When to Hire a Pro: Deep Cleaning Help for the Home

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I really don’t like housecleaning, and I would like to hire a professional to do all the cleaning in my house. Unfortunately, that’s not only expensive, it’s impractical. Still, many homeowners like to have a housekeeper come in occasionally to help with their heavy cleaning. There are major chores that are best handled by pros who can do them more efficiently and better.

Mold removal tops the list of jobs for professionals. We’re not talking about spots of mold on the shower tiles, but mold that is caused by water damage. If you have a leak in the roof or a pipe that breaks, a toxic greenish-black mold can gain a foothold that’s dangerous for your health. It is especially hazardous for small children, older adults or those who have medical conditions such as asthma.

Mold can grow on drywall or in the framing of your home, making it difficult to reach. Professionals who remove mold have the masks, bleach, vacuums and other equipment to treat the area and make sure that it doesn’t return. This job is done only as needed for your health and safety.

Carpet cleaning is really best left to the professionals. I called on a professional floor cleaning service last year to handle my floors, a combination of tile and dark carpeting. I was shocked at how much better my tile floors looked after they left. The tile was absolutely sparkly white. Even a few rust stains were gone. It was harder to evaluate the carpet since it’s a dark gray, but I felt that it was much cleaner and more sanitary after years of dealing with pets and their accidents. Floor cleaning can probably be done only once a year depending on your floors.

Window washing is an area that the pros can handle more efficiently than most homeowners. Most pros will quote a price for doing the windows, inside and out, plus screens and sills. Often physical limitations or time constraints make this a job that homeowners will willingly assign to professionals who can do your house in one day instead of the several days it takes you. Final cost will depend on the type, size and number of windows. Blinds and storm windows are extra. Window washing needs to be done every couple of years to keep the windows bright and shiny.

Hardwood floors, over time, will dull and lose their attractive glossy finish. Mopping or cleaning the floors isn’t difficult, but restoring them is backbreaking work. Since hardwood floors add value to your home, it’s a good idea to have them professionally cleaned periodically. Professional floor refinishers will deep clean the floors, even getting into narrow cracks and crevices using a special machine with a commercial-strength wood-safe cleaner. After the cleaning is completed, the technician can apply a fresh coat of polish to the floor, if needed. Do only as needed to keep the floors in good condition.

Homeowners with upholstered furniture may spot-clean and vacuum pet hair frequently. Pros will come in and treat the furniture with the proper cleaners. If you have a lot of upholstered furniture, this may be a chore you need to pass on the pros. Their know-how will get the job done quickly and efficiently, again, on an as-needed basis.

Air ducts and chimneys are two areas where only pros should be considered. The Environmental Protection Agency states that there is no evidence that air ducts cause health problems or increase dust. So, it’s up to you if you decide to have this chore contracted.

Chimneys are another matter. You need a chimney sweep to remove the buildup of creosote on the chimney walls each year before the cold weather and heating season begin. The job is difficult, and you don’t want to spend the day stuck in your chimney. Let a pro do this yearly task.

Outside chores also need pro help. Gutter cleaning is one of them. Getting up on a ladder with gloves, a trowel and a hose is not the easiest job in the world. Hire a pro, twice a year, and spend your time doing something more fun, such as planning your garden.

Keeping your driveway, sidewalk, siding, patio or deck looking beautiful is one way to add value to your home. Power washing pros definitely have more experience and equipment to get the job done right. These machines are powerful and even dangerous in inexperienced hands. Let the pros do the job every couple of years.

Always get a written estimate of the work to be done and the cost. Ask for proof of insurance and how any damage to your property will be handled. Ask for referrals and call them! Then sit back and let the pros whip your house into tip-top shape. ■

Sources: archiscene.net, anytimehvac.com, goodhousekeeping.com and home.howstuffworks.com.