Lewis Maclean November 2017


Do You Respect Your Gas Appliances?

Gas appliances are serious business, whether we’re talking about a gas stove, a water heater, a furnace, or any of the consumer gas appliances on the market today. Recently, a BC couple passed away in their sleep, at relatively the same time. It was very odd, but far from the first story of its kind. The couple was poisoned by carbon monoxide. It turns out that they recently had some repairs done on the furnace. They also had their fireplace looked at. The inspection indicated that something was wrong with the fireplace and that the safety switch was failing. The inspection also showed that the central heating system was in good shape, but at some point, the safety switches were bypassed. This may have led to their deaths. As of this writing, their deaths are still under investigation. This is just one reason to treat gas appliances with respect. I’ve had people ask me about safety switches in the past. One guy came in looking for a safety switch for his furnace. He told me it was a repair he had done many times before on this particular furnace. I said, “You don’t find that odd?” received over the years for furnace repairs, we’ve encountered no more than six safety switch failures. If you do run into an issue with a safety switch, or you have a safety switch that keeps failing, chances are the issue is not with the switch, but with something else that will need to be identified with an inspection. His response? “Well, they fail.” The problem is, they typically don’t fail. Out of all the calls we’ve

In Canada, there are basically no suppliers or wholesalers that will sell you a safety switch directly. I don’t even sell them. When you’re dealing with this kind of issue, it’s best to bring in a professional who can diagnose and take care of the problem. Some of the challenges we face in BC are the laws that dictate gas appliance repair. Homeowners who live in a single-family dwelling can do their own maintenance on a gas appliance, and they can do so without fully understanding the appliance.

Anyone living in an apartment, duplex, or any other kind of share home are not allowed to work on that home’s gas appliances. This is out of concern for the safety of others who may reside in the same structure. For someone living in a single-family home, their safety is in their own hands. FortisBC often offers rebates toward appliance maintenance. It’s a great way to have your furnace or boiler inspected while keeping costs low. Their last rebate period ended on Oct. 31, but if you had service between Sept. 18 and Oct. 31, you have until Nov. 30 to request a rebate for up to $50 ($25 for a furnace or boiler inspection and $25 for a fireplace inspection). There is no denying that gas appliances are great. They’re often very well- designed, energy efficient, and exceptionally convenient — at least when they’re working properly. When these appliances are out of sight and out of mind, it’s easy to forget about routine inspections and maintenance. However, it is in your best interest to make sure it happens, for your safety, your family’s safety, and the safety of your home.


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If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But sometimes we stumble across a few hidden gems that make our lives easier. And, when it comes to cleaning house, we can all use a little “easier.” Check out these products you may have already written off and let them surprise you.

Does your home have a carbon monoxide detector? Many homeowners make sure to install smoke detectors, but, all too often, they skip the carbon monoxide (CO) detector. They assume they aren’t at risk or that there are no sources of CO in their homes. The truth is, there are several potential sources of this odourless and colourless gas within a home.

Dollar Store Cleaning Products

If you’ve ever ducked into the local dollar store to buy some Mylar balloons for your niece’s birthday party, you might have noticed the jugs and spray bottles plastered with the word “Awesome.” Surely, this knock-off soap can’t work as well as your brand-name products, right? You’d be surprised. Online reviewers sing Awesome’s praises, suggesting it should really be a higher price for how well it works. Just make sure you wear gloves when you use it. You use too much soap in your washing machine and dishwasher. At least, that’s what the New York Times reported as the No. 1 complaint from repair people and appliance experts. Modern appliances are designed to use less water, and as soap becomes more concentrated, using too much can damage your machine. That’s what makes detergent pods so handy. They don’t look like they can clean all your dishes or an entire load of clothes, but they actually provide the perfect amount for modern machines. You save money on detergent and machine repair! Anything with “magic” in the title sounds like a scam. For this reason, you may have avoided the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and similar melamine foam products. But this is one case where the product lives up to its wild claims. Melamine foam is abrasive and can break down and remove material from fine cracks and textures, making it an effective cleaner. It can be used to whiten sneakers, clean tub scum, and remove permanent marker from your fridge. Since the snake oil salesmen in the days of old first tricked trusting folks out of their hard-earned cash, consumers have wised up and are quick to write off perceived scams. Still, every now then you get lucky, and the cheap white sponge really does make the stove look like new. But you should still think twice before you say yes to gas station sushi. Detergent Pods Foam Cleaning Blocks

These sources include:

• Oil and gas furnaces • Gas stove/range • Gas lines • Gas water heaters • Generators • Space heaters • Fireplaces • Motor vehicles

When these items are maintained and working properly, risk for CO exposure is very low. However, during the winter months, people generally use gas appliances at a higher rate, which increases overall risk. Because the consequences that come with exposure are so high (illness, brain damage, and death), being prepared makes all the difference. We recommend placing CO detectors outside bedrooms and on every floor of the home, as well as near each potential source of the gas. The associated risks are also why we offer our customers a special hybrid monitor, which is designed to detect both CO and natural gas levels within your home for an additional level of safety. A note on motor vehicles: During the winter, many people turn on their vehicle before they leave to allow it to warm up. If you do this, do it in a well-ventilated spot, with the garage door open or the car in the driveway. Never let a vehicle, generator, or other gas-powered equipment run in an enclosed space.

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3 Wintertime Home Hazards to Watch Out For

An inspection will spot any hazards that may affect safety and performance — including any potential risk associated with carbon monoxide leakage. The last thing you want this winter is to wake up in the middle of the night to a carbon monoxide detector blaring. And more to that point, check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to ensure they are in working order, and replace batteries as needed. Decorative lighting. Whether you decorate a Christmas tree or hang festive lights around your home, before you do, be sure to inspect extension cords, power strips, surge protectors and outlets, as well as the strings of lights. Oftentimes, these

The cold-weather months come with a unique set of risks. During these months, we rely on our heating sources to keep us warm and comfortable in our home. However, if we don’t take the proper safety steps, common household items can become

household hazards. Here are three potential hazards to watch out for this winter.

The fireplace. When was the last time you had your chimney swept or had your gas line inspected? Whether you use a wood-burning fireplace or a gas

stove, an improperly vented chimney poses a huge risk to you and your family. If there are any blockages, exhaust from the fire may leak into your home, increasing your risk of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.

cords go unused for months at a time. They may degrade, fray or fall victim to rodent damage. Checking cords reduces the risk of shock or fire, keeping both you and your home safe this winter.

The furnace. Having a routine inspection performed on your furnace and ducts ahead of the heavy-use season is crucial.



• 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock • 1 cup coconut milk • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 3 pounds sweet potatoes, roughly chopped • 1 onion, chopped • 2 stalks celery, sliced • 2 medium carrots, chopped • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced


4. Puree everything until smooth, using a blender or an immersion blender. 5. Add the coconut milk, give everything a good stir, and cook for another 30 minutes. 6. Adjust the seasoning and serve warm.

1. Place all the ingredients except for the coconut milk in a slow cooker. 2. Season everything to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. 3. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours.




Recipe courtesy of PaeloLeap.com.


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23008 Fraser Highway Langley, BC V2Z 2V1 604-532-9625 www.lewismaclean.com





Gas Appliances Are Serious Business


These Products Make Housework Easier! The Sources and Risks of Carbon Monoxide 3 Wintertime Home Hazards to Watch Out For Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Soup



3 Destinations to Take in the Awe of the Aurora Borealis

Northern Lights


3 Destinations to Take in the Awe of the Aurora Borealis

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories If there is any place in Canada that rivals Whitehorse when it comes to the aurora borealis, it’s Yellowknife. In fact, Yellowknife is home to the Northern Lighthouse Project, a project created to monitor and report space weather. Book accommodations, go snowshoeing, spend time on the Great Slave Lake, and take in the northern lights like you’ve never seen them before. Banff, Alberta Much closer to home, Banff is also a great place to sit back and watch the northern lights. While they aren’t as intense as you’ll find in Whitehorse or Yellowknife, you can trek just outside the resort town, where light pollution is minimal, to find some amazing views. Out in the wilderness, and just a few minutes from many of the hotels, you’ll be left in awe.

Have you ever seen the aurora borealis? Also known as the northern lights, they are a staple of the Canadian winter. Living in a metro area, light pollution often washes out the splendor of the colorful river of light in the night sky. However, there are several places throughout the country where you can take in the northern lights as they were meant to be seen. Whitehorse, Yukon In the fall and winter, Whitehorse is one of the best destinations in the world to observe the northern lights. Not only can the lights be astoundingly intense in Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon offers many accommodations for wintertime sky watchers. Rent a cabin or stay at a lakeside lodge, such as The Lodge at Lake Laberge.

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