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...
  • Less pain, less cost upgrading from Win7

      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 laptops and desktops that have legal copies of Win7 can be upgraded to Win10 for a fraction of the cost of a new computer an...
  • Pro: Integrating Windows to Walls

    I remember years ago, touring Quebec delivering CMHC builder and renovator courses in an effort to get contractors into trouble free window installations. Aside from the fact that they all had the funny habit of installing their windows in French, I was really intrigued to discover that each regi...
  • OVERVIEW: Electromagnetic radiation and your health: THE DEBATE

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Update Dec. 2019:  The US Supreme Court just rejected an appeal of a lower court decision maintaining the legality of the city of Berkely, California’s ordinance passed in May of 2015 obliging all retail seller...
  • Controlling Pigeons

      My friend Keren has been keeping mice at bay with essential oils of peppermint on cotton wads -- she now swears by this clean remedy in a multi-lodgement building.  Her new pest problem is that her son has pigeons on his 6th floor balcony in Ottawa and has discovered that the fake owl didn't d...
  • What causes metal studs to show through the drywall?

    Colour from the studs themselves is not really "bleeding" through the drywall, but it is the studs that are causing the problem. When metal studs are used in outside walls of a house, they conduct so much energy through the metal that the overall R-value of an R-19 wall drops to only R-10. When ...
  • Why do I see the wall studs right through the drywall?

      Tim lives in a 13 year old house and is rather disturbed by the fact that he can see the studs and ceiling joists as if they were coming right through the wall. Don't panic Tim, this is unfortunately very common. It relates to a poor job of insulation in a cold climate.     You see, the ...
  • Removing silicone caulking

    Bill from British Columbia sent in an e-mail asking how to remove silicone caulking from his acrylic shower floor. For many years we had nothing that would remove silicone caulking from a bathtub. Then all the companies came out with silicone caulking removers. Then they all disappeared (or will ...
  • Speciality soles and shoes -- protecting against slipping and crushing

    We can't walk on water, but we do try to walk on ice When you live in Ice Country, as most Canadians do, slipping on ice is a daily hazard for a good part of the year. Hence, inventors have developed a whole range of specialty strap-on soles to keep us from slipping. Be careful with all ice gri...
  • Underwater Epoxy

    OK, here's an endorsement for an incredible product, and they don't even give me free glue! They sometimes call it Wet-Bond and sometimes Underwater Glue but it all comes from a company called Mr. Sticky -- www.mrstickys.com. Actually the whole range of Mr. Sticky adhesives are two part epoxies....
  • 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.  I used it the last half o...
  • What kind of deicer is safe for concrete?

    No de-icer is perfectly safe for concrete. Why? Because you are melting ice while the general temperature is below zero, allowing both water and some kind of chemical to flow into the concrete itself and refreeze shortly after. De-icers should not be used on new concrete -- wait until it is at le...
  • 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...
  • Blocking cannabis odours in an appartment building.

    Jon, On the radio last week you gave someone a remedy to get rid of a smoker's odours coming up through the apartment building.  Could you please post that for me.  Francine. ---- First my opinion -- second hand smoke from cigarettes is already identified as a public health problem, and is ofte...
  • Eliminating termites requires a neighbourhood wide approach

    Termites, native to more tropical climates, are relatively rare in Canada. Click here if you are not sure it is really termites you have in your house.   Dr. Tim Myles works with the Entomology program at the University of Toronto. He studies bugs. He has done a study on how to cultivate and ha...
  • Identifying and Controlling Insects

    When faced with an invasion of insects, the first thing to do is to determine if this is a variety of insects that are easy to deal with yourself or do they require a professional. For instance it is important to distinguish between insects that migrate in and out of the house and hence can often...
  • Carpenter Ants & Identifying ants in general

    Carpenter Ants are probably one of the most home damaging insects in Canada and one of the most difficult to control. They don't eat the lumber in the walls of your house; they just dig tunnels through it to make a comfortable living space, but that tunnelling can destroy the structural integrity...
  • Protecting your house from termites.

    Termites and carpenter ants are the two most destructive insects for homes constructed with wood. Termites eat the wood in a home while carpenter ants simply burrow living quarters in the structure.   Both remain connected to colonies outside the house and it is this necessary traveling between y...
  • The basics of water purification and limitations of water filters.

    The microbiologist Dr. Phillip Stuart joined me to talk about residential water filtration systems. A couple of very important things came out.   Carbon filters, like the Brita and other counter-top or end of spout filters are only designed to use with treated water systems to remove bad tas...
  • Is a Dual Energy electrical rate program worthwhile?

    Many electrical utilities across the country offer a "Dual Energy" rate program. Before trying to decide if it is appropriate for your house, you should understand why the utilities have created this system. Peak demand control Electrical utilities have to be able to supply all the electricity...
  • 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...