Jack Frost and his polar vortex have, thankfully, retreated from the Okanagan Valley for now. For homeowners, that means it’s a great time to assess the damage and strengthen systems… before the next cold snap hits.
“We answered a lot of calls for frozen water lines and drainage pipes over the last few weeks,” says Ted Fox, owner of Fox Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical. “If you had trouble with plumbing through the cold snap, you can put in work now to stop it from happening again.”
Make sure your pipes are properly insulated, or have a plumber inspect your system and see what they recommend.
“It’s probably time to update your heat tracing, if you haven’t replaced it in a while. Most manufacturers say you should replace it every three years,” Fox says.
Too cold? Your furnace might be too hot
If it felt like your house just couldn’t get warm, Fox says the most common culprit is an overheating furnace.
“It’s counter-intuitive, but if the furnace itself is overheating your house won’t get warm. The limiter will shut off the furnace to protect it, even if your house is still cool,” Fox says. “Often overheating is caused by restricted air flow — too many vents closed, or a clogged filter.”
The Fox Service Partner Plan includes a yearly 22-point Furnace Inspection, so you won’t have to worry about keeping air filters clear and home maintenance on track. Service Partners also receive 24/7 emergency service with no after-hour fees, which really helps for dealing with those burst pipes.
At home air purification
It’s been a year of thorough hand-washing and disinfectant spray. For another layer of lean clean protection, you may want to consider a UV air purifier.
“All UV light kills germs eventually, but many filters don’t have the range or strength to be effective in your home’s ventilation system. It’s important to choose a UV air purifier that’s stamped and approved for use against viruses, bacteria and mould, and is strong enough to clean the air as it passes through your vents,” Fox says.
In his own home, Fox has been using a filter tested and certified to kill SARS, which recently received approval for sanitizing COVID-19 as well.
“Two of my kids brought home a cold from school, and no one else in the family got sick. Of course the UV filter doesn’t cure everything, but I think it helps.”
Anything brought in by food or parcel delivery workers will be sucked into your vents almost immediately, and pass through the UV filter before spreading through the house. If someone in your household needs to quarantine after contact-tracing or a COVID-test, the UV filter will stop that air from circulating.
“It’s just another option. If you’re looking for extra ways to protect yourself, a UV filter is worth researching.”