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 hoods -- how to identify quality

      Ventilation Maximum makes some of the best outdoor vent hoods on the market – and makes them to work in cold and snow covered climates.  They often innovate and others copy.  For instance they invented the square cupola that replaced both the troublesome spinning turbines and the rooftop bu...
  • Setting Concrete Slabs Safely and Easily

    Individuals who invent things always have trouble getting them to market.  Even when they are good products they may not get enough marketing traction to make it really worthwhile.  There are many products that I have fallen in love with that have simply fallen away with time.  I have used my Sla...
  • Concrete and Rock demolation without explosives

      Dynamite can disturb structures a long distance away and can even open cracks to let soil gasses rise up where they did not pass before.  Dynamite cannot be used on or under a house.  Jackhammering is not only annoying but vibrations can cause secondary damage to an adjoining house.  EcoBust ...
  • Dog/Cat doors for a snowy climate

    For a long time it has been a dream to have dog and even cat doors that would allow the pets in and out on their own without compromising the house itself in a cold snow filled climate. When a pet door doesn't work in our climate, the snow can fill the living room. All efforts seemed to fail to ...
  • Why hire a professional electrician?

      People ask me for professional recommendations and I shy away from doing too much of that.  But the company Electrika is worth a special mention.  First they are competent at doing things right.  Second they are great at trouble shooting and figuring out problems.  You will be won over by thei...
  • OIL LIFT -- getting oil off of anything.

    Most driveway cleaners are powerful solvents that dilute the oil, even dissolve the asphalt, and create more pollution. Research in British Colombia has shown that more oil gets into the ocean from streets, driveways and parking lots than from oil tanker spills. So in an effort to clean the ocea...
  • 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...
  • PROFESSIONAL SERVICES -- removing the fog from thermal pane windows.

      When condensation shows up inside a thermal pane double window (between the two pieces of glass), you know that the seals around the edge have been compromised, allowing moisture to get inside. These cannot really be re-sealed so the standard response to this problem is to replace the glass ...
  • Specialty - Cross Cuts

    Shelving often requires evenly spaced identical width slots.  These do not need to be all measured out.  The key is an indexing jig.  In a latter video we will use this indexing jig to make box joints.  
  • DIY -- Removing condensation from inside a thermal pane window.

        When condensation shows up inside a thermal pane double window (between the two pieces of glass), you know that the seals around the edge have been compromised, allowing moisture to get inside. These cannot really be re-sealed so the standard response to this problem is to replace the gla...
  • Preventing leakage through a shower floor

    It always surprises people to learn that neither siliconed grout nor glazed tiles are totally waterproof. If there is not a waterproof membrane below the tiles, the heavy flow of water in a shower would eventually soak through the base and rot out the floor below. No amount of silicone sealant no...
  • Overview - Building the base to a tiled shower.

    Most people don't realize it but glazed tiles are not completely waterproof although they are highly water resistant. The reality is that the tile and the grout are not the final line of defence against water leaking through to the ceiling below. A proper built-in shower stall starts with a tape...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...