Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Before you know it the leaves will start to float down from the trees, and the days will start to get a little shorter.  As the summer days turn into autumn, take some time to prepare a list to get your home ready for the colder months ahead.  This article is a helpful guide of fall home maintenance tips for your home.  To save time, money, and the hassle—it is a good idea to hire a professional to do the work, so you do not miss an important detail to secure your home for autumn and winter.

Clean & Inspect Gutters

Gutters should be inspected and cleaned a couple of times a year, particularly if your house is surrounded by trees.  Make sure you have your downspouts cleared as well, so water can flow away from your home.  Clogged gutters can cause water to overflow and settle near your foundation, which can cause major issues and even damage your foundation.  As old man winter creeps into town, make sure gutters and downspouts are functioning properly, so ice dams don’t form and damage your home.  Be sure the downspouts are clean and flowing away from your walkways and driveways, so the frequently traveled areas do not become icy and hazardous.

If you have wooden gutters, be sure to have them cleaned and oiled to prevent wood rot.  Wooden gutters should be oiled or painted with a sealer at a minimum of every other year, but should be treated every year.  Another important factor with wooden gutters is that the gutter should maintain the seal on the corners and the gooseneck.  M. Annis can remove the dirty zebra stripes that rear their ugly head on the exterior of your gutters.

Landscape & Yard Maintenance

During the summer months, your lawn may need watering in the morning and evening.  But as the seasons change, it is time to taper off the continuous watering.  In the fall, take some time and aerate your lawn or hire a professional to do it for you.  This is a good time to fertilize your lawn to strengthen grass roots and spread grass seed on those unattractive patches. 

If you have a sprinkler system, contact a local sprinkler company to blow out your lines and prepare your sprinkler system for the winter.  Be sure to disconnect your garden hose and drain the water from pipes that lead to outdoor faucets.  Take a look around your yard at the trees to see if there are any potential dangerous branches and have them removed by your landscaper before they become a problem.  The last thing you want is a broken branch to ruin your deck or roof.

Windows & Doors

Inspect your windows and doors for drafts and leaks that may cause loss of heat.  If you notice cold air trickling in through the windows, consider purchasing a window insulation kit from your local hardware store.  One other option is to hire a professional to come in and caulk drafty windows and doors.  Foam sealant is effective for larger gaps around doors, windows, baseboards, and other places you notice leaking air.  A more expensive option is to add storm windows over single-pane windows or replace windows with more energy efficient double-pane windows.

If you feel air leaking in through your doors, you should replace the weather stripping.  Inspect door bottoms and thresholds for air leaking.  If needed, replace the door bottoms and thresholds with flexible or rigid sealing gaskets, such as: felt, reinforced silicone, “frost-brake” threshold, fin seal, bulb threshold, fin seal, and interlocking metal channels.  This is where a professional can help save you time and possibly money in the long run by installing what is best for your home.  Click here for tips on sealing air leaks.

Check The Heating System

Take a moment to examine your vents and heating ducts around the house—clean the dust and debris as well as to ensure there is nothing blocking the air flow.  After cleaning the dust off your vents, inspect your heating system and change your air filter.  During the winter months, you may want to change your air filters every month.  An HVAC contractor may be worth the time and money, so you can get your heating system inspected and tuned up and have piece of mind going into the winter months.  The HVAC technician will also be able to detect if there is harmful levels of carbon monoxide being emitted from your heating system.

Fireplace & Chimney Checkup

If you haven’t had your fireplace and chimney inspected, it is time to have a professional come in and sweep the chimney.  The last thing you want is to start your first fire of the fall or winter and encounter smoke invading your living room.  Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends having a chimney sweep every year.

Check Fire Safety & Smoke Detector

Before you crank up your furnace, take a moment to check your smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and other safety systems in your house are functioning properly.  If you do not have a fire safety plan, now is the time to create a plan for your family.  Click here for fire prevention resources and a guide to create your fire evacuation plan.

Plan Now

Before the leaves change, create a plan and call an industry professional to help prepare your home for the winter.  As homes age they react to changes in the seasons, so it is essential to perform routine maintenance to your home.  Be sure to have an industry professional inspect your roof, steps and handrails to ensure they are functioning properly.  By hiring a professional you can elude increased energy costs and damage to your home.  Feel free to call us to help you create a home maintenance plan.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Benefits of Professional Window Cleaning

Some homeowners have taken on the task of cleaning their own windows, but the benefits of hiring a professional are more significant than you may think.  Although hiring a professional to wash your windows may cost more than your sweat equity, but when you take into account the advantages to hiring a pro you will realize it is worth the minimal investment.  Below is a list of some of the benefits to hiring an experienced professional to wash your windows.

  • Better results
    • A professional window cleaning company is most likely going to leave your windows looking much better than you expected.  Most homeowners are more than capable of cleaning their own windows, but given the experience, equipment, and professional cleaning solutions, you will see why a professional window cleaning company produces better results than most homeowners.
  • Extend the life of your windows
    • The routine cleaning of your windows can protect and extend the life of your windows.  Over time, your windows will gather dust, dirt, oxidation, and other corrosive substances.  Regularly cleaning your windows will help remove contaminants, such as: acid rain, hard minerals, and mildew.  The key factor is to remove these contaminants before they cause permanent damage, like the effects of oxidization.
  • Saves homeowners time
    • Juggling all the balls that life throws at us can seem daunting to say the least.  Most of us try to figure out how we can spend more time doing the things that we enjoy, rather than spending our precious time washing windows.  Most homeowners can do the job, but what may take you all weekend, will take our team of professionals just a few hours.  The professional team at M. Annis has the experience to effectively and efficiently wash your windows, so you can spend your time doing the things you love.  With over 80 years of experience caring for Greater Boston’s fine homes, we pride ourselves on providing a high-quality service that you can trust.  
  • Affordable option
    • Hiring a professional window cleaning company is probably not less expensive as doing the job yourself, but there are several other factors to consider when doing a price comparison.  If you consider the amount of money spent on professional staff, ladders, environmentally friendly cleaning solutions, and equipment, it is easier to understand the cost for the professional service.  Looking at the cost of your time, plus the cost of supplies and equipment, then you begin to see the real value of hiring an established company.
  • Additional services
    • Most professional window washing companies offer multiple services, which can save you time and possibly money.  M. Annis also offers the following services: gutter cleaning, pressure washing, roof washing, house washing, painting, on-site drapery cleaning, snow removal, and home repairs.  By purchasing three or more services, we offer our customers a 10% discount.  Having a company like M. Annis take care of all your home maintenance issues, provides you with a hassle free solution for all your home enhancement needs.
  • Safety
    • If your house has more than one level, then you are going to spend a lot of time on a ladder cleaning your windows.  Why not leave it to the professionals to navigate the ladder and equipment to get your windows sparkling again?  Cleaning the interior of your windows also has the added benefit of cleaning away mildew and dust from inside your home.
To receive a free estimate on window cleaning, please click here or call us at 617-527-0078.

Below is a list of the towns we are serving, as well as Metrowest, North Shore, South Shore, Greater Boston, and Cape Cod:

Brookline, Cambridge, Arlington, Newton, Chestnut Hill, Boston, Lexington, Winchester, Dover, Weston, Waltham, Belmont, Sudbury, Wayland, Swampscott, Marblehead, Lincoln, Bedford, Concord, Woburn, Burlington, Wellesley, Natick, Medfield, Sherborn, Needham, Milton, Westwood, Foxborough, Sharon, Walpole, Canton, West Roxbury, Cohasset, Hingham, Scituate, Marshfield, and more.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Benefits of Roof Cleaning

One popular myth about black stains and algae on roof shingles means that it is time for a new roof.  The presence of algae, lichen or fungus does not necessarily mean your home needs a new roof, but it does signal that your roof needs attention.  Many of our clients have contacted us about the black and green stains expanding across their roof.  The majority of roof stains are caused by algae, lichen, and/or fungus growing on your roof that can drastically decrease the life of your roof.  

Gloeocapsa Magma is the type of roof algae that feeds on the inorganic materials on your roof.  The granules that protect and color your roof erode over time, but with the presence of algae and lichen the integrity of your shingles is further compromised.  Shingles that are supposed to last 20 to 25 years are in some cases being replaced in 7 to 10 years.  Most likely the roof is discolored because it is being attacked by algae, moss and lichen.  Asphalt shingles are manufactured with limestone as the base material, which is what the algae feed on.  The result is a premature loss of the granules and deterioration of the shingles.  Over time, the limestone filler is loosened from the shingles causing the roof to lose its ability to reflect sun-rays, which can overheat the roof.  Black algae causes more heat to be absorbed from the sun, increasing your energy costs while you are using your air conditioning.

Moss and lichen embed into the top layer of the roof shingles and starts to spread as it eats away at the limestone.   As time passes by, moss and lichen continue to invade the spaces between the shingles causing the shingles to lift, which makes the roof more vulnerable to wind damage and leaks.  Roof moss and lichen retain water, which promotes other damaging biological growth.

If you are selling your house, then roof cleaning will greatly enhance the curb appeal.  Potential buyers see black stains and algae growing on your roof, which leads buyers to believe that the house needs a new roof.  We have had clients in the past that have had their houses sitting on the market with little or no activity because of their discolored roof.  After cleaning the roof, they started to see more activity and serious offers.  As mentioned before, the advantages to cleaning your roof are the following, but not limited to: enhances curb appeal, extends the life of your roof, and is a fraction of the cost of replacing your roof.

Contact us today at 617-527-0078 or to learn more about M. Annis Home Enhancement Services.

Below is a list of the towns we are serving, as well as towns in Metrowest, North Shore, South Shore, Greater Boston, and Cape Cod: Brookline, Cambridge, Arlington, Newton, Chestnut Hill, Boston, Lexington, Winchester, Dover, Weston, Waltham, Belmont, Sudbury, Wayland, Swampscott, Marblehead, Lincoln, Bedford, Concord, Woburn, Burlington, Wellesley, Natick, Medfield, Sherborn, Needham, Milton, Westwood, Foxborough, Sharon, Walpole, Canton, West Roxbury, Cohasset, Hingham, Scituate, Marshfield, and more.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Home Maintenance Tips: Washing your house and roof

After a long day at the office, there is no better feeling than arriving home.  As you pull in to your driveway, you notice that the roof and vinyl siding are starting to look dingy.  After a while, algae, lichen, and moss invade your roof and siding, leaving the exterior of your home looking stained and dirty.  Home maintenance is often overlooked by homeowners, but it should be a priority to preserve the beauty and integrity of your home.  The cost for routine maintenance is minimal compared to the cost of repair and replacement.

Have you noticed black stains and moss growing on your roof?  The dark stains are known as Gloeocapsa Magma, which is a hardy species of algae that can be very difficult to remove.  The algae should be removed from your roof in a timely and safe manner.  Algae feeds on the limestone that is part of your roof’s shingles.  If left unattended, the algae can eat away your shingles until they need replaced.  This can be avoided if you call on the team at M. Annis to perform some preventative cleaning.  M. Annis uses a soft wash technology with low pressure to clean the surface, as well as an application that helps protect the roof from future growth.

Another home maintenance tip is regular house washing.  To maintain the curbside appeal and value of your home, regular cleaning of the exterior of your home is essential.  Neglecting to clean the algae, dirt, and mildew from the exterior of your home can cause permanent staining, fading, and irreversible affects to your home’s facade.  M. Annis has the experience and technology to deliver a safe biodegradable cleanse for your home to help protect it from future stains and grime.
M. Annis specializes in home enhancement services to keep your home looking beautiful.  We provide many different services: drapery cleaning, window cleaning, gutter cleaning, painting, roof and vinyl siding soft washing, snow removal, and other home improvement services.  We partner with homeowners to provide home enhancement services to keep your home vibrant.  Whatever home maintenance or improvements you may need, M. Annis has over 80 years of experience to help keep your home beautiful.

To learn more, visit our website at or call us at 617-527-0078.