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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...
  • How to check if your furnace oil tank is safe

    Underground tanks are banned Many years ago we buried oil tanks in the ground. Think a minute about how bad an idea that was. When a very old tank developed a leak, we never knew about it and it just leaked oil into the ground for years, creating quite an environmental problem. That is why it is...
  • Less pain, less cost upgrading from Win7

    Scroll down for an incredible trick to make your old computer stop that whining fan noise, or click here.   Win7 Upgrade The publicity would have you think that now that Microsoft is ending support for Win7, you must buy a new computer.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Almost all lap...
  • Floor covering in a basement

    I'm asked a lot about covering a floor in a basement. There are several considerations we need to deal with: the hard and cold concrete and maybe with levelling the floor. Of course we need to pay attention to water, either coming from outside the house or from plumbing spills inside the house si...
  • Creating Drainage Paths Under Basement Walls

      For years we have talked about protecting the sill plate of basement walls from moisture rising up from the concrete.  This could be water in the concrete from plumbing spills, or even from under the slab from a high-water table.  The old standard ways to protect that bottom piece of wood on t...
  • 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...
  • The river is rising – preparing for a flood: OVERVIEW

    This article is about stopping water outside the house, then if necessary, controlling the situation as your basement floods.  For some very interesting water alarms, covering both plumbing and overland water,see Stopping Plumbing Floods.   SANDBAGGING The first line of defense is sandbaggin...
  • How do you properly stand a stud wall up against a basement wall?

    When we are working with wood studs we generally build the wall on the floor and then lean it up to the wall. But in the basement we have all kinds of overhead obstructions, so if you just tip it up, you will probably find yourself blocked by pipes or ducts. The secret is like in the photo, to b...
  • 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...
  • What are BUILDING CODES and why do I care?

      For the first time in history most Canadian National Codes are free. As of April 2019, the NRC is offering free access to the downloadable and electronic formats of the National Building Code, the National Fire Code, the National Plumbing Code, and the National Energy Code for Buildings, as w...
  • The Pro Base ladder base -- the BEST self leveling feet for your outdoor ladder.

    When you need to stand a ladder on uneven ground, you always have to mess around to get something sturdy under the feet. Now there is an incredible invention from British Columbia that attaches to the bottom of any ladder. Place it on uneven ground. Step on one of the two release levers and the ...
  • Back Pain and Home Improvements

      Back Pain and arthritis are probably the two primary health problems that cause people to give up manual trades and even renovating or repairing their own homes.  Back pain in particular can step in while people are quite young.  It doesn't have to be so.    I have always had a peculiar pro...
  • Les adieux de César

    Les adieux de César en vidéo tourné une heure avant de se faire frapper mortellement par une voiture en plein jour. L’âme d’amour qui a réuni tout un quartier.  Merci, César, d’avoir choisi notre maison comme port d’attache pendant les cinq dernières années de tes 15 années de vie. Le premier m...
  • 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...
  • Stopping Plumbing Floods & Flood Alarms

    I like to look at history and tell stories, but if you are not the type that likes to read a lot and all you want is to control your water flow – jump down to the best plumbing flow control system to date: the AquaTrip shut-off valve. For information on overland flooding, check out The River Is ...
  • Deck Span Tables

    Decks need to be built strong enough to not fall down or have deck boards break for lack of support. In addition, although they do not need to be as solid as a floor in the house, they should not bounce like a trampoline. The structures of most decks in Canada are built with pressure treated wood...
  • Investigation Techniques

    THE ALMOND MYSTERY Updated-- 20 almonds soaked in water overnight are good for my wife’s and my health.  But when there are only 14 almonds in the bowl in the morning I was getting accused of old age distraction.  Next day 20 in the bowl, next day 20 in the bowl – I guess it was my distractive ...
  • Crystalline Growth Waterproofing Products

    Here is one water proofing material that approaches the field of Science Fiction -- but it is for real and it does work. Xypex High'n Dry is a not so commonly available brand name of what is generically referred to as Crystalline Growth waterproofing products. These are applied to a sound bare c...
  • Solving Computer Mouse Wrist Strain

    Tired or damaged hands from computer mouse use Years ago I had a serious problem caused by overwork with a computer mouse dealing with very detailed graphics work for several days non-stop. My hand was going numb and losing its functions because of my “death grip” on that little mouse.  The doct...
  • 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...
  • Renovation Planning

    There are many reasons why detailed planning is essential in renovation and construction.  Good planning avoids a lot of changes as you go, and often changes are very disruptive if you have to go back and rebuild something already done.  Good planning gives you a chance to see the whole picture, ...