PCA Neighbourhood Support FAQ’s

bg-faq

COOLING/HEATING/VENTILATION   More

Q: How can I reduce my use of central air conditioning or cope with a heat wave if I don’t have air conditioning?
A:
•   Use tabletop or floor fans
•   Use ceiling fans (blades need to turn counter-clockwise/forward)
•   Use heat shields on windows: glue foil to one side of a piece of cardboard; place in windows during the hottest part of the day, with the foil side facing out (aim for 80% coverage of each window)
•   Create opportunities for flow-though ventilation:
      i.   Replace old windows with ones having a larger opening
      ii.   Where feasible, replace windows with doors and install a screen door that can be left open
•   Go to a city-run cooling centre or another air-conditioned public place: call 311 or click on the following for a list: Air Conditioned Public Places & Cooling Centres
•   In the long term, plant trees (especially southern and western exposure)

Q: How can I cope with the cold if my furnace stops working?
A:
•   Use an electric space heater
•   Use a working wood stove or fireplace
•   Careful use of your electric or gas stove
•   Use ceiling fans (blades need to turn clockwise/reverse to distribute warm air)
•   If the problem is due to a lack of electricity, you can use a generator to power your furnace.

Q: How can I reduce my carbon emissions/energy use through home renovations?
A:
1) Insulate (listed in ascending order of cost and effort)
     •   Apply clear plastic tape over window joints and cracks if not using the windows in winter
     •   Apply weatherstripping around your doors and windows
     •   Install triple-glazed or thermal pane windows
     •   Get an energy audit of your home (including a “blower door test” where a large fan is turned on at your front door and air escaping through cracks, vents, etc. is measured)
     •   Fill cracks where air can escape using caulking or spray foam (e.g., around window and door frames, where the walls meet the foundation or the roof)
     •   Add insulation to your attic (ideally, have it blown in, or lay down extra bats of fibreglass)
     •   Add insulation to the inside of your exterior walls
     •   Add insulation to your outer walls and replace the siding if do not have a brick exterior

2) Install fans
   •   Use tabletop or floor fans
   •   Use ceiling fans

3) Create opportunities for flow-though ventilation
Replace old windows with ones having a larger opening
Where feasible, replace windows with doors, and install a screen door that can be left open

4) Install a solar hot water heater on your roof

5) Install solar panels to generate electricity to supply your own needs or feed the grid

6) Install a heat pump to boost the temperature in your home

7) Install a geothermal system to warm your house

8) Contact “The Ravina Project” at info@theravinaproject.org, a Pocket-based initiative, for additional information about creating a more energy-efficient and grid-resilient home

CRIME   More

Q: How can I reduce the risk of someone breaking into my home?
A:
•   Install solid locks that cannot be opened by someone breaking an adjacent window
•   Install bars on basement windows
•   Keep your front verandah light on after dark
•   Use motion-activated lights near side and back doors or gates
•   Never let mail or newspapers accumulate when on vacation
•   Use light timers for inside the home
 

ELECTRIC POWER   More

Q: What should I do if the power line to my house comes down on my yard, sidewalk or street?
A:
•   Immediately call Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000 (press 1) AND 911!
•   Do not touch the line!
•   Wear rubber-soled shoes and shuffle if you must walk nearby.
•   Keep people, pets and cars away from the line!
•   If you must move the power line, do so with a dry stick or board and immediately call Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000 (press 1).

Q: What should I do if one of the City’s power lines (on the high poles) comes down in my area?
A:
•   Immediately call Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000 (press 1) AND 911!
•   Take special care to avoid any contact with these high-voltage lines!

Q: How do I get electricity if the power goes out?
A:
•   Use a generator if you have one, or ask a next-door neighbour if you may share theirs. You might also want to consider collaborating with neighbours to purchase one to share. Note: Follow the safety and other usage instructions carefully!
•   Purchase a hand-crank mini generator, such as the K-TOR® Pocket Socket to have on hand to charge small devices such as mobile phones, tablets, flashlights, digital cameras and handheld radios.

Q: How do I charge my cell phone (and other small electronics) if the power goes out?
A:
•   Charge it from your car or keep a spare “power pack”
•   Purchase a hand-crank mini generator, such as the K-TOR® Pocket Socket to have on hand to charge small devices such as mobile phones, tablets, flashlights, digital cameras and handheld radios.

FALLS/TRIPPING HAZARDS   More

Q: How can I reduce the likelihood of slipping on winter ice?
A:
•   Spread sand, kitty litter or salt on icy patches
•   Shovel the sidewalk in front of your home, as well as your walkway and front steps
•   Consider helping a neighbour by doing the above for them
•   Wear non-skid shoes or anti-skid attachments; attach rubbers slip-ons to shoes

Q: Uneven sections of city sidewalks can cause tripping hazards. To whom should this be reported?
A: Contact 311

FIRE   More

Q: How can I put out a fire in my BBQ?
A: Shut the lid if possible/safe. If it is a gas barbeque, shut off the gas if possible/safe. Use a dry chemical fire extinguisher or baking soda. Call 911 if needed!

Q: How can I put out a fire in my kitchen?
A: Avoid throwing water on stoves and wherever hot oil is present. Instead, use a dry chemical extinguisher or baking soda. Shut off the element if possible/safe. Put a lid on the pan if possible/safe. Call 911 if needed!
Note: Your extinguisher should always be placed away from the cooking area and in a visible location. Check the pressure every month.

Q: How can I put out a fire in my house?
A: Get people and pets out of the house and call 911 immediately! Point a fire extinguisher at the base of the flames only if it is a small fire and can be quickly extinguished.

GAS   More

Q: What should I do if I smell gas in my house or on my street, or if my carbon monoxide detector goes off?
A: Immediately call 911 and follow their instructions.
 

PLUMBING/WATER   More

Q: How can I reduce the risk of basement flooding?
A: Click on these links from the City of Toronto:
•   Causes of basement flooding on private property
•   Understanding Toronto’s sewer system
•   What the City is doing to stop flooding
•   Stop the flood before it starts
•   Information on backwater valves and sump pumps
•   What to do when your basement has flooded
•   Keep your plumbing clear

Q: How do I get my downspout disconnected?
A: Toronto City Council made it mandatory for property owners to disconnect their downspouts because doing so reduces the risk of basement flooding and decreases polluted water in our local waterways. Click here to learn more about downspout disconnection .

Q: How do I reduce the risk of flooding when I am out of town?
A: Turn off the main shutoff valve when you go away (check with your insurance company for details)

SNOW/ICE   More

Q: What do I need to know about clearing snow and ice from the front of my home?
Click here to read the PCA site’s Snow Clearing document.
 

TREES   More

Q: What can I do to avoid falling branches or trees?
A:
•   Remove dead or dying branches/trees and bundle for pickup by City’s waste collection dept
•   Use a cable to hold up weak branches
•   Contact 311 and ask the City to trim the tree if it is in the front yard

Q: What do I do if tree roots break up my walkway?
A: Call 311