Overflowing and blocked gutters in Winter.

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Overflowing and blocked gutters in Winter.

It’s that time of year again when gutters start to overflow.  Why is this?

Over the year (or more if it has been a while since you last had your gutters cleaned), they have been collecting dust, dirt, leaves and other debris.  This debris has been broken down with the weather and water into what we term a gutter sludge.  It is kind of like a mud.

This sludge, along with the debris that hasn’t broken down can build up to a point where it blocks your gutter from allowing water to flow through it and down through your downpipes, away from your home.

Now you have overflowing gutters.  The biggest issue is, that if you see water overflowing from the front of your gutter, than you will most certainly have water flowing over the backside of the gutter, into your home.  We don’t need to tell you, but this is the start of potentially very expensive water damage to you home.

This is why we can recommend how often you need to have your gutters cleaned.  Some homes that don’t have a lot of debris or tress around may only need a service once a year.  If you live in a very leafy suburb with particular types of trees, you may need to have your gutters cleaned twice or even three times a year and in these cases, we would talk to you about Gutter Flow a type of gutter guard we use to space out your gutter cleans.

So if you have overflowing water from your gutters, you most certainly have a blockage and this is a sign that you need to have your gutters cleaned…. Asap.

Give us a call on 1300 654 253 and we can give you a free quote. 

Does cleaning solar panels really matter?

Yes, cleaning solar panels does matter.

Over time, the surface of your solar panels will collect dust and grime.  This dust and grime will actually reduce the efficiencies of your solar panels and the amount of electrical power they will produce.  This is why it is important to clean your solar panels.

But before you go up and try and do this yourself, there are some things to note.

  • Lots of water, on a roof, with no safety equipment is a disaster waiting to happen so don’t DIY
  • You shouldn’t use chemicals on solar panels as this can damage them
  • You need to look out for wires – especially if birds or critters have been ‘nibbling’ on them
  • Special brushes should be used to clean solar panels

It is always best to leave this to the professionals to do, but rain alone will not clean your solar panels.  A bit like rain on the windscreen of your car gets it wet, but it is the windscreen wipers that clean the window.

So yes, it does matter if you do or don’t get your solar panels cleaned, but it also matters on how they are cleaned.  #leaveittotheprofessionals

What’s that growing on your roof?

So when was the last time you looked up at your roof?  Do you have some mould or lichen growing up there?

This is not uncommon in Australia due to our weather and mould and lichen can be unsightly, but it is also not something you want on your home for a healthy home.

This is NOT a DIY job.  You should never try and get up on your own roof and try and clean off mould and lichen.  Just being on a roof can be potentially unsafe, but add to that the slippery surface of mould and lichen and you could be in real trouble before you even begin.

We work in two ways for customers to remove this mould and lichen.

  1.  Apply and wait

This of course is the cheaper of the two options as we simply apply our product ‘EnviroClean’ to the surface.  Over time, the ‘EnviroClean’ goes to work on the spores and kills them off.  Every time it rains, the EnviroClean is re-activated to kill off more spores and wash away the mould and lichen that has in effect died.  This can take up to 12 months to see a result.

2. Instant Clean

Our second option is to pressure clean the surface to remove as much mould and lichen as we can instantly.  We then apply the EnviroClean to kill off the spores left behind so that they don’t reform and regrow more mould and lichen.  Obviously a great investment as it is a two-step process, but if you want an instant result, this is what we do.

Don’t put up with mould and lichen on your roof.  Give us a call today to get a quote and just let your local franchisee know if you are wanting an instant result or if you are happy to wait for a result.

The danger of DIY gutter cleaning

I know we are coming at this with a biased perspective, but we also know the hidden dangers of what appears to be a simple task of cleaning your gutters yourself.

Many home owners – young and fit… some not so young and not so fit as well – will look at their single story home and figure how hard can it be to put a ladder up against the wall and grab a bucket and scoop their gutters cleaned by hand.

Now, we won’t even touch on the ineffectiveness (and messiness) of cleaning your gutters by hand, but let’s talk about safety.

Many home owners start with simply the wrong type of ladder that is not tall enough for the work they are about to perform.  Did you know that a ladder should extend past the roof line by at least 1 metre?  Also that if on a step ladder, you should never stand on the top of the ladder?  There is usually even a warning label urging you to not go beyond said point.

Then our DIY home owner – with the wrong ladder or even with the right ladder – doesn’t secure the ladder.  It is on unstable and an uneven surface and not attached to the property in anyway.  We always secure our ladder to the property at the gutter level and this can be done in a number of ways.

Next, when the home owner is at the top of the ladder, they decide to reach out as far as they can to avoid having to move the ladder several times to make their way around the property.  If you have the wrong sized ladder, on uneven ground, that is not secured to the property AND then reach out too far, you are absolutely destined to lose your balance, push the ladder in the opposite direction to where you are reaching and this all ends up with you falling to the ground.

Falling just a couple of metres may not seem like a big fall, but trust us, that is far enough to do some really serious damage.

We had a customer who simply did this to grab out a few small tree branches after a storm and this exact situation happened.  He ended up not being able to work for 6 weeks after that fall and was lucky not to have any permanent damage to his back. 

Don’t risk a fall, give us a call.  It really isn’t worth the risk to your own safety for what seems like a simple task, but is also potentially a really dangerous task if not done with right. 

What is a roof and gutter report?

At Gutter-Vac, with every vacuum gutter clean, we do a roof and gutter report, but what is that you may ask and why would you need it?

Basically, we do a once over whilst on the roof of your property.  We know that you are not going to – and probably shouldn’t for safety reasons – climb up and walk all over your roof, but there are things that could be happening on your roof that need repair, but if you don’t know, then you won’t fix.

That’s where we come in.  We will go over your roof and your gutters and put together a short report to let you know the state of things up there.

It could be as simple as some cracked tiles or some rust spots on a tin roof through to a leaking air conditioner or holes or damage to your roof.

Our property managers in particular love this report because it gives them the information they need for the owners and it doesn’t cost them a cent…. We do it complimentary with every gutter clean.

Over the years, we have saved many a home owner from a near miss with a big issue that they didn’t even know what there.  We have had customers who have water damage in a corner of their property because a tile was not in place through to air conditioners that were leaking water and not working properly.

It is a little thing, but at the same time it is a big thing.  That’s what a roof and gutter report is and why we do it.

Winter Survival Tips

Winter is here and that means the temperature is about to drop, especially in the southern states of Australia.  We thought it was timely to give you a few little winter tips for survival… not just for you, but also for your budget! 

  1. Eat well – it is time to increase the fruit and veggie intake and make sure you are eating well over the winter months.  It is so easy to ditch the healthy eating for all those yummy winter foods, but we all know that more fruit and vegetables will help our overall health and wellness, plus keep those colds at bay.  A great hint… add some garlic to your sauces as garlic is a traditional remedy and prevention for colds and flus.
  • Layer Up – we know the benefit of this at Gutter-Vac as we are working outdoors, on roofs, cleaning gutters so through winter layering up is a great way to not only keep warm, but as the day progresses, to be able to take some layers off.  This is a great tip for everyone, not just those of us that work outdoors because it is common in Australia to have a cold winter’s morning, but by the afternoon it can feel like a warm spring day.
  • Keep your energy bills lower – this tip combines a number of items that will all help keeping your energy bills lower or not needing to crank your heater up.  They are all simple things that make a difference. 
    • Shut curtains and blinds (particularly after the sun has gone down) as heat is quickly lost through glass windows. 
    • Close up any unused rooms so you are not trying to heat your whole house. 
    • Cover up draughts under doors with ‘draught snakes’ – did you know that 25% of heat loss in winter is caused by ‘air leakage’?
    • Cover bare floors with rugs
    • When sitting, watching TV, why not grab a rug rather than simply turning the heater up.  When sitting your body temperature will drop, so cover up.
  • Exercise – yes, we know the urge to hibernate is great, but exercise will not only keep you fit and healthy, it will also fight off those winter blues, so rug up and get out for a walk or a run.  Why not try hot yoga or grab a friend and exercise together.

Winter may not be your favourite season of the year, but if all else fails, why not embrace the winter months and organise a trip to the snow!  For some of you, a trip to the snow might be as simple as opening your back door and you will have a winter wonderland in your own backyard!

Keep warm and put on another layer…. We will be!

Increase the efficiency of your home with your insulation

Coming into the winter month’s we are all thinking about how to keep our houses warm, but also keeping our energy bills down.  There is a hidden secret to this and that is your insulation.

Yes, by all means you should be checking all the seals on doors and windows, making sure your heaters are performing efficiently, close your blinds and warm only the parts of the house you need, but when did you last inspect your insulation?

Insulation plays such a bit part in keeping your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer, yet we often don’t think about it?

Insulation doesn’t last forever and especially if you have some little critters running around in your ceiling cavity, your insulation may have broken down and not performing at its peak.

At this time of year, we start to do a lot of what we call ceiling cavity cleans and a lot of these are not just for the dirt and dust build up in your ceiling cavity (which by the way, if you have asthma is a good thing to remove to help asthma attacks from fine dirt and dust particles dropping through the ceiling) but also to remove the old insulation. 

Insulation can be messy stuff and it is not easy or as simple to remove as people assume.  Plus once removed, you want to give the ceiling a good vacuum clean to remove all the dirt and dust before new insulation goes down.

Now working in a ceiling cavity, removing or installing insulation or even doing a simple dirt and dust vacuum should not be done by just anyone.  This can be a dangerous task and should be done by a professional.  When we are about to do a job such as this, we will walk you through what needs to happen – such as turning off power – and how we will go about the job on your property as no two properties are the same.  Always, always hire a professional who knows what they are doing.

So if you are wondering if your home is ready to keep all that warm energy inside and that cold winter weather outside, don’t forget to check your insulation as it could be the hidden secret to keeping your energy bills lower this winter.

Why we remind customers about their next gutter clean….

How often do you stand around just thinking about your gutters?  Or more importantly, when they were last cleaned?

Not often, if ever right?

How fast does a year go?  Pretty fast right?  Remember what was happening this time last year?  The whole world was in a big shake up, but it seems like it was only last month doesn’t it?

This is why we remind customers when their next gutter cleaning service is due because they are not standing around thinking about their gutters or when they were last cleaned and secondly, they didn’t even realise it had been a year since they last had them cleaned!

We know and understand this so we make it our business to take care of your gutters and that includes reminding you when they are next due for a clean.

When it is time, we will send an email or a text a few weeks before hand.  All you need to do is reply and let us know if you are happy for us to come again – you don’t even have to be at home when we come!

We try and make it as simple as possible for you to have your gutters cleaned which is an essential home maintenance task, but stop thinking you need to remember when your gutter clean is due, let us remember for you.

Cleaning Gutters for Lifestyle Villages

Have you noticed how many lifestyle villages are popping up all over Australia? 

These little communities are often for just the over 50’s who want to downsize and live in a smaller community (no matter how big the greater city is).  They don’t need care as in medical care, but they do realise they are getting older and want to live independently, but not without a community to keep an eye out for them.

Enter the lifestyle village.  Not a retirement home or an aged care facility.

All the residents own their own properties, but generally they are paying what would be considered a body corporate fee to the managers of the village to take care of all the external items of their home.  Mowing of lawns, fixing of outside gates, fences, solar panels and gutter cleaning!

The residence need not worry about getting their gutters cleaned on what is usually a small villa in the village.  The managers organise this and that’s where Gutter-Vac enters.

Because we can effectively and efficiently vacuum clean the gutters, we are fully safety trained and insured to work at heights, we are popular amongst lifestyle village managers.

They like that we can get the work done fast, but more importantly, they like that we are respectful to the residents and will stop and have a chat for a moment.  In fact, our biggest problem is that they continue to try and feed us and give us cups of tea all the way around.  Not that you see us complaining when handed a yummy scone with jam and cream or a freshly baked lamington!

But more importantly, we are able to get the gutters cleaned in a safe way so that the residents do not have to attempt to do this themselves and in fact, they don’t even have to organise it!

Something for Mum….

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and if like us, you want to share the love and show your Mum how much you care.

We talk about this all the time at Gutter-Vac that sometimes the best gift is not one that is bought simply at a store, but one that comes with thought of the person you are buying it for.

Of course, we totally support local small businesses so we hope that you will too, but stop for a moment before buying Mum the same thing you buy her every year, why not think a little outside the box.

What does she love?  What are her hobbies?  What would SHE like?

Most Mum’s love a thoughtful gift that is accompanied with quality time or an act of service so how could you add a little extra wow to your gift for your Mum.

Here’s some suggestions to give you a helping hand this Mother’s day.

  • A book

May seem simple, but what if it is also given with the day off!  Mum can curl up and have cups of tea (or coffee) delivered to her all day.  She doesn’t have to leave her favourite reading spot and you deliver all food to her.  PLUS no one asks her a question all day!  A simple gift of a book could be her favourite gift all year…. One day of guilt free reading!

  • A photo album

Imagine finding all of your favourite photos that are of memories of good times with your Mum.  Place them all in an album – doesn’t have to be a particularly special album either – and then when you give it to her, you take the next hour or so to talk about every photo in the album and the whole family can share stories of that memory.  It could take you the whole afternoon to go through a simple photo album.

  • Flowers

Does your Mum love to garden?  Imagine giving your Mum a single flower but attached to its stem is a gift card to the local nursery.  Make a day of it.  Go and help her get all her plants then come home and help her plant them.  Imagine the chatting that would happen working in the garden with your Mum whilst you create a memory to hold onto forever.

  • Chocolate

An old favourite to give to your Mum on Mother’s day, but how could you make it a real wow?  Perhaps with each chocolate, there is a note to your Mum.  Maybe something you love about her or maybe a story to share.  Then she gets to play ‘lucky dip’ on each chocolate to find out the memory or story you want to share with her.

  • A rug & slippers

This one might seem a little bizarre but in May, it is starting to get cooler so a rug she can put over her knee and a pair of cosy slippers might be just the thing she needs especially if you pair it with some freshly cooked popcorn and a movie marathon.  Now with things like Netflix, we can dig out all of those favourites – old and new – and make Mum’s day.

Take the time to make this Mother’s Day one your Mum won’t forget because rather than just a standard gift, you put in a little thought and not only give a gift, but also create a memory she won’t forget.