Q&A With Squeaky Clean Windows Founder Todd Belton

Todd - Squeaky Clean Windows

Squeaky Clean Windows

How and when’s the best time to clean my windows, empty out those gutters and install my Christmas lights?

Recently, Who To Call’s Alana Kitchen sat down with Squeaky Clean Windows founder Todd Belton to glean some expert advice on just that and more.

It can get pretty confusing purchasing outdoor Christmas lights with so many types and sizes to choose from. In your opinion, what are best options?

The two main choices today are “traditional” incandescent bulbs, and the new LEDs.

LED seems to be the hands-down winner simply because they use about 25 times less power.  Granted, traditional lights are brighter, and they have a warmer feel to them (maybe because they can get pretty hot, unlike LED), but then again, there are so many options available with LEDs today that incandescents are on the brink of extinction!

Just go to your local Canadian Tire store, press some buttons and plug some in – you’ll probably light up with the wonder of Christmas… But don’t buy them there!

I mean, you can, but they, along with so many other retailers have slowly been giving in to that terrible thing called “planned obsolescence”.

I don’t know exactly who the villain is behind it – I’ve personally experienced LED Christmas lights becoming worse with respect to quality.  It’s almost a joke, some of the products stores sell today. I am aware of this since I deal with them all the time.

I know it can be hard to do, but try to avoid brands with replaceable fuses and bulbs with plugs looking like something out of a sci-fi movie and many more deviations from the norm.  Manufacturers are trying to commit you to their own brand – making it so that nothing mixes and matches anymore.  Spend wisely so your lights end up lasting more than one festive season.

The best two places I know with reasonably good quality Christmas lights are RONA (yeah Canadian!) and believe it or not, London Drugs. I might have better news in the future as people are looking to import better quality lights. I will keep you posted.

Todd - Squeaky Clean Windows 2

When should we book to have outdoor lights installed?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Calgary homeowners could just call a company and have them work on their house or yard right away? I’m actually laughing right now because anyone worth their weight in gold would be booked for weeks to come!

This factor combined with Calgary’s totally unpredictable weather patterns make it hard to say “when” someone should actually book because we usually don’t think about Christmas lights until first snowfall.

As an installer, it’s ideal that people should book by Thanksgiving (Oct. 13) since snow and ice are terrible things to work around while on roofs and ladders.

With the changing seasons of Calgary, When’s the best time to get windows cleaned? And how many times should we do it a year?

Many factors come in play here, but apart from finances and minor details like street cleaning, many Calgarians like to have their windows cleaned twice a year, such as spring and fall.  The big question in Calgary is….when is it actually spring?

I find the month of May is always an incredibly busy time. People usually begin thinking about their windows in April (even though there’s still snow on the ground). The sooner you call the better, because as much as you hate to wait, we hate asking you to!

Other people prefer to have them cleaned once per year. In this case, you might want to go for the driest month of the year, August. For once-a-year cleaning I often suggest inside and out maintenance, but for twice-a-year cleans, I recommend only doing the insides once.

What’s the most effective way to clean household screens?

To start off, I’d say don’t feel too bad if your screen is permanently stained because most are. No matter how you clean them — once they dry — from certain angles they might look stained. For the most part though, if you wet the screens with water and then dry them off with a towel, they’ll look good as new.

From a window cleaner’s perspective, we’re focused partly on speed so the method I choose for screens depends on what condition they’re in.

Sometimes a simple dry-wipe will work and sometimes a wet towel-wipe is the perfect choice.  If they’re badly stained, we do have to charge extra so we can take them all outside, hose them down, and then wipe them clean with a towel.  Our towels are usually completely black by the end but the screens look amazing!

And gutters?

I find most homeowners want to clean them in the fall when they’re overflowing with leaves, but unless you do it yourself, it can be a challenge to get it done on time.

Once all Calgary’s leaves have fallen we’ve usually had a number of snowfalls, which means any ice inside the eaves will slow down the process and often make gutter cleaning impossible. Keep in mind that even though it might be a nice warm day, the sun doesn’t always shine into the gutters melting snow and ice.  Once the temperature dips below zero a couple times, there’s just no getting the gutters done until spring thaw.

For Calgary, the bottom line timeframes would be May and onwards (I prefer mid-summer) and not much later than Halloween. FYI: unless your water is pouring over the top, it’s actually not that big a deal to wait until summer. I’d clean them once a year if there aren’t lot of trees nearby. No trees probably means there’s not a lot in them except shingle sand, in which case that’s probably a once every 5 year job.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Todd. If you’d like to discuss doing a Q&A with Alana Kitchen please get in touch! We are excited to share good information with our readers about home maintenance and finding great service providers to work with, and did not ask for payment of any kind for this article.

Alana Kitchen is Founder and CEO of Who To Call Inc., a website that connects Calgary homeowners with quality home service professionals. Leave a review, browse our listings or  claim your company profile to help others know who to call. Visit www.whotocall.ca today!




Alana Kitchen
Alana Kitchen
Alana Kitchen, founder of Who To Call Inc. Taking care of a house with three boys I always needed a good drywaller on speed dial. When I moved to Calgary I quickly discovered it was an Olympic sport to find home service businesses that provided the quality service and advice I was looking for. This experience inspired Who To Call – a website dedicated to helping Calgarians find quality home service repair companies. Sign up to post your project and find quality companies today!
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