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Finally: The Best Way to Clean Windows

Window CleaningEver thought you did a great job washing your windows, only to return to streaky glass once everything is dry? Most of us can attest to just how annoying those streaks are. That’s why we researched the best way to clean windows once and for all. Here’s how to get a clear, sparkling finish each and every time.

Get the Right Equipment

One thing you’ll need to invest in for this project is a small squeegee, preferably with a long, detachable handle. You should be able to find a high-quality squeegee for right around $20 at your local hardware store, with higher-end models costing up to about $40 and more basic models available for as low as $5. We recommend a squeegee with a durable rubber blade for the best results.

Here’s the complete equipment list. All these items are inexpensive and readily available at just about any big box or hardware store:

  • Squeegee, as mentioned above, with extra blades just in case
  • A five-gallon plastic bucket
  • Dishwashing liquid, like Dawn or similar
  • Scrubber or sponge
  • Lint-free rags or towels

Get Prepped

Fill your five-gallon plastic bucket with two gallons of cool water and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. That’s all there is to it!

Get Started with the Best Way to Clean Windows

Step 1

Dip your scrubber or sponge in the bucket of solution and be sure to wring out the excess water. Scrub the glass all the way to the edge and be sure not to skip an inch. You’ll want to use different angles and really get in there. This helps get rid of the patterns of dust and dirt that rain and wind can cause. Once you feel as though you’re done scrubbing, it’s time to grab that squeegee.

Step 2

Start by cleaning a narrow strip of glass vertically on one side (think a one- or two-inch strip closest to the frame on one side). To do this, tilt the squeegee so that only a corner comes in contact with the glass, then drag downward. Repeat on the other side. This will help ensure you get the soap solution off every bit of the glass.

Step 3

Next, drag the squeegee across the top of the glass horizontally. You’ll need to make sure you keep the top of the squeegee in contact with the top edge of the window.

Step 4

This next part is super important: be sure to wipe the rubber blade of the squeegee on a lint-free cloth or towel after every pass across the window. While it might just be the most tedious part of washing windows, if you don’t wipe the blade, you risk moving the dirt and debris around and creating those infamous streaks we mentioned earlier.

Step 5

Continue to work down the window horizontally, overlapping the previous stroke. As you work your way down, you’ll probably notice excess water accumulating near the bottom of the glass. Taking time to remove these drips is another key step in preventing streaks. Take a clean lint-free cloth or towel and run it along any areas that appear to have water droplets.

And repeat, repeat, repeat till all your windows are shining! If you have to break out the ladder to reach upper stories, we recommend using a ladder stabilizer, and better yet, requesting the help of a friend or family member.

You can use this method to clean the inside of your windows, too. You’ll just need to take a few extra precautions to avoid getting water and cleaning solution everywhere. Try laying down a tarp under any window you happen to be working under.

National Property Inspections Helps You Invest with Success

NPI is your authority on all things home maintenance. Our inspectors have the knowledge and expertise to assess the major components of a home, helping you make the best choice when it comes to buying and selling real estate. Call us today to schedule your appointment.

April 2017: Doors and Windows

Ask The Inspector

Doors and Windows

Windows and doors in a commercial or residential property can be important for aesthetics, safety and energy efficiency. The location, type, size and number of windows affects air movement and access to light in the home. Besides impacts on overall safety, the location, style and number of doors determines the flow of traffic through the house.

Ask The Inspector

Understanding the type, function and condition of the windows and doors before you move in can help determine what maintenance might be necessary in the future. A National Property Inspections professional will assess the safety of doors and how well they seal. A representative number of the windows on both the exterior and the interior of the home will also be checked. On the exterior, the inspector checks the overall condition of the windows and doors, including the presence or absence of a sealant-like weather stripping or caulking.

Inside, the inspector will check window and door operation and insulation. The inspector will also look for the presence of screens or storm windows and breaks or cracks in the window panes. If conditions allow, the inspector will assess thermal pane windows for evidence of problems with the seal.

For more information on window and door inspections, contact National Property Inspections.

Be Advised

Is the Roof on Your New Home Installed Properly?

Buyers and Realtors often don’t see the need to have a newly constructed home inspected, or they prefer to wait to get a builder’s warranty inspection. A builder’s warranty inspection is a full home inspection to find any builder defects in a house prior to the expiration of the builder’s one-year warranty.

Be Advised

Some of the problems we find with newly built homes are issues with the roof. Many reputable builders assume that they’ve hired quality professionals to perform the installation of a roof. There are cases where the employees of these contractors are inexperienced or cut corners to get a job done on time.

It’s good practice to hire a qualified home inspection expert to check all facets of a newly built home, and that includes the roof. When you go to make a major financial decision, like buying a new house, make sure to get all of the facts on the quality of your new home.

Snapshots From The Field

Can You Guess what is wrong with this picture?
Snapshots From The Field

  1. There is no access to the electrical panel
  2. The cabinets are installed wrong
  3. There are too many cabinets

Correct Answer 1.The cabinet installation blocks access to the electrical panel, which must be kept clear to avoid fire hazards.

Noteworthy News

Prevent Hot Water Burns

Protecting young children and others in your home from burns caused by hot water can be a concern. Water temperatures over 120° F (48° C) can potentially cause scalds. That’s why a water temperature assessment is part of a general home inspection.

Noteworthy News

This assessment has two parts: First, the inspector uses a thermometer, usually held under the water in the shower while operating at least one other water fixture to determine any significant changes in water temperature.

The temperature in the shower is adjusted to about 105° F (40° C). Next, the inspector will flush the toilet and turn on the sink. If the water temperature in the shower shifts more than five degrees, the inspector will note it in the inspection report. This same test is also used to help assess and report on water volume and flow in the home. The inspector will note visible changes in the water volume or flow when all three fixtures are operating.

To test the general temperature of a home’s hot water, your inspector will turn on the hot water in the kitchen and test it with the thermometer. Inspectors frequently find that a home’s water is too hot, but the temperature setting usually can be changed on the water heater to protect people in your home.

Maintenance Matters

Window Cleaning Tips

April is a good month to uncover the windows and let in the sunshine. Dirty windows can seriously dull the moment, so consider a good washing first.

MAINTENANCE MATTERS

Take off the screens. Lay them on a flat surface. Wet the screens thoroughly. Scrub lightly, being careful not to bend the material in the screen. Repair holes. Open any weep holes blocked by sealant, dirt or paint. Open weep holes help pull moist air out of the home and prevent mold and mildew. Reapply weather stripping or sealant. Vacuum any debris from inside the sill and replace the screens. You can use a fine steel wool to clean the tracks to prevent sticking.

If you can, clean and repair windows on cool, cloudy days. Warm, sunny days tend to cause windows to dry too fast, leaving behind streaks and spots. Reassemble windows and enjoy some terrific natural light indoors.

If you are using a ladder to reach the outside of windows, it might be a good time to check the gutters and downspouts for build-up, debris or damage. Clean out any leaves, twigs or other items that may be clogging gutters. Check the manufacturer instructions and follow and safety precautions every time you use a ladder.

Did You Know?

Bringing Electricity Home

Do you know where your home’s electricity comes from? The electrical connections powering today’s homes start at a transformer on a pole or somewhere on the ground near the house. Transformers on the ground signify buried electrical lines. Transformers on a utility pole mean the electrical lines come into the house via overhead wires.

If your electrical lines are buried, they won’t be visible outside your home. However, if you have overhead electrical wires, you should regularly take a look at them for safety reasons. Damage to the wire or insulation around the wire can cause electrocution, so look for those things. You can likely check the overhead wires from the ground, and you should never touch the electrical lines.

Height regulations for electrical lines vary from one city to another. For general purposes, all electrical lines should be out of reach of people, vehicles, ladders and other equipment. This includes areas above pools, decks, porches and balconies. Electrical wires should also be clear of trees or other obstructions, including the corner of the house or the edge of a gutter, which could cause abrasion and expose bare wires. Finally, electrical lines should not touch other utility lines entering the home, such as the telephone or cable line.

Monthly Trivia Question

Before Spring, Spring time and Springing time, what was the season known as based on an old English word?

  1. Lent
  2. Advent
  3. Epiphany
  4. Pentecost

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbuck’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

April 2016: Grading and Outdoor Inspections

Ask The Inspector

Q. What did my inspector mean when he talked about grading and slope when we walked around the outside of my house?

A. The exterior of your house is just as important as the interior systems when it comes to a well-functioning, well-sealed structure. Because of this, your home inspector should begin the inspection long before they ever reach the door, assessing grading, utility hookups, walkways, decks, driveways, windows and doors, roofing, and exterior cladding or siding.

Ask The Inspector

The grading around your home’s exterior helps prevent water intrusion, which can cause wood rot, mold and mildew. Proper grading also prevents structural movement and damage, keeps out unwanted pests, and helps regulate temperatures inside your home.

Preventing water intrusion begins with the grading of the lot, or the way the ground is shaped around the house. For best results, the ground should visibly slope away from the structure (positive slope). Negative-sloped grading around a home (the ground slopes toward the house) can cause water to pool at the foundation and eventually soak into the walls. Positive slopes move water away from the home and help prevent damage to the foundation.

When a house is built at the bottom of the hill, swales (small ditches) may be built to direct water around the house and away from the foundation. Your home inspector should assess the property’s slope and grading, noting the specific location of negative slope or pooling water. One common problem area is the garage apron. If the flooring is not poured with proper slope, then water will run under the door and pool inside. Inaccessible or obstructed areas of the foundation will also be noted in your inspection report.

Be Advised

Prevent Hot Water Burns

Protecting young children and others in your home from burns caused by hot water can be a concern. Water temperatures over 120° F (48° C) can potentially cause scalds. That’s why a water temperature assessment is part of a general home inspection.

Be Advised

This assessment has two parts: First, the inspector uses a thermometer, usually held under the water in the shower while operating at least one other water fixture to determine any significant changes in water temperature. The temperature in the shower is adjusted to about 105° F (40° C). Next, the inspector will flush the toilet and turn on the sink. If the water temperature in the shower shifts more than five degrees, the inspector will note it in the inspection report. This same test is also used to help assess and report on water volume and flow in the home. The inspector will note visible changes in the water volume or flow when all three fixtures are operating.

To test the general temperature of a home’s hot water, your inspector will turn on the hot water in the kitchen and test it with the thermometer. Inspectors frequently find that a home’s water is too hot, but the temperature setting usually can be changed on the water heater to protect people in your home.

Snapshots From The Field

What’s Wrong With This Photo?

Snapshots From The Field

  1. Nothing. The grading is positive-to-negative slope, going the right direction.
  2. The grading is negative, and there’s no water-intrusion barrier on the foundation wall.
  3. This slope of the grading will make a great moat and water feature for the home.
  4. Code doesn’t require a water intrusion vapor barrier on solid poured concrete walls because concrete is waterproof.

Correct Answer 2.The slope of the grading is positive to negative — which is the wrong direction. Also, there is no water intrusion barrier on the foundation wall. If left uncorrected, this will likely cause water intrusion problems for the home owner.

Noteworthy News

Moving With Pets

Moving can be a stressful time for the whole family, and especially for your four-legged family members. A little forethought can help make the transition to a new home easier on your pets.

Noteworthy News

Visit your veterinarian before you make the move. Make sure to get copies of your pets’ records, including vaccination records. You also may want to check state and local laws in the area you are moving to. Some areas may require additional vaccinations or specific information for licensing.

During the moving period, try to keep your pet’s schedule as familiar as possible. Don’t change foods or introduce new foods if you can help it. And, if you have dogs, try to walk them every day as usual, even though it may be difficult to remember while you’re busy preparing for the move.

Avoid leaving pets alone in a parked car. On warm days, temperatures can reach over 120° F (48° C) in just a few minutes. When moving, either bring pets to the new house first and then close them in a bathroom, or close them in a bathroom at the old house and move them last. This will prevent your furry friends from getting lost or injured while you’re loading and unloading boxes and furniture. Place a large, “DO NOT ENTER,” sign on the door and inform anyone helping you to avoid that room.

Finally, make sure your pet wears identification at all times. Open doors and trips in and out of the house during a move are the perfect time for pets to escape. A collar with identification tags and a microchip may help find your pet faster.

Maintenance Matters

Don’t Let Dirty Windows Dull Your Home

April is the perfect month to clean the winter grime off your windows and let the sunshine into your home. Here are some tips to help you get gleaming windows.

MAINTENANCE MATTERS

  1. Remove the window screens. Lay them on a flat surface. Wet the screens thoroughly and scrub lightly, being careful not to bend the material in the screen. Repair any holes in the screens.
  2. Clean windows from the inside of your house using window cleaner and a soft towel or newspaper. Did you know that newsprint works wonders for a streak-free shine? It does, so put those old newspapers to good use. To clean the exterior side of windows, you may need a ladder. If you have second-story windows or very high windows, you may opt to use a window cleaner that attaches to your garden hose. These cleaners are available at any home improvement store and offer an easy, affordable way to clean hard-to-reach windows.
  3. You should also open any weep holes that are clogged by sealant, dirt or paint. This will help pull moist air out of your home and prevent mold and mildew.
  4. Reapply weather stripping or sealant around the window. Vacuum any debris from inside the sill and then replace the screens. You can use a fine steel wool to clean the window tracks to prevent sticking.
  5. Reassemble the windows and enjoy the terrific natural light.

If you can, clean and repair windows on cool, cloudy days. Warm, sunny days tend to cause windows to dry too fast, leaving behind streaks and spots.

If you are using a ladder to reach exterior windows, it might be a good time to check the gutters and downspouts for build-up, debris or damage. Clean out any leaves, twigs or other items that may be clogging gutters. Be sure to follow proper ladder safety guidelines at all times.

Did You Know?

Bringing Electricity Home

Do you know where your home’s electricity comes from? The electrical connections powering today’s homes start at a transformer on a pole or somewhere on the ground near the house. Transformers on the ground signify buried electrical lines. Transformers on a utility pole mean the electrical lines come into the house via overhead wires.

If your electrical lines are buried, they won’t be visible outside your home. However, if you have overhead electrical wires, you should regularly take a look at them for safety reasons. Damage to the wire or insulation around the wire can cause electrocution, so look for those things. You can likely check the overhead wires from the ground, and you should never touch the electrical lines.

Height regulations for electrical lines vary from one city to another. For general purposes, all electrical lines should be out of reach of people, vehicles, ladders and other equipment. This includes areas above pools, decks, porches and balconies. Electrical wires also should be clear of trees or other obstructions, including the corner of the house or the edge of a gutter, which could cause abrasion and expose bare wires. Finally, electrical lines should not touch other utility lines entering the home, such as the telephone or cable line.

From Our Blog

Is the Roof on Your New Home Installed Properly?

Many buyers and Realtors often don’t see the need to have a newly constructed home inspected, or they prefer to wait until the 11th month after purchase to get what is known in the industry as a builder’s warranty inspection. A builder’s warranty inspection is a full home inspection to find any builder defects in a house prior to the expiration of the builder’s one-year warranty.

Some of the problems I find in newly built homes are roof installation issues. I am sure that most reputable builders assume they are hiring qualified professionals, but sometimes they simply are not and the roofing contractor they use may have a lot of “rookies” working in their company. Based on my observations, many of these rookies have not received enough training.

Click here to read the rest of the blog post.

Monthly Trivia Question

What real estate board game became the best-selling game in America just one year after it was created in 1934?

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbuck’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.