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How to clean UPVC window frames

 

Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride (UPVC) is the most popular material for window frames. Why is this? UPVC is not only easy to manufacture, but it’s also long-lasting and relatively maintenance-free. You can even choose the colour and finish to match the aesthetic of your home.

Despite being resistant to rotting and rusting, UPVC windows can become dirty from build-ups of dirt and grime if not properly maintained. Luckily, cleaning UPVC is easy, which means that you can keep your windows looking bright and fresh all year round.

Woman cleaning her house windows

Maintaining UPVC

Before taking on the bigger messes, there are a number of ways that you can take care of your windows. By following these simple steps and regularly cleaning your UPVC doors and window frames, you can stop build-ups of dirt from forming at all.

1. Use a vacuum

For removing small amounts of dirt or thin layers of dust from the edges and corners of your frames, you can simply use the dusting brush on your vacuum cleaner (the attachment with the soft bristles). Not only is this a really quick and simple way to clean around your windows, but the bristles on the brush will protect your UPVC and double glazing from being scratched.

2. Open your windows

It’s all well and good to give your windows a quick wipe down, but it’s in between the frames that need to most attention. These are the areas that most of us are guilty of forgetting about and can easily get clogged up with dirt. Ignoring these areas can cause your windows to become stiff and cause bigger problems if left unchecked.

3. Stick to soft cloths

After you’ve cleaned your windows and left them looking sparkling, it’s vital that you remove any residual moisture left over. You need to be thorough, but you don’t want to use anything too abrasive and risk damaging the frames or glass. All you need is a soft cloth or kitchen roll to give your windows a quick once over.

4. Keep on top of it!

The best way to clean your windows is to keep them clean. By regularly washing your UPVC, you won’t need to spend time scrubbing away at dirt and grime or risk your windows becoming clogged or damaged.

Best cleaning products for UPVC

Warm, soapy water

It may sound simple, but this is all you need to use if you’re cleaning your windows regularly. Giving your UPVC a quick scrub with a sponge and soapy water is enough to remove light dirt and keep your frames looking nice and bright.

Vinegar and hot water

This is a great alternative to using manufactured products with chemicals. Mix one part vinegar with 4 parts hot water and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. You can then spray your frames and leave it to do its work for 10-15 minutes, then simply wipe away with a clean cloth. You can then enjoy lovely bright windows without any chemical smells being left behind.

UPVC cleaners

If your window frames have been neglected for a while or if you’ve just moved into a new home, you may need some stronger products to bring your UPVC back to life. Specialist UPVC cleaners usually come in the form of a cream or paste and can help to remove really stubborn muck without posing a risk to your double glazing or window frames.

What to avoid when cleaning UPVC

Harsh chemicals

Stay far away from any products that contain bleach, white spirits, methylated spirits, nail varnish remover or any other harsh chemicals. It’s possible you may have heard hearsay or an old wives tale that recommends such cleaners, but they aren’t to be believed. Products of this type will only damage your UPVC frames as well as posing a risk to your window sills and even surrounding paintwork or wallpaper.

Dyes

Check your cleaning products thoroughly before using them on your windows. Even harmless dish soap can contain dyes to give them a bright colour. Although they’re fine for their intended purpose, if used on UPVC, they could end up staining your lovely bright frames which will be very difficult to remedy.

Rough sponges

As already stated, soft cloths are the ideal material for wiping down your windows. If you don’t have one at hand, don’t be tempted to use a scourer or abrasive sponge – you’ll risk scratching your UPVC.

For more information on how to keep your windows looking at their best, follow our guide to maintaining your double-glazed windows. If you’ve noticed your double glazing has become cloudy, get in touch with your local branch of Cloudy2Clear and our expert engineers will give you a free, no-obligation quote.

 

How to prevent condensation in your home

What is condensation?

Condensation occurs when water vapour in the air comes into contact with cold surfaces like window panes and forms water droplets. Essentially, it’s the opposite reaction to evaporation – gas (vapour) turning to liquid (water droplets) instead of liquid (water) turning to gas (steam).

As condensation is caused by differences in temperature, you’re more likely to see the effects on colder days. The most common areas for condensation to form in your home is in the bathroom from the heat of showers and baths, or in the kitchen from cooking.

condensation

What effect can condensation have on your home?

Although water droplets on your windows may not seem like an issue, condensation can lead to some serious problems if it’s a common occurrence in your home..

Common issues caused by condensation include:

– Peeling wallpaper
– Damp furniture and surfaces
– Unpleasant smells
– Mould and damp

How to prevent condensation on windows

Condensation is something that occurs in all homes and although it can lead to problems, there are initiatives you can take to help combat the effects. To stop condensation on windows, there are three main steps to take: ventilation, insulation and clearing moisture.

1. Improving ventilation

By ensuring your home is properly ventilated, you’ll improve the airflow and fight off the issues caused by condensation.

Opening windows is a simple way to implement this, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. If you’ve cooked in the oven or on a hob, or if you’ve had a shower, leave your windows open in that room until the air is clear to prevent moisture build-ups.

It’s also important that you’re using extractor fans in both the kitchen and bathroom to allow steam to escape. Plus, keeping your doors closed helps to isolate steam and moisture, making it easier to dissipate and stops it spreading to other rooms.

2. Heating and insulation

Issues with condensation are intensified by sudden rises and drops in temperature, as each fluctuation causes water to evaporate and condense when your central heating turns on and off.

Rather than allowing your heating to swing between hot and cold, keep your heating on a constant low temperature. This will help to prevent damp from forming in your home.

Ensuring your home has appropriate insulation will reduce the likelihood of condensation forming in cold spots on walls and ceiling. Cavity wall and loft insulation will help to keep your walls a consistent temperature.

3. Clearing moisture

An immediate solution to condensation is to remove any water droplets you come across in your home.

All you need is a soft cloth or paper towels – something that won’t damage your windows – and you can keep on top of any moisture forming. In the short term, cleaning your windows of condensation regularly you can prevent the moisture developing in to damp or mould issues.

Read our full guide to maintaining your double glazing to find out proper cleaning and maintenance tips to keep your windows in great condition.

Tips on how to reduce condensation

how to prevent condensation

As well as the larger preventative steps detailed above, there are also a number of smaller actions you can take to reduce the amount of condensation you produce at home.

1. Vented washer dryers
Many modern washer dryers are condenser models, which collect moisture from the drum which can be emptied later. If you have a vented washer dryer, however, make sure that the vent is properly secured; otherwise, moisture can easily escape and become trapped in your home.

2. Dry your clothes outside
If you have a garden, drying your clothes on a washing line is a really easy method of protecting your home from unnecessary moisture. If you live in an apartment or don’t have your own garden, keep a window open near your drying clothes with the doors closed to help the moisture escape from your home.

3. Cook with pot lids
Another easy way to reduce moisture in your home is to make sure you’re cooking with pot lids. Bubbling pots and pans release a lot of steam and moisture into kitchens, even with an extractor fan, so using a lid while you cook helps to reduce how much steam is released into the room.

4. Don’t overfill wardrobes and cupboards
Both wardrobes and kitchen cupboards are breeding grounds for mould if left overfilled. Any trapped moisture will struggle to escape due to the lack of airflow, so make sure you’re not filling them to the brim to allow air to circulate inside

5. Move furniture away from external walls
Just like with your wardrobes, it’s important to make sure there’s enough room between your walls and your furniture for air to circulate. If sofas and large pieces of furniture are pushed right up against walls, especially exterior walls, they run the risk of becoming damp and mouldy from the cold.

6. Use bath mats
It’s not just bathroom walls that have the potential for damp issues; the floor is at risk too. Invest in a good-sized bath mat to absorb most of the water when you get out of the bath or shower, so you’re not drenching your bathroom floor in water and creating more condensation.

7. Check for leaks
Keep an eye on your roof and ceilings for any drips or leaks that present themselves. They can be easy to miss at first, but if left unchecked, they can leave your ceiling and walls soaked over time.

8. Check guttering and downpipes
Much like leaks, blocked gutters can cause havoc to your exterior walls. Keep all guttering and downpipes free from debris to prevent blockages, which could lead to excess water soaking your homes exterior walls.

Condensation inside your double glazing

If you’ve noticed condensation inside your windows, it means your double glazing has failed. Whether due to faulty seals or poor installation, cloudy windows mean that moisture is getting in between the panes of glass, ruining the aesthetic of your windows and leading to bigger problems like mould and heat loss.

If you’ve noticed cloudy windows in your home, get in touch with your local branch of Cloudy2Clear, where our expert engineers will give you a free, no-obligation quote and will replace your failed double glazing – saving you time and money.


 

Top tips for selling your home in the new year

top tips for selling your home in the new year

January is a notoriously long month, with Christmas a distant memory, payday seems like it will never arrive, and the weather postpones numerous activities.

One thing we can rely on in January however, is the fact that people are still selling and buying houses, whether that’s due to high divorce rates this month or just simply because it’s a fresh start to the year.

The new year is also a great time to get your home ready and prepared for selling in the spring, a popular period for buyers, who have managed to get through the winter slump and are excited to view properties in the light of day again.

So what can be done to increase the likelihood of selling your home in the first quarter of the year? Here at Cloudy2Clear, we’ve created a handy guide for ensuring your property is as appealing as possible for buyers.

Aesthetics

As much as we don’t like to admit it, it’s hard for us to see past poor decorating, dirty carpets, and clutter. If a house looks like a home, it’s easier for us to imagine ourselves living, eating, and enjoying life there.

Staging your house for a sale is important if you really want to give buyers as much opportunity as possible to envisage themselves living there. How do you go about doing this?

Declutter rooms by only keeping what you need. Everything else can be thrown away, donated, or put into a self-storage unit. If you have friends/family with spare rooms or garage space, then you could even ask them to save on storage costs.

Clean thoroughly and keep on top of it. You never know when you might have a viewing and if you’re not prepared, you could put people off with dirty dishes in the sink and dog hairs all over the carpet.


Smell is incredibly important. Think about when you’ve viewed properties in the past, or even when you’ve walked into a building and noticed an odd aroma. If there’s an unpleasant greeting when potential buyers open a door or enter a new room, then this an immediately creep into their subconscious. Bad smells equate to something being off.


Keep decoration neutral. Grab a bucket full of magnolia paint and go to town. Remove any gawdy ornaments or artwork, as even though this is your taste, it might not be everyone else’s. Make sure your bed is made well, with a scatter of cushions, and ensure that any damage to walls, such as knocks and children’s scribble, is covered up and repaired.

Sort out any repairs. These include:

  • Repairing failed double glazing – misty or cloudy windows can be instantly off-putting for potential buyers and can also lead people to believe they will have to pay for entirely new double glazing, which is expensive and a big job. Getting the experts in before you start having viewings can potentially save you grief in the long-run.


  • Missing kitchen or bathroom tiles – although insignificant and doesn’t affect the structural elements of a property, missing tiles or broken slabs can add up. If potential buyers notice more than one minor repair, their renovation list becomes longer and they’ll only see the costs mounting up.


  • Broken fence panels – gardens are often forgotten about when it comes to selling your home in the winter, but buyers are still looking at this as an asset. Broken fence panels, dead plants, and broken slabs can put a buyer off immediately due to the amount of work they think they need to complete.


  • Stiff locks, handles, and hinges – if you have a savvy buyer looking around your home, they will be thorough in their viewing, so may open windows and outer doors for security purposes. If you have broken locks or loose hinges, this can deter them from looking any further.

Do you have any handy tips on selling your home successfully in the new year? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter and we might update this guide and include them!

If you do have any failed double glazing or window repairs that need completing before you sell your home, contact the experts at Cloudy2Clear today for more information.




How to find the cheapest energy suppliers in 2019

cheapest energy suppliers 2019

If winter has you feeling down, January has felt like it’s lasted around 97 days, and the weather has you feeling cold, then it’s time to make a change for the months to come.

Energy bills around this time of the year can be extortionate, especially because we’re using more fuel by cooking warmer meals, turning the thermostat up, as well as not wanting to leave the shower in the mornings.

So, what can be done to reduce your energy costs? For one, you can hunt around for a better deal, but instead of trawling each company’s website or calling unhelpful customer service lines, check out some of our top tips for finding the cheapest energy supplier for your home or business this year.

 

1. Don’t stay loyal to one company

Just because you’ve been with your energy supplier for a solid ten years, does not mean that your loyalty will be rewarded. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, with suppliers upping your bills each year, without query or question from yourselves. Although the thought of switching energy suppliers regularly sounds like an inconvenience, it’s actually much easier to do this nowadays, as well as being much more cost-effective.

 

2. Use monthly direct debits to pay

With other costs, such as car insurance, it can be beneficial to pay the amount in one go, saving you interest over the months, as opposed to paying by direct debit each month. However, this is different for your energy bills, and companies actually prefer it if you pay monthly, by direct debit, rather than quarterly, or by cheque. This is because it’s much easier for the energy companies to process and saves admin hassle. If you think about it, it’s better for you too, meaning you don’t forget to pay your bill and know exactly when it will come out of your account each month.

 

3. Check your postcode

If you’re really keen on saving money on your energy bills, you could move house. Although this sounds like a ridiculous way to reduce your costs, it’s been confirmed that energy companies change their tariffs based on postcodes, so it may be beneficial in the long-run to choose an area to live that doesn’t charge inflated amounts. Expensive areas include Cornwall, Devon, and parts of the Midlands.

 

4. Utilise energy comparison sites

With the internet at our fingertips, it’s relatively easy to find a new energy deal at a much lower cost. The best price comparison websites include:

Simply Switch
uSwitch
MoneySuperMarket
Compare the Market

Remember, these aren’t the only energy price comparison websites out there and it’s important to check out a fair few before you make a decision on which one to go for.

Switching energy suppliers is still the best way to make a substantial saving on your energy bills, regardless of whether your current tariff has been capped or not. Websites, such as Money Saving Expert even monitor your tariff for you and send you alerts when they think you should switch again, so you really don’t have to do anything at all!

For more hints and tips on how to save energy in your home, check out our blog article and contact your local branch of Cloudy2Clear today to see if we can replace any failed double glazing, or repair your faulty locks, handles, and hinges.

Energy saving tips for the winter

energy saving tips for winter

 

1. Keep doors and windows closed

As your grandma would say, “Were you born in a barn?” When you enter a room, make sure you shut the door behind you, keeping draughts out and heat in. Ventilation is important in both bathrooms and kitchens, but try to install an extractor fan, rather than keeping windows ajar.

 

2. Use only the rooms you need

If you’re finding that you have a room or two that are rarely used, such as a spare bedroom or office space, then make sure you keep radiators turned off in these areas. Heating rooms that don’t require it is a massive waste of energy.

 

3. Store bottles in the garage or in outside storage

Especially during the Christmas and New Year, we tend to have more food and drink in our homes. Storing bottles in your garage or outdoor storage units will keep them cool, but also means you aren’t overfilling your fridge, or having to run an additional one. Chin chin!

 

4. Wear extra layers

We don’t want to end up sounding like your parents, but before you turn the thermostat up another notch, why not grab a jumper or blanket and layer up? Before you spend money on heating costs, take a look in your wardrobe for cheaper insulation.

 

5. Boiler servicing

Having your boiler serviced can ensure it runs as smoothly as possible throughout the winter months, increasing efficiency and saving you energy.

 

6. Use LED Christmas lights

Light-Emitting Diodes, or LEDs, are much more energy efficient than older style Christmas lights, so make sure you buy new this festive period.

 

7. Invest in thicker curtains or blinds

Time to update your home? You can do this easily with new curtains or blinds that really set a room off. When investing in new furnishings, make sure you take into consideration thickness, as a good quality pair of curtains can block out any annoying draughts, as well as keeping the heat in. You could also invest in a winter duvet to keep you warming throughout the night.

 

8. Repair any faulty locks, handles, or hinges

Noticed that you can’t quite get that window pulled shut? This is probably because you have faulty locks, handles, or hinges, which won’t go away without being repaired. If you’ve put this job off because you think you need the whole window replacing, think again. At Cloudy2Clear, we can complete these smaller tasks without having to take the entire unit out.

 

9. Use a timer for your central heating

Want to wake up or come back to a warm home? Instead of worrying about energy bills by leaving your central heating on 24/7, use a timer switch to ensure that your heating only turns on when required. With advances in technology, it’s easier than ever to control your central heating, even from your mobile phone!

 

10. Utilise heat from the sun where you can

Keep your blinds and curtains open during daytime hours, especially if it’s sunny. Gaining extra heat from the sun is a free way of keeping your home toasty. Keep them closed at night however, to eliminate any excess draughts.

 

11. Draught proof

This can be both a small or a large job. Insulating your loft or attic is a great way to keep precious heat in, saving on energy costs, but can be an expensive method. Use draught excluders along the bottom of your doors is a great and cheap way of keeping draughts at bay.

 

12. Turn down the thermostat

We’re not saying to put a complete ban on using the central heating, but if you’re feeling comfortable in your home, then why not knock the thermostat down by a few degrees? You’ll find that you won’t even notice the difference – except perhaps on your energy bills!

 

13. Be cooking efficient

Simple tasks such as cooking can actually have a big effect on the amount of energy you’re using. By keeping lids on pots and pans, food will boil quicker, and less water vapour will occur. You should also ensure that you’re using the correct size ring on your hob for large and small pans, as this can waste energy.

 

14. Repair failed double glazing

If you’re looking for a more effective way to save energy in your home, why not consider getting your failed double glazing repaired? If you’ve noticed that your windows are misted up or cloudy, whether standalone, in double glazed doors or conservatories, then they could also be affecting heat loss in your home. Contact your local branch of Cloudy2Clear today to speak to our helpful team.