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...
  • OVERVIEW: Spring Flooding of Basements

    Every spring basements get flooded with water and I get flooded with letters about basements turned into swimming pools. Although there is a lot of information on this site about the problem, let me summarize and link it together. The spring thaw is the obvious cause of this annual ritual of flo...
  • Which is better -- Fuses or Circuit Breakers?

    In some ways, the old fashioned fuse is actually better than the circuit breakers. To make sure I got my facts right on this one I visited George Brown College in Toronto to talk to one of the instructors in the electrician's apprentice programs. Fuses are 100 % reliable. When they get hot, the...
  • Applying Rain Screen Principles to Window and Door Installations

      THE CHALLANGE FOR INSTALLERS AND MANUFACTURERS jump to - RAIN SCREEN RESEARCH -   There are many variations on how to install a window into a wall, largely differing between new construction and renovation, but there is one almost universal principle presently in practice: Stop both the wat...
  • OVERVIEW: When do I need to remove snow from a roof?

      For most houses, never -- let nature handle it. The reason for that is that most roofs are built to handle the snow that is piled up on it, removing snow is dangerous to you and often the process of snow removal causes more damage to the roof than the snow would. Those were the conclusions tha...
  • PAN FAN - an air filter for toilets

    Over the years I have seen and tested a large number of gadgets designed to get rid of toilet odours, from double walled ceramic toilets that had an exhaust pipe to the outdoors, to exhaust ducts that fitted under the tank and various carbon filters situated under the seat. Finally an New Zealand...
  • Our washing machine smells.

    Karen from Kingston, Ontario writes: "We have a washing machine on the second floor and have noticed the water from previous cycles does not always seem to drain completely away, as evidenced by a smell of grey water when the machine begins it's next cycle. Our upstairs plumbing is well vented wi...
  • 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 th...
  • EMPÊCHER LA FUMÉE DE CHAUFFAGE AU BOIS D'ENTRER DANS VOTRE MAISON

    Click here to see this article in English Je vis dans un quartier francophone, donc même si ce site est essentiellement en anglais, j’écris quelques articles dans la langue de Molière, surtout celui-ci pour mes voisins.  Pour les autres articles en français, cliquez ici. Y A-T-IL UN INCENDIE D...
  • Kitchen renovation tips and selecting counter tops

      There are a myriad of choices for a new kitchen, from style to counter top materials – and choosing what is right for you has always been a balance between your “desires” and your “budget”.  This kitchen renovation tips article was written in 2003 in Toronto, but the basic information is still...
  • Removing water rings from furniture and refinishing without stripping

    I am sure that I have done a TV show on this product, but for the life of me I cannot find it and people keep asking. There is a special category of re-finishing product, often called 'furniture re-finisher' (not furniture or paint stripper) but variations are made by several different manufactur...
  • Rag applied clear polyurethane finishing.

    I bet you can imagine how many manufacturers send me products hoping that I will put them on TV. Well, here is one where I called MinWax and asked them to send me over some Wipe-On-Poly. I have fallen in love with this stuff. It is simply a clear polyurethane finish, but formulated to not gum up...
  • Radon -- les détails en français

    Radon -- les détails en français

  • Qu'est-ce que le radon?

    Il n’y a pas beaucoup d’information en français sur ce site, mai comme j’ai produit les vidéos sur le radon dans les deux langues, j’ai voulu les partager avec mes visiteurs qui sont plus confortable dans la langue de Molière.  Cliquez ici pour visionner les vidéos techniques pour le travail sur ...
  • How do you keep mould off of bathroom tile grout?

    One viewer has a cold, probably uninsulated, wall in his shower, and the mould grows rapidly on the grout. What to do? He is right when he suggested that the best idea would be to tear down the wall and insulate it properly, and while renovating, make sure you have a functioning bathroom fan 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 ...
  • Removing Tile Grout & Floor Glue

    There exist special little tile grout knives, which are really just a blade with carbide dust on the edge. They are efficient at cutting out old grout between tiles. There is a special a power grout remover as one of the accessory blades that comes with the FEIN MultiMaster. Unlike a circular ...
  • What are the 19-3/16+ marks on a tape measurer for?

      Dan wrote in asking what is that little diamond mark on his tape measurer at 19-3/16 inches?           Look further down the tape and you will see it repeated every 19+ inches, always at some imprecise measurement, not really a multiple of 3/16 of an inch. Finally when you get to 8 ...
  • Toilet innovations that work

    Every few years I need to update this "innovations" entry as things just keep getting better.  Not all "gadgets" to save water work, and not all toilets actually flush clean.  For details on the comparative performance of low flow toilets that do work, check out the MaP rating system, which is be...
  • Skylights that don't leak.

    Skylights are basically windows that are not vertical, but usually closer to horizontal as they sit on top of the roof.  Most are fixed but some open a bit for summer ventilation.  There also exist roof windows which are basically skylights that open wide and are much more common in Europe where ...
  • Pro: Wire Up-Sizing for Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings

    A fresh look at household wiring may change the wire sizes we use in some residential lines. The electrical code establishes wire sizes based on fire safety considerations. When an electrical load is run through a wire, the resistance in that wire creates heat. The maximum amperage for a given w...