Lewis Maclean January 2018



There’s a saying in our industry: “A good tradesman isn’t cheap, and a cheap tradesman isn’t good.” We see it all the time. A person calls because they’re interested in a quote for a job, and then they call someone else looking for a lower quote. The truth is, there will always be a lower quote out there. You will always find someone who will do a job for less than everyone else. But, as with a lot of things, you get what you pay for. If you want to go with a cheap tradesman, you can expect a cheap job. Sometimes, you do want to save money — that’s completely understandable. It’s never fun when you have an additional bill around the holidays because your furnace or boiler stopped working. My advice is to not be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to your home. This is the place where you spend much of your time. You may live in your home for years, if not decades. When you pay for cheap service one year, you’ll find that you’ll pay for that cheap service again sooner rather than later. Here is another thing to keep in mind: The credentials of low-cost technicians. When you have a tradesman in your home — any tradesman for any job — ask for their credentials. Even better, ask before they step foot into your home. Ask if they’re insured and certified, then ask to see verification. Do your due diligence and take the necessary steps to protect your home, yourself, and your pocketbook.

When you do ask for quotes — which is a good habit to form — and you notice a steep price difference between companies, this is a red flag. A small difference in price generally isn’t a big deal and doesn’t necessarily speak to the quality of the service. Quotes vary from company to company, but the difference usually isn’t major.

It’s tempting to go with the lower price. The temptation is never going to go away. You want to save hundreds of dollars on a service or parts. The tradesman may even offer a one-year warranty on his service or repair. In your mind, you might be thinking you can live with that. But a one-year warranty is a bare-minimum warranty. The company offering the low quote and one-year warranty knows their service isn’t going to last. They know what they’re offering is low-quality. That’s another red fl ag. In the end, when you go with a cheap service, you’ll save money today, but you’ll discover you’re paying more tomorrow. People fall into the trap of “saving” money, year after year, while racking up bills all the while. It’s a real problem, but like all problems, it has a solution. The next time you shop around for quotes to repair or replace your home’s HVAC or plumbing system, put the numbers to the test. Look for unusual discrepancies in price and in warranties. Look for those red fl ags. If they appear, you know to go with someone else — someone who has your best interests in mind and who won’t cause you headaches later on.


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Can you believe 2017 is behind us? Elections, weather, and just about everything on the news left us feeling uncertain. We could all use a dose of optimism in the new year. Here are some books that celebrate the triumph of the human spirit, even in the most challenging situations. Finding Forrest When an actor tries their hand

at other creative mediums, the results are varied, but the buzz about Tom Hanks’ new book, “Uncommon Type,” has been largely positive. His literary debut is a collection of 17 short stories, all featuring, in some way, a typewriter. At their heart, though, the stories are about human relationships,

Dust is the bane of every

homeowner and apartment dweller. It’s irritating and

it gets everywhere. In winter, the dust

problem can be even worse. As we’ve mentioned in previous editions of the newsletter, dust can be hard on your furnace. Dust

and Hanks manages to inject his most memorable character’s charm into his writing. As NPR reviewer Heller McAlpin puts it, “In a world where the news is unrelentingly bleak and much fiction tends toward the dystopian, postapocalyptic, dark, or edgy, this is a gentler, sweeter kind of storytelling than we’ve come to expect.” Overcome a Harrowing Year Few have done more to earn the title of modern-day hero than Scott Kelly, who has served as a military fighter pilot, an engineer, an astronaut, and now, an author. “Endurance” is Kelly’s memoir, and it recounts the year he spent on the International Space Station. From sharing everyday space adventures to letting us in on the physical toll space takes on the body, Kelly helps us understand what it’s really like to be in the great unknown. If you’re looking for inspiration in the new year, reading about Kelly’s harrowing year of challenges will surely give you the courage to overcome your own. If You Loved the ‘Divergent’ Series Veronica Roth brings us a new sci-fi/fantasy series with “Carve the Mark.” Roth whisks us to a planet where each person has a “currentgift,” a special power they develop. But for heroes Cyra and Akos, currentgifts are more of a curse. The two must work to overcome their distinctly different pasts and unite to save their world — or die trying. When You Need a Hero School is tough, and no one knows it better than George Heffley. In installment 12 of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, titled “The Getaway,” Jeff Kinney takes us on a tropical vacation with the Heffleys as they attempt to escape the cold weather and frenzy of the holidays. But the island isn’t the relaxing sanctuary it’s supposed to be. The suggested reading age is 8–12 years old, but this book would make an excellent listen for the whole family during a road trip of your own.

gets trapped in the air filter and accumulates over time, putting stress on your heating system. Though you won’t be able to get rid of all the dust, there are steps you can take to

reduce it and breathe easier.

Remove shoes at the door. Every time you walk in the door, you bring in dust, dirt, sand, and other small particles. Taking your shoes off at the door helps confine the dirt to one spot, making it much easier to get rid of. Invest in doormats and throw rugs. Even better, place doormats on either side of every door leading outside. Doormats help trap dust and debris before it spreads to the rest of your home. Plus, doormats give you an ideal place to keep your shoes. Elsewhere in the home, throw rugs help contain dust and dirt. But more than that, they make cleaning much easier. Once a week, take them outside to shake and beat the dirt out of them. Vacuum everywhere. Most of us vacuum the carpet at least once a week. But what about upholstered furniture and curtains? To cut down on dust and allergens, vacuuming furniture and curtains in addition to carpets makes a big difference in your home environment. Cut the static. In winter, and when the air is typically the driest within the home, static electricity builds up. When that happens, static acts as a dust magnet. One of the simplest ways to cut down on static electricity is with a humidifier. You can find models that humidify single rooms or your entire home. Not only will it help reduce dust and allergens, but you’ll find yourself breathing easier, too.

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When you don’t change the air filter regularly, you increase your chances of the following problems:

Happier You Over the past few months, we’ve talked a lot about furnaces and furnace air filters — and for good reason! It’s cold out there and we want to you stay warm. When the air filter becomes clogged with dust and other fine materials, it can cause serious problems. Our best piece of advice is to change your air filter every 90 days, or every 60 days if you have pets. 1 STEP FOR A HAPPIER FURNACE AND A

A burned-out blower motor. When this happens, toasty air will not properly move through your home, leaving you will a chill. When homeowners feel that chill, their first instinct is often to dial up the thermostat, which can lead to even more problems! A damaged heat exchanger. A crack in your system’s heat exchanger is one of the costliest parts to fix. Worse yet, a crack can allow dangerous gasses to mix with your home’s air, posing a serious health risk. Pain in the pocketbook. When your furnace isn’t working properly — all because the filter needs replaced — it will hit you hardest in the pocketbook. Not only are you wasting energy in an attempt to heat your home, your furnace is working overtime in order to keep you warm. This puts a strain on the system, which can cause burnout and other costly damage. If you need help changing your air filter, or you’re not sure what air filter you need, give us a call and we’ll help you in any way we can.

A clean air filter is one of the most effective ways to improve air quality within the home. Couple a clean air filter with our four steps to reduce dust, and you’ll be left with delightfully fresh air! A good filter stops many harmful particles from spreading throughout the home and it helps keep your furnace in good working condition.

Pistachio Goji Berry GRANOLA

Recipe inspired by LoveAndLemons.com.

Want to spruce up your morning yogurt? Top it with this tasty granola. Even better, swap out the dairy for coconut yogurt and enjoy your vegan breakfast.


• • • •

1/3 cup pistachios, chopped

• • • •

1 cup rolled oats 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup coconut fl akes 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/3 cup goji berries

1 tablespoon coconut oil 3 tablespoons maple syrup


and cinnamon. Cook slowly until pistachios and coconut fl akes are toasted but not burned, for about 5 minutes. 4. Remove from pan and stir in goji berries. 5. Let cool and enjoy as a snack or on top of your yogurt!

1. Heat a large skillet over low heat. Add oats in a thin layer and toast for 1–2 minutes. Add coconut oil and salt, then stir. Continue toasting for 5–7 minutes, stirring occasionally. tablespoon at a time; stir to coat. 3. Once oats are toasted, add pistachios, coconut flakes, 2. Add maple syrup 1




604-532-9625 •

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


Inside 1 2


You Really Do Get What You Pay For

Rid Your Home of Dust

Books to Inspire You in the New Year


Save Your Furnace in a Single Step

Start the Day Right With This Granola


The Time Is Right for Nicaragua

Nicaragua a sight to behold. Adventurous travelers can board down the side, reaching ludicrous speeds as they teeter and try not to fall. In fact, it’s almost impossible to travel anywhere in the country without seeing an “I boarded a volcano” T-shirt. If relaxing on a pearlescent beach is more your speed, take a short boat trip out to the Corn Islands. There, you can amble around the small towns bordering the shockingly blue Pacific, visit a number of laid-back seafood restaurants, get scuba certified for a fraction of the price anywhere else in the world, or just read your book as you swing in a hammock by the waves. You can also visit the gorgeous, alabaster Our Lady of Grace Cathedral in “new” Léon. The biggest church in all of Central America, this unique Baroque and neoclassicist structure was built in 1814. Visitors can climb onto its roof (as long as they don’t wear shoes) and bask in the view of surrounding volcanoes (including Cerro Negro). If you’re planning on heading to Nicaragua, it’s best to do it soon. Neighbor Costa Rica often overflows with tourists, and instead of wading through the crowds there, many travelers are catching on to what Nicaragua has to offer.


After the hectic holiday season, many of us feel like we need another vacation just to unwind. Luckily,

January and February are two of the best months to travel. Flight prices plummet

and crowds thin out after the

Christmas rush.

If you’re looking to escape the dreary winter weather, there’s no better place to visit this season than Nicaragua, the “Central American country that has it all,” as Condé Nast Traveler puts it. Whether you’re looking to explore the rainforests surrounding the Río San Juan or get lost in the quirky-yet-beautiful architecture of Granada, there’s something for everyone in this tropical wonderland. One must-see destination is the Cerro Negro volcano. Just a baby at 150 years old, it’s one of the most active volcanoes in the region. It only takes about an hour to scale its smoking, black gravel surface, and the verdant forests surrounding the peak are

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