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Keep Your Costs Down – Get Those Leaky Windows in Shape!

Posted on: September 15th, 2016 by townAdmin

 

You may be thinking – wow, what a hot summer we just completed. The heat and humidity were really something and I cannot imagine the cold drafts of winter being anywhere around the corner. Although this may be true to a certain extent, it is also a fact that cold air will once again be in our forecast in the not too distant future. It happens every year, right?

So instead of waiting until the last minute, right now is the best time to think about getting your windows free of leaky drafts before you have your house filled with Thanksgiving or Christmas guests. (Remember, the only cold drafts your guests want to speak of are mugs of holiday brew)!  In fact, it has been estimated that on average, 10 to 25 percent of a home's heat escapes through its windows. So by repairing these leaks, not only will you and yours be able to live in comfort but you will also be able to reap the savings to your fuel bill.

In many instances some of this work can be completed fairly easily by purchasing some caulk and weather stripping from your local hardware store.  A stiff bladed putty knife can be used to remove peeled paint from around the outside frame of your window. Then just dip a scrub brush in some soapy warm water, apply to the surface and dry with a cloth.

You will then want to dabble some fresh caulk around the outside of the window, making sure to create a continuous wind-blocking seal between the window frame and any siding. Always make sure the caulk is intended for the exterior surface of the window before using. Then go inside and use your weather stripping to seal up the window around the sash. When completed, this simple procedure should go a long way in eliminating any drafts and keeping your home very comfortable.

Of course there are times when we cannot do the work ourselves due to time constraints or other issues. If this is your situation and you reside in the Chicago area, Town and Country Window Cleaning is there to help. They will fix or replace any nagging window problems that you may have and make sure your home is ready for winter. Call Town and Country today at 847-256-5140

Get Your Windows Ready for the Splendor of Autumn

Posted on: August 7th, 2016 by townAdmin

 

The dog days of summer are nearing their conclusion as we notice the ever shortening hours of daylight and more frequent bouts of cooler, breezy weather. This can only mean one thing – like it or not, autumn (and then winter!) will soon be here in full force, along with some necessary maintenance to your home for the change of seasons.

Before we get too far along into Halloween, homecoming games and football mode, it is a great idea to consider what work needs to be completed for your home.

A great first chore to tackle (especially if you’re into football!) is to clean all your windows and screens. Washing windows with warm, soapy water and a soft rag and quality drying towel are all that is required. Unfortunately there really is no quick and simple method for cleaning screens for the windows, but it is definitely worth your time to clean up all the grime that accumulates during the warm weather months. You can clean the screen by using the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner. It will then be much easier to remove the dirt simply by using a hose or wet rag. Rinse well, remove all soap and you will be amazed at how much better your windows and screens look!

To keep screens in their best possible condition, remove them from the outside of your home and store them in a dry place until spring arrives. Of course, if you discover any holes or punctures in a screen it is advisable to get it repaired now so you will not have to deal with it six months down the line.

Other tasks, such as cleaning out your gutters, having the chimney swept and getting your furnace checked before the cold winds of November and December set in are also essential to surviving the colder months in the most possible amount of comfort.

By completing these common chores your home will look its best and inviting for trick-or-treaters, holiday visitors and all your friends who may be coming to your Super Bowl bash!

Visit TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com today to schedule an appointment and discover all the useful and important services they provide to keep your windows looking their very best!

What Goes Into Power Washing

Posted on: July 18th, 2016 by townAdmin

 

One of the house cleaning services we provide at Town & Country Professional Window Cleaning is known as power washing. This is one of our most comprehensive cleaning services in which we leave nothing unwashed or unprepared for the harsh fall and winter ahead - especially in the Chicagoland area.

Summer is the perfect time for power washing because it's sunny and bright outside, allowing us to see every possible nook and cranny around your property that could use a thorough cleaning. Here is how we approach power washing and why you should consider making an appointment for one today!

Steps behind power washing

First, we evaluate your home and tease out any areas normally hidden to the human eye. We assess what type of dirt and build-up is on your home so that we can determine what type of power washing equipment will be most up-to-task for the job.

Then, we go ahead and start power washing using our high-powered hoses. We don't use any harmful chemicals in our power washing, ensuring that cleaning your home doesn't result in an allergy-inducing mishap.

We'll wash the main exteriors of your house and garage (if present), then tackle your porch, deck and wherever else dirt and algae can accumulate on your property.

For the average-sized Chicago area home, we can typically complete power washing in about a day, or longer for larger homes.

Why you should go with a professional

You may have seen power washing equipment at popular home improvement stores, or even seen ads for power washing equipment rentals. It may be tempting to try power washing on your own, but here are some reasons why that may not be a wise choice.

  • Safety equipment - Power washing can be dangerous if you don't have proper safety equipment, from gloves to certified eye protection. Purchasing this safety equipment can be expensive, whereas we have everything we need for each job.
  • Determining water pressure - If you use too much pressure you can end up harming your property's exterior; and not using enough pressure could result in a lackluster clean. On the contrary, our seasoned pros have an eye for what water pressure is necessary.

Order your professional power washing today

Has it been more than a year since you thoroughly cleaned the outside of your property? Is the side of your how so dirty and dusty it's begun to change colors?

If so, don't wait any longer and set up an appointment for your property's power cleaning today. It's easy - give us a call at 847-256-5140. You can also visit us at TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com or use our scheduling page to set up an appointment.

The Dangers and Prevention of Mold

Posted on: June 20th, 2016 by townAdmin

 

Now that summer is underway, we’re entering one of the most humid times of the year. If you live near Lake Michigan or other lakes in the Chicagoland area, your home’s humidity levels are likely to be the highest they’ll be all year this June.

Unfortunately, strong humidity can promote the growth of mold – a sometimes-visible, sometimes-not allergen that can cause a lot of unfortunate health problems for you and your family. Mold thrives on moisture and humidity, and since colder air can hold less moisture and warmer air can, summer will leave your home especially vulnerable.

Mold and your health

Mold spores in the air are odorless and invisible. They are a natural part of indoor living, unless there are more mold spores than there should be. However, mold can be visible when it grows on surfaces or food or liquids. It may be in the form of small black spots, a white fuzzy layer on a surface, or orange, purple or green when growing on walls, furniture or other surfaces.

When exposed to excess amounts of mold, you and your family can suffer a variety of allergic reactions or other health problems. Common allergic reactions to mold include issues with breathing, red and itchy eyes, runny noses and skin rashes. Those with asthma or other existing allergic reactions may be especially vulnerable to mold.

Preventing mold growth

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the key to preventing excess mold from growing is addressing moisture in your home.

  • Make sure you’re cleaning up any standing water or moisture throughout your home whenever it’s present. In the bathroom and kitchen, this means damping up standing water from inside and around sinks when using the facets.
  • Another way to control moisture in the home is to use your air conditioning appropriately. First, make sure there isn’t mold growing on or inside your air condition vents. Then, run your air conditioner during the summer months at a moderate temperature, making sure to keep your windows closed and sealed.
  • Use the exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen when showering or cooking.

You may also want to purchase and monitor a humidity detector. If your indoor humidity is regularly above 60 percent despite taking efforts to control moisture, you should seek professional interior cleaning help.

Get help getting rid of mold

Pumping and cycling in fresh, clean air is the best way to ensure your home is fresh and allergen-free. But to do that, you need windows and screens that are clean and free of allergens themselves. They also need to be able to fully close and seal when you need to run your air conditioner to dehumidify the air.

Are you ready to make sure your windows and screens are clean and functioning properly? Give us a call at 847-256-5140, visit us at TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com or use our scheduling page to set up an appointment with us today.

Let the Fresh Air In

Posted on: May 16th, 2016 by townAdmin

 

Winter is finally, finally over – Spring has been in full swing for more than a month and summer is on its way. Unfortunately, a long, sprawling winter has not done our homes any favors. That includes both inside and outside.

If you’ve kept your windows closed shut during the winter months with insulation, your home has been on air lock-down for more than four months or so. That means that all the potential inside allergens – dust, mold and more – have been building and festering with nowhere to go. It’s time to let the fresh, spring air in and take all the yucky, inside-winter air out.

Air refresh

Over time, dust forms on nearly every surface of the home. It’s formed from dirt; skin particles; bits of fabric from clothes, carpet and furniture; and pets if you have them. Contained within dust are bacteria that can cause smells (that long, cold winter smell) as well as allergens that can cause skin and eye irritation, respiratory issues and illness.

Luckily, winter has a negative effect on another indoor pathogen – mold – if you’ve been blasting the heat all winter long. Mold thrives when the indoor humidity rises above 50 percent. However, if you’ve been using humidifiers to combat this effect and improve your skin, you could have created mold spores throughout the home without realizing it.

That’s why now that it’s spring, you should burst open all the windows throughout the home for as long as you can. Introducing outside air throughout the home can create a sort of internal funnel that can take away these built-up allergens. Since it’s not summer yet, it’s not too hot outside that this would be a nuisance. (Just close your windows if it rains, though!)

Why you should keep your windows open

If you haven’t already, remove all insulation from your windows and allow them open freely – you’ll need to let some of that fresh spring air into your home.

Since we spend more and more time indoors, it’s a good habit to keep the windows open whenever you can. This ensures that indoor pathogens are cycles out of the home and fresh, clean air cycles in.

Getting professional help

Now, are you ready to refresh your home’s air, but don’t know where to start? Schedule an appointment and visit TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com to learn about our services!

Make windows part of your spring cleaning this year

Posted on: April 15th, 2016 by townAdmin

 

What started the "spring cleaning" trend - and why is it in spring?

When you think about it, it's odd that as a nation we would single out one season of the year for when we clean and organize the entire house. You'd think this is something we'd want to do at the start of any season, not just one of the four!

But alas, with less and less time spent in the home and more and more time spent at work and commuting, it makes sense that we'd put off on placing our full efforts into cleaning and organizing until one point in the year. Regardless of how the trend started, here are some tips to make sure you make the most of out this year's spring cleaning.

Make a checklist

One of - if not the - most important parts of spring cleaning is to make a checklist of everything you plan to do. If you don't make a checklist, there are two potential bad outcomes, both tied to the fact that you aren't keeping track of how much you've already cleaned and organized:

  1. You stop spring cleaning prematurely and left key areas dirty and unorganized
  2. You do too much spring cleaning and have no energy left to clean again until next year

Stick to one room or one activity at a time

To help cope with the enormity of the task of cleaning and organizing an entire home, it's often best to stick to a one-at-a-time approach.

If your house has fewer rooms but larger ones than average, it may make most sense to clean one room at a time since you'll be able to sprawl as you clean. However, if you have more rooms and they are smaller than average, it may make more sense to do things one task at a time - such as tackling all the floor first, then all the dusting, then all the organizing, and so forth.

Choose your chemicals wisely

If you plan to incorporate the kitchen and bathroom into this year's spring cleaning - which you should - make sure you have the right cleaning agents for the job.

  • For the bathroom, you should make sure to use cleaning agents meant for tile, porcelain and mirrors. If using bleach, make sure to take any necessary precautions to avoid inhaling too much of it and exposing your skin and clothes to it.
  • Make sure to incorporate the right chemicals for mopping kitchen floors; don't use something too abrasive but don't use something too mile either.

Don't forget the windows and doors

Then, of course, comes the windows, doors and exteriors of the house. It's time to whip out the hose, the towels and window cleaners. But for this task - if you haven't for any others - you should really get some additional folks to help.

Ready for a 360 window cleaning?

You can only rely on nature for so much. When you're ready to have all sides of your windows cleaned, schedule an appointment with TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com to have professionals take care of the dirty work for you!

Let There Be Light This Spring

Posted on: March 16th, 2016 by townAdmin

 

We’re not quite fully out of the doldrums winter yet – but some of the signs of the upcoming spring and summer months are already here. You’ll begin to notice this late March and early April that days are longer, the skies are bluer and snow is turning more and more into rain.

These are great signs that things are about to get a lot brighter outside as well. That’s why now is a good time make sure your home is getting as much natural light as possible.

Keeping them clean

To make sure you’re getting the most out of nature’s lightbulb – the sun – the first step is to ensure it can even get into your house in the first place.

  • If you’ve sealed off your windows for the wintertime, consider about mid-March as a good time to unseal them. By this point, the coldest days are long past; and while it won’t necessarily be warm enough to crack the windows open all the time, allowing a little incidental air in won’t hurt too much.
  • Next, get ready to do some window cleaning – and a lot of it – to remove all the snow, dirt and other buildup from winter’s onslaught. Don’t forget to get all the windows around the house, from those on the very top floors to smaller ones in entrance doors if you have them.
  • If you have skylights, you should make sure to pay special attention to them once spring fully arrives. As their name implies, their primary purpose is to let in light from the sky, so try and make sure you aren’t preventing them from doing so!

If that all sounds intimidating, you need not worry – you can have us do the task of cleaning your windows for you! Schedule an appointment today.

The health benefits of sunlight

It may not be immediately obvious, but getting sunlight every day is a key part of health and wellness. First, sunlight that hits the skin allows your body to produce Vitamin D – an essential nutrient that helps keep your bones strong and your muscles working properly.

Second, using natural light to do things like read, watch TV and use the computer are better for your eyes than using artificial light; but, with the caveat that the natural light you use provides a sufficient amount of intensity and coverage.

Getting natural light is also an important part of your mental health in the long-term. Spending too much time cooped up indoors using only artificial light can have an unintended effect of making you feel cooped up and separated from the rest of the world.

Don’t worry – you don’t need to do it alone!

As you can see, getting enough natural light in the house is an important part of your health. Schedule an appointment and visit TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com to learn about how we can ensure your windows are letting in as much natural light as possible.

Keeping the Home Cat-Friendly

Posted on: February 18th, 2016 by townAdmin

 

Do you have any felines in your life? If you do, then you may already know of many of the joys – and annoyances – of having a cat as a pet.

If you own a cat, you already likely know some of the quirks of sharing a home with one. Today, we have some tips on how to make your cuddly friend as happy as possible.

(Even if you’re “not a cat person,” at least you’ll soon know why you can always spot a cat in your neighbor’s window!)

A clear view

Cats can get bored very easily, especially if you leave them alone when you go to work. Luckily, a view to the world outside is typically enough to keep even the most grumpy of grumpy cats endlessly happy for hours.

Even better, cats love to listen to sounds outside – particularly if those sounds include squirrels, birds or other intriguing critters. That’s why you should invest in sturdy, secure screen doors for summertime with your cat. You want to make sure they are secure and sturdy because an overexcited cat is a highly motivated one if they decide to make a run for it!

Cleanliness is key

If dogs are happy no matter what – clean, dirty, or somewhere in-between – cats are the prickly clean freaks of the animal kingdom. In fact, they spend nearly a third or longer of their waking day grooming themselves. (And that’s a conservative estimate!)

That’s why the key to a happy cat is a clean cat, and anything you can do to make sure your cat’s favorite prowling spots around the home are tidy will make life with a cat much easier. Common places to spot-check for dust, dirt and more are on the tops of bookshelves; under or behind beds and couches; your cat’s favorite windowsill; and just outside the front door if your cat waits for you there to come home from work.

The cat door

If you’re comfortable with your cat being an outdoors cat, consider installing a cat door. They’re the same principle as a dog door – they allow your cat to come and go. Just consider the risk the outdoors pose to cats; outdoor-exclusive cats have a much shorter lifespan than indoor-only cats.

Make your cat impressed

Have an unruly cat? The state of your home could be to blame. Schedule an appointment and visit TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com to learn about our home cleaning services.

Your 2016 Home Cleaning Resolutions

Posted on: January 25th, 2016 by townAdmin

 

It's a brand new year - and a brand new opportunity to kick to the curb some of our unfortunate habits when it comes to cleaning the windows and keeping the house in decent condition.

Perhaps 2016 will be the year when you clean the windows more than once this year. It may even be the year you finally install window insulation instead of making the poor heater do all the work to keep you and your family thawed out during the intense Chicago winter.

But first, you need to make some resolutions for how you will keep your house cleaner this year than how you kept it last year. You can make you own resolutions, sure, but why not just take some of our ours? Here are our top resolutions for 2016.

Resolution No. 1: Schedule regular window cleanings

This one seems like an easy one - but is one of the more difficult resolutions to stick with throughout the year. You should be cleaning your windows regularly to help ensure they remain in good working order year-round. Otherwise, grime, dirt and other unsavory elements can end up rusting the window's opening, closing and locking mechanisms - putting the safety and security of your home at risk.

Aim to clean your windows at least twice in spring, summer and fall, and more if it's a particularly rainy and dirty summertime.

Resolution No. 2: Address problems as they come up

Is there something suspicious going on with the upstairs windows? Do you notice any strange sounds from the roof when it rains? Are the gutters even more clogged than usual? Are those icicles getting a little big?

Make it a resolution to investigate problems with the house as soon as you notice them, not in a week - or "when you get around to them," which often means "never." Otherwise, you could end up with costly repairs that could have been prevented by addressing problems before they become even more serious.

Resolution No. 3: Invest in better cleaning agents

You may have heard about the dangers posed by aerosols in recent years in promoting or worsening asthma. You've also likely heard lately about the link between some types of cleaning chemicals and certain cancers.

There are a lot of media reports and actual studies out there about the dangers of products we use to clean our home. Some of them may be accurate, while others contradict one another. While it's difficult to tell what to believe, you can make the choice to be proactive about you and your family's health by purchasing cleaning products that contain as many natural products as possible - and as many of them as your budget allows.

Getting more help

Of course, you can always call on the experts to offer you a helping hand if keeping up with your 2016 home cleaning resolutions proves to be more difficult than you expected.

You can always schedule an appointment to ask us for more information. And, be sure to read more about our services at TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com.

Prep Your Home for the Trials of Winter

Posted on: December 28th, 2015 by townAdmin

 

Winter is a tough season for many reasons for home owners. Finances (gas bills), maintenance (clearing snow out of the driveway) and patience (keeping cold air from seeping through windows) all take a hit during these cold months.

There’s also the human toll of winter. With less direct sunlight, our bodies can’t produce important mood-stabilizing chemicals that help us function and sleep well.

Luckily, there’s things you can start doing now around the home to help keep most of these winter woes at bay.

Closing up the windows

An efficient way to both keep heating bills and temperatures down is by sealing the cold air off at the source. You can winterize and seal windows using multiple methods. These include using rubber sealing at the gaps around the windows, tape you can apply to the indoor window frame or by doubling- or tripling-up on the curtains.

The first two methods can help keep cold air under control very well, just as long as you use quality materials and follow the manufacturers’ instructions. However, we don’t recommend the third method for the next reason on our list.

Getting enough sunlight

Sunlight helps keep our bodies in check, so you should maximize as much light that can come into the home as possible in winter. You should also stay warm, so at night, close the heavy curtains – but during the day, open the curtains and the raise blinds (or least keep the blinds open).

Why is sunlight so important? First, direct sunlight allows our bodies to produce serotonin – a key brain chemical that controls mood. Low levels of serotonin are associated with seasonal affective disorder, a type of low-grade depression common this time of year. Second, sunlight helps our bodies regulator melatonin, a hormone essential for telling our bodies it’s time to sleep.

Humidity in the home

With the windows sealed and the heater cranked up, you risk an unfortunate side effect – low humidity levels in the house. This can lead to skin dryness, respiratory irritation and itchy eyes.

The easiest way to combat this is investing in a quality indoor humidifier. They can pipe in essential moisture and combat over-dryness that can occur with modern heaters.

Getting more help

Now that you see the connection between your house’s health and you well-being during the wintertime, you may be curious about what even more you can do to optimize things for winter.

You can always schedule an appointment to ask us for more information. And, be sure to read more about our services at TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com.