Your Seasonal Guide to Home Maintenance

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Top Franchise 2017

Your Seasonal Guide to Home Maintenance

Now that you may be spending a little more time at home, it’s the perfect opportunity to get your home projects sorted. Whatever the weather, here is a step-by-step guide to keep your home in tip-top condition.

Autumn

With the weather cooling down, now is a good time to spend time in the garden and lap up the lovely autumnal afternoons.

If you are into gardening, or just looking for an excuse to get some fresh air, it’s an excellent time to plant some bulbs for spring. Mulch your garden beds to help the soil retain heat. Do some pruning for the coming winter months.

It may also be a time when your trees drop most of their leaves before they go into their winter slumber. Book in for a gutter clean before the leaves decay and cause havoc.

To protect your home, your gutters ideally should be cleaned in preparation for increased rainfall in winter.

Winter

We are fortunate enough in Queensland to have relatively mild winters. Sometimes we experience a few cold snaps though. If you have a fireplace, you will know there is something special about basking in its warm cozy glow during chilly evenings.

Did you know Gutter-Vac also cleans chimneys? A clean chimney means the air in your home is safe and fresh. Aim to book in at least once a year. With our Gutter-Vac technology, your space will be left immaculate and tidy during the process. Check window and door seals around your home to prevent heat escaping. Consider giving surrounding trees a trim to let more winter light permeate your home. This is also an important step to fire-proof your property.

Brisbane City Council outlines August through to December as the fire season. They recommend taking preventative bush fire measures before the season starts, so winter is ideal to get fire-resistant. Leaves in your gutter are definitely a fire hazard. It is important to clear combustible material such as dry grass and tree branches that are low-lying or hang over the property. The gutter guard we recommend, Gutter-Flow, is a V0 rating fire retardant. It does not continue to burn without a flame, and does not dispel burning droplets of material if alight.  

Spring

The arrival of spring signals the start of ‘spring cleaning’ and de-cluttering around the home. Flowers are blooming and baby birds are chirping. Sometimes though, birds will take up residence in your gutter. This is important to monitor, as clean gutters will probably be less enticing for them to make nests than soft, leafy ones. Not to mention, snakes are easily drawn to this environment. Get in touch if you would like to learn more about our bird proofing solutions. Also, after harsh winter conditions, it’s a good plan show your deck and outdoor areas some TLC with a water pressure clean and re-seal.

Summer

Along with outdoor BBQ’s and balmy afternoons, summer can also bring extreme heat and wild weather. Your roof will bear the brunt of hail and heavy rain during our Queensland summer storms. If you have a tiled roof, make sure it is secure as loose tiles and high winds are a dangerous combination.

During summer, a great deal of dust and debris becomes airborne which lands on the outside of your home. Our pressure cleaning service is ideal to refresh your exterior.

The hot and humid summer conditions can also entice pests to breed. Don’t give them an opportunity to forge a home in your gutters as they can quickly infest the interior.

Gutter-Vac can help you keep your home feeling fresh and inviting all year round. Sit back and relax while we get to work on your home beautification.

How you can use your gutters to collect rainwater.

Thinking of your water bill with dread? There is a simple and free alternative.

Especially if you are in area where water shortages are on the rise, it is always good to have a back up plan.

Why not invest in rainwater? It is possible to be self-sufficient, eco-friendly, and reduce your mains water bills by 100%.

The easiest way to harvest rainwater is by installing a water tank.

The initial outlay of a tank may be a tad expensive, but it pays off in the long term. After all, we use water everyday, and every little bit can make a difference. Rainwater has a multitude of uses. It can be used for the garden, laundry, and home cleaning.

Garden lovers rejoice

Have you ever noticed how lush and green the garden is after a good drenching of rain? Natural rainwater isn’t chlorinated, and is higher in nitrogen than regular tap water. These factors are great to boost your buds, according to leading green thumbs. Your indoor plants will love it too.

Cut costs

The comforting sound of rain pattering on your roof can also be music to your budget.

The quality of water flowing from the gutter can affect filtration costs. Filtration technology is largely simple and easy to maintain. Yet, when rainwater flows down into the tank – the dirtier the water, the quicker the filtration system needs to be changed. It all starts with a good gutter! 

Have you checked out Gutter Guard yet? It keeps leaves and debris out of the rainwater collection system. If there is a lot of organic matter going into the rainwater tank, it will break down, and cause smelly rancid water.

Another budget-friendly benefit is that rainwater is naturally ‘softer’ than tap water, which may lesson the need for fabric softener when washing clothes. However, you need to make sure the harvested rainwater is suitably filtered to prevent discolouration on laundry items.

Is it safe to drink?

With the right filtration system, rainwater can be used for drinking. Some say it is even tastier than tap water.

There are options when it comes to choosing a filter system. For instance, some people opt for a “first flush” device to divert the initial few litres to the garden to eliminate any coarse debris. Not to mention, a well-maintained roof is key to optimise water purification.

Refer to the Australian Environmental Health Committee for further advice on water quality and testing.

Most filter canisters should be changed every six months or so, depending upon the amount of sediment they collect. If you notice the water pressure dropping in your system, it is a sign that your filter needs changing.

How to choose a tank

If you have decided to install a rainwater tank, the next step is to find one that best suits your needs.  

Firstly, estimate how much rainfall is expected in your area. Search the Bureau of Meteorology to get an idea. The tank size will also vary depending on where you live. You may want a larger tank for more security in scarce rainfall areas.

Consider what purpose you are using the water for. A large garden irrigation project will obviously need more water for example.

Next, calculate how much water your roof can harvest. Multiply your rainfall (mm) by roof surface area (m2). Here is a handy calculator by Tankulator.

Depending upon the size of your backyard, you may want to consider whether an underground tank, or above ground tank is best.

Once you have established this, it is important to stay within council guidelines to prevent flooding issues, and correctly manage overflow.

Did you know Gutter-Vac also offers a tank cleaning service to leave your water crystal clear, and ready to go? Get in touch for a free quote.

How mould in your home can be a health risk

It is no secret mould thrives in damp environments, and Queensland has been experiencing a high level of rainfall in the last couple of months. However, did you know hidden mould may be posing a potential health threat to you and your family?

There are a number of ways this unsightly, unwanted visitor can creep its way into your home, and it all starts with damp, ill-ventilated areas.

If your house has insufficient roof drainage, it is quite common to find a coating of mould on roof tiles.  This can then weaken the structure, and may make your roof more vulnerable to leaks.

Also, left untreated, mould on the roof has the potential to spread to other areas in your home. Mould spores produced outside can easily transpire into the home through the air.

Walls and ceilings are prone to mould growth due to poor insulation or rainwater leaking through the roof.

Mould in your home has associated health problems such as asthma, even if you do not have a pre-existing allergy. Pregnant women, children, and those with pre-existing allergies, respiratory conditions, or immune disorders are most susceptible.

The Australian Allergy Centre recommends cleaning your gutters on a regular basis to minimise mould risk.  They highlight the importance of keeping your house structures dry by ensuring adequate roof drainage. 

Symptoms of mould allergy include:

  • Sneezing, coughing
  • Eye irritation
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat
  • In some cases, fatigue
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Dry skin

You can identify mould by tell tale splotches, spots, streaks, or ‘fuzz’. It can be a variety of colours such as grey, black, brown, green or white. It is also often accompanied by a musty odour.

It should be removed as soon as it is noticed to prevent further structural damage and minimise potential health risks.

It is recommended to get your roof inspected and gutters cleaned at least once a year to stop the problem before it starts. Mould feeds on organic matter such as decaying leaves, and dust. Damp matter lying around in the gutter is a smorgasbord for mould.

Other ways to prevent interior mould include making sure damp areas such as the kitchen and bathroom are well ventilated by opening windows regularly and maintaining general cleanliness. Repair leaking plumbing as soon as the problem presents. Also, make use of exhaust fans if applicable. A natural vinegar solution works quite well to clean areas inside. Pop some vinegar in a spray bottle and spray onto mouldy areas. Wipe off with warm water after an hour. Exercise caution when using commercial bleaching solutions as this may cause tiles to become more porous, which in turn can make them more prone to mould.  Also, sometimes bleach just changes the colour of the mould, without eradicating it.

Externally, if the mould problem is covering a large area, or if members of the household are sensitive to mould, it is best to call in the professionals.

Mould overgrowth on your driveway or other concreted areas can be a serious slip hazard. However, this is easily resolved through pressure cleaning, which is a service we also offer.

Get in touch if you would also like to learn more about EnviroClean, which is a safe and environmentally friendly strategy for exterior surfaces.  It is fantastic for roofs, paths, driveways and walls. Best of all, it reactivates every time it rains so you can keep mould off your mind.

Before and After…

Before storm season hits, you should check that your insurance policy is current and what it covers. Check if your policy adequately covers your home and if your policy includes the clean-up and disposal of debris. It is important to keep in mind that if your gutters and downpipes haven’t been regularly maintained, you could be unwittingly voiding your home insurance! It is worth getting a professional in to service them before the bad weather hits, providing you with a record of having them serviced. At Gutter-vac Brisbane Central we can provide you with Before and After photos and a Roof & Gutter report, which may be vital in the case of an insurance claim. Better safe than sorry!

Gutter-Vac National Multi-Unit Franchisee of the Year 2013

Phil and Leanne Valencour were awarded the top gong for Multi-Unit National Franchisee of the Year 2013 at the recent Gutter-Vac National Conference.

Phil and Leanne own and operate four Gutter-Vac franchises:

Congratulations Phil and Leanne on a fantastic result!