austin are spring loaded at the top with black tabs at the bottom, to remove these it is a case of grabbing onto the lower black tabs and gently lifting to depress the spring at the top of the screen and pushing outwards to remove the screen. Next we brush out and wash down your tracks, dirt and bugs collect in here so we use a stiff track brush and soap solution or steam cleaner to get the track looking like new. Once the tracks have been cleaned it is onto the glass.
A+ window cleaning uses traditional methods when cleaning interior windows. Traditional methods are a mop, this is used to apply the cleaning solution to the glass and then a squeegee to remove the cleaning solution. The mops and cleaning solution agitate the dirt not the glass and the Squeegee then removes everything from the glass. Depending on how long it has been since cleans we will uses either magic erasers to remove finger prints, nose prints from animals, scrapers and 0000 steel wool so marks are gone. Finally we detail the glass using microfibre towels to ensure that we have no runs and wipe down your sill and onto the next window.
Once all the interior windows are clean we will then start on the outside, Cobwebs and bugs are first brushed away on your frames. Once this has been completed we use a variety of traditional and new Window Cleaning methods to get the outside looking amazing. One of the problems we come up against in Texas is hard water, this is where the mineral deposits build up on the glass causing a white residue. Washing alone is not going to remove this residue which generally builds up along the tops of the glass and comes about a quarter of the way down. So we use a hard water remover which is either sprayed on or put on with a white scrubbing pad designed for cleaning glass. We apply the product, leave it to dwell for a few minutes and then use a scrubbing action to remove the hard water and then apply a rinse. For additional detail work, scrapers, 0000 steel wool or magic erasers will be used.
Once the glass has had the hard water staining removed we now set about cleaning the glass and use a couple of methods. Safety is utmost for us and when cleaning a second story home we will either use ladders but mainly what is known as a water Fed Pole. Water Fed Poles have been around for a number of years and the systems keep getting better. Basically you have minerals in your water at home and just using plain water without squeegeeing it off will leave water spots on your glass. So a water fed pole system basically filters out the minerals from the water giving us what we call pure water allowing us to wash off the glass leaving it spot free with the use of a squeegee. We bring our water onsite in a 125 gallon holding tank pre filtered. The tank runs into a pump system and through a small diameter hose into the head of a brush.
Now, there are many different types of brushes that we can use which we will discuss in another post. So the brush then fits onto a carbon fiber telescopic pole, the pole can extend up to thee stories. The great part about this is not only does it leave the glass spot free and looking amazing but we can clean up to three stories from the ground, with no ladders keeping us safe on your property. Pure water flows through the pole to the brush head washing and rinsing as we go. The other advantage to using the water fed pole is we can wash down your frames at the same time. We generally use the water fed pole for second and third story work and ground but we will also use traditional methods for single story or off of patios etc.
The final step is the get your screens done, we check all of the screens for any rips, cuts and bent frames and can repair those onsite or return fixed within a couple of days if it is multiple screens that need repair. Once the screens have been inspected we then wash the screens and run them through a screen bath. A cleaning solution is applied to the screen and left to dwell. Next we have a portable screen cleaner which we run the screen through to remove dust, pollen and grime. The excess water is tapped out of the screen and the frames and then wiped down with a cloth and left to dry. Once the screens are dry they are replaced and your home is now complete. The end result is your glass is left looking like new, your screens have been removed washed and replaced, your tracks and sills have been cleaned and your glass is sparkling leaving you the envy of your neighbors. We will cover commercial cleaning and be sharing photos of our residential work on a weekly basis.
Coming soon we are about to launch our new Youtube channel are are currently working on some how to videos. Thanks for reading and remember to check back and keep up to date with us.