How Much Do People Really Know About Their Homes?

A header image for a blog about the home knowledge of Canadian owners and renters.
Owning or renting a home comes with its share of joys, responsibilities, and mysteries. Whether you're an expert DIY-er or prefer to call in the experts for repairs, it's important to know your way around your home.

So, how well do we really know our living spaces?

Are Canadians more or less home-savvy than their American counterparts? And what's the difference in knowledge between homeowners and renters? In this deep dive into North American home know-how, we'll explore the answers to these questions and more.

Comparing the Knowledge of Homeowners and Renters

A graphic comparing the home knowledge of homeowners and renters.

Ever been in a cold shower and realized you had no idea where the water heater even is? You're not alone – especially if you're renting in Canada. An impressive 92% of Canadian homeowners know where their water heater is, while only 61% of renters can say the same.

Cross the border into the U.S., and the homeowners practically have a map of the house, with 99% knowing where their water heater resides compared to 84% of renters.

But it's not just about hot showers. Knowing where your water shut-off valve is can be a lifesaver in a plumbing emergency. In Canada, 80% of homeowners are prepared, compared to just 42% of renters. Meanwhile, our American friends are slightly ahead, with 86% of homeowners and 48% of renters knowing where to find that all-important knob.

Speaking of all-important–your home's detectors aren't just wall ornaments. A fully functional smoke detector can save lives, meaning you should know how to maintain them.

In Canada, 78% of homeowners know how and when to update their smoke detectors, while only 60% of renters are on the same page. In the U.S., the numbers are even more favourable to homeowners, with 87% knowing how compared to 69% of renters.

And don't overlook carbon monoxide detectors. It turns out 88% of homeowners know if they have these essential safety devices, while only 68% of renters can say the same.

Let's shift gears and talk money–when it comes to the financial side of things, knowledge doesn't fall far from the homeowner's tree. 

A significant 79% of homeowners surveyed know how much their home is currently worth, and the same percentage know whether their dwelling had any renovations done before they moved in.

Comparing the Home Knowledge of Americans and Canadians

A graphic comparing the home knowledge of Americans and Canadians

A running toilet can be a frustrating, not to mention wasteful, problem. Overall, 79% of survey respondents know how to stop it. 

Break it down, though, and you'll see some national pride at stake. 

In Canada, the number sits around 74%, while in the U.S., it jumps to 84%. And don't underestimate the American homeowners in this tale of two toilets, as 91% have the know-how to keep theirs in tip-top shape.

However, there's a more noticeable gap between Canadians and Americans regarding air filters.

Only 53% of Canadians have this knowledge tucked away, compared to a staggering 80% of Americans. It looks like Americans are breathing a little easier, knowing how and when to replace those filters.

Property lines might not be something you think about daily, but it's a hot topic for 61% of Americans who know precisely where their land ends. Canadians, however, are a bit more laid-back, with only 49% having this knowledge at the ready. 

Perhaps it's a reflection of the friendly neighborly spirit or just a different focus on property know-how.

The year your home was built might seem like a page from history, but 87% of homeowners have that date memorized. It's a different story for renters, though, with only 40% in the know. Is this a homeowner's pride or just curiosity? Either way, it's a detail that's not lost on most property owners.

Closing Thoughts

The spaces we inhabit reflect our lives, skills, and cultures, and the journey of knowing your home has unexpected twists, shared experiences, and even friendly competition between neighbors near and across the border.

While the quest for home improvement can be an exciting adventure, sometimes it's best to call in the professionals.

Whether it's a stubborn running toilet or a water heater playing hide-and-seek, Mr. Rooter Plumbing is here to help. With a team of experienced technicians, we offer services beyond mere fixes; we provide peace of mind, quality, and the assurance that your home is in capable hands.

After all, there's courage in attempting a DIY project, wisdom in knowing when to call in the experts, and the unmatched satisfaction of living in a well-maintained home. And with Mr. Rooter Plumbing by your side, that satisfaction is just a call away.


To find out how much people really know about their homes, we surveyed a population of American and Canadian homeowners and renters over a one-week period in July 2023. We asked general knowledge home questions like if people know the location of their water heaters and shut-off valves, the size and value of their homes, and their general confidence in performing basic home maintenance.