Many of our customers live in the Port Orange, Ormond Beach, New Smyrna Beach or Palm Coast areas. Servicing Volusia and Flagler Counties we have seen every kind of window. From the oldest Florida home with windows that won't open to the construction home we did cleaning for last week. With all this experience, we thought we should share with you some entry level ideas on things to consider when window cleaning.
The most important piece of information is to make sure you put window cleaning on a scheduled basis. Paying attention to your windows on a scheduled timeframe will allow you to notice issues that pop up quickly. You can handle these issues while they are still small and not bigger problems that will take more time and money to fix.
Our best practice is to stick to the seasons. When a new season comes around, that's the perfect time to schedule a window cleaning. In Florida, there isn't a lot of fluctuation in temperature, but minor fluctuations along with heavy rain and hurricanes will cause your windows to expand and contract. Lifting the windows each season gives you a direct view of what is happening with your home. You can not only clean out the tracks but also make sure the locks, levers, moving mechanisms and alarm systems are in working order. By doing this you are extending the number of quality years you will get out of your windows.
Another aspect to consider when thinking about why you should schedule window cleaning is the build up of rust, grime and mold. This happens when you don't move your windows for an extended period of time. Think about it like not driving your car for 6 months. When you go to start it up, you will probably have some problems getting it to run smoothly at first. When it comes down to it, the mechanics of your windows, if you aren't using them all on a weekly basis, need to be worked out so they will function properly.
Protecting the Glass - Part 1
In Florida, a lot of the sprinkler systems are run off of well water. This type of water is very hard by nature with many impurities that will dry and harden on your glass, frames and side of your home. Sprinklers can be a homeowner's worst nightmare when it comes to window cleaning. The problem with most sprinklers is how they are setup. Either they are located in a hard to water area or their spray is not adjusted properly. Unfortunately it is pretty costly to dig everything up and reset their location, but if your spray pattern is off, it can do wonders by simply giving it a small adjustment. The goal is to water the plants and not the house or windows. This may be something you can adjust yourself but you may need an irrigation specialist to help you make sure it is still covering your plants.
Unfortunately, even with your sprinklers adjusted correctly, the wind can blow the hard water back onto the glass. From our experience, the amount of hard water stains that occur from this is far less in comparison to direct streams of water hitting the glass.
The bigger problem with sprinklers is the possibly more expensive damage they do over time. If you have a steady stream of water hitting your window frames everyday, you are bound to end up with rot, rust and leaks in a much quicker time than usually expected. As you will notice, the further you get into properly maintaining your windows, the more a regularly scheduled approach to window cleaning becomes necessary.
Protecting the Glass - Part 2
If sprinters aren't an issue, here are a few more to be aware of living in the Florida environment. Something that you may not think about everyday but is definitely a concern, is bird poop. Yes, it sounds funny, but birds have aim like no other animal. And how they always find nice clean windows to hit we don't know, but the truth is they are out there working against you. The longer their poop sits on your glass, the harder it is to get off. It will take more time and potentially scraping to make sure you get it all off the glass. This can lead to more problems. When a window needs to be scraped, you can end up with a scratched window. When scraping a window, it takes care, attention and technique to do it right. If the person scraping the glass doesn't do it right, you may have to replace it. All that from a bird using your window as a toilet.
Another common occurrence in Florida is shotgun fungus. This kind of fungus lives in mulch and as it heats up it will explode little spores all over whatever is around it. If it hits your windows you will need to scrape it off. There is no way around it. This one is hard to believe if you haven't had it happen to you. For proof, watch this video. The cure typically involves keeping your mulch turned ever so often. The longer you let the mulch in your plant beds sit, the more likely you are to have this fungus grow and become a problem.
Protecting the Glass - Part 3
Probably the most common element we see keeping our customers' windows dirty and causes other issues, if not kept clean, is salt spray. Obviously if you live near the ocean you are going to have to deal with this facet of beach life. But, what if you live a little more inland? Unfortunately a large number of our customers that live in Port Orange and west New Symrna Beach still experience salt spray on their house and windows. Again, a scheduled window cleaning maintenance will help you easily work through this problem.
Lastly, you need to know about one other element when thinking about window cleaning in Florida. Atmospheric staining is not something you will see on the glass but more on the metal window frames and even the gutters of your home. Atmospheric staining usually looks like light grey streaks on the aluminum or metal and is caused by fall out in the environment. It is a tricky thing to explain but fortunately there is a solution. In order to remove it, you have to scrub it by hand with a special cleaning mixture.
Florida is a harsh environment but if the proper measures are taken, it can be thoroughly enjoyed. I hope these tips have been helpful as you work to keep your windows clean.