Differences in Service
MEAN DIFFERENCES IN RESULTS
It’s no secret that every HVAC and plumbing company is different. From the top down, each one does things their own way, for better or worse. The problem a lot of homeowners run into, however, is weeding out the “good” service companies from the “bad.” When you need service, you may call up a company you worked with in the past. But if you’ve moved, you’re new to an area, or you want to work with a new company, you may go to the internet or the Yellow Pages to find someone to service your HVAC system or to take care of a plumbing issue. How can you tell the difference between a reputable company and one that might not be? There are some critical questions to ask. First, ask if they are insured. Ask for their letters of liability insurance and WCB coverage. At the same time, ask for other forms of certification — how are their technicians certified? Are they even certified? You also want to make sure they have a business license. These days it’s easy for anyone to create a service listing on Craigslist, regardless of their actual experience. It can be tempting to search these listings for a good deal on a service, but your actual results will vary — sometimes greatly. When you see low rates advertised, remember the old adage: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Another adage to keep in mind is “You get what you pay for.” This is very true when it comes to HVAC and plumbing services. Recently, we received a call from a fellow we had done some work for years ago. It turns out, in this case, we weren’t his first choice for an emergency repair. Right before he called us, he had called a company with a Craigslist post. When we asked him why he ended up calling us, he said the other company didn’t answer their phone or return his calls. When he called us, we answered right away and we were able to send someone to help not long after he made the call. When we spoke to him, he made sure to let us know that our rates were higher than the other Craigslist company. But when we went to his home and investigated his issue, we discovered a part that someone had installed wasn’t functioning properly. We replaced it right away because we had the part in our truck, and we didn’t charge him for the new part because we were able to get the manufacturer to cover the warranty on that failed part. We saved him time, money, and hassle. Had he gone with the other company, their service rates may have been slightly lower, but they probably didn’t have that part in their truck. Plus, he may have been charged for the part because they couldn’t cover the warranty — all that on top of the service fee. In my years working in this industry, I’ve seen the lengths people will go to save money, even if it’s a few dollars here and there. The reality is, when it comes to mechanical systems, such as heating, cooling or plumbing, when you need service, you want to put your trust in someone who, without a shadow of a doubt, knows what they’re doing and will give you the proper service you need. Saving money may be easy on your pocketbook in the short term, but when it comes to the long term, it’s a very different story. It pays to do your research and to know who it is you’re hiring to come into your home. There’s a reason why we tend to charge a little more than the other guys. We have incredibly high standards for the services we provide to our customers, and those services are guaranteed — and that’s value that’s hard to find anywhere else.
GROW CRYSTALS WITH YOUR KIDS KEEP YOUR CHILD’S MIND ACTIVE WITH THIS FUN SUMMER EXPERIMENT!
Though B.C. isn’t known for the hottest summers, this summer is expected to be warmer than average. That means more people than usual will be relying on their air conditioners. It also means more people will be worried about their energy bill. Luckily, there are ways you can keep cool while still maintaining an energy- efficient household. Here are two upgrades to consider. Upgrade your thermostat. Today’s thermostats have more programmable options than ever before. There are even smart thermostats you can control and monitor from your smartphone or computer. These thermostats give you direct and constant control over the way your AC cools your home. Plus, smart thermostats learn your temperature preferences; they know when you’re at home or away and are incredibly easy to use. If your AC already has a programmable setting, be sure to take advantage of it. Make sure you aren’t running cool air when nobody’s home. With programmable AC and smart thermostats, you can set exactly when you want the AC to run. When you run your AC mindfully, you can save a lot of money. Upgrade your insulation. Many homeowners forget about the necessity of insulation. Good insulation is just as important during the summer months as it is during the winter months. If you haven’t checked your home’s insulation recently, now is a great time to inspect it. Make sure all the ductwork that runs through attics and crawl spaces throughout the home is adequately insulated. In the attic, for instance, insulation should completely wrap or cover the ducts. You lose a lot of cool air through your attic if overhead ducts aren’t properly insulated and if the attic itself isn’t properly insulated. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers estimates that poorly insulated ducts are responsible for a 20–40 percent loss in a home’s energy efficiency. Over the summer, that can add up to considerable costs. 2 Upgrades for Better Cool-Air Efficiency GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR AC THIS SUMMER
A mentally sedentary summer can cause your child’s learning to stagnate and backslide, erasing the equivalent of as much as two months of in-school learning. But you can have fun with your kids
this summer and help them learn at the same time. Try this project from sciencebob. com, which demonstrates how geodes are formed and gives a primer on the science of crystals. The results are stunning!
All you need are some clean eggshells, water, several different soluble materials (salt, sugar, baking soda, borax, cream of tartar), coffee cups, spoons, food coloring, and egg cartons. First, crack the eggs as close to the narrow end as possible. Then, clean the eggshells in hot water, which allows you to pull the skin out of the inside. Place the shells in an egg carton lined with wax paper to hold them upright. Boil the water and pour half a cup into each coffee mug, followed by ¼ cup of one of the soluble materials, stirring until it dissolves. Keep adding the solid slowly until the water is supersaturated — this simply means that the water has absorbed all it can and any additional solid won’t dissolve. Carefully pour the solution into an eggshell, filling it as full as you can without the solution overflowing or the egg tipping over. As the water evaporates (be patient!) crystals will begin to form inside the eggshells. But how? As the water is heated, it expands, allowing more space for the dissolved solution. When it cools and evaporates, that space goes away, and the solids are forced to become solid again. See, science is fun and educational! Check out further science experiments on sciencebob.com, sciencekids. co.nz, or redtri.com/classic-science-experiments! Then, add food coloring to the solutions. See what creative color combinations your child can come up with.
2 • www.lewismaclean.com
When it’s out of sight and out of mind, it’s easy to forget that the efficiency of your home’s HVAC system relies on a clean air filter. If an air filter is not regularly changed, it can cause serious efficiency problems for your system. It will struggle to move air, and it will reduce the overall life expectancy of the system. This comes with both short-term and long-term costs. In the short term, your energy bills will be higher. And in the long term, you may end up dealing with an expensive repair or unit replacement much sooner than you would otherwise expect. Then, there’s also the matter of the health of you and your family. Over time, the air filter traps dust, dander, pollen, and other airborne particles. The air filter can even become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. This can lead to health issues, especially among people who already suffer from allergies or asthma. THE IMPORTANCE OF CHANGING YOUR AIR FILTER Clean Air, Clean Home
If you have noticed worsening allergies, dry eyes, or other cold-like symptoms while in your home, be sure to check your air filter. If you have never replaced your air filter or can’t remember the last time you changed it, replace it as soon as possible. Then, stick to a replacement schedule.
How often should you replace your air filter?
• Homes with minimal foot traffic (single or double occupancy) with no pets or allergies: six to 12 months.
• Family homes (three or more occupants) with no pets or allergies: three to six months.
• Family homes with at least one pet or minor allergies: two to three months.
• Family homes with multiple pets or allergies: one to two months.
Frozen Yogurt Pie SUMMERTIME
Looking for a summer dessert you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in? Try this easy, low-fat frozen treat!
• 1 premade graham cracker pie crust • 1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip • 1 cup frozen or fresh mixed berries
(strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
• 3 (6-ounce) containers regular yogurt (berry flavors work best)
PARLIAMENT CANADA DAY NEW BRUNSWICK
QUEBEC ACT ONTARIO
1. Combine Cool Whip,
4. Store in freezer for at least 3 hours, or until frozen through. 5. Serve frozen or slightly thawed.
FIREWORKS CARNIVALS HOLIDAY UNITED COLONIES CELEBRATE BRITAIN
FIRST FAIRS NOVA SCOTIA PARADES
mixed berries, and yogurt in a bowl. Mix with a spatula until well-blended. 2. Pour yogurt mixture into pie crust. 3. Cover pie with foil or plastic lid.
23008 Fraser Highway Langley, BC V2Z 2V1 604-532-9625 www.lewismaclean.com
Different Service, Different Results
Grow Crystals With Your Kids
2 Tips for Amazing AC Efficiency
Why You Need to Change Your Air Filter Summertime Frozen Yogurt Pie
Don’t Miss the Beauty of Banff
Explore the Beauty of Banff SPEND SUMMER IN THE CANADIAN ROCKIES
It’s no secret that Banff National Park is one of the most extraordinary and beautiful national parks in North America. The park and the surrounding region is consistently rated as one of the best vacation destinations in Canada. If you haven’t been there recently — or if you’ve never been there, period — now may be the time to take a weekend or a full week to experience the best nature has to offer. Go for a hike. Banff is defined by its many outdoor activities, which span every season. Visit Banff any time in July through September and you can choose from dozens of breathtaking trails. And there are trails for everyone, from beginners to advanced enthusiasts. To explore the trail options, check out these hiking resources: What can you do this summer in Banff?
• Banff and Lake Louise Hiking and Walking Tours: banfflakelouise.com/sightseeing-tours/ walking Parks Canada Banff National Park Hiking Guide: pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/ randonee-hiking Take in the culture. Want something with a slower pace? The town of Banff is home to many excellent museums, including the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. The museum is dedicated to the history and culture of the Rocky Mountains in Canada. The museum houses an extensive art collection, featuring work that captures the spirit of the Rockies. The possibilities don’t end there. Between rafting, kayaking, fishing, and simply relaxing in the area hot springs, Banff has plenty to do for everyone. Give yourself a break and head up to Banff! •
Town of Banff Hiking Guide: banff.ca/index. aspx?NID=98
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