NOW YOU ARE HOME
You've signed the lease. You've paid the first and last month's rent. You've given the landlord postdated cheques for the rent duing the lease period. You've moved in.
Now the apartment is HOME - a place of your own.
A home has to be kept running properly. There are many appliances and gadgets to help maintain the home.
AIR CONDITIONERS - summers in most parts of Canada can be hot and humid. Air conditioners make the indoor temperature more comfortable. They use a lot of electricity so use them only when necessary and at low or medium settings. When the air conditioner is on, keep the windows closed-otherwise you are cooling off the outside at your expense.
BATHROOM FANS - remove moisture caused by steam from hot showers; usually controlled by a button or knob near the light switch.
COIN OPERATED WASHERS AND DRYERS - clothes washers and dryers do not have standardized markings so you will have to read the dial carefully. Generally there are two dials, one to set the wash and rinse temperatures(hot, warm, cold) and the other to set the spin speed(gently, fast). Dryers also have settings; clothes dry faster when lint is removed from the dryer.
DEHUMIDIFIERS AND HUMIDIFIERS - in summer, a dehumidifier can remove moisture from the air. This is especially important in a basement. In winter, a humidifier can put the moisture back in the air. You can do the same thing by putting out open containers of water. In an airtight building it is not a good idea to hang wet laundry in the house, unless you open a window. If you don't there is a danger of mold. It is best to use the dryer at the building or a nearby laundromat.
FIREPLACES - don't use a fireplace until you understand how to operate it.
GARBAGE - large apartment buildings have garbage disposal chutes on each floor. You simply put your garbage in a bag and drop it down the chute. In smaller apartment buildings and houses divided into apartments, you will probably have to take your garbage bags to a central garbage collection spot.
INTERCOM - a security device that visitors use to call your apartment so you can unlock the door electronically. There are different systems; some are connected to the phone. The landlord will tell you how yours works when you move in.
KEYS - on moving day you will be given a set of keys, which you are responsible for. Don't give copies to anyone who doesn't live with you. If you have a friend look after your place when you are away, lend him or her the keys, but get them back. You might make extra keys and keep them in a safe place for emergencies.
MAILBOXES - in large buildings there are rows of mailboxes near the lobby so you can pick up your mail on the way in. The boxes are numbered so the mail carrier knows where the mail goes. The landlord will give you a key for your mailbox.
RECYCLING PROGRAMS - many cities and towns recycle some types of garbage. You are given a plastic recycling box - often called a Blue Box - and instructions for what goes in it. Usually, the box is for empty plastic and glass containers. Newspapers and cardboard are bundled separtely. Ask the landlord or superintendent what goes in the recycling box and where you should put it for pick up.
SHOWER CURTAINS - hung inside the bathtub during a shower, they prevent water from getting on the floor and causing leaks.
SMOKE DETECTORS - make a loud beeping sound when they detect smoke. The are usually placed at the highest point in the house or apartment, near the kitchen and in stairwells. They will alert you to a potential fire; sometimes cooking smoke or steam from the bathroom will set off a smoke detector. Most smoke detectors use batteries; a warning beep lets you know when to replace the batteries.
SPACE HEATERS - some apartments have space heaters, which are electrical units that you plug into the wall outlet. They use a lot of electricity and are very expensive to operate. Sometimes, space heaters use hot water, which can be dangerous if pipes freeze because windows are left open. Space heaters can be dangerous around children that are unsupervised. Learn how to operate the space heater from the superintendent.
STOVE EXHAUST FANS - found above the stove, it removes the cooking fumes and smells through it's filters or venting outdoors.
STOVES - stoves in Canada usually come with four burners. Some of the burners can operate at higher temperatures than the others.
THERMOSTATS - a control to adjust the inside air temperature. Thermostats keep heat and air-conditioning at a constant temperature. There is usally a thermostat in your apartment. If your apartment is too hot in the winter, turn the thermostat down rather than open the windows, which wastes energy. If the temperature is centrally controlled you must call the superintendent to change the temperature in your apartment.
WATERFAUCTS - the cold water tap is usually on the right and the hot is on the left. Some taps are marked C for cold(in French, F for froid) and H for hot(in French C for chaud). Other taps are colour coded(blue for cold, red for hot).