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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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...