A CBS 60 Minutes report last month found that laminate flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators, manufactured in China, is assembled using glue containing high levels of formaldehyde. The company sold over $1 billion of merchandise in 2014. Signs of formaldehyde Wheezing, running eyes, coughing, breathing problems are all symptoms of high levels of formaldehyde. Families with small children that spend a lot of time close to the floor, especially in winter, could be most susceptible. Agencies such as the EPA and the National...

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...

Tulips still underground? Can’t smell the crocuses yet? Good! Because you want to make sure your sump pump works before spring showers are in full flood! This is a good week to check your sump pump. It’ll only take 5 minutes, and if there’s any problem, you’ll prevent water damage or flooding during the rainy spring season. STEP 1 Fill a bucket with water or run a garden hose to your sump pit. Fill up the pit until the float level is reached. STEP...

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...

Without a working ventilation system on your roof, your home could thaw out snow and ice on the roof, turning it to water. The water pools, then freezes and melts again causing roof damage and leaks. - And for home owners who haven't done regular maintenance on their roof, that means water damage from ice damming! After every winter, we visit many homeowners have to repair water damage caused by ice damming by snow on roofs and in gutters because they...

It’s mind baffling. When that smell starts to come into your home, and you’re looking for the unflushed toilet, or the doggie accident, or the poopy diaper you may have forgotten, and you just can’t figure it out… Where is that smell coming from? Often, this means your home has a sewer drainage and/or ventilation system problem. It’s important to do something about these smells. When sewer gases enter your home, they bring a noxious smell and possible headaches and respiratory ailments to...

It’s a fact: indoor air quality can affect our health. Many respiratory problems and headaches can be traced to a sick house. In temperate climates, where windows and doors are left open constantly, this isn’t a serious concern. But in cold climates like Canada’s, where we have become experts at sealing our houses airtight to save on heating costs, maintaining air quality with good ventilation is important. To understand why that is, it’s instructive to understand how home construction practices have...

In the end, mould will consume everything - even you and I Moulds are living organisms, and part of the natural environment. In the outdoors, moulds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. Indoors, however, mould growth should be avoided. Moulds emit tiny spores to reproduce. The spores are invisible to the naked eye and waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mould spores land on a damp spot...

Today, central air conditioning is common in most modern homes. - But in urban centres, we often still see the drippy window units. Why do they drip? Why are they so noisy? They are supposed to drip as humidity leaves the building! The reason air conditioners drip is because they work in part by extracting moisture from the home through a process of compression and condensation. However, it's important to be aware of the damage dripping water can do to your building. Damage...

How many professionals does it take to build or renovate a new condo? Well, there’s the designer, the architect, technicians, framer, plumber, cabinet-maker or installer, masonry professional, welder, dry-wall finisher, painter, pipe fitter, iron worker, joiner, concrete pourer, numerous construction foremen, workers, apprentices and a whole lot more folks. But the only people you have contact with are the real estate agent or project sales rep, the bank, friends and family, and your home inspector – the only truly impartial eye on...