Occupant handbook - Maintenance

It is the Canadian Forces Housing Agency’s job to maintain your house and lot to a standard that prevents health, safety or security issues for its occupants. It is your responsibility to avoid damage to your house and grounds. Please inform your Housing Services Centre immediately of any damage incurred or maintenance issues.

Fair wear and tear

We want you to enjoy your residence and we fully realise that in any home there will be deterioration because of ageing and normal use. This deterioration is called fair wear and tear.

Non-fair wear and tear

Damage that happens because of neglect or mistreatment is called non-fair wear and tear. If the residence or grounds are damaged because of neglect or mistreatment, you will be liable for the cost of repair or replacement.

Routine maintenance repairs

Please notify the Canadian Forces Housing Agency of any damage, defects or deterioration to your house and property. Early notification will help the Canadian Forces Housing Agency keep the house in good condition while you live there. All routine maintenance requests are recorded and, in some cases, a Canadian Forces Housing Agency staff member will need to inspect the residence to assess the repairs required. Note that there is a requirement to have a person 18 years of age or over present for the duration of any interior maintenance repair.

Emergency maintenance repairs

An emergency is defined as an occurrence which, if not treated immediately, could endanger a human life, could cause further damage to property or create undue hardship to you or your family, such as – but not limited to:

  • blocked toilets or sewer drains (also see section on drainage systems)
  • any leak which cannot be contained (from roof, burst pipes, windows and basement)
  • burst water pipes
  • electrical faults or shocks
  • serious roof or basement leaks
  • fire damage
  • furnace breakdown during the heating season

Heating or electrical repairs must be carried out by qualified trades’ people, and you will need to call the Housing Services Centre to initiate a service request. To find out whether or not the problem is one that you can fix yourself, follow these steps before calling for help:

Power failure:

  • Check the circuit breaker switches in the electrical control panel to make sure they are all in the ON position
  • If the control panel shows breaker switches in the ON position, switch them OFF then back again to the ON position. If there is still no power, check with your neighbours to find out whether or not they too are experiencing a power failure. If they are, it is likely a power failure in the whole area. Make sure the problem has been reported to the local service provider
  • If the failure is confined to your home, phone the Housing Services Centre or the emergency after-hours response service, if outside of regular working hours, for assistance.

Heating failure:

  • Confirm that the circuit breaker switch in the electrical control panel labelled “furnace” is in the ON position. Check the thermostat for proper operation. Verify that it is set on HEAT and that the temperature (above current room temperature) setting is appropriate
  • Check to see that the manual gas shut-off valve external to the furnace is in the ON/OPEN position
  • If you have an oil furnace, check the fuel gauge. Contact your local service provider if your fuel level is low
  • Check the emergency power switch (normally located in proximity of the furnace, sometimes affixed to the ceiling) is in the ON position
  • • Check the outside intake and exhaust vents for blockage. Keep vents clear of snow or ice build-up in the heating season
  • • If there is no improvement, phone the Housing Services Centre or the emergency after-hours response service, if outside of regular working hours, for assistance

Electric or gas water heater failure:

  • For an electric water heater, confirm in the electrical control panel that the circuit breaker marked “hot water heater” is in the ON position
  • Phone the Housing Services Centre or the emergency after-hours response service, if outside of regular working hours, for assistance

Assuming the cost of all unnecessary emergency calls (e.g. dead batteries in thermostat, gas valve in OFF position, furnace emergency switch in OFF position, exhaust for high efficiency furnace obstructed by snow, etc.) will be your responsibility.

Emergency after-hours response service

The Canadian Forces Housing Agency provides after hours and week-end service for your emergency maintenance needs. Please limit your requests for emergency maintenance to any problems which will affect health and safety, and to avoid significant damage to the residence.

Not all maintenance problems are an emergency, and some will be looked into the next regular business day. The phone number for the emergency after-hours response service is 1-800-903-2342.

Temporary evacuation

Should circumstances (such as basement flooding, roof leaks, lack of heat, etc.) require you to temporarily leave your residence, please inform the Housing Services Centre first. Contact the Housing Services Centre for alternate accommodation approval. If the problem occurs after business hours, please call the emergency after-hours response service for assistance (also see section on emergency after-hours response service)

Self-help program (where available)

The idea behind the self-help program is to offer to occupants the opportunity to make minor repairs and improve the state of their house. Where this program is available, we encourage you to carry out simple maintenance and repair work. Contact your Housing Services Centre to find out about the program and if it is available at your site.

Windows, doors and screens

You are responsible for cleaning the interior and exterior of all the windows and doors where cleaning is possible through the design of the house. You are also responsible for the upkeep and repair of the screens.

Light bulbs, fluorescent tubes and fuses

When you first move in, the Housing Services Centre will make sure that all light bulbs and fluorescent tubes for the light fixtures in your house are functioning. When one of them needs replacing, it is your responsibility. Light bulbs must be present and working when your home is vacated.

Furnace operation

It is the responsibility of the Canadian Forces Housing Agency to maintain the furnace as well as replace the furnace filter(s) once a year. You are expected to regularly replace your furnace filter between annual maintenance visits. A clean furnace filter maximizes your furnace’s efficiency and longevity, and reduces your energy bill. Most furnaces require filters to be changed on a monthly basis. We remind you that you are to use replacement filters that are of the same size as the filter supplied for your furnace during our planned annual furnace maintenance visits.

Tips on how to minimize heating costs:

  • Set your thermostat at 20º C (68º F) during the day and 18º C (63º F) at night
  • Make sure heat ducts are not blocked by furniture or drapes. Putting plastic deflectors over the ducts will help circulate heat more effectively
  • Make sure there are no partitions or articles, which might reduce air circulation, within 75cm (30”) of the furnace. This is particularly important for gas furnaces which require the use of surrounding air for efficient combustion

If your furnace has a connected humidifier, the interior components (tray, disk and/or filter) may be wiped clean using a damp cloth. Where humidifiers are installed, this is an annual requirement normally undertaken by Canadian Forces Housing Agency contractors as part of the annual furnace maintenance visit.

Drainage systems

Please do not put foreign or hazardous materials into the drainage system. If you have a blockage and drains will not clear using a plunger, please make a service call to your Housing Services Centre as soon as you can to report the problem. If a foreign object is the reason for the blockage, the cost of repairs will be your responsibility.

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