Should You Get Your Heating Ducts Cleaned?

A hot air furnace heats and distributes air through its ducting system.The ducts are usually made of sheet metal and are most obvious in your basement, where they hang from the floor joists.The return, or cold air, ducts bring air to the furnace, usually collecting it centrally in the house. The return air trunk duct is the big rectangular duct along the basement ceiling that enters the bottom of the furnace. The supply, or warm air, ducting usually exits from the top of the furnace. It starts with a trunk duct on the basement ceiling.The individual supply ducts, in round or smaller rectangular sheet metal, branch off the trunk duct and go to each room, where they terminate in a floor or wall register. Over time, dust and debris will collect in these ducts, particularly in the return air ducts.You may be wondering whether it would be worthwhile to have these ducts cleaned.

Duct cleaning is a major industry. As a homeowner, you may be regularly solicited to have your heating ducts cleaned on a regular basis. Claims are made that duct cleaning will:

  • provide you with better indoor air quality (or IAQ),
  • reduce the presence of house molds and allergens,
  • get rid of house dust,
  • result in more airflow and better delivery of warm air, and/or
  • reduce energy costs.

If you expect duct cleaning to make these improvements, you may be disappointed. It is difficult to find objective and independent research which substantiates these claims.  You may want to find out more at the CMHC web site

Yuck…my sink stinks!

Just thought I would repost this for those that are ready for camping season.

Cleaning your garbage disposal is a quick and easy way to help keep your kitchen smelling fresh and your sink drain working properly. Although well-maintained garbage disposals that are used correctly should generally clean themselves, the following tips will help keep your garbage disposal in tip-top shape.  Remember, never put tools, kitchen utensils or hands in a disposal unit.  If it is absolutely necessary, please unplug the unit from under the cabinet.

1. Cleaning the Garbage Disposal

Most garbage disposals are made of a metal cylinder equipped with rotating impellers. Many newer units include a series of grinders on the sides or bottom of the metal cylinder that grind down the contents of the garbage disposal. In either case, the insides of a disposal can quickly become covered with sludge and debris. No matter how hard you try to protect your disposal, items unsuitable for disposing will find their way down your drain. Glass, metal, rubber objects or highly fibrous food materials like corn husks, shrimp shells, peach pits, artichoke leaves or large bones will need to be physically removed from the disposal. In all cases, items that become lodged or left within your disposal will breed odor-causing bacteria and compromise the performance of your garbage disposal and drain. There are a few ways to clean sludge and debris:

Clearing Items Out of the Garbage Disposal

Safety is important when clearing your garbage disposal. Before you start, be sure to turn off the fuse that regulates power to your garbage disposal to ensure there is no chance for the unit to turn on while you’re clearing it. Using tongs or pliers, you may be able to remove any non-disposable items stuck inside your garbage disposal. You should try to avoid sticking your hands inside of the disposer, but if it becomes necessary to use your hands, be sure that the power to the unit is disabled.

Cleaning the Grinding Elements Using Ice and Rock Salt

You can combine two cups of ice cubes and a cup of rock salt to make a great cure for malodorous garbage disposals. Fill the garbage disposal with the ice cubes and then pour the salt over the ice cubes. Run cold water and turn on the garbage disposal for approximately 5-10 seconds. The combination of ice and rock salt will help knock sludge and debris off of the grinding elements so that they can make their way down the drain. If you don’t happen to have rock salt, substituting a cup of vinegar will also work.

2. Clearing the Drain Line

Good general garbage disposer maintenance includes a periodic purging of the drain line leading from the garbage disposal. You should also purge the line after removing sludge and debris because it ensures that all dislodged items make their way down the drain. This can be accomplished by plugging your drain, filling your sink with 2-4 inches of water and then removing the drain plug and turning on the garbage disposal. Then all of the collected water gets pulled through the line. In addition to being a part of good maintenance, you should also clear your drain line each time after you dispose of particularly fibrous foods. It will help ensure that all of the food particles make their way down the drain.

3. Freshening up your Garbage Disposal Using Citrus Peels


After you’ve cleared and cleaned your garbage disposal, you can use citrus peels (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit) to help freshen up your sink. Put a handful of citrus peels into your garbage disposal, run the cold water and turn on the disposal. The citric acid will help deodorize your disposer and leave your kitchen smelling fresh.

It’s especially a good idea to clean your garbage disposal before you leave your house for a few days. Having food, sludge and debris sitting in a moist garbage disposal that isn’t being used is a sure-fire recipe for breeding odor-causing bacteria. Following these easy steps will help keep your garbage disposal working properly and your kitchen sink smelling clean.

Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day

Canada Day is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire. Originally called Dominion Day, the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada Act was passed. Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as among Canadians internationally.

Carstairs Neighbourhood Party

Come down to the Memorial Arena tomorrow evening and see what Carstairs has to offer.

Host:Community Services

Time:  May 10, 4:30-8 p.m. 8 p.m.

Description: 8th Annual.  Enjoy a Toonie supper! Let the kids play on the climbing wall, Jump4Fun bumper balls and lots of give-aways. We would love to include you by having you set up a table to tell the community all about your group’s activities or services, and ways the residents of Carstairs and surrounding area can access your services or become involved in your organization. There is no cost for your group to participate, we do ask that you provide an activity for kids to participate in, or a give away at your table.

Location: Carstairs Memorial Arena – 4:30 – 8 pm

Contact: Robbin Bowman – Phone: 403-337-3341

Do you have your 72-hour Emergency Kit ready?

No one knows for sure when disaster will strike, but we can all be prepared. Create your own 72-hour emergency kit, and you will have the necessary items to help you and your family until emergency responders can reach you. Below are items you may want to include in your kit.

Food and water (3-day supply of non-perishables per person required)

  • protein/granola bars
  • trail mix/dried fruit
  • crackers and cereals
  • canned meat, fish and beans
  • canned juice
  • water (4 L per person, include small bottles to carry with you)

Bedding and clothing

  • change of clothing (short- and long-sleeve shirts, pants, socks, undergarments)
  • raincoat/emergency poncho/jacket
  • spare shoes
  • sleeping bags/blankets/emergency heat blankets per person
  • plastic and cloth sheets

Light and fuel

  • hand-crank flashlight or battery-operated flashlights/lamps
  • extra batteries
  • flares
  • candles
  • lighter
  • waterproof matches


  • manual can opener
  • dishes and utensils
  • shovel
  • radio (with spare batteries/hand operated crank)
  • pen and paper
  • axe/pocket knife
  • rope
  • duct tape
  • whistle
  • cellphone charger
  • basic tools
  • small stove with fuel (follow manufacturer’s directions for operation and storage)

Personal supplies and medication

  • first-aid kit
  • toiletries (toilet paper, feminine hygiene, toothbrush)
  • cleaning supplies (hand sanitizer, dish soap, etc.)
  • medication (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, children’s medication, etc.,  and 3-day supply of prescription medication)
  • pet food and supplies
  • garbage bags
  • toys/reading material

Copies of personal documents, money (in waterproof container)

  • legal documents (birth and marriage certificates, wills, passports, contracts)
  • insurance policies
  • cash in small bills
  • credit card/s
  • prepaid phone cards
  • copy of your emergency plan and contact information

Ready-to-go Kit

Keep ready-to-go kit items in a backpack, duffle bag or suitcase, in an accessible place, such as a front-hall closet. Make sure your kit is easy to carry, and everyone in the house knows where it is. Take it with you if you have to leave your house so you can be safe.

  • food that you don’t have to keep cold
  • 4 L of water for each person
  • manual can opener
  • plastic/paper plates, cups, knives, forks, spoons
  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • change of clothes
  • card with emergency contact information and the number of someone to call who lives out of town
  • pet food and supplies for at least three days
  • small first aid kit
  • personal ID card
  • personal hygiene items, soap, hand sanitizer

Store medicine you usually take near your ready-to-go kit.


  • Update your kits every six months (put a note in your calendar/planner) to make sure that food, water, and medication  are not expired, clothing fits, personal documents and credit cards are up to date, and batteries are charged.
  • Small toys/games are important; they can provide some comfort and entertainment during a stressful time.
  • Some items and/or flavours might leak, melt, or break open. Dividing groups of items into individual Ziploc bags might help prevent this

Six tips for a clean house this spring

Now that it’s spring, it’s time to clear out all the excess junk and material you accumulated over the winter in an annual spring cleaning.

There are many benefits to keeping a clean home: properly stored items are easier to access when you want to use them, saving you time in the long run; a clean home is healthier to live in, and there could be insurance implications for pack rats who keep too much stuff, says Ottawa west Allstate Insurance agency assistant manager John Kealey.

Mould, which can grow in damp, dark storage places, “is not something that is covered in a typical insurance policy,” Kealey says.

He also warns of the risk of having things piled up around furnaces, which poses a fire hazard. (A fire, though, would still be covered under your policy.)

“With it being around tax time, if people are getting rid of valuable personal documents, we recommend they shred them and dispose of them properly,” Kealey adds.

And for those who can’t part with their extra stuff and must therefore rent out storage space, after 30 days a typical insurance policy only covers theft, leaving risks like fire or water damage uncovered.

In the spirit of spring, here are some tips on how to clean and maintain a tidy house this season:

1. Set a goal. Know what you would like to accomplish by the end of the day, whether it be cleaning out a drawer, closet or room.

2. Get rid of unused items. If you haven’t used something in over a year, there is a good chance you wouldn’t miss it if it was gone. Take the time to go through items such as clothing, shoes, electronics, movies and books and purge items you no longer need or use.

3. Recycle. Take the opportunity to donate usable items to local charities. Some charities may even come to your house to pick up your donation. Consider holding a garage sale with the unwanted items and donate the money earned to a charity of your choice.

4. Go through items on a regular basis. To keep your newly organized space clean, donate items regularly. When you acquire something new, get rid of an item that you no longer use.

5. Protect your items and your home. Batteries in your smoke detectors should be changed twice a year. It is good practice to pick two memorable dates six months apart that you will remember, such as daylight time. If you haven’t already changed the batteries, take the time to change them now.

6. Communicate with family. Make sure everyone in the family is aware of the cleaning efforts. Using those around you will help you to not be overwhelmed by cleaning chores. Also, tell family members of new organizing methods or storage spaces, for example, where shoes now go, or where art supplies are placed. This will help you maintain a clean home everyone can take credit for.

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Carstairs Golf Course Swings into Action!

The Carstairs Golf Course is now open. Call the Pro Shop today for a tee time, they are offering discounted spring rates but the course wintered very well.

Carstairs Golf Club is a Member-owned Semi-Private Golf Club with a maximum of 500 Shareholders.  This beautifully maintained course is bounded on two sides by an architecturally controlled Estate home community (Stonebridge Glen).

Upcoming Events

Men’s League: Members $135/Non Members $415 (Includes Green Fees)

Ladies Night every Wednesday:

Bob Clark Tournament – June 10, 2013 9:00am – $400/team (taxes not included)

For more information check out their website

Restaurant is open for lunch & dinner. They also have some new things on the Menu!

holiday safety tips

Here are some great holiday safety tips from our friends at the Calgary Fire Service regarding Christmas trees:

  • Get a freshly cut tree. It stays green longer and is less of a fire hazard
  • Consider an artificial tree, they don’t smell as nice, but they are a lot safer
  • Always test for freshness before buying.  A tree with high moisture content is safer.  Very few needles should fall when the butt of the tree is tapped on the ground.  Needles should bend, not break, and the stump should be sticky with resin.
  • Use a tree stand with a broad base for better balance and a large water reservoir to immerse the tree butt.  Make sure the base of the tree is always in water
  • Do not set up your tree near a heat source such as a radiator, TV, fireplace or heating duct
  • Never use lit candles on a tree
  • After the holidays, properly dispose of trees as soon as possible.

4 things to do with your Pumpkin after Halloween!

Pumpkin Purée!

Pumpkin purée is the No. 1 use for the fleshy insides of your pumpkin, and it’s super easy to make. Start by cutting your pumpkin down the middle. Scoop out the seeds and guts, and set them aside for later.

Place your pumpkin cut-side down in a baking dish with about a cup of water, and bake for about 90 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Then, simply scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor.

Once you’ve made your pumpkin purée, it’s ready for use in all your favorite pumpkin recipes, from pies to pancakes. Any extra can be stored in the freezer for several months, which means you can ditch all that canned pumpkin when Christmas comes around. Continue reading