Q&A from Spring Maintenance Webinar - April 25, 2023

Landscaping Questions & Answers

Information provided by Jeff Foley of Para Space Landscaping Inc, jfoley@paraspaceinc.com

  1. How does council know if landscaping costs are reasonable?
    You can always get competitive quotes. With landscaping it is important to ensure you are comparing apples to apples in terms of the maintenance scope, as the quality and frequency of service can vary between service providers.
     
  2. How to get rid of grass fleas? 
    Diatomaceous earth is said to be a good environmentally friendly control of grass fleas. Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of silica. Diatomaceous earth causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of the insect's exoskeleton. Its sharp edges are abrasive, speeding up the process. 
     
  3. What is recommended to control vole damage to grass? 
    I would consult a professional. Voles/ Moles are difficult to control. They can move around a property and be evasive. There are many varying controls, but all have mixed results. Some people recommend putting used kitty litter near their holes to make them feel a predator is in the area. On the more extreme side, people will poison them, or trap them. Which is why I would recommend bringing in a professional pest control company.

 

Duct Questions & Answers

Information provided by Steve Gunderson of Michael A Smith Duct Cleaning, steve.masduct@gmail.com

  1. In a new build - one year old, how often should the outside ducts be cleaned and what about the ones on the inside? 
    Clean right from the first year. That way any problems can be found right away and the ducts can be kept in good shape for years to come.
     
  2. How much space should there be between a dryer and the backwall to give the flex hose enough space?
    Washer and dryers are getting bigger and laundry rooms are getting smaller. Main point is to keep the flex hoses from getting squished.
     
  3. Exterior ducts are attractive to pests (rodents, squirrels, etc.). Have you any suggestions other than screening duct openings in order to keep them out?
    The International Mechanical Code suggests only back draft dampers on dryer duct termination covers. We do get several cases where birds and bees try to nest behind the damper. In some cases, owners will add screens to help stop this from happening. If a screen is needed to prevent pests, it's best if it can be larger openings or even a larger framed screen over the entire duct to allow the dryer duct to vent freely without plugging. The kitchen and bathroom ducts can be screened without plugging as they are simply moving air, not dryer lint too. 
     
  4. Any way to stop cold in winter or heat in summer coming from vent into dryer? 
    If vent covers are equipped with properly functioning backdraft dampers this should eliminate any backflow down the ducts The idea is that with the appliance running the backdraft damper is open to let the exhaust air out. After the appliance is off, the flap is in the closed position and won't let backflow air enter the ducts if functioning properly. 
     
  5. Any way to direct dryer vent to exhaust over the top of the building to direct fumes from suite levels?
    This is a tricky one to deal with. We have seen in the past owners redirect the exhaust away from balconies. Depending on the location this is possible, but each situation is different. Some owners have created a channel to extend the ducts away from balconies. Redirecting the ducts also adds extra length to the exhaust duct and can create a venting issue in the longer run. 
     
  6. After outside duct cleaning there was a lot of grit rattling in my dryer vent. Is that staying somewhere in the ducting? 
    Oftentimes sand and other debris comes off your clothes and goes into the dryer and the duct behind. This debris is too heavy for it to blow up into the ceiling duct. So it just rattles around in the hose. To fix this, disconnect the hose behind the dryer and clear anything found in the hose.
     
  7. We have been on an annual schedule that has both outside and inside cleaning every three years, i.e. outside-outside-inside. Thoughts on this?
    Recommend doing in and out cleaning every year but if that isn't possible, I would recommend alternated out only one year, then in and out the next year.  But all buildings are different.  Best to contact a trusted vent cleaner to see what is best for your building.

 

Exterior Cleaning Questions & Answers

Information provided by Sebastien Nault of Black Tie Property Services, snault@blacktieservices.ca

  1. How do you deal with the oil and car dirt in parkcade parking stalls?
    We apply a degreaser prior to power washing. We also offer hot water/steam cleaning at an additional cost, which helps with oil stains. All that said, peopl usually have high expectations and want oil stains to disapear, but in reality, concrete is porous and we find it almost impossible to get oil stains completely out.
     
  2. Where does the water come from when you’re cleaning the windows?
    We usually use the taps on site to fill our buckets or connect our water-fed poles to.
     
  3. What is the leading injury in window cleaning?
    Strains and fractires caused by fall from elevation. See attached.
     
  4. Deck railings and trim, would that be part of exterior envelope? 
    Yes, that is part of the exterior envelope. When asking for quotes, ensure to clearly specify what you want included in the scope.
     
  5. What’s anchor inspection?
    Anchor points are installed at roof level and in various other areas, to provide tie-back points for rope or elevated platform access. These anchor points need to be inspected annually and a report needs to be generated by a professional engineer.

 

Drain Flushing Questions and Answers

Information provided by Doug Brien of Ainsworth, doug.brien@ainsworth.com

  1. We have had an increase in backups after drain cleaning operations. Any thoughts?
     First is depends on the location of the back-ups. If they are localized to fixtures, say the trap arm of the kitchen sink then it may be an in-suite issue. It depends on the type of building (4 story or high rise) and how the cleaning was carried out.  Did the back-ups begin right after the cleaning or was it was over a period of several days, weeks or a month? Lots of variables to considered before determining the cause and action to rectify.
     
  2. Is this grease being put into peoples drains causing a slight film forming on the water in a toilet bowl in a bathroom not often used?
    No it would not cause any issues in the toilet bowl as the kitchen drainage riser is separate from the bathroom drainage riser.
     
  3. Did you mention three types of drains to clean?
    Yes. The most common is the kitchen risers due to grease and food debris build up. Then there are the bathroom risers (generally toilets) and then the washing machine riser.
     
  4. When Ainsworth does the first cleaning and collects that data, who owns that data and knowledge? Does the strata?
    Upon completion of the work, we submit a report to the strata manager of what was found and of course strata has access to that. The data is always available in our system for retrieval for strata.

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