for Cold Climate Housing and much more

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...
  • 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...
  • Basement walls -- Moisture & Vapour Barriers

    Do I need to place a vapour barrier against the brick wall, then insulation and then another vapour barrier over that?  The wall does not leak and is fully underground.  Barbara THE VAPOUR BARRIER The vapour barrier is more properly called a vapour retarder. It is designed to stop moisture in t...
  • Detailing a Basement Wine Cellar

    John wants to cerate a wine cellar in his basement.  Here I have answered him throughly enough to perhaps help you detail your own cold room, whether it is under a concrete porch, or just built in the corner of the basement -- trying to deal with the questions of insulation, condensation, vapour ...
  • Oscillating Tools

    AVOIDING SAW PROBLEMS

    Oscillating Tools

    The Plunge Cut

  • Kitchen renovation tips

      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...
  • OVERVIEW: Keeping leaves out of rain gutters while letting the water through

      THE RAIN GUTTER’S PRIMARY JOB   We need rain gutters to collect the rain that falls on a roof and then take it far away from the foundation of the house.  That, together with landscaping that slopes away from the house, can solve 80% of all water leakage problems in basements, especially dur...
  • Vent Stack Ice Capping or Evaporation : I GET SEWER ODOURS INSIDE THE HOUSE OCCASIONALLY IN THE WINTER.

      This is one of those problems that are not dealt with seriously enough by the building officials in really cold regions.  I have opened a blog space at the bottom of this article for you to add in your case history so we can demonstrate that this is a large and continuing problem.  Take a look...
  • How to measure windows for replacement or repair

      When hiring a contractor to replace your windows, DO NOT MEASURE THEM YOURSELF.  You can give him measurements to the nearest inch with the very clear indications that these are "approximate measurements only and not to be used for ordering the window".    WHY HAVE A CONTRACTOR TAKE HIS OWN ...
  • Montreal is phasing out wood heating that pollutes

    Montreal is putting tight pollution restrictions on wood heating because of serious health problems related to most smoke emitted by most solid wood burning appliances.  The bottom line is you can continue to burn wood if you have an approved very high efficiency wood burning appliance, and you...
  • Tri-Energy Controller -- a step further towards energy efficiency

      ABC Hybrid Inc. has really broken the code on heating comfort and economy.  Your existing furnace goes totally on or totally of according to the demand of the thermostat.  That is very much like having a stick shift car with only neutral and third gear – you would be in high gear, or out of ge...
  • Back Pain and Home Improvements

           Hip Hinging with Lang Liu on my WebBroadcast April 2018 -- Making Strong Backs At Every Age   Back Pain and arthritis are probably the two primary health problems that cause people to give up manual trades and even renovating or repairing their own homes.  Back pain in particular can st...
  • 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 ...
  • Noises -- sounds that tell you what is wrong with your house

    Drum Cymbal noises --> Furnace Ducting Gina in Saskatoon is complaining about drum cymbal-like crashes that happen every time her furnace goes on. This is common when you have smooth flat ductwork. The heat and pressure of the air can cause the large flat surface of sheet metal to flex eithe...
  • Hot Links for WebTogether Broadcast August 29, 2018

      Here are some useful hotlinks for things discussed on December 15, 2016 WebTogether Consumer Broadcast.  For details on upcoming broadcasts click here.   Jon Eakes Deck Span Tables (2008)https://joneakes.com/jons-fixit-database/2093-Deck-Span-Tables   Canadian Wood Council Deck Span Tables...
  • Overview: Vermiculite, Zonolite, Asbestos and your health

    Note 2014 : As you read below you will find a detailed history of Vermiculite insulation and problems it had starting in 1920.  Just recently I have become aware of houses built around or before 1920, yes 100 year old houses, where it was discovered that there was about 2 inches of Vermiculite u...
  • Electric radiant floor heating without electromagnetic radiation!

      In the spring of 2004, a young and dynamic company in Quebec got a new radiant heating cable out of the laboratory and onto the market that has almost no electromagnetic radiation. "FlexTherm" from Longueuil, Quebec came out with what they call their Green Cable. With a sensitive professional...
  • Re-wiring a lamp.

      Here are a few tips when it comes to re-wiring an old lamp.     Use the existing wire to pull the new wire through. You need to join them in a way that does not create a lump in the wire.           Avoiding a lump On the old pair of wires, cut one wire shorter than the other and s...
  • 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...
  • Old fashioned linoleum has found new colours

      Linoleum used to be the kitchen floor covering of choice, but with the arrival of less expensive vinyl flooring which had colourful patterns, it got lost in the market. Yet linoleum has always been one of the most natural flooring materials following wood. It has been and is still made up ba...