Avoiding Catastrophic Failure THE IMPORTANCE OF REGULAR MAINTENANCE AUGUST 2017
Most of us don’t like spending a lot of money on a service, especially when it wasn’t a planned expense. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve seen what people will do to save a few dollars, and that includes skipping routine system maintenance. The fact is, routine maintenance can save you a lot of money, short term and long term. But it’s something people are not eager to schedule. After all, if your HVAC system is running well — or it appears to be running well — then why invest in maintenance? The same can be said for your plumbing system. Think about how you go to the dentist. You invest in routine maintenance for yourself and your family. You know that when you don’t, things can go wrong. Health issues can arise down the road. If you don’t visit the dentist for a regular checkup, you won’t know if you’ve developed cavities or not. You may assume that because you’ve never had cavities in the past that you aren’t at risk. However, if a cavity isn’t discovered during a routine checkup, and taken care of when it’s minor, it will cause big problems down the road. It might be a year later, or several years later, but either way, you will eventually have to deal with it, along with the discomfort it will cause.
The same can be said for your HVAC system. Not long ago, we received a call from a woman who was having trouble with her furnace. The furnace wasn’t running as well as she was used to, and she was concerned about the drop in performance. It wasn’t heating her house. We asked questions and ran tests. We learned that the furnace was 12 years old, and during that time, it had not been looked at once. It had been installed and forgotten about. From there, we identified the issue, which turned out to be worse than we could have anticipated. It wasn’t one or two parts that had gone bad. It was a catastrophic failure. Long story short — and $8,000 later — we had installed a new HVAC system. And, as you might have guessed, the failure of the system came down to one simple thing: maintenance. If this system had been looked at regularly, the initial problem would have been caught early. There would not have been a costly and inconvenient failure nor a large and unnecessary bill. Chances are, the system would have run efficiently for a few more years, if not longer, had there been routine maintenance. To add to this, the single most important day of any HVAC system is the day it’s installed. This goes for any part of the system — the furnace, the air conditioner, the duct work, you name it. If a system is not installed to the minimum standards, it’s not going to last. There are a lot of things we do — myself and our technicians — that exceed minimum standards and are far above what local and national codes require. When a system is installed to a higher standard, it lasts longer. Couple that with routine maintenance, and you have the recipe for success. You’re left with a system that runs well and lasts a long time. And for homeowners, it doesn’t get any better than that.
SMARTEN UP YOUR HOME
It’s the middle of summer, and you’re at home relaxing. Suddenly it occurs to you that your home isn’t at a temperature you’d like. Cool air simply isn’t finding its way into your home. The problem could be any number of things, but before you call a professional for help, here are a few things to check: THE AIR FILTER Over time, your HVAC system’s air filter will become increasingly clogged. The longer it’s left unchanged, the worse it will get. A dirty air filter will hurt the efficiency of your unit, and your A/C won’t be able to effectively cool your home. THE THERMOSTAT If you have the thermostat set to “on” or “cool,” but it doesn’t appear to be responding to input, it might be time to check the batteries or wiring. THE ICE Yes, ice. Sometimes, ice will form on the A/C unit itself, even in summer. This can be caused by poor airflow over the evaporator coils, or it can be caused by low refrigerant levels. Again, check air filters for airflow, then check for refrigerant leaks. Either way, if you see ice, turn off the unit until the issue is diagnosed and fixed. THE CIRCUIT BREAKER It’s not uncommon during the summer months for your home’s circuit breaker to trip while you’re running the A/C along with other appliances. When the A/C fails to kick on and nothing else seems to be working, check the circuit breaker, and, if necessary, reset it. When all else fails, call a professional. If you can’t figure out why your A/C isn’t delivering the cool air you deserve, or the issue is causing you too much trouble, a professional service technician will help you diagnose the problem, get it taken care of, and get you back on your way to a cool summer. Here’s What to Check A/C NOT WORKING PROPERLY?
THE LATEST IN HOME TECHNOLOGY
We’ve all had those days when you leave the house, a cold chill runs down your spine, and your mind is flooded with doubt. Did I leave the stove on? Is the door unlocked? Luckily, like many common problems, the tech world is trying to make these worries a thing of the past. There are now a
variety of apps that allow you to control nearly every aspect of your home from your phone, no matter where you are.
At the simpler end of the spectrum are Belkin’s WeMo products. WeMo makes smart plugs that allow you to remotely operate any device that plugs into the wall. They’re great for products like hair straighteners that can pose a fire hazard if left on unattended. Another company at the forefront of household tech is Nest, best known for their thermostats. Nest thermostats are not only fully customizable based on time and weather conditions, but they can also program themselves through the Nest Learning System. Using the product is also energy efficient, saving you money on the electric bill. If you want your house to be fully teched out, then SmartThings is the best option. The SmartThings hub allows you to connect an infinite number of devices to your phone. These devices can even “talk” to each other once they are part of your SmartThings system. If you want your coffee pot to turn on the moment you start running the shower, you can do it. You can also connect SmartThings to voice assistants like the Amazon Echo, which will allow you to turn on appliances with the sound of your voice. Interconnecting your home appliances will only grow easier in the coming years. Whether you want to dip your toe in the water or dive in fully, there’s a product out there for you.
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Strategize to Keep Cool
pointed in. The two window fans will work together to keep air moving and you cool. Just make sure the fans have no large obstructions between them. Have a ceiling fan? During warmer months, make sure it’s set to run counterclockwise. This pushes air down and creates an indoor wind chill effect, making the room feel several degrees cooler. The easiest way to check fan direction is to stand under the spinning fan. If you feel a breeze, you’re good to go. If not, you may need to manually adjust the fan by flipping the switch found in the unit itself.
STAY COOL AND MANAGE ENERGY COSTS
One of the downsides of air conditioning is the energy bill that comes with it. Over the summer, that bill adds up, leaving a lot of people looking for alternative ways to cool down. If you don’t want to leave your A/C running — or you don’t have an A/C system in your home — here is one of the best ways to keep cool and keep your energy bill low, too.
Keep in mind, though, that fans will only keep you cool to a point. When the temperatures get warm enough, these strategies will no longer be effective. When that happens, you can’t beat the cooling power of the air conditioner.
Use fans strategically.
Fan placement is crucial for a cool room or home. The idea is to push warm air out of the home while keeping the air moving. This generally requires two or more fans, with one in the window, pointed out, and another in the room to circulate the air. However, if the air outside is cooler than the air inside, place the second fan in another window,
Avocado and Cucumber COLD SOUP
• Olive oil • 2 medium ripe avocados, halved • 1 large cucumber, halved • 6 stalks spring onions • 1 jalapeno
• 1 lemon, juiced • ½ cup cold water • 1 clove garlic • ¾ teaspoon salt • ½ teaspoon black pepper
4. Chop grilled veggies and puree with lemon juice, cold water, garlic, salt, and black pepper. 5. Once smooth, portion soup into bowls and refrigerate to cool before serving. 6. Garnish with toasted cubed bread, avocados, spring onions, chives, lemon zest, or a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
1. Preheat grill to medium- high. 2. Coat halved avocados
BEACH BALL ICE CREAM POOL SWIM CAMPING LEMONADE POPSICLE SUN
HOT OCEAN SANDALS THUNDERSTORM HURRICANE PICNIC SUNGLASSES TRAVEL
with lemon juice to avoid browning. Brush olive oil over avocados, cucumber, spring onions, and jalapeno. Oil grill while hot.
3. Grill vegetables until everything is grilled or slightly charred. Once
grilled, remove and place on platter to cool.
23008 Fraser Highway Langley, BC V2Z 2V1 604-532-9625 www.lewismaclean.com
How to Avoid a Catastrophic Failure
Smarten Up Your Home
What to Check When Your A/C Isn’t Working Right
Stay Cool and Manage Energy Costs Avocado and Cucumber Cold Soup
The Perfect Summer Getaway
A Weekend in Whistler THE PERFECT SUMMER GETAWAY
Ecotours or Superfly Ziplines, and both tours will take you to new, incredible heights.
Living in the Greater Vancouver area, we’re a short drive from many picturesque destinations, including Whistler. At 120 kilometers due north, or about a two-hour drive, Whistler makes the perfect daytrip or weekend getaway, especially in summer. While you won’t find much in the way of skiing or snowshoeing, you will find a plethora of things to see and do, all at your own pace. You can take it easy in Whistler Village. There, you’ll find shops, art galleries, restaurants, spas, and a bustling nightlife. The resort town has something for the whole family. The great thing about visiting in August and September is that the peak summer tourist season is winding down, so while it still may be busy, you won’t be overwhelmed. Outside of Whistler Village, you’ll find plenty of outdoor activities. Looking for some speed? Try a zip line tour. You can book through Ziptrek
Want something on the water? You can canoe, kayak, and paddleboard on many of the area’s lakes and rivers. Try the River of Golden Dreams, a meandering water route that runs from Green Lake to Alta Lake. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in nature, relax, and spend time with friends and family. Want to see it all? If you’d like to kick back while taking in everything Whistler has to offer, you won’t want to miss a ride on the gondola. The Peak 2 Peak Gondola rises high above Whistler Village between Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain. It offers complete views of the mountains and the valley below — a view you’ll never forget.
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