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...
  • Will blown in insulation settle in walls?

    Steve asks: "I have a question about insulating a home from the exterior. My house has got wood siding and I'm going to be removing it and replacing it with vinyl siding and when I do I want to insulate certain areas with blown in insulation but I heard that it settles over time. So if it starts ...
  • Stopping cold air drafts from ducts to the outdoors.

    I get a lot of complaints about cold air drafts coming in through ducts connected to the outdoors. Here are some solutions.  Butterfly dampers Any exhaust vent that rises up and out will have a tendency to let cold air fall back down that duct. Quality butterfly dampers are available that have ...
  • Supporting outdoor structures

    In this 2004 HGTV episode, we collected several different viewer questions about supporting outdoor structures so we could compare one to the other.  At the bottom of this article I have added, in 2015, the Helix screw piles that may just have replaced all the rest. Elephant Feet The first vi...
  • REDUCING, NOT BANNING, FOSSIL FUELS IN HOME HEATING IN QUEBEC

    There is a general social consensus that we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that includes emissions from using fossil fuels in home heating.  But how to do that is becoming a confusing and potentially expensive question for thousands of homeowners.   THE MAGIC WAND OF LEGISLATION Some...
  • Controlling Garage Pollution

    Pim from Etobicoke would like to install a door from his garage into the house. The danger of this is that it opens a path for pollutants from the car into the living space of the house. Recent CMHC/Health Canada research has shown that many more pollutants than we imagine come off of cars and fi...
  • Insulating the floor of a bedroom over a garage

    You might also call this entry “Insulating the ceiling of a garage under a bedroom”.  Any floor over a cold space will be cooler than a floor over a heated space, no matter how well you insulate it.  So bay window jut-outs always have cold floors as do rooms over garages.  For the bedroom over a...
  • Greenwashing

    What is GREENWASHING? How to avoid it as a consumer and how to avoid it as a legitimate business. Greenwashing is a term that dates way back to 1986, when a New York journalist complained about the cost saving tactic of hotels to get their clients to use the same towel for more than one day by a...
  • The 3-FLEX CONTROLLER -- getting the most out of every central heating system

    If you are looking at changing or upgrading your heating system – read this article.  It may introduce you to things you have never heard about and can certainly save you a lot of money while improving the comfort of your home.   BANNING OIL HEATING If you are concerned about the move to ban h...
  • 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 ...
  • Roof De-Icing Cables and Leaf Guards

    When placing de-icing cables on a roof which has leaf guards on the rain gutters the layout of the cables need to be modified from traditional installations because the small holes in the leaf guards freeze over very quickly.  Best practice for standard cable installation is to have the cables l...
  • Quebec Residential Electrical Rates and Subsidies

    Saving money on residential heating in 2021 – 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...
  • Working with & un-gluing instant glues

    Instant adhesives are generally in the family of cyanoacrylate adhesives -- although there are two basic types: those that cure by very quick evaporation of solvents, like Crazy Glue found in local hardware stores -- and those that cure by depriving the glue of oxygen, like PascoFix. The advantag...
  • Smoke alarms: aging, testing and the law

      HOW DO THEY WORK? Most smoke alarms operate by allowing the smoke to get between a light source and a light sensitive target. When the light gets dim, the alarm goes off. If a spider passes in front of the light, or spins his web in front of the light, he may just set off the alarm. Vacuum ou...
  • Foundation settling

    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? The important first step is to which one of three possibilities apply to Alfred's house: It moved once, cracked and is not moving any more; the cracks are caus...
  • Radial Arm Saws

    No video - but an entire book Scroll down to:   Download the book Principles of Precision - excerpted from the book Add  to  "Your Blog comments" at the bottom of this page.   Anyone who has worked a few days with a radial-arm saw knows that the manufacturers' manuals do not show you how to ...
  • Dividing available energy from your electrical panel

      YEARS AGO -- CHEATING A CLOTHES DRYER ONTO AN ELECTRICAL STOVE OUTLET TODAY - ADDING AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGER TO A FULLY LOADED BREAKER BOARD THE HISTORY Several years ago there existed in Canada a lot of homes with 60amp electrical mains panels. As electrical appliances became more and ...
  • How do you weatherproof things under a deck?

    We got Bill from Washago, Ontario on the phone to talk about his desire to stop the water from going through his deck onto his Lawnboy. He was thinking about putting some kind of water proof membrane over the joists under the deck boards. The problem with this is that there is not enough of a sl...
  • OVERVIEW: Roof Ice Dams & Icicles

    "Why do some houses have ice dams on the roof and others do not?" The overview is below -- for details go to Ice Dams -- for contractors who will really solve this problem, scroll to the bottom of this article.   What causes ice dams and ice cicles? Ice dams develop when snow is on the roof, ...
  • Plastic supply water pipe law suits : Poly-B, Kitec, PEX fittings...

      Copper is a trusted and proven piping for residential water systems.  For years people have been interested in one form or another of more flexible plastic or mixed metal/plastic pipes that could be snaked through a house with fewer joints and easier installation.  Unfortunately there have bee...
  • Vent Stack Ice Capping or Evaporation : I GET SEWER ODOURS INSIDE THE HOUSE OCCASIONALLY IN THE WINTER.

      This is one of those problems that are not dealt with seriously enough by the building officials in really cold regions.  I have opened a blog space at the bottom of this article for you to add in your case history so we can demonstrate that this is a large and continuing problem.  Take a look...