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


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!

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

Have a happy HallowGREEN!

This Halloween can be less scary for the environment when you make a few simple changes to your spooky traditions.

Halloween gear is often used only once before being tossed. Here are a few earth-friendlier options:

• New Halloween costumes are fabulous because they’re on trend and ready to wear. On September 1, why not donate these gems to friends with younger children for next year. They also make great clothes for everyday dress-up!

• You can also spruce a homemade costume up with brand new accessories. A witch with sparkly makeup, a brand new wand and broomstick is a very happy witch!

• Get creative and put together a costume with items that you can reuse when Halloween’s over. This could be the opportunity to buy that great striped sweater for fall that you can use to dress up as Freddy Krueger!

• Celebrate National Costume Swap Day on October 8 by attending one of the many swap locations across Canada. Or why not host your own private swap? Tip: Pick up Halloween makeup items to give out as party favours for your guests!

Eco-Haunted House

Here’s how to keep holiday decor creepy without scaring the environment.

• Turn off all the house lights and light your porch or walkway with lots of candles. Candlelight indoors will also add to the ambience and spooky decor while saving energy. Tip: Put tea lights in tall glass vases or containers to keep them flickering in those cold autumn winds.

• Support your community of produce growers by picking your pumpkins from a local farm or farmers’ market. Make it a day trip with the kids and let everyone in the family choose the pumpkin that they like best. Tip: Shop for fun accessories to give pumpkins a personality punch, like a bow tie, fake moustache or even a pair of specs!

• When Halloween’s over, remember to compost those jack-o’-lanterns. Instead of throwing away those scrumptious pumpkin seeds, you can clean, season and roast them in the oven on baking trays for a healthy and delicious snack.

• If you’re hosting a grown-up get-together, you can create a chic Halloween theme by setting a sophisticated table that still screams fun. Mix black, white and orange accessories – black tablecloth, white plates, orange placemats and linens – to evoke the spirit of the season. Look for various spooky tabletop items to add to the theme, like a small ceramic black cat or raven and spider-shaped wine glass tags! Tip: Add orange roses in black-and-white patterned vases for instant elegance.

Trick-or-Treat Tips

There are plenty of ways to make this tradition a little more earth- and health-friendly. Remember, a treat is a treat, so challenge yourself to find ways to cut down on the sugar and candy wrappers!

• A reusable trick-or-treat bag is a must. There are loads of environmentally friendly options on the market. Why not get creative and let your kids create their own designs with paint or iron-on patches on a simple monochromatic sack?

• Taking squeeze or shake flashlights on the trick-or-treat route is a great eco-alternative to using battery-powered versions. Look for choices in cool shapes and styles that can complement your child’s costume.

• Invite your neighbourhood friends for some treats and bake your own Halloween goods using cookie cutters in scary shapes. Try nut-free recipes using wholesome ingredients to keep kids happy and healthy.

• Have a Halloween party for both kids and grown-ups. Plan ghostly games with prizes, spooky crafts and activities to keep kids in the seasonal spirit. Don’t forget to keep it green by sending out invites printed on recycled paper. Party tip: Carry the theme into the bathroom with spooky soaps to thrill your guests!