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: 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • How do I shim windows properly?

    Shimming windows into a wall is not done just any which way. The better of the window manufacturers will provide a shimming schedule with every window, specifying exactly where the shims should go. The general principles are: Bottom shims On the bottom the shims should go under vertical struct...
  • Stopping flies and gasses from coming out of my basement floor drain with Dranjer!

    I have had several letters recently about bad smells and even flies coming up out of basement floor drains and sump pump pits. One viewer was quoted hundreds of dollars to break up the entire basement and replace all the sewer lines. The real problem is usually that the trap under the floor has ...
  • A draft free mail slot - a counter top garbage trap - a central vac sweep door:

    Three of the most useful SLOTS you have ever seen.

      Slots are simply small passageways through something. In this segment we looked at three very nifty Slots -- all completely different.   THE INSULATED MAIL SLOT   How about a through the door mail slot that does not give you cold drafts? The Draft Dodger has two gasketed and spring load...
  • 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 grip...