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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • What is the proper level of humidity for a house in the winter?

    Victor from Stoney Creek, Ontario writes: "My house is a 3 level back split and is 3 years old. The furnace is natural gas. I am having problems with condensation and mould on my thermal windows! The window manufacturer said that there is too much humidity and that thermal windows always get cond...
  • How to stabilize a floor made out of only 2x4's.

    Pat has an 80 year old house and the previous owner built an addition onto it. The floor is tiled and when Pat looked underneath the floor to find out why it was so bouncy, she discovered (see the photo) that the floor joists were 2x4's turned flat! That's not a floor, that's a trampoline, and on...
  • WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT NEGATIVE IONS?

    * Modern environments, such as your well-sealed house, high-rise buildings and automobiles, have few if any negative ions in the atmosphere. The have all dumped their free-loading electrons on the metal ventilating ducts, synthetic drapes, synthetic rugs, and the metal shell of the car. Metal and...
  • WHAT THE HECK IS A NEGATIVE ION?

    A "negative Ion" is nothing more than a molecule of anything floating around with an extra electron riding along for free. Somebody once decided that the electrical charge of an electron was to be called negative -- so a molecule with an extra electron is called a "negative ion". There are three...
  • I have heard that even stainless steel screws will rust.

    There are interesting stories about most fasteners. The standard galvanised nails should not be used with Cedar because the tannic acid in cedar will react with the galvanisation. Just as Aluminium nails should not be used with pressure treated wood. Many new coatings exist that work even bette...
  • Weather Restrictions: Acrylic Latex Paint

    Connect to your favourite weather forecaster and look for the following conditions:   Category: Finishes     Product: Acrylic Latex Paint Temperature Limitations: Use above +10 C (+50 F) and below +32 C (+90 F) Rain Limitations: No rain for 24 hours Wind Limitations:  low to moderate to avoi...
  • WHY DON'T WE HEAR ABOUT NEGATIVE ION DEPLETION?

    In Europe and Japan the value of negative ions and the need to generate them artificially within work buildings, houses and cars has been accepted for years. I find the case for negative ion effects strikingly similar to the evolution of North American thinking about acupuncture -- we can't compl...
  • 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. Enérgie ABC Hybride Inc. of Montreal has really broken the code on h...
  • HEAT PUMPS - OVERVIEW

    Heat pumps do not create heat. They simply pump it from one place to another, either raising the temperature or lowering it in the process. It's much like a water pump: that doesn't create water, it just move it to wherever you need it. Heat pumps are valuable because it takes less energy to move...
  • Getting Generator Electricity into the Home

    During the infamous Eastern ice storm of 1998, people went running out and bought every generator available and set them up to power something in the house during the extended black-out. Many of those efforts created great problems for the utility because homeowners were often feeding electricity...
  • Should I change to All Electric heat?

    All-Electric heating can mean many things: baseboard heating / baseboard with split head high wall mounted non-ducted heat pumps / an electric central forced air furnace with or without a heat pump / or an electric central boiler for a hydronic system.  If you are thinking of removing your Oil o...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • How to close off a chimney temporarily

    Jacqueline from Red Deer Alberta is trying to figure out how to close up her chimney between periods of using the fireplace, given that her damper is burned out and very difficult to replace. Closing off the top of the chimney There are dampers that go on the top of the chimney and are pulled t...
  • Removing odours: cigarettes - mould - animals - cleaning up after fire or flood = Disaster Restoration

    Whether you are trying to get rid of smoke odours caused by fire or cigarettes, mold infestation, incrusted pet odours, the aftermath of a contagious disease (used to sterilize ambulances) or just preparing an apartment for rent that smells bad - read on. THE CHANGING SCIENCE This article was f...
  • Softening water -- do electronic water softeners work?

    John from Halifax wrote in asking about replacing his salt based water softener with an electronic water softener to make it easier to water his lawn.   Note 2020: I originally wrote this article in 2004 and many products have come and gone since then.  I recently received several requests to l...
  • Who Is Jon Eakes?

    It all started when his older brother and sister were really good at music and he couldn't carry a beat with the garbage can. So he holed up in the basement and built boats. The saving grace for his 12-year-old engineering talents was the discovery that wooden boats float even if they're full of ...