Health

The Importance of Bathroom and Kitchen Fans

Bathroom and kitchen fans are an important part of your home's ventilation system. They remove odours from your house, which improves indoor air quality. They also remove moisture, which decreases the…Read more
Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality

With Canadians spending more than 90% of their time indoors, much of it at home, the "healthiness" of their home is a serious issue. Poor indoor air can have a…Read more

Icicles and Mouldiness

For most people, discussions on energy efficiency are academic.  They only seriously think about it when paying their heating bills, when it is too late.

It’s during winter that energy inefficiency is most obvious.  In fact, the enormous icicles and ice barrages that accumulate on roofs are flagrant proof of heat loss and an inefficient use of energy.  I am always surprised to hear intelligent people say that this is typically normal for our Quebec winters – just like apple pie is American.  What nonsense!

At the beginning of winter, heat loss through the eaves or the attic keeps the roof surface warm.  As snow starts to accumulate, it stays, even on slanted roofs.  After awhile, snow becomes the insulation and traps the air. The colder it gets, the more we heat the house and the more heat we lose, the more the eaves and roof surface warm up.

Monster Icicles

One day, the roof surface temperature reaches 0 degrees Celsius and the snow next to it softens and melts.  This melting snow transforms into water which slides down towards the edges.  As water accumulates at the roof edges and rain gutters, the water freezes as it contacts outside air which is colder than the roof surface.  Over time, the result is the formation of spectacular icicles – some reach one storey and more!  The greater the heat loss is, the greater the thickness of the ice barrages behind the icicles and the greater the length of the icicles.

When there’s a major thaw and rain with temperatures reaching at least +6 degrees Celsius, even in the Laurentians, infiltrations begin.  Frequently though, these do not come from the roof as such, they occur horizontally, from the edges.

In fact, the weight of the accumulated ice in the gutters opens up a joint on the edge of the roof, on the ledge or in the soffit, and the water leaking under the accumulated snow and ice in the roof penetrates to the ceilings.  To the greatest surprise of homeowners, even when ceilings have a slight slope, infiltrations can manifest themselves a good distance from the exterior wall.

It’s Raining in my Bed

To my greatest disappointment, this is what my family lived through at the summer cottage of my in-laws in the Laurentians, following a successful surprise party given for André Fauteux, editor of La maison du 21ième siècle.  Water started dripping from the ceiling onto our beds in the middle of the night.

Unfortunately in such cases many homeowners mistakenly blame their roof while the origin of the problem is the house’s heat loss.

Roofers are called in by panicking homeowners, and repairs are scheduled, even if no one has determined what the real cause of the problem is.  Redoing a roof when it is not necessary is a very costly additional energy loss.

Certain customers have told me that they have had their roof completely redone two or three times in 10 years but the problem has not disappeared.  This is outright robbery by the roofers!

In fact, as unbelievable as it may seem, many Montreal eaves contain only from 0 to 4 inches of insulation.  (Note:  It is generally more advantageous to install from 12 to 14 inches for a thermal resistance of R-42 to R-49, if cellulose is used, it being the most economical insulation for attics.)
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Winter blues? Why not start a remodelling project?

February can be a long and sometimes depressing month for some people. It can be quite a grim month where as in March, we finally get a glimpse of milder weather and temperature. Thank God February has only 29 days this year! Using one's creativity has long been proven to be a method that is helpful in chasing away the blues. And speaking of creativity, why not start that remodelling project you've been thinking of for so long? Or why not start looking at colors you may want to change in your home? This exercise can be very beneficial and healthy. It is even said to be healing. Here is what Cricket Demarais states in an article written about "Letting Color heal you":

Lack of Color Causes Depression

How we "feel" about color is more than psychological. The last decade has proven that lack of color, or more specifically, light, causes millions to suffer each winter from a mild depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Because of the complex way in which exposure to various colors acts via the brain upon the autonomic nervous system, exposure to a specific color can even alter physiological measurements such as blood pressure, electrical skin resistance and glandular functions in your body. And they most certainly can affect how you feel on a day-to-day basis. Learning about color's qualities and putting it to use can enhance your spirit, improve your health, and quite ultimately, expand your consciousness. You may also get a glimpse on the different meanings and symbolisms of colors. Here is relatively good web site that talks about it: http://www.squidoo.com/colorexpert. Finally, another handy way to sweep away the winter blues is to surf the net in search of ideas and inspiration for remodelling projects, ideas and tips. Here are just a few I found: www.hgtv.com/hgtv/remodeling www.getdecorating.com/ www.homefixpro.com/home_remodeling_and_renovating_article.php?artID=19 www.superkitchens.com