Friday, November 18, 2016

1.5 million Kidde NightHawk smoke detector, carbon monoxide alarms recalled

Recall applies to KN-COSM-IBCA and KN-COSM-ICA models manufactured between June 2004 and March 2011

By Richard Woodbury, CBC News Posted: Nov 17, 2016 11:21 AM ET
The recall applies to two Kidde NightHawk models that are hard-wired into a home's electricity.

The recall applies to two Kidde NightHawk models that are hard-wired into a home's electricity. (Health Canada)
A national recall has been issued for 1.5 million Kidde smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarms in Canada because they may not chirp in the case of an emergency.
The recall applies to two Kidde NightHawk models that are hard-wired into a home's electricity and were manufactured between June 2004 and March 2011. The affected models are:
  • KN-COSM-IBCA, which has a battery backup
  • KN-COSM-ICA, which doesn't have a battery backup
The issue is the alarm may no longer chirp in the model with battery backup even after the original batteries have been replaced. In the case of the model without battery backup, the chirp may not work if power is removed and then restored.
"This could lead consumers to believe it is still working, which poses a risk to consumers not being alerted to a fire or carbon monoxide incident in their home," said the Health Canada recall notice.
Kidde smoke detector carbon monoxide alarm recall
The model and manufacturing information of the recalled smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarms is located on the backs of the devices. (Health Canada)
In Canada, there haven't been any reported incidents, according to Health Canada, but there have been eight in the U.S., where 3.6 million units of the models have been sold. Health Canada did not detail in its recall notice the nature of those incidents, but said there have been no injuries.
The alarms are white, round and measure about 13 to 15 centimetres in diameter. The word Kidde is both on the front and back of the devices, while the manufacturing date is on the back and can be thought of as being in the three or four o'clock spot of a traditional clock.
People with the recalled alarms should stop using them and can contact Kidde for a free replacement or a discount on a new alarm.
Kidde Canada can be contacted at 1-855-239-0490 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ET Monday to Friday, or through its website.
See Government of Canada Recall Website and what should you do:

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Daylight Saving Time Reminder - Spring Ahead this Weekend Mar 13 2016

Stay alert at start of Daylight Saving Time
A number of studies have shown there’s a higher risk of road crashes in the first day or two after the spring change to Daylight Saving Time. So when you adjust your clock this Sunday, you should also increase your vigilance on the road.
A study by the University of B.C. found there were up to 17 per cent more collisions on the Monday after the change. (In the fall, when the switch is in the other direction, there’s a significant drop in crash rates.)

Experts attribute the increase to a number of factors:
People have trouble getting a good night’s sleep when their body thinks it’s an hour earlier than the clock says it is.
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If you have trouble falling asleep at night, you may be tempted to sleep in a bit in the morning – and that may lead you to rush to work or school.
Any time change is slightly disorienting – it’s like jet lag without the jet.
Many people are already chronically fatigued.
For the first while, it won’t be as bright in the morning as it has been.
In the longer term, studies show crash rates drop during Daylight Saving Time – perhaps because people are doing more of their driving in daylight.
“For the first day or two after the switch, we should all be aware that our risk is a little higher,” said Clif Eden, Road Safety Manager at Manitoba Public Insurance. “We need to be mindful that our bodies are adjusting and that our fellow road users are dealing with the same situation.”
For more information, watch the 60-Second Driver on CTV, or check out the following safety columns on this website:
Other links and timely reminders:

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Avoid use candles or space heaters to test your smoke detector because it will make the device less sensitive or spoil when a real fire occurs. When you push the test button you are checking the circuits and the battery. There is a product called smoke test. It is a can of fake smoke that doesn't leave a residue in the detector or on the walls. Real smoke works but will leave a residue in the detector.

When testing your alarm, use a sturdy ladder instead of climbing on stools or chairs. In many cases, it is possible to check alarms on the ceiling by using a broom stick handle or other long device. This enables you to stay at the floor level while reaching a detector up high.

Record the date you installed the detector note the expiration as 10 years from that date. Don't forget to change the batteries in your smoke detector. If your detector runs on batteries, change them when you change your clocks - at the start and end of daylight-saving time. If your smoke detector starts chirping or beeping off and on, it's time to change the batteries.

You may want to consider purchasing a combination smoke/carbon monoxide detector. These units cost more but are well worth it. If a smoke detector goes off, immediately respond to leave your home. There is absolutely no time to gather possessions, pets and possibly even each other.

Infomation provided by

HS&E Manager
Gas Projects Implementation Canada
450 – 1 Street SW

Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2P 5H1 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Barbeque Safety Tips

With barbeque season already here, homeowners should heed the following safety precautions in order to keep their families and property safe. Regardless of the type of grill you have, there are risks for improper use.

  • Propane grills present an enormous fire hazard, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is aware of more than 500 fires that result annually from their misuse or malfunction.
  • Charcoal grills pose a serious poisoning threat due to the venting of carbon monoxide (CO). The CPSC estimates that 20 people die annually from accidentally ingesting CO from charcoal grills.  These grills can also pose a serious fire hazard, especially by using excessive lighter fluid, failing to monitor the grill while in use, or improperly disposing of ash.
  • Electric grills are probably safer than propane and charcoal grills, but safety precautions need to be used with them, as well.
  • Natural Gas grills You can't just run natural gas through a propane barbecue. You need a barbecue that is specially made for natural gas.
Safety Recommendations for General Grill Use
  1. Always make sure that the grill is used in a safe place, where kids and pets won't touch or bump into it. Keep in mind that the grill will still be hot after you finish cooking, and anyone coming into contact with it could be burned.
  2. If you use a grill lighter, make sure you don't leave it lying around where children can reach it. They will quickly learn how to use it.
  3. Never leave the grill unattended, as this is generally when accidents happen.
  4. Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose nearby.
  5. Ensure that the grill is completely cooled before moving it or placing it back in storage.
  6. Ensure that the grill is only used on a flat surface that cannot burn, and well away from any shed, trees and shrubs.
  7. Clean out the grease and other debris in the grill periodically, and scrape the grill rack to remove baked-on food.
  8. Be sure to check the unit for rust and other signs of deterioration.
  9. Don't wear loose clothing that might catch fire while you're cooking.
  10. Use long-handled barbecue tools and flame-resistant oven mitts.
  11. Keep alcoholic beverages away from the grill; they are flammable!
  12. Never use a grill inside it should be outdoors, on level ground, out of the wind and away from combustible materials
After you barbeque
  • Turn off your barbeque
  • Close the lid to keep rain out
  • Once the barbeque has cooled down, put on a protective cover
In summary, homeowners should exercise caution when using any kind of grill, as they can harm life and property in numerous ways. 

For additional information on how to Barbecue Safely or here


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Do you need a whole home humidifier?

Dry air is a common source of discomfort at home, and can often cause respiratory problems and increased allergy symptoms. Portable humidifiers may help to keep specific rooms adjusted to the right humidity, but a whole home option works best for the entire living space.

Here are some benefits of installing a whole home humidifier to help make an informed decision before purchasing your unit:

Less work
Small, portable units generally need regular cleaning and constant refilling of water – a tedious task that can be avoided with a whole home humidifier (which only needs to be cleaned once or twice a year). In general, a whole home unit is an install-it-and-forget-it item. It’s integrated into the blower system on your furnace, drawing water directly from your water supply.
Black and Decker Ultrasonic Table Top Humidifier

Increased home value
Naturally, potential home-buyers will place value on a property that is equipped with an up-to-date Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system and a whole home humidifier can only increase that value. Additionally, a humidifier will provide the right amount of moisture to prevent damage to wood floors, fixtures and furniture resulting from air that is too dry.

Improved Indoor Air Quality 
A whole-house unit monitors the humidity level, adding moisture only when it is needed and limiting the level of humidity to the setting you select. Many room units do not have regulators to stop the humidification process when the proper humidity level has been reached. Too much humidity can increase mold, mildew and dust mites. Whole home humidifiers will prevent dry and itchy skin, eyes and nasal passages, thereby increasing your family’s comfort at home. They can also decrease the likelihood of catching viruses that thrive in low-humidity environments, like the flu, colds and other respiratory ailments.

Lower energy and operating costs
Room humidifiers need expensive distilled water to operate at maximum efficiency. A whole home humidifier is integrated into your household water system, so you never need to purchase special water. The initial cost of a whole home unit is a fraction of what most portable units cost, and are very inexpensive to operate year after year.

Installing a whole home humidifier will also increase your energy efficiency. Moist air feels warmer than dry air, meaning you can keep your thermostat at a lower level on chilly nights. It’s estimated that you could potentially save up to 4% on the heating bill for every degree you lower your thermostat.

Content from

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Window Maintenance

Window frames, sills and sashes should be monitored because the interior condition and hardware of windows change over time. Frame materials can include plastic, aluminum, steel, wood, plastic-clad wood, and metal-clad (steel or aluminum) wood. Window types include:
  • double-hung; 
  • single-hung; 
  • casement; 
  • horizontal sliding; 
  • projected out or awning; 
  • projected in; and 
  • fixed.

In addition to these, there are jalousies, which are glass louvers on an aluminum or steel frame.

At older sashes, the glazing compound or putty around the glass panels should be monitored carefully, since this is a vulnerable part of the window and its repair is time-consuming. Check the panels in steel or aluminum sashes for signs of deterioration, such as hardened sealant. Check metal sashes for weep holes that have been blocked by paint, sealant or dirt. Weep holes are usually easy to clean. Storm windows and doors should be monitored for operation, weathertightness, overall condition, and fit.


Window and door weatherstripping is generally one of three types:
  • metal; 
  • foam plastic; or 
  • plastic stripping.

Each type should have a good fit. Check the metal for dents, bends and straightness. Check foam plastic for resiliency, and plastic stripping for brittleness and cracks. Make sure the weatherstripping is securely held in place.

Shutters & Awnings:

Periodically check the shutters’ operation and observe their condition and fit. Shutters close to the ground can be examined from the ground. Shutters out of reach from the ground should be examined from inside the house.

Monitor the condition of your awnings. The attachment to the exterior wall can become loose. Oftentimes, an attachment device in the mortar joint of a brick wall can be easily pulled or slid outward. Some windows and glazed exterior doors have awnings over them for decoration, sun control, and protection from the weather.

Egress Windows for Fire Safety

Basements and every sleeping room should have at least one operable emergency escape and rescue opening that opens directly onto a public street, public alley, yard or court. This standard is required because many deaths and injuries happen when occupants are asleep at the time of a house fire and the normal means of escape (through doors) are typically blocked.

The sill height of the emergency escape and rescue opening should not be more than 44 inches above the floor. If the window has a sill height below ground level, a window well should be provided. The window well should have a horizontal area of at least 9 square feet, with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches (with the exception of a ladder encroachment into the required dimension). If an emergency escape window is located under a porch or deck, the porch or deck should allow the window to be fully opened and the escape path should be at least 3 feet high.

You can’t be prepared to act in an emergency if you don’t have a plan and everybody knows what that plan is. Panic and fear can spread as quickly as a fire, so map out an escape route and a meeting place outdoors, and involve even the youngest family members so that everyone can work as a unit to make a safe escape.

From Monthly Newsletter  - Copyright © 2015 InterNACHI, All rights reserved.

Inspected by 42 Home Inspections and Ottawa Snow Bird Home Watch. Call Barry at 613 799 3698 to make an appointment today - online prices - references available.

We specialize in the Ottawa area. or or  
Ottawa Snow Birds Home Watch or  Ottawa Snow Birds Home Check or Ottawa Snow Bird Pet Sitting,  

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Attic

An attic is an unconditioned space between the roof and the ceiling or walls of the building’s inhabited rooms. In a small house with a pitched roof, the attic is usually partially or fully accessible. In a house with a low-slope roof, it may be inaccessible or virtually nonexistent.

Roof Leaks: 

Look for signs of and monitor water leakage from the roof above and try to locate the source. This may be difficult to do beneath built-up roofs or loosely laid and mechanically fastened single-ply roofs, since water may travel horizontally between layers of roofing materials. 

Attic Ventilation:  

Signs of inadequate ventilation are rusting nails (in roof sheathing, soffits, and drywall ceilings), wet or rotted roof sheathing, and excessive heat buildup. Adequate attic ventilation can be measured by calculating the ratio of the free area of all vents to the floor area. The free area of vents is defined as their clear, open area. If a vent has an insect screen, its free area is reduced by half. The free vent area-to-floor area ratio should be 1 to 150. If the calculated ratio is less, consider adding ventilation, especially if you’re in a hot and humid climate.

If the attic also contains an occupied space, check that the ventilation from the unconditioned, unoccupied areas at the eaves is continuous to the gable or ridge vents. Also check that the free area of eave vents is approximately equal to the free area of ridge or gable vents. If ventilation appears to be inadequate and additional vents cannot be added economically, consider adding mechanical ventilation. 

Attic ventilation

Vents and Birds: 

Make sure ventilation openings are clear of dirt and debris. At larger ventilation openings on a building’s exterior and where louvered grilles are used, such as at gables, check for the presence of 1-½-inch-square 14- or 16-gauge aluminum mesh bird screen. If there is none or it is in poor condition, consider having new bird screen installed. 

Plumbing Stacks and Exhaust Ducts: 

All plumbing stacks should continue through the roof and should not terminate in the attic. The stack pipes should not be loose, broken or damaged. Exhaust ducts should not be kinked, broken or damaged.  They should not terminate in the attic but should continue through the roof, gable or wall.

From Monthly Newsletter  - Copyright © 2015 InterNACHI, All rights reserved.

Inspected by 42 Home Inspections and Ottawa Snow Bird Home Watch. Call Barry at 613 799 3698 to make an appointment today - online prices - references available.

We specialize in the Ottawa area. or or  
Ottawa Snow Birds Home Watch or  Ottawa Snow Birds Home Check or Ottawa Snow Bird Pet Sitting,  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Clean Your Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) or AIr Exchanger

Your heat recovery ventilator (HRV) can help make keep your house a clean, healthy living environment, while keeping fuel bills down. But your HRV can't do all this without your help in keeping it well maintained.

Step 1: Turn off your HRV 

First, turn off your HRV and unplug it.

Image Copyright CMHC

Step 2: Clean or replace air filters

Dirty or clogged filters can lower ventilation efficiency. Try to clean your filters at least every two months. Filters in most new HRVs can be easily removed, cleaned with a vacuum cleaner, then washed with mild soap and water before being replaced. Older units have replaceable filters. If your HRV is easily accessible, this is a five-minute job. 

Step 3: Check outdoor intake and exhaust hoods

Remove leaves, waste paper or other obstructions that may be blocking the outside vents of your HRV. Without this vital airflow, your HRV won’t function properly. During winter, clear any snow or frost buildup blocking outside vents. 

Step 4: Inspect the condensate drain

Check to see if your HRV has a condensate drain—a pipe or plastic tube coming out of the bottom. If it does, slowly pour about two litres of warm, clean water in each drain pan inside the HRV to make sure it is flowing freely. If there’s a backup, clean the drain. 

Step 5: Clean the heat exchange core (large white plastic filter)

Check your HRV owner’s manual for instructions on cleaning the heat exchange core. Vacuuming the core and washing it with soap and water will reduce dust that can build up inside the core. 

Step 6: Clean grilles and inspect the ductwork.

Once a year, check the ductwork leading to and from your HRV. Remove and inspect the grilles covering the duct ends, then vacuum inside the ducts. If a more thorough cleaning is required, call your service technician. 

Step 7: Service the fans (most can be unplugged and then slide out)

Remove the dirt that has been accumulated on the blades by gently brushing them. Most new HRVs are designed to run continuously without lubrication, but older models require a few drops of proper motor lubricating oil in a designated oil intake. Check your manual for complete instructions.

Image Copyright Carson Dunlop

Additional Resources

How to Clean Your HRV

IB42 Home Inspections and Kanata Home Watch. Call Barry at 613 799 3698 to make an appointment today - see our online prices. 

We specialize in the Ottawa area. or or  
Kanata Home Watch or  Kanata Home Check or Kanata Pet Sitting,  see: