Ice damming on Toronto roofIs your roof leaking?  One of the places where mold loves to grow is in the attic, where a leaky roof is often the culprit.  Even if your roof isn’t causing problems now, if it’s several years old you should consider adding it to your annual inspection checklist.

The roof of your home needs timely maintenance, repair and replacement for comfortable living.  With the changing seasons, and sometime extreme weather, the roof on a Toronto home is subject to some severe conditions.  It’s important to periodically inspect the condition of your roof and take remedial measures  in time to avoid costly repairs, which usually result in neglecting to “nip the problem in the bud”. Unnoticed, small leaks from the roof can make their way into the attic and down the walls of your home. Mold growth, damaged floors, furniture and carpets are usually the result. Periodic checks should be carried out so you can spot signs of trouble before they get out of hand.

Check out this neat infographic courtesy of The Phoenix Roofing Team to help you determine if your roof needs replacing.

roofing-infographic

1.     Check the external appearance of the roof at the top joints for any cracked or torn portion or any missing plates or pieces.

2.     Have a close look at the roof for any loose sheet or gap around chimney, vents, pipes or other protrusions from the roof.

3.     Look for the presence of granules from the roof at the bottom of drain pipes. They look like large grains of sand.

4.     Inspect the drainage and confirm that gutters and drain pipes are firmly secured and passages are not blocked.

5.     Make sure that vent pipes from kitchen, bath and drier are completely outside of the home.

6.     Make sure that the roof is not sagging anywhere.

7.     Check for any signs of leakage of water.

8.     Check for any dark spots and trails.

9.     Check for any hole through roof (outside light visible from under the roof).

 

Smoke damage in kitchen of Brampton homeSmoke damage can be very difficult to clean up.  Smoke has the ability to embed itself into just about anything in your home, leaving a nasty (and lasting) odor throughout your home.  If you’ve ever been inside a home after a fire, even a minor one, you know what I mean.

Smoke is actually hot air polluted with contaminants like oil and ash. These settle on ceilings, walls and horizontal surfaces creating a smelly, dirty mess. If the problem is widespread you may like to consider calling for assistance from a smoke remediation specialist, an HVAC duct cleaning company and a general cleaning firm. If the damage is minor and you have the time and patience then these tips should help you to get started.

Tip 1 – Open all the doors and windows. Read to the bottom of the page to figure out what you’re going to need. While you’re at the hardware store purchasing your requirements remember to include a generous supply of protective gloves and two pairs of masks and goggles.

Tip 2 – Rent yourself a couple of industrial fans. Position them in the middle of the room and run them for 24 hours to clear any residual smoke. While you’re waiting, adjust your masks and goggles to ensure a tight fit and get used to wearing them.

Tip 3 – Vacuum up the soot and dirt. Take your time and remove as much as possible as this will simplify cleaning surfaces later. Always work from below the dirt or from the nearside of it to avoid drawing it towards you. If it’s still wet, try to avoid spreading stains.

Tip 4 – Wash your mask and goggles, rinse them thoroughly and hang them out to dry. Put the other set on plus a fresh set of gloves. Remove anything that’s damaged beyond repair and store it somewhere that simplifies taking it to the tip.

Tip 5 – Wipe all the surfaces with a damp cloth remembering to rinse it frequently and change the water regularly. Take your time again. Your mission is to remove the residue, not spread it around.

Tip 6 – Add a tablespoon of tri-sodium phosphate to a bucket of warm water and repeat the exercise. A vinegar spray can help with stubborn stains but be careful of over-wetting chip or drywall as this can soak in and encourage mould. You are now in a position to start repairing the damage and recovering your home.

Tip 7 – Ask your insurance company for consent to replace any carpets, curtains and soft furnishings. Trust me, you will not get them properly clean and they will stink forever. Strip off any wallpaper as the same applies.

Tip 8 – Prime walls with oil-based stain blocking primer. Repeat until all stains have disappeared. Add a final coat to make doubly sure. After that you can safely over paint with the medium of your choice.

Tip 9 – Install replacement fittings and carpets. Hang new curtains and position new furniture. The job’s done. You got your house back and you did it all yourself!

This sounds like a lot of hard work and it surely is. Like I said earlier, there are smoke remediation specialists, HVAC duct cleaning companies, and general cleaning firms all over town. If you have fire damage insurance, you can opt to have a professional service come in and restore your home and it’s contents, or just start over again.  If you have questions about smoke, water or fire damage, you can contact us here with any questions.

 

 

 

 

The installation of a tankless water heater is a good option if you want to lower energy costs and create more space in your basement or garage. The function of a tankless water heater means that water is heated when it needs to be used, which is different than conventional water heaters that keep water constantly heated inside a tank. These on-demand water heaters can help to provide a great upgrade to your house, but setting up and selecting the right one can be difficult, so we created this series of tips to help you through the process.

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Plan Ahead
Updating to a tankless water heater should be done before your existing water heater fails. You want to have sufficient time to explore the options available for your home. If your existing tank fails, then the time to find a sufficient tankless water heater is limited, as time is needed to determine the costs of a new water installation and how practical it is to install one in your home.

Many types of tankless water heaters are available for residential installation. The best models for your home will have an Energy Star label. Make sure you are purchasing a qualified model by reviewing all the models that are available. You can do this by viewing an Energy Start product list.

Proper Size

The size of water heaters you need is based on a factor called gallons per minute. This is also known as the flow rate. You will need a tankless water heater that can supply hot water to appliances including a washing machine and dishwasher, while still being able to power a faucet and a shower. The best way to think about this is to take a week and look at what items in your house your family tends to use at the same time. If you feel like two showers and a washing machine are often on at once then a high gallon per minute flow rate may be needed.

Efficiency Comparison

Comparing the efficiency of a tankless water heater is done by checking the Energy Factor for a unit. This is the measure of heat transfer efficiency and heat loss. A unit that has a high Energy Factor will be more efficient than units with a lower Energy Factor and will help you save money on your electricity.

Tankless water heater panel Toronto

Do the Math

Talk to an experienced plumber to determine the proper size of unit for your home. If you are unable to meet with a plumber, then compare a few figures. A shower and bath will normally require 2.5 gallons per minute, a washing machine normally requires 3.3 gallons per minute, and a dishwasher normally requires 1.3 gallons per minute. If you know your incoming water temperature (which is most areas is around 50 degrees) then you can easily calculate what type of temperature increase you will get with different applications in your house needing hot water  at different GPM’s.
Product Rebates

The installation of a tankless water heater in your home may qualify for an tax rebate. You will want to check to see if any rebates or offers are available in your area from Energy Star Partners; however, there are not always rebates available in different areas or for different products.

Additional Information

Review the various brands of tankless water heaters available on the market to find the best one for your home such as Rheem, Eemax, Chronomite and Bosch. There are also a lot of great online resources for more information on tankless water heaters as well.

 

About the Author

Josh is a home improvement and DIY fan who works with PlumberSurplus.com, a great place online to look at tankless water heaters.

Did you know that problems with your roof can lead to water damage in your basement?  Not only that, it can also lead to water and mold damage throughout your attic as well as the rest of your home if left untreated.

When it comes to water leaks in the basement, often times it’s the result of a damaged eaves troughs or improper/inadequate water channeling away from the home.  Poor ventilation, improper attic temperatures/insulation and damaged shingles can also lead to the development of mold and water damage in the attic.

Below is an infographic that outlines 5 common roofing problems that if left untreated, can lead to water and mold problems throughout your home.

 

roofing-problems-toronto

Have questions about water leaks or mold damage in your Toronto home?  Feel free to contact us, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

using wd40 around the houseIf there is one product every basement and garage in North America has on hand, it’s most likely WD-40.  The “Blue Standby” has become as essential as duct tape in helping the resident handyman fix everything from a rusted bolt that refuses to turn, to our children’s bicycles after a long Toronto Winter.

WD-40 is a water dis-placer (WD) that helps to remove moisture (and keep rust away) from hundreds of household items.  Over the years, the uses for WD-40 have gone beyond home repairs.  Crayola Crayons recommends using WD-40 regular crayon marks from everyday surfaces and a bus driver once used a can to loosen a Python that coiled itself around the undercarriage of his bus.

Below is a great infographic from the makers of WD-40.  It’s a survival guide of everyday problem solving with your handy can of old blue.

Using wd-40 for everyday use