Lewis Maclean - February 2020


Rain, Rain, Go Away


If I told you rain was in the forecast, you might say, “What else is new?” All over the lower mainland, the new year has been defined by rainfall, mixed with a little snow here and there. While rain in the forecast isn’t anything new, we are getting a lot of it, which can mean drainage issues for some people. And that’s what we’re talking about this month: drainage! I bring it up because it seems we’ve been getting more calls about drainage issues lately. We’re clearing out more drains, replacing pipes, and even replacing entire sewer mains. In fact, at the time of writing, we’re getting ready to replace an entire sewer main for a customer. Drainage issues are caused by all sorts of things, but heavy rain can be an especially major burden on drain and sewer systems. Sometimes it’s up to the city or municipality to take care of the problem, but sometimes it’s up to the homeowner, especially when the issue is on their property. This is why it’s so important to take care of your plumbing and drainage system. If there’s an issue in the line and it needs to be dug out of the ground or replaced, it can be very costly to take care of. Not to mention that it’s inconvenient, because no one likes to see their property torn up. Another issue we see year after year has to do with both old and new trees. It’s not uncommon for developers and landscapers to use fast-growing trees. This allows them to fill a property with good shade within a couple years, rather than four or five. Plus, fast-growing trees add to the curb appeal for homeowners interested in selling their homes. However, fast-growing trees like hybrid poplar, weeping willow, or birch trees come with a trade-off.

While they grow fast and look great, their root systems grow just as quickly, and they can cause major headaches later on. It’s because many people don’t know where their water or sewer pipes run under their property, and they don’t always check before planting. Then, as the trees grow, their roots wrap around nearby pipes (and even those that aren’t near the tree). Roots can damage pipes and cause major backups. The other problem is older growth. A tree may have been planted away from pipes when the house was built, but over time, its root system made its way over to the pipes. Now the roots can be gumming up the system and causing slow draining or constant clogs. We get calls from people who can’t figure out why their drains aren’t clearing as fast as they used to, or they don’t understand why they’re getting more clogs than before. They may try everything from using drain cleaner to snaking out the drain with no luck. When we check it out, we often find roots blocking the drainage pipe. Unfortunately, this is often when we have to dig up the property to get to the pipe and clear out the root. While there isn’t much that can be done about older growth, homeowners can replace their pipes preemptively. If you’re thinking about planting new trees, make sure they’re planted well away from your water and sewer lines. Don’t give yourself (or any future homeowners) that kind of headache. And while we’re on the topic of drainage, always be aware of what you’re putting down the drain. While many of us have a garburator attached to the kitchen sink, you should use it sparingly. You never want to scrape leftovers into your sink. It’s meant for smaller particles. All that food and gunk can lead to buildup in your pipes, which can lead to slow draining and clogs over time. The same thing goes for oils and fats, like bacon grease. When grease is poured down the drain, it starts to cool and solidify. Over time, you can end up with a major clog. If you experience slow drainage, or all this rainfall is leaving huge puddles on or around your property, you may have drainage issues that need to be addressed. Don’t wait to call until after it becomes a headache. We’re always standing by the phone 24/7 ready to take your calls for any of your drainage, heating, cooling, or plumbing needs.

1 604-532-9625 • –Tyler Dillon

ScienceWantsYouto StopandSmelltheRoses

Understanding Chlorinated Water



In a 2008 survey conducted by the National Trust in Britain, children were more likely to correctly identify a Dalek from “Doctor

In just about every community, chlorine is added to drinking water. The idea behind this makes sense. Chlorine kills bacteria and other pathogens in the water, making it safer to consume. Of course, being a harsh chemical itself, many people question if it’s truly safe. It is an effective disinfectant, and it’s the most common form of water treatment in the world. In drinking water, chlorine is both ingested and absorbed through the skin through bathing. Is this enough for the chemical to harm you? And is absorbing chlorine through the skin more dangerous than ingesting it through drinking water? People can spend a fairly lengthy time in the shower or bath and even longer in a chlorinated swimming pool. This gives the body ample time to absorb chemicals in the water, and there is a concern chlorine may impact the development of organs and other tissue in children. For most people, extended exposure to chlorinated water results in various negative health effects, usually starting with skin and eye irritation. But it can progress to throat and lung irritation, as well as coughing. Higher concentrations of chlorine can damage cells in the body. According to HealthLinkBC, drinking water should be treated with chlorine and have a detectable amount of chlorine present. Health Canada states there should be no more than 2 milligrams per litre in their tap water, and concentrations of up to 50 milligrams per litre are considered safe for short periods of time. But they also recognize chlorine as toxic. If you’re concerned about chlorine in your water, what can you do? You can start by checking chlorine levels in your home’s water. There are water test kits available online and in many retailers. If you feel chlorine levels are too high, you can take steps to dechlorinate your water.

Who” than a barn owl. Likewise, a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study of 8–18-year-olds in the U.S. found that the average youth spends more than 53 hours a week engaged with entertainment media. These statistics, coupled with growing concerns that children are spending less time outdoors, are leading to terms like “nature deficit disorder” and global initiatives to get

kids outside.

Why is contact with the outdoors so important? Researchers are answering this question by studying the benefits of time spent in nature. One benefit is that outdoor time helps kids understand boundaries and learn how to assess risk. As naturalist, author, and broadcaster Stephen Moss puts it, “Falling out of a tree is a very good lesson in risk-reward.” Not to mention, time in nature may help improve focus for hyperactive kids. In one national study of youths by the University of Illinois, participants’ attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms were reduced after spending time in a green setting versus a more urban one. This may be due to the fact that natural environments call upon our “soft fascination,” a less exhausting type of focus than what is required by urban environments. Emotional benefits were discovered too, including reduced aggression, increased happiness, and improved self-esteem. Beyond just getting outside, the type of contact we have with nature also matters. Visits to nature centres and watching “Planet Earth” are two ways to experience the outdoors. But research points specifically to the importance of free play in the natural world: unstructured outdoor time when children can explore and engage with their natural surroundings with no curriculum, lesson, or activity to complete. Ever notice how kids are fascinated by the simplest things? A child visits a rose garden, but before they even get to the flowers, they become captivated by a leaf on the ground or an ant crawling on their shoe. Children are born naturalists. These are the moments we need to recapture. Take a page out of that kid’s book, and as the saying goes, stop and smell the roses — or leaves or ants — with no checklist and no plan, just time spent playing outside.

One of the easiest ways, though with a higher upfront cost, is through chlorine filters. You can install a filtration system to filter all water coming into your home. Alternatively, tap filters are available. These filters simply attach to faucets and showerheads. For drinking water, chlorine filters are available in pitchers.

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What to Expect From a Property Appraisal

Hint: Don’t Worry About the Clutter

Health & Safety: Does the property have structural integrity and does it comply with proper codes? Size: What’s the square footage of the home and each room? Neighbourhood: Is the property conforming to the neighbourhood? Functional Utility: Is the property functional as built? Do features such as the furnace or fireplace work? Parking: Are the driveways, garages, and carports usable? Other: Curb appeal, lot size, neighbourhood fit, and general curbside details When the appraiser walks around the interior of a home, they look at the overall design, condition, finish work, upgrades, defining features, functional utility, square footage, number of rooms, and health and safety items — including making sure carbon-monoxide and smoke detectors are in working order. They will also check the taps and other plumbing features to make sure everything works correctly. An important point to remember is that an appraisal will provide half the weight in any credit determination involving the security of real estate. As such, any appraisal should be done by a qualified appraiser who is familiar with the neighbourhood as well as the type of home that is being sold, purchased, or refinanced.

Homeowners often get nervous when they know the home appraiser is on the way. They may wonder what they missed and what the appraiser will find. What many people don’t realize is the appraiser already has a solid idea of what the property is worth before they ever see the home in person. At the same time, many people aren’t fully aware of what appraisers are looking for when they determine the value of the property. Homeowners often assume the value of the home is calculated after the appraiser has done a thorough walk-through and inspection of the property. But there is no need to worry. If a home isn’t perfect or there is clutter, the appraiser generally isn’t concerned with these details. Here’s what the appraiser is really looking at. Site: Location, view, topography, lot size, utilities, zoning, external factors, highest and best use of the space, and landscaping features

Design: Quality of construction, finish work, fixed appliances, and any defining features

Condition: Age, deterioration, renovations, upgrades, and added features


To paraphrase an old saying, the way to a dog’s heart is through their stomach! This Valentine’s Day, treat your dog to some pet-friendly goodies they’re sure to love!


• 2 large eggs • 1 1/2 cups almond flour • 1 tbsp coconut oil

• 1/2 cup dried cranberries • 3–4 tbsp coconut flour


1. Heat oven to 325 F. 2. In a small bowl, beat eggs and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine almond flour, coconut oil, and cranberries. Pour in eggs and mix together with your hands until wet dough forms. 3. Mix in 1 tbsp of coconut flour at a time until dough easily forms into a ball. 4. Roll out dough on floured surface and cut with bite-size, heart-shaped cookie cutters. Transfer to cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 5. Bake for 15–18 minutes or until treats are crisp. 6. Remove from oven and let treats cool completely before serving. Inspired by Pretty Fluffy




3 604-532-9625 •

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


Inside 1


Drainage Issues During the Rainy Season Stop and Smell the Roses Are You Concerned About Chlorinated Water? Buy or Selling a Home? Here’s What Appraisers Look For Valentine’s Day Treats Your Dog Will Love! Create Your Own Odyssey





One of the oldest stories in Western literature is Homer’s “The Odyssey.” This epic poem tells the story of Odysseus and his long journey home after the Trojan War. While Odysseus’ travels were fraught with mythical monsters and magic, many of the places he visited are said to be inspired by real islands in the Mediterranean. Even today, travellers flock to these islands looking for peace, adventure, and epic stories of their own. Sicily, Italy One of the most popular stories in “The Odyssey” is the tale of Odysseus rescuing his crew from Polyphemus, a man-eating Cyclops. It’s said that Polyphemus made his home on what is now modern-day Sicily. Fortunately, there are no Cyclopes in Sicily today; there are only cultural festivals, world-class golf courses, and delicious food. Gozo, Malta While Odysseus’ journey was perilous, he did enjoy one peaceful stop. Odysseus spent seven years on the mythical island of Ogygia, home of the nymph Calypso. Historians suspect that Ogygia was Gaudos, now modern-day Gozo, Malta. Gozo is home to the Ġgantija temples, which are older than the

Egyptian pyramids. In addition to exploring

its archaeological marvels, Gozo’s

visitors can also enjoy snorkelling, horseback riding, and other memorable adventures. Ithaca, Greece

If you want to chart your own odyssey, make your final stop

Odysseus’ home, the island of Ithaca. Covered in lush greenery and quaint villages, Ithaca is a wonderful place to relax at the end of your trip. Visitors can enjoy their morning coffee by a seaside cafe before lounging on a secluded beach for the rest of the day. It’s no wonder why Odysseus fought so hard to get back to Ithaca! With dozens of other islands to explore, the Mediterranean is the perfect place to plan your own odyssey — minus the mythical monsters, of course.

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