Countdown to Cold
One of the advantages of living in the Lower Mainland is that we don’t always deal with frigid temperatures during the winter months. On average, the Greater Vancouver area is one of the warmest in Canada during the winter months. But that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down! When that cold weather hits, you want to be ready. This is why we talk about maintaining your heating system every fall. If your furnace or boiler isn’t ready to handle colder weather, you’re going to notice it. Of course, heating isn’t the only thing you need to keep in mind during the winter months. If you’ve kept up with the newsletter over the past year, you know what I’m talking about: the plumbing. If your home’s plumbing system isn’t ready for freezing temps, you may be in for a nasty surprise — as many homeowners discover year after year. Every winter we get calls due to frozen and burst pipes. When pipes freeze and water is still present in those pipes, you can be looking at serious damage — damage to not only the pipes and your home, but to your wallet as well. The most at-risk parts of your plumbing system are any and all exposed pipes. This includes pipes outside the home, as well as pipes in crawl spaces and attics. All these pipes need to be protected. When ice builds up in pipes, the expansion of the ice can lead to serious damage and ruptures. When a pipe ruptures, water can pour into your home. If temps are low enough, all that water can then freeze, causing an even bigger headache!
According to insurance companies, water damage is at the top of their list for insurance claims, and it is costly. If you experience a rupture that is subsequently followed by damage, you can expect your insurance premiums to go up.
The best first step to preventing ruptures is to insulate the pipes.
Additionally, it’s often recommended that you insulate any interior spaces that aren’t currently insulated. Not only will insulation help keep the pipes from freezing, you’ll probably notice a small dip in your energy bill. You’ll also want to check on all outside taps. If you don’t have frost-free outside taps, make sure each line is isolated from your home’s overall plumbing system. Check for valves connected to outside pipes and make sure they are closed so water cannot flow out. Then, clear them of water before cold temperatures set in to avoid costly line breaks. Don’t have frost-free or frost-proof outside taps? Thankfully, it’s a quick upgrade. When properly installed, frost-free taps are designed to prevent accumulation of ice inside the tap and the connected pipe during the winter months. And don’t forget to disconnect all hoses from your outside taps — including frost- free taps. As a side note, a frost-free tap is not nearly as effective if a hose is connected to it and freezing temperatures set in. When it’s trapped in an enclosed space, ice isn’t something you want to mess with. With your hoses disconnected, be sure to clear out any water remaining in them. You can use gravity or an air compressor to blow out the water, as many people do with sprinkler systems. As the cold sets in, you can always count on us, 24/7! We’re standing by the phone, ready to take your call for all of your heating, air conditioning, drainage, and plumbing needs!
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Best in Show or Halloween Hazard?
On the Up-and-Up
For many kids, picking out a costume is the best part of Halloween. Will they be a spooky witch, a wildcat,
3 SIGNS IT’S TIME FOR A FURNACE TUNEUP
or their favourite superhero? There are so many options! But in all the fun, it can be easy for parents to overlook certain risks that Halloween costumes can pose. Here are important safety tips to remember when choosing the best Halloween costume.
With cooler, wetter weather knocking on our doors, many of us will be firing up the furnace for the first time in several months. When that happens, many homeowners often notice things about their heating system that aren’t quite right. A yearly inspection of your heating system, along with the rest of your HVAC system, is highly recommended by heating professionals and furnace manufacturers. However, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to decide against it or to simply forget about it. It’s only when they turn on their system after an idle period that they realize the importance of this annual inspection. If you haven’t scheduled an inspection yet this year, now is a great time to take care of it. Additionally, if you notice any of the following issues with your heating system, it may be time to call in the pros. Increased Bills While energy bills can vary year to year, if you notice a discrepancy from the last heating season, or over the last month, there is a good chance the efficiency of your system has plummeted. A small bump in your heating bill generally indicates increased usage, but a big bump can spell trouble. Increased Noise While furnaces aren’t known to be the quietest operators, they should not wake up everyone in the house when they kick on. If you notice unusual or excessive noise coming from your furnace or ducts, it may be a sign that a fan, motor, belt, or other component has gone bad.
Look for fire-resistant
costumes. Candles inside jack-o’-lanterns and other open flames are everywhere on Halloween night,
so make sure your child’s costume isn’t a fire hazard. Most store-bought costumes are made from fire-resistant materials, but you should still check the labels on all costumes, wigs, and accessories. The same goes when you’re buying fabric for homemade costumes. And remember, fire-resistant is not the same as fireproof. While fire-resistant material takes longer to burn and can be put out quickly, it can still catch fire and cause serious injuries. Remind your child to use caution around open flames and avoid costumes with flimsy, hanging components, like flowing sleeves, long skirts, and capes. Test makeup first. Halloween is a great time to have fun with face paint, and makeup is a good alternative to masks, which can obscure a child’s vision. Before letting your child cover their face in makeup from the Halloween store, test their skin for allergic reactions by putting just a little bit on the back of their hand first. Practice prop safety. What’s a Jedi Knight without her lightsaber or a wizard without his magic wand? The right accessories can really bring a costume together, but it’s important that props — especially weapon props, like swords, knives, or guns — are not mistaken for the real thing. Choose props that are obviously fake, with round edges made from soft, flexible material.
Increased Chill You have your home set to a
comfortable 22 C, and yet it doesn’t feel like it. So, you up your thermostat by another degree or two, but nothing changes.
This can be a sign of a few different things. If the furnace
seems to be operating, you may simply have blocked ducts. It’s also possible that the furnace is unable to
And if your child wants to wear their Halloween costume to school or some other event, check the rules on props beforehand to avoid any trouble. Halloween is a night for ghosts and goblins to come out to play, and with these tips, your kids can safely dress up and join in the fun.
produce heat like it used to. It may be an issue with a
component, or the unit may be on its last legs.
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Have you ever eaten the peel of a banana? You might wonder, “Why would I do something like that?” Most of us want the sweet goodness on the inside. We peel our bananas and toss the skin into the trash without a second thought. However, when you do that, you’re missing out on many nutritional benefits. What do you get out of eating banana peel? Peels are a great source of fibre, which improves digestion. They’re also a great source of vitamins B6 and B12. The B vitamins are critical players in converting carbs into sugar, which helps give us energy throughout the day. You’ll also find more magnesium and potassium. For anyone with high blood pressure, GOING BANANAS! GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR FAVOURITE YELLOW FRUIT
the peel will be more fibrous with a slightly bitter flavour. As the banana ripens and gets brighter yellow with a few brown freckles, the peel will become less fibrous and lose that bitter edge. It actually becomes sweet! There are several different ways to prepare banana peel besides eating it raw. Some people toss the peel in with the rest of the banana when making smoothies. But, if you want the best flavour, and maybe even something you can get your kids to eat, it’s best to cook the peel first. You can bake, boil, or even fry it. The manner in which you prepare banana peel depends on your tastes. Turn it into dessert by drizzling caramel sauce or cinnamon and sugar over it. For a filling snack, spread it with peanut butter. For a more savoury dish, add banana peel to stir-fry or fried rice. The possibilities are only limited by your
imagination. Feel free to get creative! If you are looking for extra inspiration, you can find a whole host of ideas and recipes online.
adding more magnesium and potassium to your diet can help you maintain regular blood pressure levels. But before you go out and start eating banana peels, there are a few things you need to know. To start, the peel doesn’t taste like the rest of the fruit. If the banana is just barely ripe,
And one more thing! Always be sure to wash
your bananas. You never know what might be lingering on the peel. This is one case in which finding certified organic fruit may serve you well!
SPICED PUMPKIN SEED CRUNCH
Inspired by Bon Appétit magazine This recipe combines pumpkin seeds, a seasonal favourite, with cashews, sunflower seeds, and spices. It’s a perfect homemade snack for the fall.
1 large egg white 1 teaspoon light agave syrup
1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw cashews, coarsely chopped 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garam masala or curry powder 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1. Heat oven to 300 F. 2. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. 3. In a mixing bowl, whisk
4. Using a slotted spoon, strain spoonfuls of mixture over bowl and transfer to baking sheet. Discard excess egg white mixture. 5. Bake 20–25 minutes, tossing once. 6. Let cool and serve.
HALLOWEEN HALLOWS EVE
SCARY STORIES SPOOKY TRICK-OR- TREAT ZOMBIE
CAULDRON COSTUME DRACULA GHOST
together egg white, agave, salt, and spices. Add nuts and seeds and toss until evenly coated.
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23008 Fraser Highway Langley, BC V2Z 2V1 604-532-9625 www.lewismaclean.com
Cold Temps Are Coming — Are You Ready? What Parents Need to Know About Halloween Costumes 3 Signs It’s Time for a Furnace Tuneup It’s Time to Go Bananas Spiced Pumpkin Seed Crunch The Surprising Origins of Trick-or-Treating
The History of Trick-or-Treating WHY THERE ARE KIDS ON YOUR PORCH ASKING FOR CANDY
As Halloween looms and you load up your grocery cart with candy, you may ask yourself, “Why do I provide these spooky gremlins with a sugar high every Oct. 31, anyway?” Well, when your doorbell starts ringing around 6 p.m. this All Hallows’ Eve, you can thank the Celts for this tradition of candy and costumes.
Long before there were young’uns on your porch dressed as Thanos with candy-filled pillowcases in hand, the Celts believed that Samuin marked an overlapping of the realms of the living and the dead. To trick the spirits leaking into our world, young men donned flowing white costumes and black masks — a great disguise when ghosts were about. The Catholic Church was never a big fan of these pagan traditions, so they renamed it “All Saints’ Day” and gussied it up in religious garb. By the 11th century, people were dressing up as saints, angels, and the occasional demon instead of spirits. Eventually, costumed children started tearing through town begging for food and money and singing a song or prayer in return — a practice called “souling.” But when did they start dressing up as Minions? Starting in the 19th century, souling turned to “guising,” which gave way to trick- or-treating in the mid-20th-century, and the costumes diversified. So put on some clown makeup and a big smile, scoop up a handful of sweets, and scare the living daylights out of ‘em — ‘tis the season!
Halloween itself is a kind of mishmash of four different cultural festivals of old: two Roman fêtes, which
commemorated the dead and the goddess of fruit and trees (not at the
same time); the Celtic Samuin or Samhain,
a new year’s party thrown at the end of our summer; and the Catholic All Saint’s Day, designed to replace Samuin and divorce it from its pagan origins.
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