Archive | June, 2012

False Fire Alarms At Your Home

27 Jun

False Fire Alarms


I personally get a number of calls throughout the year from people asking about home fire alarms. Most of the time, these alarms are the combination carbon monoxide and fire detectors, and the units are relatively easy to install, providing essential protection in the event of carbon monoxide build-up or a sudden fire.

The issue that most people experience with the “kidde” combination units, is that they regularly go off in the middle of the night for no reason, whether you’re watching television or trying to get to sleep. After experiencing the same problem myself, I decided to perform a close analysis of the instructions – something that most people fail to do.

Every fire alarm is different. Aside from simply having different features, some fire alarms also come with different methods for testing the unit itself. With a “kidde” combination fire and carbon monoxide detector, it is possible to test the unit by simply pressing and holding the “test” button. However, you can also test the system using your television remote.

If your Alarm Goes off in the Middle of the Night


The instructions suggest that if your alarm is spontaneously going off without any apparent cause, there are a number of things you should consider. First of all, find out if any garages in your area use remote-control, or if people in your neighborhood use automatic starters for their vehicle. If you disable the infrared (IR) control feature on your alarm, you may be able to experience a much sounder sleep, without worrying about your alarm waking the whole household.

False Fire Alarm

  • Instructions on how to disable your IR remote control on your fire alarm.

If disabling the infrared doesn’t work, the problem may be that your unit has started to age. Typically, a fire alarm will last for between five and seven years unless otherwise stated on the packaging. Some units will provide a signal which informs you when you should replace your product.

Usually, the biggest favor that you can do for yourself when maintaining any important device is reading the instructions that come with it. Knowing exactly how a product works can be essential, especially if that product has an impact on the safety of your home, and family.

For any questions or if you are looking to improve your home, please give us a call at (617) 480-6836 or email us at or visit


Greenboard vs Durock

8 Jun

Greenboard vs Cement Board


“I like using Greenboard because it’s waterproof.” I hear statements like this all of the time, but the truth is that Greenboard, also referred to as “Aquabloc” is not actually waterproof at all, it is merely “water resistant”. Contractors and home-owners make similar mistakes regarding the products they’re using on a regular basis. The only real way to know which option is the best for you, is to take a close look at both products.



The composition of greenboard is the same as drywall. Both products are sold in 4’x8’ boards, and the center of both boards is constructed using gypsum, a porous material. The only difference between greenboard and drywall is the green “water resistant” coating. If the paper on that board is cut or damaged, water can easily penetrate the center of the board, leading to mold and mildew. Personally, I find this product to be inadequate for wall tile and flooring applications, yet a lot of home owners and contractors continue to use it for its low cost and ease of use. While demolishing bathrooms, I have regularly encountered wet, moldy and poor quality Greenboard.


Image result for durock

Durock and Wonderboard, on the other hand, is water-durable and mold-resistant. After working with this product myself and performing numerous demolitions in many bathrooms, I have yet to discover durock that is damaged or moldy. Although the substance may be harder to cut, heavier, and slightly more expensive, it is far more resistant to water, and durable than greenboard.

The next time you see a contractor using greenboard, don’t be afraid to ask him what the difference is and see what he says. If you have a choice for your home, always go for the better product. It may initially cost a little more, but it will also make a world of difference to the durability of your home. In a bathroom, it is especially important, and it can also be used in damp basements, too. In the past, I’ve cut a piece of Durock 5” high, or higher and fastened it to the bottom of the wall, before starting blueboard on top of that. After it is plastered (using a product called Weldabond), I would add my baseboard as normal. Because of this, if you ever got water or flooding in your basement, the most you would have to do is remove your baseboard.

For any questions or if you are looking to improve your home, please give us a call at (617) 480-6836 or email us at or visit