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The true benefits of window replacement

Posted on: November 30th, 2015 by townAdmin

 

When you embark on any endeavor, you want to know if it will be worth your time before committing to it. Remodeling and home repair are no different.

But how exactly do you know what the end result of a remodeling project will be?

Luckily, there are tools out there to predict the return on investment of many types of remodeling projects. If you’re planning on selling your home in the near future, these tools can be invaluable for you when deciding what to remodel next.

Remodeling your windows

Today, we’ll look at the return on investment of remodeling your windows.

Naturally, it’s a common choice for this time of year - better installed windows means better heat retention. From a home selling perspective, windows are one of the first things a prospective buyer will see. They speak volumes about your commitment to the aesthetics and security of your house.

The breakdown

According to Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value 2015 report, the national average window replacement jobs on mid-range projects will net the following results:

  • Window replacement – vinyl: Job costs: $11,198; Resale value: $8,163; return on investment: 72.9 percent.
  • Window replacement – wood: Job costs: $11,341; Resale value: $8,937; return on investment: 78.8 percent.

If you’re looking at the benefits for upscale projects, the numbers are fairly similar, but expect a 74.9 percent benefit for vinyl window replacement and a 71.9 percent benefit for wood window replacement.

Now, if you want to get even more specific, Remodeling has even more specific data for cost/benefits of remodeling projects based on the city. You can download the data for Chicago here.

For projects located generally in our region – the upper east Midwest, such as Wisconsin and Michigan – the data is fairly similar to the national average. For mid-range jobs, expect to spend a little less on vinyl window replacement projects, but gain a little less too, for a return on investment of 74.3 percent.

The regional data for the upper east Midwest also shows that wood window replacement jobs are a less profitable endeavor than vinyl window replacement. Expect to spend a little more than the national average on these jobs and gain a little less than the national average, with a return on investment of 71.4 percent.

Need more advice on windows?

Remodeling your windows is one thing – making sure they are clean, sealed and working smoothly is another. Schedule an appointment with us and visit TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com for more information on how we can help keep your windows in good shape!

Taking Down the Halloween Decorations

Posted on: October 31st, 2015 by townAdmin

 

For some, Halloween is the best holiday of the year. Not only do the kids get to dress up like their favorite superheroes, Disney characters or TV characters, they get to take hay rides, go through haunted houses and get lost in corn mazes.

But for the parents, Halloween can be a nightmare. They have to make sure their kids don’t eat too much Halloween candy. There are pumpkin seeds everywhere. And Halloween decorations, while fun to put up, are hardly as fun when they come down.

Here are some tips to make the end of Halloween go a little easier.

Don’t get the water out until all the paper is gone. If you need to clean out Halloween decorations like chalk with water, be very careful about introducing water to the cleaning mix if you also used paper products as decorations. Otherwise, your basic Halloween cleaning job will turn into a hunt for errant wads of wet parchment.

Get the bags out first. You wouldn’t believe how much garbage is left after decorating for Halloween. Don’t make the mistake of setting up only one garbage bag at a time – bring a bunch of them so you can focus on throwing away, not getting more bags.

Get help from the kids – if they’re not in a candy coma. Recruiting the kids along to Halloween cleanup may make them think before making you set up a giant spider web next year. Getting pricked by the bushes while weeding out neon yellow webbing will make any Halloween super-fan a little jaded.

If you think Halloween decorations are bad, just wait until it’s time for Christmas lights! If you need professional help for post-party cleanup for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or all-of-the-above, we’ve got you cover. Visit our website to learn more about our services!

What We’ll Miss About Summer

Posted on: September 28th, 2015 by townAdmin

 

It could only last so long. Summer is about to end, and with it, many perks that only warm air and snow-free skies could offer.

Here are the things we’ll miss the most about summer as we prepare for the onslaught of fall and winter.

  • Being able to clean outside without a jacket on. Gone soon will be the days of being able to do yardwork without a jacket. Get ready to dig out your windbreaker for fall weather, and eventually your puffy coats and winter jackets.
  • Being able to see your roof. When December hits – it’s only three months away! – you may be saying goodbye to your roof for a while. Snowfall can be heavy in the Midwest, and no other part of the house suffers the brunt of it quite like the roof.
  • Cracking the windows open to let in cool air. This one will actually be good for a while – give it a few months before it gets too cold. As they say, the outdoors is the world’s best air conditioner. But once January rolls around, you’ll sure wish that weren’t the case.

Now, here are some things we won’t miss about the summer.

  • Needing to worry about cleaning the outside of the windows. Come fall, this will be much less of a societal expectation upon your house. But in the summer months, when it’s nice and warm outside, you’re seen as a tad bit lazy if you go on too long without cleaning the outside of dirty windows. It’s like leaving the lawn unmowed – it’s just not good neighborly behavior.
  • Fretting over hail damage. Spring and summer are the months for serious hail, not fall and winter. And, if you’ve had hail damage to your roof or walls, they’ll be covered up soon anyway with snow and leaves.
  • Unspooling and re-spooling the hose. If you won’t need to spend as much time cleaning the outside of your house, that’s that many fewer times having to get the hose out – then put it back in. Spooling the hose is just like putting the vacuum back in the closet; if you’ll need it again in a couple weeks anyway, why bother?

Need help with your next cleaning job?

Do you need advanced help with home cleaning? Schedule an appointment and visit TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com to learn about our services!

Take Advantage of the Last Days of Summer

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 by townAdmin

 

Summer is on the way out! Soon the lazy, hazy days of August will be a distant memory, replaced by colorful leaves and brisk autumnal winds.

Before it becomes jack-o’-lantern season, here are three things you should do while it’s warm enough outside to do yardwork without a jacket.

Outside window washing

Unless you’re in California, you should take advantage of these last warm days to thoroughly clean the outside of your building’s windows. This summer has introduced normally shiny glass to a lot of dirt, bugs and soot.

Start off using the hose, then really give them a scrub with a washcloth and soap. Bring the ladder out to get the higher windows. Believe us – you’d rather be doing this now than in late November before the snow begins to hit.

Replace screens

Right now is also the time to do any needed replacements for the building’s exteriors. Replacing something like a screen can take a lot of time, and you’ll be spending that time outdoors. You’d rather be out when it’s warm and not when it’s blisteringly cold.

You’ll want to check any screens for the windows as well as your front door and porch doors, if you have them. Also look at windowsills for any damage you can take care of now.

Get the gutters ready

Your gutters will be seeing a lot of activity this fall – not to mention what happens a few months after fall begins when the snow starts.

As a Chicago-area resident, you know the routine – your gutter get clogged with leaves. Then it gets colder, and you don’t want to clear the leaves out. Then the leaves freeze and become difficult to remove. But then it gets warmer and the ice wants to melt… but has nowhere to go. Then your roof caves in!

Sure, that’s a dramatization of what can really happen, but the moral of the story is that you should take these last few warm weeks to stake out the gutter and clear it of any soot or dirt that it’s in currently. You’ll also have the chance to determine if your gutters need repairs or replacements.

Spotted anything wrong?

Noticed anything during your final summer cleaning that needs professional help? Schedule an appointment and visit TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com to learn about our services!

Make Your Windows More Pet-Friendly

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by townAdmin

 

Anyone who has experienced the joys of pet ownership in addition to home ownership knows just how much our furry critter friends enjoy window watching.

Dogs love watching for other dogs and critters outside, possibly to help ensure their human family is safe. Cats – who are pros at staring for extended periods of time – seem to be especially fascinated by the going-ons outside. And, if your property happens to be frequented by birds, good luck ever getting your pet to cuddle with you – they’ll be too busy watching the exciting things outside!

If such a critter is part of your extended family, there are some things you be careful about when allowing your critters to plop down in front of window in your home.

The “Squirrel!” effect

For dogs, seeing a squirrel is sure to gain their rapt attention. They become so excited that they’ll be tempted to get to the squirrel as fast as possible. If it’s their first time in this home, or there is a newly installed window, they may not realize that there’s a several-inch thick piece of glass separating them from the home and the outside world.

That’s why it’s important to ensure that all windows are solidly installed and locked in place. You wouldn’t want a dog to take out a chunk of your home with them as they futilely attempt to chase and befriend a squirrel.

Another risk is with screens. Ask around to other pet owners and you’ll hear some horror stories with dog or cat-shaped holes in screens after a daring escape.

Make it clean

If you leave your pet at home when you go to work or when you travel, you need to make sure they have enough to keep their attention – otherwise they’ll turn their attention to your furniture. If they have the ability to look outside during the day, that should give them enough to view to keep them excited for long periods of time.

Be sure that your windows are clean enough to allow your pets a great view of the outdoors. This includes your screens, too – they should be clean enough to allow a great view of all the smaller and yummy critters walking about your yard.

Getting more help for your windows

Need more help making sure your windows are clean enough for your pets? You can get professional help from us. Visit TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com today for info on our services. You can also schedule an appointment!

Keep Cool in the Summer

Posted on: June 29th, 2015 by townAdmin

 

Summertime in the Chicagoland area is a season to celebrate. Gone are the icy roads and torrential snowfall of winter; in are clear, easy-to-travel roadways and the ability to walk outside without fear of eyelashes freezing and fusing your eyelids together.

However, one downside of Chicagoland summers is that they can get hot. Really, really hot. Luckily, there are some things you can do around the house and with your windows to optimize the cool factor in your home.

Keep those screens clean

There are many reasons why you want to keep the screen down in windows during the summer. An obvious one is that there are bugs, birds and critters flying or crawling about now that it’s warmer outside. Another one is that with summer sometimes comes showers, wind and other types of weather that you don’t want entering your house.

So, if you still want the benefits of a cool summer breeze, you should make sure you screens are fully cleaned. That means that any dirt or residue from outside that could be blocking the gaps in the screen should be cleaned out and removed. Otherwise, air can’t make it inside.

Make sure windows fully seal

Sometimes – perhaps most of the time if it’s July or August – the best way to stay cool in the summertime is by putting on the air conditioning. However, air condition is the best way to go only if there are very tight seals on windows, doors and any other opening to your home. Some air needs to be let in, obviously, but you wouldn’t want a poorly sealed window to allow your cool air to pump out into the world – and out of the family room.

You may need to use caulk or other solutions to seal up your windows from the inside or out. If you have building or window damage, you may need to replace your windows altogether. If you aren’t sure about the condition of your windows, turn on the air conditioning and stand outside the window (if they are on the first floor); wave your hands over the window, and if you feel blowing air, then there are holes you aren’t seeing.

Getting more help for your windows

If you’re having trouble optimizing your windows and screens for the summer, you may want to consult with us for help. Visit TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com today to schedule an appointment.

The Allergy and Clean Window Connection

Posted on: May 26th, 2015 by townAdmin

 

Keeping the outside of your home and your windows clean isn’t all about aesthetics and impressing the neighbors.

If you are one of the 40 to 60 million Americans who has seasonal allergies such as hay fever, keeping your home clean actually a health concern. Having clean and fully functioning windows and screens can help keep our allergens from your home by creating a secure air lock in the rooms you want to keep free of outside allergens. This is important for any young ones in the home who could develop these allergies as well as any adults in the home who already have them.

Clean windows, windowsills and external home fixtures have other impacts on potential allergies, too. Here are some of the types of allergies that can be impacted by the cleanliness of your home and windows.

Mold

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, outdoor mold allergies are often the result of rotting plants and leaves outside. After a cold winter, these dead plants and other compost can begin to grow mold, which is a major trigger for allergies for some. If you have a clean and secure window, you can prevent outdoor mold allergies from reaching the home in the first place.

Indoor mold allergies can also be serious, and not doing enough to keep moisture out of your window fixtures can significantly increase them. The ACAAI recommends that you use mold-inhibiting cleaners on any outside surface that can trap moisture and allow mold to grow in the home. This includes ground slopes, paint, primer and any part of the home that can allow water to leak into the home.

Dust and dust mites

Other common allergens in the home are dust and dust mites. Dust can cause allergic reactions in people most commonly when they are stirred up by cleaning, dusting or vacuuming activities. If you take a long time between window cleanings, you could be stirring up this common allergen every time you clean the inside of the window fixture in the home. To help prevent this, clean the windows on a more regular basis and wear face masks while cleaning.

Dust mites thrive on moisture and warm temperatures, and can be a cause of very severe allergies in some people. If you suspect you may have dust mites, you need to make sure you have a normal amount of humidity in the home. According to the ACAAI, they thrive in environments with a humidity index of 75 to 80 and die off below 50.

Seeking professional help

If you or another family member are experiencing severe allergies inside the home, you may need some additional help to remove the cause of the allergies. Visit TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com today to schedule an appointment.

Why appearances are important

Posted on: April 20th, 2015 by townAdmin

 

When it comes to business, something that seems as trivial as the appearance of your storefront or office windows tends to be an afterthought. Business owners tend to be more worried about their employees, products, innovating, networking and strategic planning – not the last time the front windows and screens were thoroughly washed.

Unfortunately, what seems like an afterthought is more important than most realize. If your outward appearances show old, dirty or unkempt windows and screens, how should your customers, potential new employees or corporate contacts think about the rest of the way you operate your business?

Here are some of the reasons why outward appearances are more important than you think.

It’s the minor details

If you’re in an industry with a lot of players offering similar products or services, one way to stand out is to have the best outward appearance. This is true if you’re a restaurant in an area with a lot of similar cuisines, a telecommunications store in a sea of other telecommunications stores, and other examples of businesses that could use a winning edge.

Avoid the dealbreakers

Sometimes, potential new employees will focus on the minor details when deciding where they want to work. That attention to detail is actually a good quality to have in employees, so you wouldn’t want to lose a quality employee over poorly maintained window screens.

Make your establishment more valuable

Part of playing in the business world is having strong investments – including your storefront. If you have properly maintained windows and screens, that impacts one of your most important investments and pieces of capital that you have going for your brand.

This is all why it’s helpful to have companies like us around to take care of these issues for you – we’re experts at it, and hiring us takes yet another thing off your plate so that you can worry about running your business. For more information on what we can do for you, visit TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com today to schedule an appointment and find out more!

Jump right in to spring cleaning

Posted on: March 30th, 2015 by townAdmin

 

At long last, spring is here!

Gone are the dreary days of winter. Pretty soon trees will be growing leaves again; gardens will be sprouting vegetables; and it will be OK to go outside with a light jacket on.

With nature refreshing all around us, why can’t our homes and businesses do the same? Here are some tips to jump-start spring in your surroundings.

Bring in the light

One of the best joys of spring – other than how easy it is to buy strawberries at the grocery store again – is that we can looking forward to clearer, bluer skies compared with winter. With this opportunity for refreshing natural sunlight, don’t let it go to waste! You need to clean the inside and outside of your windows and other light-allowing fixtures in your environment. If you have screens, you’ll want to clean them too – dirt and build-up from the long winter has made them less see-through than you may remember.

Change the drapes

If you’ve installed heat-insulating drapes or plastic around your windows, it’s time to swap them out for light-colored spring drapes to match the season. Most winter-insulating drapes and blinds tend to be darker colors – are those really appropriate for spring? No – go for beige, yellow and mint green drapes at your earliest convenience!

Dig out the cleaning supplies

What’s a better introduction to spring than the crisp smell of cleaning carpets, surfaces and furniture? You may have neglected your inside cleaning routine this winter, but now it’s time to get back on track. Play it safe by using as many cleaning supplies as you can afford that are made from organic materials. You wouldn’t want any eight-syllable chemicals staining your tables or carpets.

Other spring prep tips

Your surroundings aren’t all that can use some changing this spring – you yourself do too! If you have a closet full of winter clothes, bring out the summer clothes. You may even be able to catch a quick sale. For business owners, you’ll want to make other changes as well. If you don’t have many plants around the office or storefront – or they died out from the winter – now’s the time to make the inside match the outside. Get some green around and you’ll have happier employees and customers.

Need more information on how you can improve your home or business this spring? Visit TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com today to schedule an appointment and find out more about our services!

Stave off S.A.D. with clean windows

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by townAdmin

 

We don’t like the wintertime in the Chicago area for many reasons. From the brisk below-zero temps, the icy roads to the snow-covered cars, there are many annoyances associated with this time of year.

But there’s something beyond simple annoyances that can occur in winter: it’s the season with the most cases of illnesses. There’s the common cold, of course, but there is also the flu us and more serious illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

But did you know that there’s a type of mental illness that is common to wintertime too? It’s seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) – a low-grade depression that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Seasonal affective disorder occurs when you don’t get enough sunlight – which is common when the sun is further away from the Earth or covered by snow clouds for large periods of time.

The further north in the United States you are, the higher risk you have of developing seasonal affective disorder. As citizens of the Chicagoland area, that makes our risk higher than normal – especially when you consider how often the sun is blocked by snowfall.

What can you do to prevent it?

If you are diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, your medical provider may prescribe supplements to counteract the Vitamin D deficiency you develop without proper amounts of sunlight. You may also need to take medicine prescribed by a psychiatrist if your seasonal affective disorder becomes a more serious depressive disorder.

However, it’s better to avoid getting seasonal affective disorder altogether. The best thing you can do is to get as much sun as you can during the winter months. We’d advise you to spend more time outside, but that would expose you to the harsh winter elements in addition to more sunlight. Instead, you should do whatever you can to get more sunlight inside your home and business.

That means you should make sure all your windows are as clean as possible – dirt and snow residue can block out the remaining precious sunlight that gets past the clouds. You may also want to consider replacing any windows and screens that simply don’t work anymore or don’t allow sunlight through.

You should also consider adding new windows to your walls or ceiling to add more sunlight into darker rooms in your house or business.

Need more information or want to schedule a window cleaning? Visit TownandCountryWindowCleaning.com today to schedule an appointment and find out more about our services!