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You may have the wrong smoke detector. Reduce false alarms by using a different type. There’s nothing more annoying than a smoke detector that goes off every time you use the oven or burn toast. Many people take the batteries out of their smoke detectors because they get tired of false alarms – this is awfully dangerous, and not recommended. There are currently three kinds of smoke detectors on the market: 1 Ionization Sensor Smoke Alarm This type of alarm, which can be purchased for...

Can’t figure out why your drain is backing up? Is there a massive pool forming in the middle of your front yard, for no apparent reason? Are you buying or selling a new home, and want to be sure the drains and sewer pipes are in good condition? Meet Richard Paquette. He’s a drain and sewer specialist. He comes fully loaded with equipment you never imagined possible. With his 200 foot-long snake connected to a specialized video camera, he can see...

Deep freeze at -26 Celcius. Next day, a balmy 2 degrees and everything melts. Then it rains. Then freezes again. Then snow. What's a homeowner to do? Be prepared. Freezing and melting water can be your home's biggest enemy. Ice, especially, can cause a lot of damage. But the fact is, removing thick ice from a roof is difficult - at best. Montreal's 1998 Ice Storm is testament to that. You have to make a decision as to what will be most...

As home inspectors, we’re always on the lookout for new technologies and devices that can improve both home security and home maintenance. 2017 is chalk full of incredible smart home devices that can keep you safe, make your energy consumption more efficient and help you save money. Most of these can be controlled by your smart phone. Here are a few of our top picks for 2017: Smart Home Self-Learning Thermostat with Wifi Controls Is this artificial intelligence or just an incredibly good algorithm? Either...

We do a lot of home inspections. This year, we decided to take a crack at inspecting gingerbread houses for the holidays. …we got laughed out of the bakeries! Alas, who doesn’t love a good gingerbread home construction? We find it’s uncanny how many gingerbread construction rules apply to real houses too! Here are the top 5 issues we found, with the real house equivalent.   1 - Moisture problems during construction Gingerbread houses that obviously have large sections of icing between the joints were worked on...

While on an inspection, many of our clients ask: "How old is the roof?" If the owner doesn’t have a receipt on file, it’s impossible to know, but it’s pretty fair to say, we don’t see a lot of roofs more than 20 years old that don’t need to be replaced –sometimes 10-year old roofs are in terrible shape. It all depends on how they were installed, if the roof was done someone who knew what they were doing, and if...

It’s that time of year. The leaves will soon turn red and gold, and the cottage will need to be properly closed up for winter. It’s always good to have a checklist to ensure you don’t forget anything. We’ve compiled a list of what we consider the most important cottage closing tasks, organized by area. Please leave us a comment if you have any cottage closing tips to add! KITCHEN Glass bottles – take home all glass bottles. The contents of freezing bottles...

7 per cent of Montrealers move on July 1st, according to 2013 estimates - that's about 116,000 people.  Moving Day causes stress, blocks up streets, and a lot of sweaty people drinking beer and eating pizza with a sore back and a wet paint roller in their hands. Keep in mind, if you're not moving -- be patient with those that are! After all, it's Canada Day, a good day to practise good old fashioned Canadian manners. Are you wondering why so...

School's out for summer and vacation is just around the bend. Your trip is all planned, but what about your plans for keeping your home safe while you're away? Not to worry, with all the things you need to remember to make your trip a success, it can be easy to forget the little things - we've compiled list to help you get to the beach and have a worry free holiday! Turn down Your Hot Water Heater Turning down your water heater while you’re...

Home insurance companies want to know the condition of your home before insuring the property. When purchasing home insurance, you will be asked a series of questions about the building. Some of these, you will be able to answer with ease, for example, you'll likely already know the year the building was constructed, and the neighbourhood. Other questions can be a little more challenging. For example, you might be asked about the year or condition of your furnace, heat pump, water heater, roof...