for Cold Climate Housing and much more

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...
  • Where does the noisy drip in the plumbing stack come from?

    Wayne from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan writes: "I hear a constant dripping in my 4 inch sewer stack that connects my upstairs toilet drain to the floor sewer. It is not coming from the toilet but since the venting goes to the roof it is possible that during the winter, warm air is rising, condens...
  • STOPPING WOOD HEATING SMOKE FROM COMING INTO YOUR HOUSE.

    Cliquez ici pour voir cet article en français IS THERE A FIRE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD? December 2018 - As I was walking home from the grocery store in the Montreal suburb of Longueuil in one of the first cold days of winter, I found myself choking on smoke.   I started looking around to see if the...
  • KEBONY wood -- the softwood turned to hardwood

    Îpe is a beautiful hardwood from Brazil’s Amazon forest that is popular as a premium decking material.  There are social, moral and sustainable reasons why you should not buy Îpe.  Click here to read the Green Peace documentation of the tragedy of this beautiful wood: “Blood Stained Timber – Rura...
  • Will Larch replace pressure treated wood?

    revised November 2004 Viewers are constantly asking me if there are alternatives to using pressure treated wood. In 2004 the wood treating companies 'voluntarily' withdrew the standard CCA pressure treated wood from the residential market. Ecological groups had lobbied long and hard to ban this...
  • Pressure Treated Wood - the new generation

    Have we really moved to a new generation of Pressure Treated Wood? With the introduction of MicroPro treated wood to the Canadian market in the spring of 2013, some are saying that we have a game change in exteriour wood and building decks.  It has taken several years to get this technology adap...
  • OVERVIEW: Living with Pressure Treated Wood

    This entry has been updated in 2013 and you may want to jump to the last paragraph to see the positive current state of Pressure Treated Wood. Is pressure treated wood safe or not? Is the wood used to build my deck a few years ago now banned? There is a lot of confusion about pressure treated wo...
  • Which Paint Is It - Latex or Oil?

    Determining, definitively, whether a given paint was oil or latex has always been a bit of a problem, but an important one as you can paint oil over latex, but not latex over oil unless you use a special 'super adherent primer' first. I used to recommend taking a bit of paint thinner on a clean ...
  • Quantum Healing

    This one is for you Kathy -- 1h 25min worth listening to.  You need to discover that you are much greater than you think. This gentleman is Bruce Lipton -- an american medical researcher. Let your heart listen to the truths that he is speaking. Just click on the links, each about half an hour lon...
  • Should heating by oil be banned in Montreal?

      You can download this letter in English as a PDF here.  Vous pouvais télécharger cette lettre en français comme PDF ici.     Open letter to elected municipal officials on the island of Montreal about the proposal to ban oil heating from Jon Eakes (Français en bas de page) Speaking from ...
  • Eco-Ice Grip -- Treated wood chips for slippery ice

    This is one amazing product.  Softwood wood chips with just the right mix of magnesium chloride to help the chips to melt into and stick on the ice - making the safest icy walkway I ever walked on.  This is a Swiss invention and Canadian distribution is just beginning.  See comments at the end o...
  • OVERVIEW: Frozen pipes: Tracing, thawing, preventing.

    As weather patterns change we are getting longer colder periods than traditionally in many areas of the country -- and with that, more and more complaints of water pipes freezing. Finding the frozen point can be difficult, thawing it can be problematic but if you have done those two, go one step ...
  • Avoiding flooding from clothes washing machines

    The rubber hoses that bring water to a clothes washer, particularly the hot water one, will age, swell, and eventually burst, usually right where they bend coming out of the faucet. The official instructions with all clothes washers are to turn these faucets on and off every time you use the mach...
  • Ventilation Strategies for Covid-19 and other air borne health problems

    Posted October 9, 2020 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 acro...
  • Healing techniques for eyes and hands

    Meir Schneider runs a School for Self Healing in San Francisco and several years ago I had the occasion to take a seminar from Meir on therapy massage. I asked him to come onto my HGTV show to give us a few tips on how to improve things that prevent us from working around our own houses as we get...
  • Cold window frames and window condensation

    Shawn asked why he always has condensation on his windows. Check "condensation" in the database and you will see a lot about high humidity in the house and the need for one sort of ventilation or another. Here I wanted to look closely at another cause of condensation -- extra cold spots on the wi...
  • Iron Ochre

    Iron ochre is a rust coloured sludge that accumulates and clogges perimiter drains in certain soils.  It is often found the Eastern Townships of Quebec.  It is a very complex problem which can be controlled but not solved.  In fact the real solution in regions known to have iron ochre is to not b...
  • Speciality soles and shoes -- protecting against slipping and crushing

    We can't walk on water, but we do try to walk on ice   When I first wrote this article in 2009, speciality work stores were about the only place you could buy of any these shoe spikes outside of the Internet.  In 2020 if you live where there is ice on the ground, you can find them in renovati...
  • Getting a wobbly toilet to sit flat on the floor

    If you have a wobbly toilet because there is something uneven on the floor the ideal solution is to find a way to level the floor. If it is wood, you could shave it down to flat. If the problem is tiles, you could remove the tiles under the toilet. But often in real life, we don't want to do eith...
  • Installing a Toilet

    In this segment we went step by step through removing an old toilet and installing a new Crane toilet. Let me repeat just a few of the little details: - Sponge out all the water from the old toilet so it doesn't drain all down the hallway when you get rid of the old toilet. - Use your legs, wit...
  • Why is Celotex insulation not seen much in Canada?

    Gordon from Montreal writes asking about the use of Celotex foam insulation (with aluminium foil cladding on both sides- 4 X 8 sheets). He writes: "For your information, the Celotex product is considered by many, to be a premium insulator for residential installations. Ironically it is made in C...