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Every house has a signature smell, a certain “Eau de Family Home”. Some are stronger than others; is a strong smell an indication of poor indoor air quality? There’s the smelly socks in the living room, the hair spray and aftershave in the bathroom, cooking smells from the kitchen, the moth balls in the closet, the wet dog in the hallway and that musky smell of sheets and clothes waiting to...

by Paul Yaedon I went to visit my mother last week. We sipped tea and talked about the latest news and events. My mom likes to express her opinions by using proverbs. Her inventory is quite astounding. If people are not barking up the wrong tree or making mountains out of molehills, they are putting carts before horses or all their eggs in one basket. If my mother were a home inspector,...

Serious structural problems in houses are not very common, but when they occur they are never cheap to fix. Some can't be fixed at all. This report won't turn you into an seasoned home inspector, but it will give you some of the common indicators. Uneven Floors Uneven floors are typical, particularly in older homes. Here is a trick to help distinguish between a typical home with character and a structural problem.If...

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...

The three pigs proved that brick was the best building material – it certainly is. But brick has its natural enemies (and the big bad wolf is definitely not one of them.) Water and paint are at the top the list of materials that can do damage to brick. Don’t be fooled: looks can be deceiving. “There are some houses on the plateau for example, that have an impeccable brick façade, but...

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,...