Found 81 results for the keyword ‘Alternative’

  • Can I save money by turning my hot water tank off at night?

    Thomas from London, Ontario writes: "We have an electric water heater. To conserve electricity, I turn the heater OFF at its circuit breaker at night before retiring and then ON when I return from work. This usually gives plenty of hot water while at home. Does this cause any premature "wear ...
  • Softening water -- do electronic water softeners work?

    John from Halifax wrote in asking about replacing his salt based water softener with an electronic water softener to make it easier to water his lawn. Ion-exchange with salt will soften water Most of our water softeners add salt to the water in a process called ion exchange. This actually chang...
  • 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...
  • A look at Steel Roofing

    Joe is one of those nice guys from New England who doesn't like wasting things. Joe spent most of his life as a roofer and in the asphalt shingle business, using and disposing of roofing brackets is just part of the business. Roof brackets are the supports that are temporally nailed to the ...
  • Opting out of Hydro Quebec's Smart Meter program and alternatives

    Alternatives to paying hydro to not install a smart meter In Quebec as in some other jurisdictions, the electrical utility has opened the door to refusing the installation of Smart Meters by consumers -- but at a consideral penality.  Initially, in 2012, Hydro Quebec is imposing a $137 charge ju...
  • Commercial "back out" toilets for basements.

    Jeff in Ottawa, Ontario wanted to put a toilet in his basement but was worried about the slope required from the toilet exit to the floor drain. He was even looking at an expensive toilet pump.One easy solution for basement toilets is often overlooked. Drilling through a concrete floor is never...
  • Can I insulate a roof from the outside?

    20 years ago Bob built a geodesic dome in Saskatchewan. As you can see, it was a community effort. After all this time he has finally gotten tired of the snow melting off the roof creating all kinds of ice cycles, so he is asking about the feasibility of putting some Styrofoam right over th...
  • Add a second floor to a house -- in 3 days!

    For years we have had factory built homes where the entire home was built in a factory and then trucked to a site and put on a foundation, much like a mobile home. When people wanted larger factory built homes, they started making them in two halves, to fit on the trucks, and stuck them toge...
  • New rain gutters with a built in leaf guard.

    Leafs and other debris clogging up the rain gutters can be the death of a roof. On a one story bungalow you can pretty easily keep those gutters clean but when things are higher up, or you have a lot of mature trees in the yard, it can be a big maintenance task. If you have tried any of the scree...
  • Working with bamboo

      BAMBOO FLOORING -- LOOSING FAVOUR Bamboo flooring is beautiful and reasonably durable -- but it is falling out of favour.  Ecologically bamboo is a sustainable resource as it is a very fast growing grass, so bamboo production on a piece of land is far more profitable than growing trees on th...