Feel the Fresh, Cool Air! GET YOUR DUCTS IN A ROW BEFORE SUMMER
As I mentioned in our last newsletter, it’s looking like a hot, dry summer is in store for the Lower Mainland. I sound more and more like a weatherman every day! But it’s always good to have an idea of what the weather will be like in the coming months so you can be ready. That’s why I’ve been talking about air conditioning a lot lately. It’s been on my mind, and many of our recent service calls have involved helping folks get their systems ready for summer. I want to make sure everyone is good to go once that hot weather hits. The quickest and easiest way to get ready for the summer months is a heat pump/air conditioner tuneup. External heat pump/air conditioning units on the outside of your home can take a beating during the winter. From weather conditions to yard debris, there are a lot of things that can impact the summertime performance of your heat pump/air conditioner. If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, well, we can help. A lot of people put off A/C installation because they’re worried about excessive power consumption. Fortunately, today’s air conditioning systems are more energy-efficient than ever. Alternatives to central air, such as relying on window units and multiple fans to cool an entire house, sometimes use more electricity than an efficient central air system anyway. With the right A/C, you can keep your home cool and your energy bill manageable. That’s comfort for you, your family, and your wallet.
Did you know that air conditioning also removes excess humidity and cleans the air within your home? As air circulates, it’s pulled in through the filter, which means fresh indoor air. Air conditioning does more than cool your house; it helps create balance in your home’s air, which brings you comfort. When you’re comfortable, you enjoy being in your home that much more.
“Air conditioning does more than cool your house; it helps create balance in your home’s air, which brings you comfort. When you’re comfortable, you enjoy being in your home that much more.”
That’s it for me this month. If you need anything, we’re here for all your plumbing, heating, drainage, and air conditioning needs! We’re still ahead of peak season, so now is a great time to schedule an installation or a tuneup. We’re standing right next to the phone, 24/7, ready to take your call.
We’ve all walked into our kitchens, looked at the dishes stacked high in the sink, and asked, “Is it better to throw those in the dishwasher or wash them by hand?” The dishwasher would certainly save you some time, but many people believe that washing dishes by hand uses less water and electricity. In reality, however, washing your dishes by hand is one of the worst things you can do for both the planet and your wallet. Dishwashers use less water than washing by hand. A study conducted in Europe found that individuals who wash dishes by hand tend to use 27 gallons of water to clean just 12 place settings. ARE YOU WASTING WATER, TIME, AND MONEY? Hand-Washing vs. Dishwasher
Many homes in the Lower Mainland were built without air conditioning. For some people, a few open windows during the summer months will keep their home cool. But these days more people are opting to install air conditioners in their homes, if not for their own cool comfort, then for the increase in the value of the home. The question is: What kind of air conditioner makes sense for your home? Everyone’s needs are different — and everyone’s home is different. Here are the most common varieties on the market today: The window unit. These are the most popular type of A/C units on the market, and there are many options available. You can generally find models for just about every room (and window) size. They’re relatively simple to install, but you may need to add supports outside the home for a secure installation. The portable unit. Ideal for single room cooling (though the room must have a window for venting), portable units come with wheels to maximize portability. Some units have water tanks that need to be emptied occasionally, while other units evaporate moisture through their vent system. When you need to cool one smaller room, these are great. The built-in unit. Similar to window units, built-in A/C units are ideal for areas of the home where other types of cooling systems might not work. For instance, these are ideal for rooms or areas of the home that don’t have a window. They are also commonly installed in new home additions that might not be connected to a central air system. The central system. This is the most effective way to cool (and heat) your entire home. The evaporator or heat pump sits completely outside the home, meaning you don’t have to give up a window or knock a hole in the wall. External cooling systems can be more easily installed in homes that already have a central furnace, which relies on ducts to push air through the home.
Meanwhile, modern dishwashers only use 6 gallons of water, and Energy Star appliances use as little as 4 gallons during their wash cycle. The Environmental Protection Agency determined that using a dishwasher instead of washing by hand can save 5,000 gallons of water and $40 in utility costs a year.
It’s not just about water! Unless you have incredibly thick dishwashing
gloves, you can’t properly clean your dishes by hand. Dishwashers heat water to around 145 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure your dishes are disinfected. Even if the water from your sink could get that hot, you wouldn’t want to stick your hand in it. Which brings us to the science experiment that is your kitchen sponge. Dr. Philip Tierno, a clinical professor in the microbiology and pathology departments at NYU Langone, determined that your kitchen sponge is the single dirtiest item in your house. Soap and water aren’t enough to sanitize your sponge, which is left damp next to your sink after each use. Have you ever noticed that stagnant sponge smell? That’s bacteria growing. And when you wash your dishes by hand, you rub that bacteria all over your plates and silverware. Yum. If you have just a single plate or cup, you obviously don’t want to run them through the dishwasher alone; that would be incredibly wasteful. But the drawbacks of washing by hand are too great to ignore. The best option is to wait until your dishwasher is full, then start up the washing cycle. All your dishes will be clean and disinfected, and you’ll use less water in the process.
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If you live in a home with both pets and plants, you may be in search of a little balance. Some cats and dogs can’t help but nibble on the greenery or dig in the dirt. Others may love to roughhouse, leading to potential spills and other living room disasters. With a few simple changes, you can ensure your pets and plants get along and that disasters become a thing of the past. Pick the Right Plants. There are many houseplants that are toxic to animals. Aloe is a common one that can cause serious health issues if ingested by cats and dogs. The ASPCA, for instance, recommends pet owners buy plants like the Boston fern, Parlour palm, and the spider plant. You can search PUT A PAWS ON HOUSEHOLD DISASTERS PETS & PLANTS
Consider Plant Placement. Keep houseplants out of reach of curious snouts, paws, and the occasional tail — while still ensuring your plants get plenty of light. Find spots on tables and shelves, or hang plants from the ceiling if that’s an option. As a general rule, set plants away from ledges or areas where cats might be tempted to jump. Make sure your plants are secure. Non-slip mats are a great way to keep pots and containers from slipping. Leave No Cloth Dangled . Watch for mats, tablecloths, or anything else under your plants that may drape or dangle over tables and stands. These can be enticing to playful pets, and they may pull on them and topple over the plant. A falling plant may injure your pet or leave you with a big mess. Make sure anything placed directly under a plant is made or cut to fit in the space provided. Discourage Dirt Digging. For troublesome pets with a habit of getting into the dirt around houseplants,
the ASPCA’s plant database on their website to find plants that are perfect for your home and yard.
the ASPCA says that aluminum foil can be an effective deterrent. Form the foil around the base of the plant, leaving just enough room to water the plant. Cats, specifically, don’t like the crunchy feeling of the foil beneath their paws.
and Squash With Feta
Inspired by thekitchn.com
Zucchini and summer squash are arriving on grocery store shelves. Here is a great way to take these humble, delicious vegetables to the next level. This easy dish is perfect for early summer.
• • • •
2 teaspoons fresh thyme 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese Salt and pepper to taste
1 summer squash
1/2 medium red onion 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Cut zucchini into 1/4-inch- thick semicircles. Dice onion. 2. Heat a large skillet to medium high. Add olive oil, onion, and thyme. 3. Once onion is soft (about 2 minutes), add zucchini
and squash. Season with salt and pepper; cook 4–5 minutes until squash barely begins to caramelize. 4. Place in serving bowl and top with feta.
BLOOMING GARDENING MAY DAY SPRING
MAYO GEMINI MOTHERS DAY TAURUS
EMERALD LILY NIGHTINGALE WARM
23008 Fraser Highway Langley, BC V2Z 2V1 604-532-9625 www.lewismaclean.com
Inside 1 2
Get Cool Before Everyone Else
Kitchen Cleaning Secrets
What Kind of Cooling System Is Right For You?
Find the Purrfect Balance Between Pets and Plants
Sautéed Zucchini and Squash With Feta
The Key to a Memorable Vacation
Enrich Your Vacation BUY LOCAL WHEN YOU’RE ABROAD
Art Just as your town probably has local artisans who produce unique and interesting work, the same is true for your vacation destination. Anyone can get a gift shop bauble that was mass- produced somewhere else. Take the time to peruse market stalls and craft fairs while you travel. It can lead you to some truly special souvenirs, and you’ll support the arts and traditions of the region! People While you’re out sampling local restaurants and exploring local markets, you’ll meet plenty of local people. Don’t be afraid to strike up a friendly conversation. You can make new friends around the globe and learn about their unique experiences. One of the most enriching experiences in life is meeting new people and gaining new perspectives. Memories Treasured memories are the best souvenir you can bring home from any vacation. So you owe it to yourself to get out and explore!
The virtues of buying locally sourced food and supporting small businesses have been widely extolled. But we rarely think to apply the same practices when we travel. Many Canadians spring for all-inclusive packages when planning their next summer vacation, but doing so means they’ll miss out on some of the best aspects of the culture they’re visiting. Part of the joy of traveling is having new experiences you can’t have at home. Whether you’re in another Province or another country, you owe it to yourself to seek out the unique aspects of that location. But to find the character and quirks of your destination, you’ll have to explore beyond the hotel lobby. Food Why have a cheeseburger from a fast-food chain when you can try a local favourite? A great way to start is by asking your taxi driver or hotel concierge about their favourite place to eat. You’ll discover new foods and flavour combinations, and the locally owned restaurant is sure to appreciate your business!
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