Many tasks are also the tenant’s responsibility:
- snow clearing (unless the tenant is an Elder or disabled)
- weather stripping on doors
- clogged toilets
- lawn mowing
- pet clean-up
- borrowing tools
- towing vehicles
- moving furniture
- general clean-up
How to use your heat recovery ventilator
What is an HRV?
HRV stands for heat recovery ventilator. It essentially exchanges the air volume of your house throughout the day to ensure fresh air is in the home. It uses a specialized filter to use the outgoing air from your home to heat the incoming air. KDFN installs an inline heater on the HRV’s we install to ensure the air coming in is not cooling the house during the winter months.
Moisture and HRV
An HRV keeps the moisture content of your home at a constant safe level to decrease mold and bacteria growth. As well it helps to remove germs because it’s constantly filtering and exchanging the air in the house. This is why you will see a drain coming out of the bottom of the hrv.
The HRV installed in your home are balanced and settings should not be touched. What this means is that the HRV is putting as much air into the unit as it’s taking out. This creates neutral pressure. If the settings are altered the system can go on positive pressure (locks freeze, doors freeze, house will get slightly colder), or negative pressure (smoke/exhaust may get drawn into house, house will cool, moisture issues). This is why we ask you don’t adjust the settings and call community services if you suspect an issue.
How to use your HRV
You will notice controls for you HRV on the walls. These are generally in the hallway. For the most part they are set to an energy efficient setting, and should be left alone. However, if you are doing a lot of cooking, they can be turned up to max while you cook. Be sure to turn them down afterwards. As well if you are showering you can turn the HRV up to remove the excess moisture a little quicker from the house. Once again turn the system back to energy efficient when done. Due to the many configurations and setups, not all unit controls are in the same place, so if you have any questions, please contact Community Services and we can have the technician come to show you how to properly operate the system. Most importantly do not turn your HRV off! This can cause moisture issues and mold.
KDFN staff will service the HRV unit as we service furnaces, and change filters in the fall. There is a special procedure for this, and we ask that you leave this up to our staff. There is risk of electrical shock and moving part hazards to consider. If you suspect your HRV is malfunctioning, or the control screen shows a filter light, please contact Community Services and we can send someone to service the unit.
How to properly burn your woodstove
Choose the right fuel. The best wood is seasoned wood that’s been drying for at least 6 months. Fresh wood contains too much moisture. Wet wood creates a lot of smoke, and creosote buildup. You can choose between hardwood and softwood. Hardwood is denser and produces a hotter and longer burn, so it’s good for cold winters. Softwood is less dense, so it generates a cooler fire that’s good for spring or fall nights.
Open all the controls. Many wood stoves have one or more levers you can use to control dampers that allow air into the firebox. When you’re starting a fire, you want all the dampers fully open. The primary source of air in many stoves is an air intake under the grate that provides air to the fire bed. Stoves might have a secondary air valve above the firebox to provide air to the flames, as well as a damper that opens and closes the flue.
Put in some kindling. The best way to get a fire going in a woodstove is to start with small pieces of wood to get the flames burning. Crumple up a newspaper and make sure it is dry. Place the newspaper
into the center of the stove. Lay kindling on top of the paper. Making sure the small pieces of wood are dry.
Light the fire. Use a lighter or match to ignite the newspaper under the kindling. Start at the back and work your way toward the front. Leave the door open for about 5 minutes to make sure the fire gets enough air.
Add some small logs. Once the kindling starts to burn, you can add some small logs to the fire when the flames start to die down. Add 3 small logs to the fire, one at a time, to avoid snuffing the flames. When you add wood to the fire, loosely stack the logs so that air can surround them as much as possible. Close the door most of the way, but leave it unlatched to prevent the fire from being smothered as it establishes itself. Once the fire is fully established, after about 15 minutes, you can close and latch the door.
Keep the door closed. Every time you open the door, it allows heat to escape. This will result in a cooler and less efficient fire. Opening the door also allows smoke to escape into the room. Once the fire is going, only open the door to add more logs. Open the door slowly to prevent smoke exiting the stove. Keeping the door closed will prevent sparks and embers from shooting out. This will prevent sparks from starting fires outside the stove.
Add larger logs. After you’ve added some small logs and the fire has established, you can add larger logs. When the flames from the smaller logs start to subside, add 3 larger logs. When the larger logs have burned down and there are mostly embers and small flames, then it’s time to add some more logs. Adding too much wood at once will smother the fire and leave unburned logs, this leads to smoke and creosote buildup.
Partially close the air intakes. After about 20 minutes, and the fire is burning well, lessen the amount of air going to the fire. This will give the fire enough air to keep burning, but will stop it from burning too quickly. Shut the air dampers so that they’re open about 1/3 of the way. Don’t close the secondary air valve or damper completely. This can lead to creosote buildup in the chimney pipes.
Use proper safety precautions when using the wood stove
Fire can be dangerous and must be treated with respect. Things you can do to keep your home and family safe are:
Keep children and pets away from the stove. The metal will be extremely hot and can cause burns. The best way to keep kids and animals away is to install a fence or safety gate around the woodstove.
Keep all combustible materials like fuel, kindling, papers and books, and furniture at least 3 feet away from the stove.
To have an overnight fire, open the air valves and add some large pieces of wood. Let the fire go for about 25 minutes, then close the valves to their normal spot. This will prevent smouldering, which can lead to smoke and creosote buildup.
Let the fire die out naturally. Once it has died down and there are only embers left, you can leave the fire to die out on its own.
Only burn seasoned wood
For the health and safety of your home and family, and the maintenance of your woodstove, don’t burn anything but dry seasoned wood. Use plain paper or newspaper as kindling.
- Wet, green, painted, or pressure-treated wood
- Particle board or plywood
- Wood pellets
- Gas, lighter fluid, or any other fuel
Clean out the ashes regularly
When the ashes build up in the firebox, you should clean them out. Too much ash in the bottom will impede the airflow, meaning your fire won’t get the oxygen it needs. To clean the ashes, use a shovel or brush to sweep the ashes into a metal bucket.
- leave a one-inch layer of ash in the bottom for insulation.
- Wait at least 24 hours to give the ashes time to cool completely before cleaning out.
Have the stove inspected annually
Call in a professional chimney sweep once a year. This person can inspect the stove, pipes, and other components for damage and wear.
The best time to have your chimney swept is before summer, because heat and humidity can mix with carbon residue and create acids that eat away at your wood stove components.