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...

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...

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...

Are you excited to get your January heating bill? Those of you who insulated, caulked and plugged the obvious holes might very well be excited to see the resulting savings. But the rest of us are groaning and ready to put on another sweater to keep the costs down. Letting the heat escape from your home is the equivalent of transporting water with a hole in the bucket: your heating payments are literally dribbling "out the window." But finding the holes in your home can be...