All posts by wpadmin

Solar panels – do they have to be cleaned?

In the same way that we maintain the car to keep it working properly, so should we be looking after the solar panels to ensure that they are working efficiently. In the same way that we keep our windows clean, so should we be keeping the solar panels clean.

Common hindrances where solar panels are concerned, are dust, fallen leaves and grime carried by the wind, and bird droppings. A little dust is not a big problem, but it can reduce the efficiency of the solar system. Rain is likely to deal with a little dust reasonably well. But dirty panels will affect the power that your system generates, and this equates to monetary loss as your power bill will show.

Leaves and storm debris on the panels will block the sunlight. And worse than this, are bird droppings. So if you have trees nearby, you will get leaves, and you will get birds. Debris from both will build up over time, and it is important to check this out and get them cleaned on a regular basis.

Scientific tests have compared the yield from solar panels that are cleaned regularly, against those not cleaned. They state a 30% difference in yield.

If you live in an area of high pollution from factories or highways, or near the beach with salt and sand in the air, your panels may collect more build-up than the average house, and cleaning the panels becomes more and more important.

There are people whose job description includes cleaning solar panels. Obviously they have more knowledge about the processes than the average homeowner. But if you decide to clean the panels yourself, there are some tips to help you.

Firstly, keep safe. If it is possible to clean the panels from the ground, stay grounded. Don’t use anything that would scratch the panels, instead use a soft brush, a squeegee blade and sponge, with a long pole, and train your hose onto the panels. Start with just water and rub over with the sponge. If required, use a mild dishwashing detergent. Don’t use a high pressure washer, which may cause damage. And do it on a day which is not too hot, not too cold, not too sunny, and not raining. Too hot, and your hose water will evaporate on the panel quickly, perhaps leaving muddy residue. Too cold, and you won’t have any help from the weather to gradually dry out your panel. Too sunny, and you will be looking skywards and may be blinded by the sun. Obviously, if it’s raining, then the rain will do most of the work.

If you can’t reach the panels from the ground, please think safety first. If you have to go on the roof, it is recommended that you use a safety harness and hard hat. If this is not something you want to do, contact someone who has experience, like solar panel cleaning Canberra, to do the job for you. He will have the safety equipment necessary. You don’t want to injure yourself, or even lose your life, if you try to do it yourself without knowing exactly what you should do.

Organising the mess in your garage

You are not alone. The garage is where the car lives, but usually we don’t spend a lot of time there. We pass through the garage. So the garage is where we put things that we don’t want in the house. And because we don’t have to look at it very often, it just piles up and eventually becomes a mess.

When you’ve grown tired of tripping over the clutter in your garage, it is time to do something about it. Do some planning. Work out what can be culled and what must be kept. Set aside some areas where you can sort out your chaos. It may be better to do this on a fine day, for obvious reasons. Put all the bikes, scooters, skate boards etc in one pile. Other areas can receive your sports equipment, another for tools, gardening, another for toys, ….. whatever your household needs to store. It would be a good idea to keep related equipment together. Then you know exactly where to look for them, rather than rummage over the whole garage. Consider storage options, such as shelving, cupboards, hooks and hangers. Maybe spend some time in the hardware store storage section, and see what it easily available and how it can be used to deal with your particular needs. Remember of course how much space you have.

Consider high storage, so that the car can be parked underneath. Does the garage have rafters? Use them – ladders, surf boards and the ilk can be put up out of the way. Tools can go on hooks in a pegboard, or small tools on a magnetic strip. If you have relegated an old piece of furniture to the garage, put it to good use as a storage space. Make sure that whatever storage systems you use, will still allow room for your vehicle with its doors open. You need enough space to walk around the car. If you have closed cabinet storage, you also need to allow space for their doors to open, so they don’t bump into the car.

Keep things that you will use. Maybe not every day, or every month, but once in a while. But they can be stored on the high shelves, in the back corner. Don’t keep it “in case” you will use it, keep it because you “will” use it. “In case” is not a good reason to keep something. And don’t think you must keep something useless just because someone gave it as a present. Move it on.

One of your sorting piles should be dedicated to the things you can live without. Broken toys, old books/magazines/newspapers, legless chairs, the box the washing machine came in …. You really won’t use it again. If there are things you can do without, but they are still in good condition, someone else may be able to use them. Ask around. Check with a charity. RECYCLE.

But if you find that there is more in the RUBBISH pile than in the RECYCLE pile, you can call in the assistance of a rubbish removal company to cart it all away. They might take away the recycle pile as well, as they know the best ways to deal with those goods.

The What, Why, and How often, of pressure washing your home

What?

Pressure washing, or power washing, cleans vertical and horizontal surfaces using a strong stream of water to remove dirt, grime, dust and debris. It is easy to get hold of a pressure washer, they can be hired if you don’t want to buy one. The high powered water can reach high up a wall, and you probably won’t need to use a ladder. If you don’t want to do it yourself, contact a firm that includes Pressure Washing in its list of services.

Why?

Amongst the many benefits of regular pressure washing, is the fact that your home will stay looking great, but as well as this is the preventative maintenance on your home that inhibits the build-up of mould, algae, mildew and grime which can lead to damage. Keep a watch out for signs of mould and combat it as soon as possible.

How often?

To start with, it depends on the climate where you live. Hot or cold, humid or dry, the climate can dictate when you should think about washing the house. In most circumstances, and for best results, a general hose-over at the end of each season would be beneficial. Do it on a calm sunny day, so that the sun can thoroughly dry the house. These would be lightweight “in-between” cleans which will lead to a more substantial cleaning procedure perhaps every year or so. However modern building materials are designed to resist mould and mildew, and may not need to be cleaned so often. A simple answer to “How often” is “as often as you need to”. This, however, also depends on the following factors.

Other factors

If you live near or on a dirt road, it may be necessary to clean more often, particularly in the dry season. Pollution from heavy traffic can have a dulling effect on the appearance of your home. Local industry emitting heavier than air particulates leaves a considerable deposit on the surrounding roofs, walls and pathways over time, and a dull film can develop on the properties. A holiday rental house near the beach is affected by salt water and sand as well as the usual dirt and dust. A good pressure wash on a regular basis will keep it attractive to renters.  A storm may deposit debris and dirt over your property. Even the rain is not always “clean”, and can deposit dirt. Once again, “as often as you need to” applies in these circumstances.

Are you planning to sell your house? Pressure washing will make the house more attractive to potential buyers. Or if you are thinking of painting the house, a good wash will remove grit and dirt and it will be easier to apply the paint to nice, clean, dry surfaces.

Do you have trees close to the house? Be aware of problems from tree sap, foliage, and those who inhabit trees, such as possums and birds, which can leave unsightly deposits on your walls.

So the answer to “How Often” is not cut and dried. There are numerous answers to the question depending on where you live and what happens in your neighbourhood.

Carpets and Pets

So what carpet is best to buy when you have pets – usually for dogs and cats, not so much for goldfish or budgies.

The first thing you think of is, pets make messes, why buy a carpet if we have to keep cleaning up after the pet. So much cleaning up, so often, is not going to be unnoticeable in a carpet. But we want a carpet because it is soft, cosy, warm and comfortable. We love our pets, and they make such a difference in our lives. We want to do the best for them. Our doggies and kitties who spend time indoors are looking for comfort. If we try to be practical and choose to have hardwood floors or tiles, which are reasonably easy to clean, we are creating a problem for our fur babies’ little feet and legs. We humans who have to spend time standing on hard floors can commiserate. We like a soft life too.

Those little pets spend a lot of their time lying on the floor, and the little darlings certainly look comfortable. Maybe a lot of us would find happiness and peace if we join them on the carpet. Carpet also absorbs noise, especially the little tap tap tap of your fur baby’s little toenails.

You might wonder if the carpet is absorbing pet dander and other dust which can cause allergies and affect lung health. There is expert advice from a North American Allergy Foundation which has studied this problem, and they declare that wall-to-wall carpet traps allergens, which you can then vacuum out, as long as you vacuum often and also deep clean regularly.   

Here is some good advice on what type of carpeting you should select. Wool is a natural fibre, is softer and luxurious, fire retardant, and expensive, compared to synthetic fibres. Synthetic is more stain resistant than wool. Nylon is most popular, durable, affordable, stain-resistant, and most recommended for homes with pets (and kids, by the way).

Notwithstanding what has gone before, there are some carpets designed specifically to stop pet stains soaking in to the carpet. The moisture could mean bacteria and mould will grow in your carpet, and it goes without saying that this can affect the health of anyone, human, animal or avian.  This resistant carpet could solve those problems.

Carpet tiles are still around. They are a good idea. Consider tiles which can be replaced if they are badly damaged. Just make sure that Fido doesn’t get hold of the edge of the tile and have lots of fun pulling on it.

Your choice of colour or pattern can better hide pet hair compared to other colours. This is another idea when choosing carpet.

Make sure to tell the retailer that there are pets, so they can advise on various types of carpet which would suit your purpose.

And at the end of the day, when the carpet is laid and everyone is enjoying it, remember that to keep the carpet looking this good, it needs to be deep cleaned by professional carpet cleaning experts on a regular basis.

Avoid these costly guttering cleaning mistakes.

‘Yes, alright! Gutter Cleaning! Woo hoo! I can’t wait to clean my gutters!’ are words you will hear no one say ever in the history of the world. It’s dirty, it’s disgusting, you’re digging around in gutters cleaning out wet, muddy muck on a ladder high above the ground. No one wants to do it.

But, as people have said, repeatedly, over the course of history, ‘prevention is better than the cure’.

If you don’t clean your gutters, water becomes blocked up. Eventually, even in a normal rain event, the water will overflow the gutters and pool either on your roof or at your home’s foundations. Neither are good options, as water can cause expensive problems for both roof and foundation if left unchecked.

As unfun as it is, cleaning your gutters saves time and a lot of money later on. So, to avoid costly future repairs, avoid these mistakes:

Wait until the gutters are full before doing anything about them.

There’s another saying the people have repeatedly said that’s very appropriate to this situation: It’s ‘closing the door after the horse has bolted’. This one ‘cleaning the gutters only when they are full of water’ will probably never be as popular, but the meaning is the same.

It is too late to begin cleaning gutters when you notice they are full of water. Water has likely already trickled into the areas of your roof and eaves where you don’t want it to go, and is already beginning to cause damage.

Don’t bother checking your gutters after heavy winds and massive storms.

By all means, wait for the storm to be over, of course. Let’s not be stupid, but after the storm has gone by, just have a quick look at your gutters to see that everything is ok. If a problem has occurred, and parts of your gutter or roof have sustained damaged, waiting will only cause the problems to increase. Your gutters do not heal like your skin does. They just get worse and worse as time goes by.

Hire the cheapest gutter cleaners?

Price is not the be all and end all when it comes to hiring companies. Sure, we want to save money and the cheapest offer is always tempting, but there might be a very good reason such companies are so cheap. Cheapness does not equally quality. Cheapness doesn’t mean they are doing a full job. A cheap price is often just skin deep. They are designed to make you notice them, but the fine print on the price reveals that the job doesn’t do all that you want it to do.

Instead, go to a company that has a good reputation. What other people say about a company is often more reliable than what a company says about themselves.

Trust Implicitly In Gutter Guards.

Gutter guards are part solutions to the problem of blocked gutters. They can help lower the issue, but not eradicate it entirely. Some guards stop leaves and larger objects getting through, but still allow dirt and smaller objects through. Those guards that don’t have UV protections will fail and collapse very quickly. The gutter guards also make it very difficult for you to check whether there are any problems like rust and corrosion in the gutters.

Ultimately, the best solution seems to be finding a gutter cleaning company you can trust. They’ve been doing these jobs for a long time, and know precisely what they are looking for.

What Are The Best Ways To Clean Your House

I know what most of you are thinking when we say the words ‘clean your house’, but we’re not talking about vacuuming the floors, and picking up your kids’ mess. I’m talking about the outsides, the exterior walls and surfaces of your house.

Your exteriors can be made up of a number of different types of surfaces. Some exteriors are made from brick, others wood, stucco or stone.

These different exteriors require different types of cleaning. And I’m not talking about taking out your garden house. Your hose doesn’t have enough grunt to do the kind of cleaning that your exteriors need, even if you put your thumb over the end of the nozzle to increase the water’s intensity.

All Hail The Pressure Water Jet

Your exteriors spend a lot of time outside. Well, of course they do, it’s part of the name, but the outside has a lot of different elements trying to do damage to your exterior. There’s the sun beating down, the wind-blow dust pelting it from all angles, insects, and birds and other animals all doing their best to make the exterior surface’s life – if it had one – a living hell. Dirt, mould and mildew forms, and then grows and spreads, and your exteriors, once pristine and your pride and joy, now look like a set from a Tim Burton movie.

A high pressure water jet is the easiest way to clean off all that stuff. And it’s kind of fun, being in control of all that power. It kind of makes you want to throw mud at your own house, just so you can  clean it off.

However, don’t go down to your local hardware store looking for a pressure water jet to buy or rent, or filling up that big bucket of mud.

That is because …

Not All Exterior House Surfaces Can Handle High Pressure Water Cleaning.

Bum bum BUMMMM!

The water pressure those jets are capable of is 200 times the normal pressure of the atmosphere. You could cause yourself serious injury if you pointed it at your own feet. Each of the water droplets are so fine and being ejected at such velocity, they are all like tine pickaxes chipping away at everything they touch.

Stone and brick surfaces will handle this just fine. Other surfaces? Not so much …

Take your painted wooden exterior surfaces, for example; now if you didn’t really care for the paint colour of your exterior, then a high pressure clean might be just the ticket, because it’ll scrape the colour right off.

Is There An Alternative To High Pressure Water Cleaning?

Why, yes, there is, thank you for asking.

There is something called the Soft Wash process. With this process, Instead of water at high pressure chiselling all the dirt, grime and self-inflicted buckets of mud off the exterior, environmentally friendly chemicals are used to break that stuff down so that a low pressure, friendly water wash can rinse everything away.

But here’s the catch.

The catch is, since this process requires the appropriate use of chemicals in the correct variations, you should probably get professional pressure cleaners in to perform the process.

And even if the exterior surface can handle a high pressure clean, it’s still probably best to get a professional to do that as well, particularly if you have a tendency to be overly curious in wanting to see just how strong 200 atmospheric pressure is on your fingers. Curiosity killed the cat, but, in this case, stupidity could cut your fingers off.

What Can We Do About E-Waste

Firstly, what is E-waste.

As defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics: “waste electrical and electronic equipment that is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to function (including all components, subassemblies and consumables which are part of the original equipment at the time of discarding).”

The average person might have the following items in this non-exclusive list:

TVs, DVD players (entertainment electronics)

Computers and associated electronics, telephones, mobile phones

Appliances like fridges, microwaves, washing machines

Desk and floor lamps

Power tools

Electronic fitness machines, remote control toys.

Huge amounts of e-waste are generated in the world, containing raw materials that can be recycled, such as gold, silver and/or platinum. And in 2021 more and more e-waste will be generated. E-waste in Australia is the fastest-growing component of solid waste.

A low percentage (estimated at 20%) is collected to be recycled. What happens to the 80% is not known, and probably just dumped or traded.

Unprocessed and outdated technology finds its way into developing countries. Disposal methods there can be damaging to the environment, as they contain hazardous substances like lead, beryllium and cadmium. To burn these components will be dangerous to health and environment.

China used to take large amounts of e-waste from other countries, but China’s recent decision to discontinue this has left other countries with no market for their e-waste.

Significant quantities of the world’s gold and silver are used to make electronic devices, but very low and insignificant amounts are recycled from millions of tonnes of electronic waste. Elements such as tin, cobalt, antimony, as well as glass and plastic, and the previous metals, gold, silver, platinum, are available to be recovered, but only a very small amount is recycled.

Australians are disposing of their electronic devices, mobile phones, computers, televisions etc, into landfill. There is a National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, implemented to provide access to collection and recycling services, with more than 1800 collection services. Connect to their website to find recycling drop off points for TVs and computers near you.

Many don’t recycle old computers, thinking they might lose data, or make their data available to someone else. Most know that mobile phones are recyclable and able to be reused, but only 8% do anything about it. Australians are happy to recycle cardboard, paper and even printing cartridges, yet they need to improve when it comes to recycling electronic waste. In Queensland waste management facilities are well prepared to receive electronic waste.

A survey of 1,000 people in Australia’s major cities indicated that 43% keep their old devices just in case they might need them later. Only one third took e-waste to a designated e-waste site, and a quarter threw them in the bin.

Electronic waste can also be disposed of through rubbish removal companies dealing with electronic waste removal. They are able to dispose of every conceivable bit of household, office, factory or shop rubbish, including electronic waste, and you can be confident that everything will be delivered to the correct disposal centre.