Home Safety

From studies of people who were exposed to asbestos in factories and shipyards, we know that breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer in the forms of mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity, and asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue. The risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma increase with the number of fibers inhaled. The risk of lung cancer from...

by Ivan Mose A couple of weeks after last Christmas I received a phone call from a young man who told me he had a terrible smell in his apartment and could I come over as soon as possible and take a look. I am a building inspector so smells usually mean drains, mouldy basements and the odd rat or two. A little questioning and I started to build a case. Last summer Dany, his wife Lauren and baby moved into...

Did you know that a hot water tank can explode? When you combine high water temperatures and neglected pressure relief valves, you could have yourself an explosive tank that can literally blow your home through your roof. An old Mythbusters video  makes light of a hot water tank explosion, but shows how potentially dangerous this essential part of your home can be. While it’s fascinating and even funny to watch a hot water tank explosion in this context, we’d like to assure you...

As a homeowner what do you consider the most important home maintenance tool? We've heard a wide range of answers: "Screwdriver." "Hammer." "Draino." "Wrench." "Measuring tape." "Duct tape." "Paintbrush." "Hedge trimmer." It's true, trim hedges and fresh paint are all good for a home, but non of the tools listed above compare to this one: The #1 Tool for Homeowners: [caption id="attachment_2657" align="alignnone" width="881"] Caulking Gun[/caption] #1 Tool: Caulking Gun The caulking gun is by far, the most important tool you will ever own as a homeowner. Why? Water is your worst enemy. A caulking gun is the only...

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...

While we hope you’re doing a lot of LOL’ing (laughing out loud) in your home, we also hope your GFI’s (Ground Fault interrupters) are installed in the right places to make sure your home is really safe. Not sure what a GFI is for? NP (no problem.) This GR8 (Great) Electrical Acronym Guide is just for you. BM&U (Between me and you), if you’re a nOOb (newbie) to this, don’t worry. If we go 2F4U (too fast for you) just let...

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...

Each year, more than 3,000 Canadians die from lung cancer caused by radon—the second most dangerous cause of lung cancer after smoking. Radon comes from uranium, a natural element found in the ground. When uranium breaks down, a radioactive gas is released, called radon. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it, but it’s there and it has always been there. If radon is under your house, the gas might be seeping through to your home and harming your family. Over...

Nope. We're not talking about a rough night at the bar. It's one of our favorite expressions here at the office to describe a loose toilet. "I checked the toilet on the main floor– it spun like a top!" A loose toilet is not just an inconvenience – it could be a sign of trouble. In fact, if you've got a leak in your building, and you don't know where it's coming from, make sure you check the toilets in the building...

A few weeks ago a friend called me to say he had some pictures I should take a look at. He told me that a relative of his living in Vaudreuil, (west of Montreal) was hosting a few friends on his back deck one evening when a cigarette was apparently stubbed out in a planter around 9pm, (there were no ashtrays as the hosts did not smoke).   The planter contained peat moss which smoldered slowly until midnight, when it burst into...