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 gri...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • How to repair a door bell.

    Ever had your door bell die and don't quite know how to go about fixing it? The first graphic shows the standard layout for the mechanics of a doorbell. There is the button, a transformer and the bell. The transformer reduces the household voltage to a 24 volt low amperage system that makes the w...
  • How do I unfreeze a frozen hose bib?

    Nav in cold Edmonton, Alberta, writes: "We are trying to build an ice rink in the backyard. Our tap has frozen over and nothing comes out of it at all. Are they any solutions to this problem?"     The easiest way to unfreeze the hose bib is to wrap rags around it and keep pouring boiling wa...
  • Montreal is phasing out wood heating that pollutes

    Note: There is one important exception to all the pollution control described below.  The Montreal by-law states: "Authorizing the use of all solid fuel-burning devices during electricity outages that last more than three hours."  (but you must keep your fireplace and chimney clean and in good ...
  • Can I put carpet over tiles?

    Madaline wants to put carpet over tile over parquet flooring.  The following answer also applies to vinyl over ceramic tiles. Well, aside from the floor getting so thick that doors may not open and counters will appear to be sinking into the floor, there are a couple important things to know abo...
  • The toilet just won't fill up.

    Bill from Qu'appelle Valley in Saskatchewan is trying to figure out why his toilet tank just won't fill up. The flapper is in place but the water seems to be just flowing through.  Rubber flappers do get old and need replacing. If you use a chlorine puck in the tank to help keep the bowl clean, ...
  • Use food colouring in toilet tank to find flapper leaks.

    Gale from Toronto, Ontario sent us the wonderful idea of simply putting some food colouring into the toilet tank to spot flapper leaks. If the colour shows up in the bowl below, you have a leaky flapper that needs replacing.  Actually that is almost conclusive. There are two ways that water gets...