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Home Safety

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...

Sound crazy? It’s not. It’s unbelievable how often we see homes with flammable dryer vents installed, filled with lint, all ready to catch a spark. It’s winter. Not a lot of clothes hanging out on the ‘cord-a-linge’ this time of year. Most of us are using our dryers, and we’re putting a lot of wooly sweaters and fleece in there, all clothing that shed a whole lot of lint. In the US, there are 17,000 fires related to clothes dryer vents every...

Montreal is a city with a great many balconies, porches and back decks; and Montrealers make good use of them during the summers. Playwright David Fennario even referred to the city as "Balconville" in his play of the same name, alluding to the balcony's central place in the city's culture, where thousands of Montrealers retreat to escape the heat of their sun-baked homes - and often get to know their neighbours better at the same time. But when homeowners make the...

All Montreal homes built before 1960 have the same energy: unpredictable. For us, the 1960's brought about a new era of groovy energy; an energy we could get down with. We're not talking bellbottoms, afros or free love. We're talking energy in the literal sense. Safer home electricity standards were introduced in the 60's: something we, as inspectors considered groovy. Most importantly, the 1960's brought about the standardization of down-to-earth (grounded) electrical plugs. They protect people and electrical equipment from potentially very...

Last weekend, the roof of a 42-unit condo at the corner of Somerled and Walkley streets in NDG caught fire. Nobody was hurt, but dozens have been left stranded as the building is waterlogged, and has sustained a lot of damage. It took 80 firefighters most of the night to put out the fire. Fire deparment chief Luc Robillard made a statement that it appears that the flames may have started in an air conditioning unit on the roof of the building....

Basements are for Potatoes; no, not couch potatoes. If that's what you were thinking, then you're not alone. Millions of Canadians use their basements as living space, thinking it's the ideal space to set up a family room, games room, or even kids' bedrooms. But in truth, it takes a great deal of careful design and maintenance to avoid water and moisture infiltration in even the best cases. And oftentimes, moisture accumulation results in a nasty - and costly - surprise to the...