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Latest Database Entries

  • Legality of DIY electrical and plumbing work

    NEW CONSTRUCTION In the interests of health and safety a number of trades are controlled by law, most particularly plumbing and electricity. The degree to which plumbing and electrical work are actually regulated varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For instance almost all work performed in...
  • Quebec’s Decree to ban residential oil heating -- The hard truth and your options

      (updated May 2022) Residential OIL HEATING is being phased out, but homeowners still have options that are much less expensive than going all electric.   Pour une traduction française de cet article, visitez la MaisonSaine.ca.  Confusion and Panic Ecological Reality Separating Truth from...
  • Quebec Residential Electrical Rates and Subsidies

    Saving money on residential heating in 2022 – a look at the financial side.   Electrical Rate Structure summary:  Hydro Québec is developing various incentives for people to reduce their electrical use during peak periods in the winter.  Lowering the peaks in the demand for electricity allows f...
  • Keeping a laptop going (quietly) - from Win7 to Win11

      Ultra Soft -- the Montreal store that still solves LAPTOP problems I keep finding myself going back to the first laptop store in Montreal, now a tiny basement workshop at 16 Westminster Ave in Montreal West called UltraSoft.  After all the big stores and websites have stolen away the market f...
  • Is a Dual Energy electrical rate program worthwhile?

    Many electrical utilities across the country offer a "Dual Energy" rate program. Before trying to decide if it is appropriate for your house, you should understand why the utilities have created this system.  Click here to get the full picture on Hydro Quebec's residential electrical rates and su...
  • Should heating by oil be banned in Montreal?

      This letter was written to Montreal municipal officials relative to total banning of heating with oil in February of 2021.  It will give you the full ecologically valid arguments against this proposal.  In the fall of 2021 the Quebec government has decreed an end to residential heating with oi...
  • Solidifying rotting wood in a log cabin with Epoxy.

      Wood Restoration is the process of using a very liquid epoxy mix to saturate wood, strengthening the fibers at the same time killing fungi. Then a thick putty like epoxy is used to fill in, such as on the centers of logs next to the corner saddles in a log cabin. This material has the unique ...
  • Replacing a rotting door sill.

    Jack wants to know just how a door frame is made, so that he can take his apart. The sill is rotten. Usually, but not always, the sill goes right under the vertical framing. Sometimes the vertical piece is notched into the sill. In either case, you have to either cut out all the rotten wood, or ...
  • Rotting Wood on a Window

    Wooden window sashes tend to rot. There are special hardening and filler materials that can do a good job of restoring this wood without having to replace it -- also good for the bottom of door frames. A wood hardener is the starting point, to solidify existing soft wood and prepare the area for...
  • Ventilation Strategies for Covid-19 and other air borne health problems

    Because of the seriousness of the issue, I want to take a moment to present my credentials other than that guy that has been on TV and radio for 42 years.  In the 1980’s I was one of the primary instructors for the R-2000 energy efficiency program teaching contractors across Québec through the AP...
  • Radial Arm Saws

    No video - but an entire book Scroll down to:   Download the book Principles of Precision - excerpted from the book If you own this book and have a question, or if you just what to say what you think about the book, add  to  "Your Blog comments" at the bottom of this page.  If you are not su...
  • Skylights that don't leak.

    Skylights are basically windows that are not vertical, but usually closer to horizontal as they sit on top of the roof.  Most are fixed but some open a bit for summer ventilation.  There also exist roof windows which are basically skylights that open wide and are much more common in Europe where ...
  • A great new tool for measuring angles - The SawSet

    A great new tool for measuring angles – The SawSet.  Cabinet makers and finished carpenters have always used two legged devices that you could set to any angle, lock down and transfer that angle to something else. But to measure angles, we have always been limited to reading impossible little ray...
  • Miter cuts

    To get accurate and clean miter cuts it is essential that the wood does not slip along the fence.  At 90 degrees that is not a problem but when we move to a miter angle the blade itself wants to force the wood to slide out of place.  Here is a very quick look at clamps, non-slip fences and even ...
  • Bevel Cuts

    Where push sticks are essential tools with a table saw, hold downs are essential tools for cutting bevels on a miter saw.  Using the trick of "mating shims" can permit cutting all your molding bevels on the same side of the saw. Anyone cutting angles will want to know about the SawSet protracto...
  • Cutting Crown Molding

    The theory of cutting crown molding is very simple - the reality is rather complex simply because although we can set our miter angles quite precisely, it is far more difficult to set the bevel very precisely.  In addition, when the corner to cover with the crown molding is not exactly 90 degrees...
  • Cutting crown moldings with a mitre saw.

    Cutting crown moldings can be simple and it can be difficult. First you want to check if the corner you are putting the molding into is in fact 90 degrees. If you don't check that you can get real frustrated with your mitre saw. 88 or 92 degree walls require different mitre cuts. Over the years...
  • Why Zoom inspections are effective and easy to do!

    Video conferencing, like Zoom, is known for head-to-head talks, but it is also a dynamic tool for interactive inspections, remote on-site consultations and remote on-site teaching.    See for yourself! Let me show you how much amazing detail I can see with a Zoom consultation, and with it being...
  • Sealing ductwork in an attic

    Often furnace heating and air conditioning duct work is run though an attic and then back down into the house. Personally I think that this is a really bad idea unless there is absolutely no alternative route. Why? First, most duct work is not sealed where it goes through the ceiling, so a lot o...
  • Foundation settling - Reading the cracks

    Our camera caught up with Alfred at the renovation centre and he says that he has cracks in the concrete and in the plaster. What to do?  (Be sure to read all the way to the end of the article to learn how to read a crack.) The important first step is to determine which one of three possibilitie...
  • Lighting Dimmer details

    We all like the ability to reduce the intensity of a light, but not all dimmers work on all lights. First a really important distinction: Fan speed controls and light dimmers often look almost identical, but are radically different devices, not to be mixed up at the risk of burning out a motor or...