Moonworks' Home Improvement Blog

Expert Interview Series: Allison Hester of eClean Magazine

Allison Hester has been writing for the exterior cleaning industry for over 20 years, and her publication, eClean Magazine, has quickly become the online resource for professional exterior contract cleaners.

We recently checked in with her to learn more about her magazine and how homeowners can clean their homes more thoroughly. Here’s what she had to say:

Tell us about eClean Magazine. Who should be reading it? What will they find?

eClean Magazine is a publication designed for the professional exterior contract cleaner (i.e., pressure washing, window cleaning, gutter cleaning, roof cleaning/soft washing, etc.). While knowing how to properly clean is important, so is knowing how to properly run a successful business, which is why eClean Magazine provides a mixture of both technical and business related articles.

What are the most-neglected areas of the home when it comes to cleaning?

When people think of cleaning their home, they primarily think of the interior. . . .

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House too Hot? Here’s How to Get Relief

Air conditioning

The dog days of summer have arrived, and it’s hot outside. But what about the temperature inside your home — is it as comfortable as you would like? As the weather heats up, your house may feel too hot for your liking. Here are some things you can do to cool it down, or save money by running your central air conditioning less.

Block Out the Sun

When the sun beats down on your house, it can raise the indoor temperature by 10 to 20 degrees. As the indoor temperature rises, your electric bill can spike along with it. Installing shades, tinted window film or insulating curtains on all south and west-facing windows can lower your cooling costs up to 7 percent each year or keep your home up to 20 degrees cooler.

Shade trees are another way to block out the sun. They should . . .

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Choosing the Best Home Renovation Options

Home renovations

Sometimes it’s easy to know which home renovations to do. If your roof is leaking or the ice dams are building up every winter, deciding to address these issues is a no-brainer. Sometimes, though, there are competing priorities that aren’t urgent but will nonetheless help your home function better, look better, or sell better when the time comes.

When your budget is limited, it pays to be smart about the home renovations you choose to do, and to carefully consider all your options before choosing. Here are some ways to decide which renovations are the best choices for your home and family.

Setting Home Improvement Goals

The first step in the home improvement process is to decide what you want most out of the renovations you decide to do. Maybe you want improved functionality of your home’s layout, updated technology that will make your home . . .

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Expert Interview Series: Dave Notte of Shack Shine on Keeping Your Home’s Exterior Clean

Home exterior

Dave Notte is the managing director at Shack Shine, a house detailing services company, specializing in everything from window and house washing to gutter cleaning. We recently asked Dave for tips on keeping your home’s exterior sparkling. Here’s what he had to say:

When and how often should we be washing our homes’ exteriors?

This varies on multiple factors such as the terrain and climate you live in, the age of your home, and the materials it’s made out of. Many of our customers choose to get their siding washed in the spring so the exterior of their home is nice and shiny for the summer.

What is the correct way to wash a house? What are the dos and don’ts of cleaning a home’s exterior?

Each type of exterior will require its own unique method for proper cleaning. The most important thing to note in this whole . . .

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How a Reward Program Can Save You Money on Home Renovations

Home renovations

Reward programs are typically structured to provide some kind of savings to participants. The program may be a point system where each purchase earns points that can be redeemed for something of value like merchandise, a special deal or a discount on future services. Other reward programs offer deals to repeat customers or customers who make certain purchases in a given time frame.

Saving money with reward programs for services like home renovations can happen in several ways. When considering what home renovations to have done, many homeowners think about the return on investment — how much that renovation will increase the value of their home. Using discounts from a reward program, homeowners can recoup more of their investment, even all of it in some cases. It may be possible to do renovations when the cost is less that you weren’t . . .

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Summer Benefits of Gutter Helmet

Gutter helmet

People typically think of Gutter Helmet© as being most beneficial in the fall, since its patented design keeps all those pesky autumn leaves from clogging up your gutter. Gutter Helmet© protection extends far beyond fall, however; some of the best benefits are found in the summertime.

Gutter Obstructions in the Summer Months

Although fall is a likelier time for gutters to become clogged, summer presents its fair share of gutter problems that can lead to backups, especially during heavy thunderstorms and other severe weather. Animals and birds often choose the relative protection of gutters to build their nests, which may not get noticed until a heavy rainstorm.

Gutters can also be obstructed by debris that is blown into the gutter by heavy winds, and trees that overhang the house can drop leaves even in summer, especially when it’s windy. With Gutter Helmet©, you . . .

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5 Reasons for Water Leaks and What You Should Do About Them

Water leaks

A water leak could signify roof problems, but there are other causes for leaks as well. Here are the main sources of water leaks around your home and some steps to take if you do have a leak.

1. A Spilled Drink.

If a family member spills a drink on your hardwood floor, water can leak through the cracks onto the ceiling below. This is simple to fix, but can cause staining on the ceiling depending on the type of drink and how long it is left there without being cleaned up. Since the leak is short term, it is not likely to cause any mold problems and if staining does occur, it can be primed and repainted when dry.

2. Leaky Pipes.

A sudden leak or a very slow leak over time can lead to damage in your home. When you discover the leak, it’s . . .

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How A Reward Program Can Save You Money on Your Home Improvement Needs

Home improvement

Home improvements aren’t free, are they? As much as we all wish you could get a new roof or replace your windows for nothing, it just doesn’t work that way. So when you can save money on home improvements you need to make anyway, you might as well do so. Choosing a contractor with one or more rewards programs can help you minimize the cost of maintaining your property and keeping it in tip-top shape.

All About Rewards Programs

A rewards program gives you discounts or credit toward future repairs when you purchase a renovation. Some rewards programs work on a points system, such as one point for every dollar you spend, while others offer a flat discount percentage or make customers eligible for certain special offers.

While some rewards programs may be more worthwhile than others, you shouldn’t pay a membership fee or deal . . .

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5 Best Things to Do During a Home Renovation

Home renovation
Renovating your home can be a major stressor on a marriage and family, according to marriage counselor Dr. Don Gilbert as cited in Houselogic. “It has all the components that couples stress over — money, multiple decisions, and different preferences,” Gilbert said, adding that renovating can bring out communication and conflict management weaknesses that may already exist.

Here are some things you can do during a home renovation to make it as stress-free as possible for everyone.

1. Keep it simple.

If your kitchen will be a construction zone for a week or two, move the microwave and coffeemaker into the dining room, and invest in paper plates, napkins and cups. That way, you can heat up easy food or takeout leftovers without dealing with dust, wet paint, or electricity being turned off. Keeping things as simple as possible will dial down the hassle factor . . .

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What If a Summer Storm Damages Your Home?

Repairing roof
Summer can be a time for severe weather, with risks of thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes being higher than at other times of the year. While it may be impossible to prevent severe weather from ever threatening your home or causing damage, there are some things you can do to prepare — and plan for after the storm has passed.

Preparation for Severe Weather

Well in advance of severe weather, you can prepare by making sure your homeowner’s insurance covers damage from storms. Not all standard policies cover flooding or “acts of God,” as storms are sometimes called, so you may need to purchase additional coverage to adequately meet your needs.

If you live in an area that is especially prone to storms, it may be worthwhile to take steps to make your home more resistant to damage. Replacing your windows with storm resistant glass and . . .

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