Going Solar: The Benefits and Challenges of Solar Panels

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Going Solar: The Benefits and Challenges of Solar Panels

Solar panels are an excellent investment.

With technology improving every single year, the level of power they can provide for your home is continually increasing and energy storage provides non-stop power come rain, shine or solar eclipse.

Solar panel maintenance is essential though and being aware of the potential issues of rooftop panelling will maintain efficiency and give your panels a longer lifespan, providing free power and better return on your investment.

Follow these five tips to make more of your solar:

1. Clean Surfaces Make More Power

Salt residue, leaf litter and day-to-day grime can build up quickly on your panel surfaces. Over time, the efficiency of your panels will decrease, making less power and reducing your return on investment. By keeping your panels clean, you will maximise their effectiveness and make your money back far sooner.

2. An Added Fire Hazard

As we have mentioned before, leaf build-up in gutters, valleys and elsewhere can create a potential fire hazard and increase your property’s damage risk in the event of a domestic or bushfire. Solar panels also create potential a collection point for loose, dry leaves and increased fire risk. By regularly cleaning around and beneath your panels, you will remove this hazard.

3. Vermin Love Solar Too

It’s warm, it’s cosy and it’s sheltered from the rain – what better place to roost, nest and raise your young than under a solar panel! Birds, mice, squirrels and other vermin view solar panels as prime real estate and this can be a disaster for homeowners in several ways.

Pigeon poo can become toxic over time and can damage your solar panels, surrounding roof, the paving below, and even your health. Nesting materials are not only messy, they will also add to that fire risk we mentioned. Lastly, there’s the noise factor. Between the squawking and squeaking, vermin can make for restless nights and frustrating days, so preventing the issue with wire mesh and other devices has numerous benefits.

4. Smaller Pest Issues

It’s not only larger vermin that can create dramas with your solar panels; smaller bugs and insects can also take up residence around your solar panelling. The issue with this is twofold: firstly, they can damage and decrease the lifespan and efficiency of your panels. Secondly, termites, cockroaches and other pests can migrate into your home, causing damage to timbers and property.

By using pest control products, you can eliminate or deter infestations and avoid these issues.

5. Gutter-Vac is Your One-Stop Solution

Cleaning your own solar panels is an option, but without an angled roofing ladder it can be both challenging and dangerous. Also, if there is a build-up of pigeon mess, protective equipment will be essential to keep you safe.

Without the correct tools, you can risk scratching or damaging your solar panels, reducing efficiency, voiding warranties and potentially breaking them completely.

Pest control products can also be damaging to your health so again, without the correct gear, this can be a risky job to tackle yourself.

Gutter-Vac franchisees are fully equipped to deal with all of these circumstances, removing the hassle and risk of tackling the job yourself.

Using specialised products, we remove and deter pests of all kinds with repellent solutions for insects and long-lasting coated stainless steel mesh to prevent vermin from nesting beneath or around your solar panels. We also use professional clips for vermin mesh, protecting your panels from damage without voiding warranty.

Professionally maintaining your solar panels is essential to help keep them efficient and protecting your return on investment for many years to come.

Contact Gutter-Vac today for a quote on your solar panel maintenance.

Your Checklist to Getting Organised this Christmas

The countdown to Christmas has definitely begun. We are making a list and checking it twice! Most of us are spending Christmas at home this year, so we thought we would compile a list to get your home looking great for the occasion. Plus, it’s always a nice feeling to move into the New Year with your home space feeling fresh.

  • Get the kitchen organised. Clean the fridge, freezer, and pantry in anticipation of more leftovers and cooking supplies. More Tupperware containers can be handy. Freeze, label, and date food.  Make sure food is kept at correct temperature. Check out Queensland Health’s factsheet here.  As a quick guide, cooked turkey should be eaten within two days of cooking, and don’t reheat more than once. Smoked salmon should be eaten within three days of opening. Whole cooked ham can be kept in the fridge for five days, and two days if it is sliced. For more info, check out this article.
  • You may also want to consider booking in a service for your fridge given the busy-ness of the kitchen this time of year.
  • Clean the Barbie. From our research, the best method is to use oven cleaner and let it sit for about twenty minutes or so, (depending on the type of cleaning agent applied), before thoroughly washing off.
  • Give the outside of the house a freshen up. Are you considering taking Christmas lunch outdoors this year? Then it is worthwhile considering getting your outdoor entertaining area up to scratch. It is the perfect time to attend to the jobs you’ve been putting off!
  • If you’re filling the Esky, make sure you have adequate ice to keep the drinks cold!
  • Service your air-conditioning system to keep it functioning well ahead of hot summer nights.
  • Get medical appointments sorted, and keep medications on hand before medical practitioners close for the year.  
  • Check Christmas lights and tree. Make sure the lights don’t overload and trip the circuit.
  • Consider having a pest professional treatment for ants and other pests.  
  • Think about a plan to minimise flies ahead of the big day. Make sure fly screens are intact etc.
  • Ensure the car is up-to-date with servicing ahead of any road trips.
  • Keep cooked bones and chocolate away from pets. Many vets can attest to chocolate poisoning in dogs this time of year.
  • Clean the pool/ check the pool filter if you have one. Make sure the pool fence is secure.
  • Make your home smell enticing for guests. You don’t need artisanal expensive candles to make your home inviting. A simple trick is to place home made fragrances, (think condiments, spices, even fruit) into a saucepan, cover with water and leave to simmer away.  Theses natural aromas will make your home smell like Christmas! Just make sure to keep an eye on the pot and top up the water accordingly. A good Christmassy combo is orange peels, apple slices, cinnamon, and start-anise.
  • Lastly, stay safe and keep your wits about you. It is a scary thought, but Christmas is a prime time for home break-ins. Make sure your home is secure to prevent break ins, (apart from Santa of course).

This year has been challenging for many of us. We think a well-deserved break with loved ones is in order! Organising the biggest date of the year is much more simple with some early planning. Whatever your plans, the team at Gutter-Vac wish you a safe and happy festive season!

Look out, snakes and pests are about!

So you’ve just had a pestie over to your home in time for the notorious summer pest season in Queensland. Well done! But what about your gutters? Are you aware pests love neglected gutters, and snakes love the smorgasbord of mice and rats they can provide? Unkempt gutters can undo all the good work of a pest professional!

This year’s warmer weather has resulted in an earlier snake season in Queensland. Typically peak snake season runs from October to November. Snakes are drawn to gutters in suburban homes looking for food. They can then enter the roof space and will need to be removed by a professional, (if you wish to have them removed). This may incur a fee. It is illegal to have them removed by any other means than a registered snake catcher.

A registered snake catcher may be able to perform roof and ceiling inspections also. Have you heard in noises in your roof lately? It could be carpet pythons slithering in your roof space. Carpet pythons are non venomous but their 80 backward facing teeth can inflict a painful bite. Not too mention, it can be tricky to tell the species apart, unless you have a trained eye. Did you know most snake bites occur from people who are trying to kill or capture a snake? The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection says that snakes generally opt to retreat when people come across them, but they can become defensive if they feel threatened. They are usually more scared of you, but it is definitely a job for a registered snake catcher if you wish to relocate them.  

While snakes may be busy preying on rats and mice in your roof, these rodents can also cause separate problems. Rats can carry diseases and parasites. They are also renowned for gnawing roofing materials and wiring. This may result in a potential fire hazard.

Other handy hints to prevent pests in your home include:

Seal any holes and gaps in your house, apart from weep holes!

It is important to ensure weep holes are kept clear. These are tiny holes in the external wall. Their purpose is to prevent moisture buildup in the wall cavity. Yet, weep holes are often overlooked, and covered by gardens etc. If they are blocked, this can greatly increase your risk of termites, which is a homeowner’s worst nightmare!

Regularly clean your gutters. Pests love moisture and debris in untidy gutters.

Dispose of rubbish and keep your outdoor areas tidy.

Remove any potential food sources.

Position trees away from your home or keep them well trimmed.

If you have a chicken coop, ensure it is kept clean. It is not so much the chickens that the snakes are after; rather the mice a dirty coop can attract.

Regular pest inspections are recommended.

So what are some signs of pests to look out for?

  • Droppings and smear marks.
  • Evidence of nests.
  • Shedded or moulted skin is a sure sign of snakes.
  • Teeth marks.
  • Blisters in wood flooring can indicate termites.
  • Mud tubes can also indicate termites.
  • Strange noises.

Having your home treated for pests is not the finish line you may think it is. One of pests favourite restaurants may be in your roof! If you don’t want snakes around, cleaning out your roof space will give snakes less incentive to hang about. And rodents will be less drawn to your roof if your gutters are clean and free from organic matter. Stay on top of the situation by preventing pests from getting inside in the first place! Once they get in, they can prove to be very difficult and costly to get out.