The Season of Staying Warm
Every year as the temperatures fall across the Lower Mainland, we get calls from folks who have turned their heat on for the first time, only to discover that there is no heat. It’s never a good feeling when your home is chilly and you just want to be warm and cozy. Of course, we’re more than happy to take the call, drive out, and assess the situation. More often than not, the primary culprit behind a poorly-heating home is a blocked filter. Season after season, we run into furnace filters that haven’t been replaced in years! As a result, air cannot properly circulate through the furnace and into the home. This is why filters are a common topic in our newsletter. They all-too-often don’t get replaced when they need to. We don’t fault anyone for that — filters are easy to forget about. No matter the season, when we go out to inspect an HVAC system, we always check the filter and replace it if necessary. It’s just a small part of every inspection. Here’s why checking and replacing air filters is so important: If left too long, the air filter will clog with dust, dander, and other small particles. Over time, your furnace will have to work harder to move air and heat the home. When this happens, the furnace itself can overheat, which can damage the unit to the point where it will need a costly repair or replacement. As always, a regular inspection will often catch the problem before a costly repair or replacement is needed. If there’s a problem, our technicians are trained to find and fix it. I think we can all agree that we’d rather deal with a smaller cost today than a much bigger cost tomorrow.
That said, if the situation arises and you do need a new furnace, boiler, or other natural gas heating appliance, FortisBC does have several rebates available through the end of the year and even into the new year. Fortis regularly offers rebates on a number of different appliances, so be sure to check out their website, FortisBC.com, for details and eligibility requirements. It could end up saving you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars! Another thing we want homeowners to keep in mind this winter, especially as more people heat their homes, is to be sure all of your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Check and replace batteries in all the units and give them a test. If you have any detectors that aren’t working, get them replaced ASAP. You never want to go a day without a working smoke or CO detector because all it takes is one day for disaster to strike. It’s easy to take home safety for granted, and, as you know, we’re all about safety at Lewis MacLean. With that, we hope you have a warm and safe winter. If you ever have any questions about your home’s heating, we’re a phone call away. And yes, we’re standing next to that phone, 24/7, ready to take your call, no matter your need — heating, plumbing, air conditioning, drainage, you name it!
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Ugly Sweater Parties
Clearing the Air
QUESTIONS ABOUT INDOOR AIR QUALITY ANSWERED
A Fun Trend You Can Easily Follow!
The air we breathe inside our homes isn’t always the clearest. No matter the time of year, there are many factors that influence the quality of the air you breathe. In the winter, when all the windows are closed and the heat is running, you can be left with stale, unhealthy air. To clear the air, here are a few things to know about what influences indoor air quality and what to look out for. What is indoor air quality? The term itself describes how inside air — the air in your home or place of work — affects your health, comfort, and ability to work. Factors that influence indoor air quality include temperature, humidity, poor ventilation, mold from excess moisture, and exposure to other chemicals.
It’s speculated that the first ugly sweater party took place in
Vancouver, Canada, back in 2001. Since then, the trend has become one of the most popular holiday party themes. Come Thanksgiving, you’ll start to see racks in all types of clothing stores lined with hideous sweaters. If you’re ready to jump on the ugly- sweater-party bandwagon this Christmas season, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Common and persistent symptoms of poor indoor air quality include:
• Airway infections • Coughing, hoarseness, or wheezing • Dizziness • Dry skin • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat • Mental fatigue and headaches • Nausea
Your Very Own Ugly Sweater
Ugly sweaters come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. You can head to H&M or a local thrift store to pick one up. However, if you have a sweater that’s been cozied up for years in the back of your closet or a drawer, now’s your chance to give it new life. Arm yourself with a hot glue gun, thread, and needle, and patch Santa, Rudolph, or Frosty on it. And let it be known that an ugly sweater isn’t complete without sparkles, beads, and sequins galore.
In many cases, these symptoms clear up when you’re in a space with cleaner air. Additionally, poor indoor air quality itself can be caused by several things. It may be a result of an inadequate fresh air supply, a poor ventilation system maintenance, pollutants (from cleaning supplies, sprays, office machines, pesticides, or from burning materials, such as candles or poorly vented fireplaces), micro-organisms, or various contaminants brought into the home from outside. As you can see, the sources for poor indoor air quality are varied, and it can be tough to pinpoint an exact source when you are experiencing symptoms. If you’re concerned about your indoor air quality or want to know what you can do to improve air quality in your home, don’t hesitate to give us a call, and we can help you breathe easier in no time!
What Exactly Is an Ugly Sweater Party?
It’s rather simple — slip on your favorite Christmas sweater, gather all your friends and family members, make sure there are plenty of refreshments and games, and you’re guaranteed to have a top-tier party. A few ugly-sweater-themed games that should be on the agenda include an ugly gift exchange, which is similar to the white elephant exchange, except with the gaudiest gifts you can find; an ugly photo booth, complete with terrible, tacky props; and, of course, an ugly sweater contest.
This is the only time of year when slipping into a lurid red sweater with a stuffed Santa sewn on the front is considered trendy. So adorn yourself in the frumpiest, tackiest sweater you can find, and have some fun this December!
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Get More From Your Cheese Grater
Cheese graters don’t get enough respect. More often than not, they get pulled out of the drawer to grate a little heap of cheese on some nachos, pasta, or pizza. Then, before they’ve had time to really shine, they’re right back in that dark drawer with the other one-and-done utensils. Don’t let your cheese grater fall victim to such a fate. Instead, get the most culinary potential out of your device. Start With Onions No sane person enjoys chopping onions. Unless you possess chef-like knife skills and can dice an entire onion in a matter of seconds, you’re going to be laying down a few tears. Sure you can try wearing goggles or freezing your onion, but who has time for that? Grab the cheese grater, and make quick work of the onion. And if you need some minced garlic but don’t have a garlic press, well, you know what to do. Zest Some Citrus Kitchen smelling of onions and garlic? It won’t for long if you zest a few lemons, limes, oranges, or any other citrus. Not only will your
kitchen smell amazing, but you’ll be able to infuse your culinary creations with citrus, from meats to desserts.
Tame Cold Butter If you’re making pie or any sort of pastry requiring small chunks of butter, a cheese grater can be your best friend. Just be sure to start with a cold cheese grater, as room- temperature metal will warm the butter faster than your hands. Quickly shave your butter into perfectly sized pieces. If
the butter softens too much, pop the shavings into the freezer for a few minutes. The butter will stay nice and firm until you need to incorporate it into your baking mix.
Follow the Breadcrumbs Never waste dry or stale bread again. Run a chunk or slice of dry bread through the cheese grater, and boom — instant
breadcrumbs! Make meatballs, coat chicken, or leave a trail. With a handy cheese grater at your side, the possibilities are endless.
ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH WITH ALMONDS
This sweet and spicy squash dish is the perfect centerpiece for a vegan holiday feast. If you have a family member or loved one who avoids animal-based products, they’ll be very grateful for a dish made with them in mind.
• 3 delicata squash
• Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste • 1/4 cup roasted almonds, preferably Marcona, coarsely chopped • 1 teaspoon agave nectar • Chopped fresh chives, to garnish
DIRECTIONS (about 1 pound each), halved and seeded • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil • 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or smoked paprika 1. Heat an oven to 350 F. 2. On a workspace, brush cut sides of squash with olive oil and season cavity with salt, pepper, and Aleppo or paprika. 3. Place squash cut-side
4. Remove squash from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, and top with
CANDLE COOKIES DECORATIONS FAMILY
GRATITUDE HOLIDAYS SNOWFLAKE SNOWMAN
crushed almonds, chives, and a drizzle of oil and agave nectar.
5. Serve immediately.
down on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
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23008 Fraser Highway Langley, BC V2Z 2V1 604-532-9625 www.lewismaclean.com
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The Season of Staying Warm Everything You’ll Need for an Ugly Sweater Christmas What You Need to Know About Indoor Air Quality Put Your Cheese Grater to Work Roasted Delicata Squash With Almonds Teach Your Kids About Holidays
Multicultural Celebrations TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT WINTER HOLIDAYS
Christmas is the most celebrated December holiday across Canada, yet, throughout the country, there are many cultures hailing from all over globe, each with their own traditions. Teach your kids about some of the holiday celebrations from different cultures this season. Kwanzaa
and the lighting of the menorah candles comes from the story of a miracle that happened during the rebellion, when a one-day supply of oil burned for eight days in a temple. Diwali
Though celebrated in late fall, Diwali is a Hindu holiday that’s known as the festival of lights. Its main purpose is to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, and the five-day festival includes the lighting of candles or
Created in 1966 by black studies professor Maulana Karenga during the Black Nationalist Movement, Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration and reflection period for African Americans. The week offers African Americans the opportunity to connect with African culture and history by celebrating the seven principles of African heritage, which include unity, self- determination, and creativity. Hanukkah
lamps, feasting, and giving gifts to family and friends. Diwali also celebrates the Hindu new year and is the largest, most widely celebrated festival in India. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but educating your children about holiday practices other than Christmas will give them a broader worldview and inspire them to gain further knowledge about cultures outside their own. Your local library is a great resource for children’s literature on these holidays, and there are also TV programs from PBS that feature episodes on these traditions. Enjoy the winter holiday season, however you decide to celebrate!
Hanukkah pays homage to a two-year Jewish rebellion against an oppressive Greek-Syrian
government that took them captive in an attempt to eliminate Judaism. The tradition of the eight-day celebration
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