Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Recalls of Propane, AC, Ceiling Fans, Blinds and Light Fixtures

Carrier AC and Heat Pumps 

Ceiling Fans 

Lutron Roman Shades 
Fontana Art Light Fixtures

Fan Heaters Due to Fire Hazard; Sold Exclusively at Bed Bath & Beyond (16-096):

IKEA Ceiling Light Recall (Feb 2016) : Ceiling lights have plastic clips that may break and allow the shade to drop Return for credit
Propane Without Odourant Added (Feb 2016) : If your heating is fuelled by Propane (or in tanks for BBQ etc) then check for the smell of propane when released into the atmosphere. There may be less than the required smell to confirm a leak Contact YOUR supplier to confirm that you are not part of this supply line. DO NOT check yourself
Air Conditioner and Heat Pump Recall (Feb 2016) : York / Amana / Goodman Room air-conditioning units have an issue with the power cords. Overheating and subsequent fire can result. 

Budget pricing for a Variety of Improvement Projects

The following costs are intended as ballpark estimates for repairs and/or improvements to a typical three bedroom home. Experience has shown that actual contractor quotations can vary by as much as 300%. Naturally, the quality of workmanship and materials will influence costs. The complexity of the job, accessibility and even economic conditions can also alter actual costs. Courtesy - Carson Dunlop
Roofing / Flashings / Chimneys
Install conventional asphalt shingles over existing shingles$2.00 – $4.00 per sq.ft.
Strip and reshingle with conventional asphalt shingles$2.75– $5.50 per sq.ft.
Strip and reshingle with premium quality asphalt shingles$5.00 – $10.00 per sq .ft.
Strip and re-roof with cedar shingles$9.00 – $18.00 per sq .ft.
Strip and replace built-up tar and gravel roof$10.00 – $20.00 per sq.ft. (min. $1000)
Strip and replace single-ply membrane$10.00 – $20.00 per sq.ft. (min. $1000)
Reflash typical skylight or chimney$500.00 – $1000.00
Rebuild typical chimney above roof line$25.00 – $50.00 per row of bricks (min. $400)
Rebuild typical single flue chimney above roof line$200.00 – $400.00 per lin.ft. (min. $1000)
Install galvanized or aluminum gutters and downspouts$5.00 – $10.00 per lin.ft. (min. $500)
Install aluminum soffits and fascia$8.00 – $16.00 per lin.ft.
Install aluminum or vinyl siding$6.00 – $12.00 per sq.ft.
Repoint exterior wall (soft mortar)$3.00 – 6.00 per sq.ft. (min. $500)
Repoint exterior wall (hard mortar)$5.00 – $10.00 per sq.ft. (min. $500)
Parge foundation walls$3.00 – $6.00 per sq.ft.
Dampproof foundation walls and install weeping tile$150.00 – $300.00 per lin.ft. (min. $3,000)
Install a deck$25.00 – $50.00 per sq.ft. (min. $1000)
Resurface existing asphalt driveway$2.00 – $4.00 per sq.ft.
Install interlocking brick driveway$8.00 – $16.00 per sq.ft.
Rebuild exterior basement stairwell$5000.00 and up
Build detached garage$70.00 – $140.00 per sq.ft.
Build retaining wall (wood)$20.00 – $40.00 per sq.ft. (min. $500)
Build retaining wall (concrete)$30.00 – $60.00 per sq.ft. (min $500)
Painting (trim only)$2,000.00 – $4,000.00 and up
Painting (trim and wall surfaces)$5,000.00 and up
Underpin one corner of house$5,000.00 and up
Underpin or add foundations$300.00 and up per lin.ft. (min. $3000)
Lower basement floor by underpinning and/or bench footings$150.00 – $300.00 per lin.ft. (min. $5,000)
Replace deteriorating sill beam with concrete$60.00 and up per lin.ft. (min. $2000)
Install basement support post with proper foundation$800.00 – $1600.00
Perform chemical treatment for termites$2000.00 and up
Repair minor crack in poured concrete foundation$400.00 – $800.00
Upgrade electrical service to 100 amps (including new panel)$1200.00 – $3,000.00
Upgrade electrical service to 100 amps (if suitably sized panel already exists)$800.00 – $1600.00
Upgrade electrical service to 200 amps$1700.00 – $3,500.00
Install new circuit breaker panel$700.00 – $1400.00
Replace circuit breaker (20 amp or less)$100.00 – $200.00
Add 120 volt circuit (microwave, freezer, etc.)$150.00 – $300.00
Add 240 volt circuit (dryer, stove, etc.)$300.00 – $600.00
Add conventional receptacle$200.00 – $400.00
Replace conventional receptacle with ground fault circuit receptacle$70.00 -$140.00
Replace conventional receptacle with aluminum compatible type (CO/ALR)(assuming several are required)$60.00 – $120.00 ea.
Upgrade entire house with aluminum compatible receptacles, connectors, etc.$1000.00 – $2000.00
Rewire electrical outlet with reversed polarity (assuming electrician already there)$5.00 – $10.00 ea.
Replace knob & tube wiring with conventional wiring (per room)$1000.00 – $2000.00
Install mid-efficiency forced-air furnace$2500.00 – $5,000.00
Install high-efficiency forced-air furnace$3500.00 – $7,000.00
Install humidifier$300.00 – $600.00
Install electronic air filter$800.00 – $1600.00
Install mid-efficiency boiler$3500.00 – $7,000.00
Install high-efficiency boiler$6,000.00 – $12,000.00
Install circulating pump$400.00 – $600.00
Install chimney liner for gas appliance$500.00 – $1000.00
Install chimney liner for oil appliance$700.00 – $1800.00
Install programmable thermostat$200.00 – $400.00
Replace indoor oil tank$1200.00 – $2500.00
Remove oil tank from basement$600.00 and up
Remove abandoned underground oil tank$10,000.00 and up
Replace radiator valve$300.00 – $600.00
Add electric baseboard heater$250.00 – $500.00
Convert from hot water heating to forced-air (bungalow)$10,000.00 – $20,000.00
Convert from hot water heating to forced-air (two storey)$15,000.00 – $30,000.00
Clean ductwork$300.00 – $600.00
Cooling / Heat Pumps
Add central air conditioning on existing forced-air system$3000.00 and up
Add heat pump to forced-air system$4,000.00 – $8,000.00
Replace heat pump or air conditioning condenser$1200.00 – $2500.00
Install independent air conditioning system$10,000.00 – $20,000.00
Install ductless air conditioning system$3,000.00 – $7,000.00
Insulate open attic to modern standards$0.80 – $1.60 per sq.ft.
Blow insulation into flat roof, cathedral ceiling or wall cavity$2.00 – $4.00 per sq.ft.
Improve attic ventilation$30.00 – $60.00 per vent
Replace galvanized piping with copper (two storey with one bathroom)$2500.00 – $5,000.00
Replace water line to house$2000.00 and up
Replace toilet$500.00 and up
Replace basin, including faucets$750.00 and up
Replace bathtub, including ceramic tile and faucets$2500.00 and up
Install whirlpool bath, including faucets$3500.00 and up
Retile bathtub enclosure$1000.00 – $2000.00
Replace leaking shower stall pan$1000.00 – $2000.00
Rebuild tile shower stall$2500.00 – $5,000.00
Replace laundry tubs$400.00 – $800.00
Remodel four-piece bathroom completely$6,000.00 – $50,000.00
Connect waste plumbing system to municipal sewers$5,000.00 and up
Install submersible pump$1000.00 and up
Install suction or jet pump$700.00 and up
Install modest basement bathroom$6000.00 and up
Add drywall over plaster$4.00 – $8.00 per sq.ft.
Sand and refinish hardwood floors$2.00 – $4.00 per sq.ft.
Install replacement windows$40.00 – $120.00 per sq.ft.
Install storm window$200.00 – $400.00
Install masonry fireplace (if flue already roughed-in)$3000.00 and up
Install zero-clearance fireplace (including chimney)$3500.00 and up
Install glass doors on fireplace$300.00 and up
Install skylight$3000.00
Remodel kitchen completely$10,000.00 -$110,000.00
Install gas fireplace$3500.00 and up

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Carbon Monoxide Detectors and the Fire Code

CO Detectors: (Oct 2015) On April 15th 2015 it became mandatory to install CO detectors in up to 6 dwelling homes that have appliances that burn fuels and produce carbon monoxide. On Oct 15th 2015 buildings that have more than 6 dwellings now have to have them installed with the following stipulations:

1: If there is a fuel burning appliance installed then a detector should be installed adjacent to the sleeping area or areas

2: If there is a floor, ceiling or wall shared with a garage then a detector should be installed adjacent to the sleeping area or areas

3: If there is a floor, ceiling or wall shared with a service room with a fuel burning appliance then a detector should be installed adjacent to the sleeping area

4: If there is a service room with a fuel burning appliance then a detector should be installed in the service room

Dishwasher Recalls - Bosch, Gaggenau, Kenmore Elite and Thermador

BSH Home Appliances Recalls Dishwashers Due to Fire Hazard
Name of Product: Bosch, Gaggenau, Kenmore Elite and Thermador Dishwashers
Hazard: The power cord can overheat, posing a fire hazard.
Remedy: Repair
Consumers should immediately stop using the dishwasher and contact BSH Home Appliances for a free inspection and repair.
Consumer Contact: BSH Home Appliances Repair Hotline toll-free at 888-965-5813 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST Monday through Sunday or the brand Web site for more information.
Bosch           and click on Support, then Safety Notices
Gaggenau  and click on Support, then Safety Notices
Kenmore    and click on Product Recalls at the bottom of the page 
Thermador and click on Support, then Safety Notices
Media Contact: BSH Home Appliances Corporation at 310-552-4114

Photos available at

Units: About 149,000 (in addition, about 45,000 were sold in Canada)
Description: This recall involves power cords supplied with certain Bosch, Gaggenau, Kenmore Elite and Thermador brand dishwashers that were manufactured from January 2008 through December 2013. Model and serial numbers are located on the top side of the dishwashers’ inner door panels. The following brands, models and serial numbers are being recalled:
Model # beginning with
Serial # range
SGE63E,    SGV63E,    SHE68E, SHE7ER,   SHE8ER,    SHE9ER, SHE9PT,    SHV58E,   SHV68E, SHV7ER,   SHV9ER,  SHV9PT, SHX58E,    SHX5ER,   SHX68E, SHX7ER,   SHX8ER,  SHX9ER, SHX9PT,    SPE5ES,   SPV5ES, SPX5ES
FD 8801 - FD 9312
DF2417,      DF2607,   DF2617
FD 8904 – FD 9312
FD 8908  -  FD 9312
Model # beginning with
Serial # beginning with
Kenmore Elite
630.13003,  630.13023,  630.13993, 630.14003
010 or 013
Incidents/Injuries: BSH Home Appliances has received 10 reports of the electrical cord overheating, including five reports of fire resulting in property damage. No injuries have been reported.
Sold at: Appliance and specialty retailers, department stores, authorized builder distributors, home improvement stores nationwide and online between January 2009 and May 2014 for between $850 and $2600.
Importer/Distributor: BSH Home Appliances Corp., of Irvine, Calif.
Manufactured in: Germany
Note: Health Canada's press release is available at:

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sewer Gases

Sewer Gases : (Oct 2015) If you smell a nasty smell in your basement it could be coming from the floor drain. many new homes feed water to the drain U Bend (P trap) every time a close toilet flushes. Older homes do not and the trap may dry out releasing the odours from the drains to enter your home. Refill the trap with water and then add a small amount of cooking oil ( maybe a cups worth ) to float on top of the water and create a seal to prevent further evaporation

Friday, September 11, 2015

Touchless Faucets Recalled

Glacier Bay and SchÓ§n kitchen faucets
Hazard: The battery box used to power the faucet’s sensor can short circuit, overheat and/or melt, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers.
Remedy: Repair
Consumers should immediately unplug and remove batteries from the faucet’s battery box and contact Lota USA for a replacement battery box for the faucet.
Consumer Contact: Lota USA/Parts Helper toll-free at 877-580-5682 Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET, on Saturdays between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET, or online at and click on “Recall” or at and click on “Product Recalls” at the bottom of the page for more information

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Asbestos in Your Home?

Asbestos: (August 2015)

The Harms of Asbestos Exposure:

  • There is no assigned safe level of exposure to asbestos fibers.  In other words, no exposure is too little.
  • Utmost safety precautions must be observed when working with asbestos or during asbestos removal, otherwise you risk asbestos exposure for yourself and your family to long-term often times, irreversible detrimental health risks.
  • If asbestos, especially friable asbestos is disturbed, it can release dangerous minute particles into the air.
  • Airborne asbestos particles can be so small and may not be easily be seen by the unaided eye.  Never assume that friable asbestos will not be airborne once disturbed.
  • Asbestos exposure by inhalation from friable asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma asbestosis, and lung cancer.
  • Mesothelioma is a cancer which most often afflicts the lining of the lungs. There is no known cure for mesothelioma.
  • The rates, incidences of the incurable cancer malignant mesothelioma are expected to rise from 2012 to 2020.
  • The risk of contracting asbestos-related diseases increase with the number of fibers inhaled by the length of time that you inhaled asbestos fibers (number of years of asbestos exposure).
  • Smoking greatly increases the risk of lung cancer coupled with asbestos exposure.
  • Diseases from asbestos exposure do not usually exhibit symptoms until after 20 to 30 years after asbestos exposure.
  • Mesothelioma symptoms exhibit after an average time of 45 years after asbestos exposure

    Commercial Product Asbestos Exposure

    Personnel who have used end products made from or made with asbestos are at risk of asbestos exposure, from heat resistant gloves, to fire retarding clothing, the use of these commercial products have exposed personnel in different industries to the long-term adverse effects of asbestos exposure.
    Aside from those who worked in the construction industry, DIY enthusiasts who worked with popular building and construction products are also at risk of asbestos exposure. Many commercially available products through the late 1970’s were made with asbestos, including those that are commonly used for home repair and construction such as insulation, roofing materials, siding, tiles, joint compound and flooring. These products when cut, sanded or filed release asbestos fibers into the air.

    Second Hand Asbestos Exposure

    Second hand asbestos exposure are those people who were not directly exposed to asbestos.  These include family members who live with personnel who have worked in the mines, establishments and installations that use asbestos on a regular basis, whatever industry they may have been in. When workers from these establishments and installations return home after a day of work, they bring home with them, unbeknownst to them, the dangerous asbestos fibers sticking in their hair, hands, skin and in their clothes.  Simple and innocent interactions with asbestos workers like hugging, kissing and holding hands exposes the family members to asbestos.  Even sharing a laundry load with the work clothes of the asbestos workers and wearing these clothes afterwards exposes the family members to asbestos.  Remember, asbestos does not dissolve in water, though some may be remove during laundry, the ability of the asbestos fibers to cling to fabric and their insolubility in water makes them difficult to be removed from clothing.  Some of these fibers that cling to clothing eventually becomes airborne, and that’s when the danger starts
    1-out-of 3 Australian houses are built using asbestos.  With older houses built before 1970, asbestos exposure becomes a risk when home renovations are carried out.  Asbestos exposure is prevalent with renovations carried out in the fibro sheeting widely used in the construction of the homes.  Research results from the Medical Journal of Australia reported that a survey conducted in 2008 out of 1597 participants who renovated their homes DIY, 527 reported asbestos exposure during the renovation.  337 (39.3%) reported that their partner was subject to asbestos exposure during the renovation.  196 (22.8%) reported that their children were subject to asbestos exposure.  From the survey, 20% reported that they will carry out renovations in the next 5 years.
    Asbestos exposure due to DIY home renovation is real, but nonetheless, manageable.  The safest approach to conduct home renovations is to assume that asbestos was used during the construction.
    Employing a professional removalist or occupational hygienist is the best approach to manage asbestos exposure when planning a home renovation.
  • How to Avoid Asbestos Exposure
  • The best way to avoid asbestos exposure is to not handle it and stay away from it.  You should not, in anyway, handle any removal of already installed asbestos or asbestos containing materials by yourself.
    Asbestos Exposure becomes viable only when friable asbestos becomes airborne due to damage or due to wear and tear, they may also become airborne during the course of repair.  The use of asbestos has been banned since 2003 and is no longer allowed to be used in new constructions or building repairs.
    Asbestos Exposure nowadays is limited to industrial, marine (ships and shipyards) and residential and commercial building occupants where asbestos was used during construction.
    There are laws in Canada that deal with the disposal of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials.  They should in no way be disposed of in the trash to avoid asbestos exposure. (Reproduced with permission by Aware Marketing)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Who Knew There Was a WRONG Way to Stack Firewood?

How to Stack Firewood

Nothing celebrates the colder weather like the distinct scent and sound of a crackling log in the fireplace. A steady supply of firewood can help offset your heating costs and, unlike oil and coal, is a renewable resource that can be replanted for future fire-burning pleasure. It takes up to a year to properly season wood, but following these guidelines for proper stacking will help keep purchased logs dry and burnable
Related: Firewood Primer: Which Wood Burns Best?
The purpose of seasoning freshly cut wood is to remove the moisture for ease of burning. Allocate a dry, sunny spot of your yard for stacking. A well-built pile provides proper ventilation and keeps the wood from being prone to molds or fungus A haphazard heap, on the other hand, won’t dry, will soak up rainwater, and eventually it will turn into a smelly, rotting mess
Buy or quarter your hardwoods, such as hickory, White Oak, and White Ash (softwoods ignite faster but burn too quickly), remembering that it’s good to get a range of log sizes: Smaller ones catch faster, while the larger, thick pieces burn longer. The most traditional pile has rows of logs held by a support tower at each end
Stacking Firewood

To construct the towers, take two similarly shaped logs and turn them parallel to each other. Build the next layer with two parallel logs that are perpendicular from the first set. Continue until you have about a dozen levels, or as high as you can without letting it get unwieldy. The second tower should be even with but several feet away from the first. In between, lay the logs next to each other so that the cut ends face the direction of the prevailing wind (in the US, weather systems tend to move from west to east, so facing west is a good bet)
Related: 12 “Different” Ways to Store Firewood
Keep layering until the pile is the same height as the towers. Place the pieces bark side up to keep them from shedding moisture into the pile. Although it’s tempting to stack all your wood in neat towers, they aren’t as effective for seasoning purposes, as they don’t allow for enough air ventilation. Finally, use long sticks to help bolster the pile, leaning them against the woodpile and stabilizing them in the dirt
The Shaker woodpile, another popular shape, is a round formation in which the sticks touch at one end, but spiral out with bigger gaps. The first layer looks a little like spokes on a wheel, and it’s a good way to use up oddly shaped logs, adding a nice visual presence to the yard