Updated: Dec 15, 2020
You might wonder why this matters? Screens that can be removed from the outside take less time to pop out, clean, and return. While screens that must be removed from the inside are more labor-intensive, and they take at least twice as much time to handle. Windows must be opened and closed and one must be careful of making a mess inside the home. Time can be even longer if window treatments, blinds, shudders, and furniture need to be moved to get to the screens.
When screens can be removed from the outside they are just popped out as the window cleaner moves along the wall to the next screen, all around the perimeter until all the glass is exposed. The window cleaner may instead “pop” and clean the screen as he or she goes and return it to the window after cleaning the glass before moving to the next item.
Inexperienced window cleaners often warp and bend screens when trying to force them out from the outside. Experienced technicians budget extra time and care when dealing with this type of screen. Of course, the professional window cleaner often works in teams and the "inside guy" has to make a separate trip to every room right at the beginning of the appointment because the screens must be taken out before the "outside guy" cleaning the exterior can begin working. It takes time to go from room to room and remove each screen. If the screens are full of debries the cleaner may need to put towels down to protect flooring and contain dirt. The alternative is to go tramping through the house with dirty screens, aerosolizing dust and possibly making it difficult to find which screen goes where later on.
The most time-consuming type of situation are those window that must be popped out of their track (and set someplace) before the screen can be removed. This type of window can be heavy and cumbersome to deal with. Further complicating things is that the window must be in just the right position on its track to pop it out, so the technician has to slide the window back and forth, to find the position that unlocks it while holding on tight so as not to drop it. This must be done with care as the slightest flex might crack the glass. The good news is that estimator will always ask before measuring a prospective job on what kind of screens are present!
No one likes surprises and if a window cleaning proposal is given over the phone it will only be as accurate as the information provided. Without further ado, this is how to tell if screens can be removed from the outside which will save money:
Stand directly in front of the window with a screen. Now, look at the four borders of the screen. If you are able to see two ends (borders) of the screen completely, or the edges of the top and bottom clearly, without the window frame blocking them, then the screen should be able to be removed from the outside. Conversely, if the window frame is obstructing your view of all four sides of the screen edge, even slightly, then it must be removed from the inside. This is why if you ask to have the "exterior only" cleaned you might be asked to remove the screens before the window cleaner arrives. Professionals assume that you asked for exterior only because you do not want them to come inside and so they price the job accordingly.