The Benefits of a One Source Vendor

A significant majority of our clients only contact us for a one type of service, like carpet cleaning or dryer vent cleaning. Yet our firm, like several others actually offer a wide array of services for residential buildings.


There are a number of benefits with going with a single provider for multiple services, over several different providers. Perhaps the most important is familiarity. A multi-service provider tends to have better corporate memory and internal communications: staff from one service line can provide their knowledge and advice to ones in others. They can point out a building’s unique requirements and identify efficiencies, which will improve the quality of service we can offer.

Furthermore one-stop vendors tend to be larger and have more stability in their staff. It is much more likely that the same individual(s) who completed the work the first time would be the same for subsequent visits. These factors result in one major benefit: reduced costs. One-stop venders pass on those efficiencies in terms of a discount as they expect to take less time to finish the same work.

A multiple service provider also greatly simplifies administration. With the overall cost reduction factored in, it is unlikely that three different service providers can offer a lower price than a bundled service package from one provider. In addition to these direct cost savings, there are indirect savings for the property manager, who does not need to manage bids for the different services. Furthermore any problem, especially complex ones, can be resolved more quickly as there is only one number to call.

So with better quality of service, lower costs and less administration, going with a bundled service makes sense. Call us today.

ServiceMaster Clean

Hard Surface – Floors – Salt It’s a Problem

The past week have seen snow and ice disappear from the cold snap that gripped the Lower IMG_0863Mainland following Christmas. But not everything has disappeared; salt residue remains on a number of hard surface floors and common hallway carpet. Although, it is somewhat ironic given the lengths residents went to obtain the stuff several weeks ago, now the residue can be extremely difficult to remove by normal cleaning solutions. Mopping with soap or other sanitizers are basically useless on hard surface floors, and may only serve to spread the discolouration around. Carpets face a different issue. There the salt, as well as mud and sand get into the carpet matrix, which requires significantly more work to remove.

The essential problem is that the residue has a very high Ph. that needs to be neutralized before it can be removed. Basic chemistry suggest you can use an acidic solution, but this presents a number of potential challenges that make it a less than desirable approach. We have several products that can neutralize the residue that can then be mopped up. For carpets this requires more subtle changes to the carpet cleaning approach. Our staff are trained to recognize the proper solution and approach to dealing residue, and can make quick work of the problem. So if you want to remove the last reminder of the cold winter weather, give us a call.

Slab Ducts – Dark Side Of Dryer Vent Cleaning

Over the course of the past 25 years, we’ve seen a lot of changes to buildings, IMG_8958their construction and designs. Dryer vents are no exception. The image most people have of dryer vents are round three to four inches in diameter circular metal pipe with a flap on the end. While this is a common (if not the most common) design, especially for low-rise buildings, there are a number of different configurations that are employed.

In a previous E-tips we highlighted that the greatest source of potential damage from uncleaned dryer vents is not fire, but moisture. As the air from the dryer becomes trapped, it condenses the moisture, which collects into pools and starts to wreak untold damage. They permeate into the surrounding concrete, and damage the overall structure. Such leaks tend to spread down to ceiling areas, leaving unsightly watermarks.

This is somewhat more common issue than people realize, particularly in high-rise buildings. Many use a rectangular shaped vent, which is sunk into cement prior to curing. While there is nothing particularly wrong with this design, the issue is with implementation. Often the duct runs are constructed with too many corners, quickly diminish the airflow’s strength. More alarmingly, many are only an inch in depth, which is insufficient to ensure proper air passage. Finally, many are damaged during construction, causing an obstruction that prevents air from passing altogether. We’ve seen all of these issues, and they can be extremely problematic.

Remedial work is often an expensive, and messy proposition. Repairing the concrete ductworkvents, if it is even an option, can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. The alternative is to build a new duct run with a drop down ceiling. While less costly than concrete reconstruction, it can be aesthetically ugly and diminish a unit’s value.

While in some cases such work is unavoidable, there are alternatives to deal with these issues. Booster fans can be installed to provide extra airflow to overcome any existing issue. A proper exterior housing that provides no impedance to exiting air can help. In addition, preventative work can do quite a bit to ensure proper airflow. This includes regular cleanings of the system, with particular care for problem units. While this may require a few additional minutes of attention, it can avoid a far more costly repair job.

If you have a problem unit like this, give us a call. We can inspect the system and determine whether alternative approaches can ensure proper function, or major remedial work is required.

Snow & Salt Service

Keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice daily we can help 🙂 

With a week of sub-zero temperatures, snow and ice, the sidewalks around your buildings are probably looking pretty rough at this stage. They are becoming a treacherous safety hazard for people walking, cycling and even driving. As the property manager, it is one of the building’s responsibilities, but there is no established plan because these conditions are rare .

You may have hired someone to clean the area, or even had a resident selflessly volunteer their time, but the unrelenting bad weather has erased those efforts and you’re back at square one. Or the landscaping company that you have a standing contract with is swamped with requests and can’t make it. What to do?

ServiceMaster Clean Vancouver is offering a sidewalk & Entry Points cleaning service for the coming months. What’s included?

  • Clear snow from the full width of sidewalks that surround your property by 10:00am on the morning following a snowfall, seven days a week.
  • Daily Preventative salting to keep them clear between now and the next cleaning.

We have 3 Levels / Options For Service:

  • Automatic Call Out If Snows (Based on overnight Weather Network)
  • Automatic Call Out For Salting if it drops below 0 over night
  • On Call (You call us)

So if your sidewalks are looking like a Himalayan mountain path (and nearly as treacherous), and need a clean give us a call or email. We will set it all right.

Gutter Vacuum Vehicle – Very Cool

We are excited to add the gutter vacuum truck to our “tool box” of gutter cleaning methods. Our crews have found it makes the the whole process, cleaner, safer, quicker and way cooler. Lets talk about each of these areas a little:

Cleaner – when cleaning gutters sometimes debris can dirty the outside of the gutter or drop to the ground
Safer – You can run the hose down long stretches or clean with a pole from the ground – reducing ladders setups and movements
Quicker– reducing setup time and a common collection tank also means jobs can be accomplished much faster than before.
Way Cooler – Its takes out the reaching into a gutter with your hand or a gutter spoon.

Some Techical items:
The unit is mounted in a Sprinter van, and can run up to four 200 foot hoses. The debris is vacuumed back into our tanks, where solids and water are separated in a tank filtering system.

Does this mean all the sites we service will be cleaned with the gutter vacuum truck? The gutter vacuum system is big part of our gutter cleaning methods, however it doesn’t replace our high ladder crew and rope access crews. Its real value is demonstrated in town house complexes where you can get access to most units via roadways.

The other area where the vacuum van will be helpful is parkade pressure washing projects where we can vacuum the water up as we pressure wash. This will leave a cleaner surface and also can be used for high capacity water extraction in large loss floods.

The gutter vacuum system and our gutter maintenance programs help us lead the way in modern gutter cleaning.

Gutter Maintenance Program – Update

So last weekend made it official: Fall is here. The leaves are changing and inclement weather is a reality. Perhaps some of you may have noticed some of your gutters aren’t working as well as they should.
But that problem probably did not just magically appear on Saturday: there likely were months of biological accumulation into your gutters that resulted in a blockage. Staying on top of it requires a year-round solution, not a “once a year cleaning” solution.
Many of our clients elect to be on one of our gutter maintenance programs. These are full year programs where we undertake a usual total clean, and then we also do service calls if there are any subsequent problems. 
Previously we capped the number of return visits 
moving forward, our gutter cleaning programs will now have Unlimited Number of Service Calls. 


The only exception to this is for certain buildings or
Gutter Quotes Button
complexes that requires two full cleanings a year. Usually they are located in heavily wooded areas where significant amounts of foliage drops throughout the year. We will clearly inform buildings of this requirement during a quote.
So this fall keep on top of your gutter problems by dealing with them before they actually become a problem.
For more information on our gutter cleaning service please CLICK HERE .

Modern Carpet Maintenance

whittakerWe’ve discussed carpet maintenance programs a number of times in E-tips and other articles. To maintain a carpet’s appearance far into the future, it is essential for it to be on a maintenance program. Manufacturers often require them to have a program to maintain their warranty status. They set this requirement to ensure that the damage to the carpet is not due to manufacturing defect.  A number of issues such as discolorations and greying out due to abrasion, can be largely prevented by regular carpet cleanings.

There is not just one approach to maintain a carpeted floor however.  In the past few years, carpet manufacturers have started to include the option of an intermediate clean, using what is called a “Whittaker.” Like how the company Xerox is synonymous with photocopying, Whittaker is a brand name of a type of agitating carpet cleaners currently on the market. Simply put, it uses two (or three) brush rollers that are spun in opposite directions at high speeds. This allows for what is called a deep pile cleaning, which is when the area at the bottom of the carpet fibers are agitated by the brush action. This helps to dislodge dust, dirt and other debris, which can later be picked up.

It should noted that Whittakers are really not intended to be used on their own, but rather in conjunction with a vacuum and a periodic hot water extraction. It does not have a traditional extraction system; the rollers will pick up most of the hairs and larger pieces, however dust and smaller particles will not be removed. That occurs either through the extraction clean or during a building’s regular vacuuming schedule. Whittakers are also designed to work with our existing cleaning products and crystallizers, which helps to remove stains and discolourations. They are activated when agitated by the rollers and then removed through the vacuum or extraction.

Functionally, you will not see any difference in how we offer Whittakers: we are using them regularly during maintenance cleanings in conjunction with a hot water extraction. The only obvious difference may be in how much cleaner the floor will look afterwards.

We also employ Whittakers in buildings with a program as an intermediate step between day-to-day vacuuming and a full extraction clean. In these cases we may use a Whittaker at a higher frequency to agitate the carpet to enhance the effectiveness of the building’s regular vacuuming. The Whittaker cannot deal with an entire range of stains and discolourations that are found on carpets, so a spot will be necessary as usual.

Gutter Guard Vs Gutter Foam – What Works In The West Coast Climate

Fall is upon us in the Lower Mainland and with it comes dropping leaves,


How Do You Clean This? 

as well as the heavy storms that will break branches and nettles from large evergreen trees. As a result, the health of a building’s gutters is at the top of many property managers’ minds. One approach to dealing with these issues that we see from time to time, is a leaf guard gutter. As you may have seen, this system basically adds a lip to the top of the gutter, which prevents leaves from entering into the channel. Although this is generally effective at its role, Leafguards are not well suited for the West Coast environment.

In particular the Lower Mainland has a very gutter-foam-2high number of conifers with nettles, like pines or hemlock. When their twigs and nettles fall, they bypass the guard and enter into the drainage canal and will start to form a slimy difficult to remove blockage over time. We have had dozens of these calls over the past few years, and they pose a problem: often the LeafGuard system’s warrantee is usually voided when opened up to clean. They still need to be cleaned but they cannot easily be opened and often can’t be opened without damage.

This year we are starting to deploy a new weapon in the war against clogged gutters; Foam Guards. As its name suggests, it is a foam insert that sits within the gutter, which allows for water and small particulates to travel unimpeded to the downspout while preventing larger debris from getting into the system. It is a dramatically more effective system in our climate. It is nearly impossible for debris to get into the system, and larger pieces of foliage are for the most part blown off the top due to wind and weather.

Although gutters with the foam guards still require a gutter-foamclean every year or two, they are far quicker than a normal cleaning call because they can be easily removed and without damaging the gutter system.

Perhaps the best part is that foam guards are significantly less costly than leafguards; and can be retrofitted into a building’s existing gutter systems in a tenth of a time it takes to install the alternative.

Best practice for gutter cleaning is be on a gutter maintenance program and to use gutter foam in challenged areas.