Occupant Handbook - 4.0 Maintenance and repairs

The Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA) is responsible for maintaining the premises to a standard that prevents health, safety or security issues for its occupants. The Occupant of Record is responsible to maintain the premises to an acceptable standard by informing their local Housing Service Centre (HSC) immediately when damage occurs, or repairs are required, by submitting the online Repair or maintenance request form.

4.1 Routine maintenance repairs

If the Occupant of Record does not report apparent damages and/or deficiencies that may lead to additional damage, they will be held liable for all associated costs of repairs. All routine maintenance requests are recorded and, in some cases, a CFHA staff member will need to inspect the premises to assess the repairs required.

NOTE: There is a requirement to have a person 18 years of age or over present for the duration of any interior maintenance repair.

CFHA requires that all work completed by a contractor be verified by phone or physically inspected before the payment can be processed. CFHA will contact occupants to confirm if the work has been completed or to request an appointment to inspect the work. It is important that you respond in a timely fashion.

4.2 Emergency 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 occupants, including, but not limited to:

  • Blocked toilets or sewer drains (see section 4.7 Drainage systems of this Handbook for more information).
  • Any leak which cannot be contained (from the roof, burst pipes, windows and basement).
  • Burst water pipes.
  • Electrical faults or shocks.
  • Serious roof or basement leaks.
  • Fire damage.
  • Furnace breakdown during the cold season.

All repairs and modifications must be carried out by CFHA contractors. The Occupant of Record is required to follow these steps before calling the HSC to initiate a service request:

4.2.1  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” completely then back again to the “ON” position. If there is still no power, check with your neighbours to find out if they 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 the residential housing unit (RHU), call the HSC during working hours, or the Emergency After-Hours Response Service (EAHRS), if outside of regular working hours, for assistance.

4.2.2  Heating failure:

  • Confirm the circuit breaker switch in the electrical control panel labelled “furnace” is in the “ON” position.
  • Check the thermostat for proper operation and replace the batteries. Verify the thermostat is set to “HEAT” and the temperature (above current room temperature) setting is appropriate.
  • Check if the manual gas shutoff valve external to the furnace is in the “ON” / “OPEN” position.
  • If your RHU is heated with oil, check the fuel gauge and contact your local service provider if the fuel level is low.
  • Check the emergency power switch (typically located in the proximity of the furnace and affixed to the ceiling) is in the “ON” position.
  • Verify that the filter is clean and if the door is properly closed.
  • Check the outside intake and exhaust vents for blockages (it is important to keep vents clear of snow and/or ice build-up in the cold season).
  • If your RHU is heated with a heat pump, ensure that the back up or supplemental heat is activated in the thermostat and control settings.
  • If there is no improvement, call the HSC during working hours, or EAHRS, if outside of regular working hours, for assistance.

4.2.3  Electric or gas water heater failure:

  • Confirm the circuit breaker marked “hot water heater” is in the “ON” position in electrical control panel.
  • If there is no improvement, call the HSC during working hours, or EAHRS, if outside of regular working hours, for assistance.

Failure to follow the above steps may result in unnecessary emergency calls which CFHA may charge to the Occupant of Record.

4.3 Emergency After-Hours Response Service (EAHRS)

CFHA provides after-hours service for emergencies which may affect the health and safety of the occupants or cause significant damage to the premises. Please refer to section 4.2 Emergency repairs of this Handbook for more information.

The purpose of servicing an emergency repair request is to render the situation safe. Full repairs will be conducted as determined by the HSC and may only be addressed on the next business day.

The phone number for the EAHRS is 1‑800‑903‑2342.

4.4 Temporary evacuation

If a circumstance arises during regular business hours which requires the occupant to temporarily evacuate their RHU, such as an unscheduled disruption of essential services (e.g., heat) or other unplanned disruption (e.g., flooding, fire, sewer backup, etc.), emergency repairs, or other reasons not attributable to the negligence of the occupant, the occupant must contact the HSC manager for the provision of temporary housing and approval. If the circumstance occurs after regular business hours, the occupant should contact EAHRS for instructions. Please refer to section 4.3 Emergency After-Hours Response Service (EAHRS) of this Handbook for more information.

4.5 Light bulbs, fluorescent tubes and fuses

CFHA will provide the initial supply of light bulbs, including fluorescents and fuses (where applicable) for each initial occupancy. All replacements are the responsibility of the Occupant of Record. All light bulbs must be fully functional and of the appropriate wattage at the end of occupancy.

4.6 Furnace operation

CFHA is responsible for maintaining the furnace and replacing the furnace filter(s) once a year. Between annual maintenance visits, the Occupant of Record is expected to replace the filters every three (3) months, or as per manufacturer’s instructions at their own expense. A clean furnace filter maximizes the furnace’s efficiency and longevity, and reduces energy costs.

Tips on how to minimize heating costs:

  • Set the thermostat to 20º C (68º F) during the day and 18º C (63º F) at night. If the RHU is heated with a heat pump, it is not recommended to lower the temperature at night as the ambient temperature recovery period takes longer than a gas or electric furnace.
  • Ensure heat ducts are not blocked by furniture or drapes.
  • Place plastic deflectors over the ducts to help circulate heat more effectively.
  • Ensure there are no objects within 75 cm (30 in) of the furnace, which could reduce air circulation. This is particularly important for gas furnaces that require surrounding air for efficient combustion.

If the 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 CFHA contractors as part of the annual furnace maintenance visit.

4.7 Drainage systems

Do not put foreign or hazardous materials into the drainage system. If there is a blockage and drains will not clear using a plunger, the occupant must call the HSC as soon as possible to report the problem. If a foreign object (e.g., toys, baby wipes, sanitary products, etc.) is the reason for the blockage, the Occupant of Record will be responsible for the cost of repairs.

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