In our last article we looked at the potential causes of air pollutants in our home. In this article, we will look at ways to reduce and treat these pollutants.
Here are a few suggestions:
As you can see, there are many ways we can improve the air quality in our homes here in Canada. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have regarding the quality of air in your home.
More and more people nowadays are being affected by pollutants in the air. These can cause many different allergies and respiratory ailments. It's important then, to analyze how good the air quality is in our home, especially as it's the place we spend most of our time.
The bad news is that every room of our home has potentially harmful pollutants in it and in general, outdoor air is better quality than indoor air. The good news is that something can usually be done about it.
Here are a few potential air quality hazards to look out for:
This is a brief overview of the potential hazards to air quality in the home, but as we can see, most of us have at least a few of these in our home.
In the next blog, we will look at what can be done to treat these issues, as well as ways to prevent them.
Please contact us with any questions you may have about the air quality in your home
In recent years Bed Bugs, have become an epidemic, and here in Winnipeg we are certainly not immune. Their hard to see, love to travel and not so easy to eliminate, so what do we know about these pesky invaders, and what can we do about them?
Although bed bugs are found in mattresses, they are by no means limited to beds, in fact they can hide in an alarming number of places. Anywhere from furniture, curtains and clothing to picture frames and books
What do they look like?
Bed bugs are rather small, especially when first hatched. An adult bed bug is flat, oval and has a orangey, rust colored body.
See the signs
Bed bugs are rather shy in nature, so it is usually easier to look out for the signs of their presence. These include blood spots, and stains from fecal matter, also some crushed bug remnants, they are also known to emit a musty smell (it should be noted though that this is not always present)
These little parasites enjoy biting us as well which can leave itchy bumps on our skin.
How to treat the problem
It is not advised for homeowners to try to treat the problem themselves, as if not careful they can make the problem worse. PMPs or Pest Management Professionals are best for treating the problem as they can look for the bugs at the beginning stages of their development.
Trained dogs are also successfully being used in the detection of bed bugs as they can detect an odor that is emitted by the bugs.
Please contact us for more information on how to detect the presence of bed bugs in your home
Last time we talked about corrosion that you may see around the house referred to as ‘galvanic
corrosion’. In order to prevent this problem properly in your home you’ll have to know where to
look for it, so what are some common places galvanic corrosion can take place?
Well, one very common area that we mentioned is the water pipes.
Most commonly you would see this happen in steel pipes that are joined to brass valves or may
be connected to copper pipe. To avoid damaging these you can install a connection that is
essentially a non-metal connection, like plastic, to break that contact between the two metals.
There may be potential points of galvanic corrosion in your water heater, but again some well
thought out adjustments can be made.
One area that you’ve probably never thought of rust developing is in the lumber of your home.
A certain type of lumber can contain copper. When this lumber has aluminum nails, which are a
common building material, rust can develop and compromise the structure of your home.
Another area to look out for that you may not have thought of is the electric wiring of your house,
if it is aluminum, it has the potential to be exposed and corroded.
Yes, unfortunately, we know rust all too well but by keeping an eye out for these potential risks
we could be ahead of the game.
We are all used to seeing a rusty car or vehicle that’s been left outside. But why would a metal rust or corrode when it's not out in the elements? Or even when that metal is designed to contain or carry water, like a hot-water heater or water pipe?
This is a reaction referred to as 'galvanic corrosion' what does this mean? Well, galvanic corrosion happens when different types of metals are joined together when they shouldn’t be, and then exposed to something that can compromise their union, like water. This would explain why your pipes, something that should hold water without being compromised, start to corrode or rust. Or sometimes a hot water heater contains certain elements or insulation that are metal, but dissimilar to the metal they are joined to, and when exposed to water they rust and have to be replaced.
Think of the statue of liberty, maybe the most notable example of galvanic corrosion, the wrought iron structure was joined with copper, and when exposed to water the greenish patina corrosion started to take place.
What are potential points of galvanic corrosion in your home, how can you avoid them? We’ll talk about this in the next article, and please contact us if you have any questions.
When buying a new home, it is important to make sure that a radon test has been performed. A certified home inspector usually does this as part of the seller's home inspection. You might ask yourself, though, what exactly is Radon? How dangerous is it? How common is it? What is involved in testing my home for it? Here are some answers to those questions:
What is Radon?
Radon is a invisible radioactive gas, that can come from soil and rock. It cannot be detected without testing for it.
How dangerous is it?
Radon causes cancer and is responsible for causing many cases of lung cancer per year. Because radon is undetectable, it means the occupants are unknowingly breathing in this dangerous gas. If you are a smoker and your house contains high levels of radon, it is especially dangerous.
How common is it to find radon in a home?
It is very common and is detected in many homes both old and new throughout the States.
What is involved in testing for radon?
There are a couple of different methods that can be used to test for radon. This involves placing a testing device in the lowest level of your home for a certain amount of time so that radon levels can be determined. It's important to note however that it must be placed in an area that will be totally undisturbed.
Please contact us, your local certified home inspector for more information on radon testing. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Bathrooms are a very important room in the house, most of us like to spend a good amount of time there, so it's wise to have a check of the ventilation system to make sure that it's functioning properly, thus improving your bathroom experience.
If your not sure if your ventilation system is working properly, keep your eye out for these indications:
Is mold starting to appear on the ceilings and walls of the bathroom?
Does it feel very humid in there?
Do you notice a lot of condensation?
Are you seeing stains on the walls etc?
What about metal fixtures? are they starting to corrode?
If you are noticing any of these things, you may want to get your fan inspected. One of the biggest reasons it might not be working properly is that the duct might not reach to the outside of the home, so this is a good thing to check.
A simple thing that can be done is to regularly clean the fan as dirt and dust accumulate frequently.
If you feel that your bathroom is not ventilated properly, please call us for more advice. We would be happy to help.
Dealing with winter Ice and Snow is a reality here in Winnipeg, but how can we protect ourselves and others from the potential hazzards of Ice and snow falling from our roofs?
One solution could be Snow Guards. Here are a few things to consider:
What are Snow Guards?
Snow guards are metal or plastic devices that are typically installed in different locations on the roof. Their purpose is simple - keep ice and snow that has built up from sliding off of the roof and hurting people (or property). They break the ice and snow into smaller sections that are safer and much easier to manage.
How are Snow Guards Installed?
Most snow guards are metal, and they usually match the color of the roof, or are even transparent. There are a lot of factors to consider when installing snow guards though, so they should really only be installed by qualified roofers. The sheathing and roof type, snow loads, and other factors come into play. So even though they are simply "attached" to the roof, it is usually not a DIY project.
Do you need snow guards? Be sure to have to have the work verified by a qualified home inspector, such as us. Contact us today!
I love being a home inspector here in Winnepeg, especially when I get to inspect a log cabin. When buying a log cabin though, knowledge is power. Here are a few facts about log cabins, log cabin restoration, and log cabin home inspections.
Foundation - Typically, the foundation of a log cabin will be made from stone pillars as the stone provides a safety layer between the earth and the cabin. In addition to this, it will also allow for a sturdy base to support the rest of construction. Over time, stones may settle so this needs to be assessed regularly and at the point of restoration.
Wall Construction - Made from logs, the walls can actually be placed horizontally or vertically and this decision often depends on the size of the cabin itself. For a perfect fit, the logs will be notched at the corners and this effectively locks the logs into place. As log cabins became more popular, we learned new ways of corner notching including saddle-notching and steeple-notching. As the corners come together, they will be marked by a cut into the wood and they will fit together just like a puzzle. Although this is the most popular technique, it is also possible to use square notching which secures the corners with spikes or pegs.
Again, the size of the cabin will decide a lot including the amount of logs used. So there isn't space in between each log when they don’t sit perfectly, ‘chinking’ and ‘daubing’ is used which is a process containing a combination of various materials.
Roof - Commonly gabled, the roof of a log cabin will normally consist of hand-split wood shingles. Due to the weather, the roof is vulnerable over an extended period of time and can experience leaks and other damage; this is often seen in restoration projects.
Doors - In many restorations, the doors aren't in great condition due to the sheer usage that they receive; normally, a log cabin will have a door at the rear as well as the front. Using pegs to fasten to the inside, log cabin doors normally open inwards and consist of hand-dressed boards.
Windows - Similarly, there will be two windows with one on either side depending on the location of the chimney. When restoring a log cabin, the glass panes may need replacing.
Chimney - Although most cabins will have a chimney, they commonly succumb to sinking and they can deteriorate into pieces over time.
I love dormers. Dormers are a beautiful feature to a home. They add an ascetic appeal that really makes a home feel warm. In addition to that though, they add extra space to what may be a crowded areas. But they can also add something else - headaches.
Now, I only say that because they add headaches if they are not properly monitored and maintained. Dormers are a lot like any other roof penetration - its another hole to keep water out of.
One of the primary ways that water is kept out of the dormer area is step flashing. This type of flashing goes along the outside wall where the roof meets the dormer. So to monitor your dormers, be sure to check around the flashing areas for moisture intrusion or staining.
George Adair, Certified Professional Home Inspector
I provide a wide range of home inspection and home inspection related services in the following areas of southern Manitoba: Winnipeg, Selkirk , Lockport,Steinbach,
Stony Mountain, Elie, Rosser, Lorette Sanford, East St. Paul, West St. Paul, Oak Bank,
Oak Bluff, Landmark,
St. Anne, Saint Andrews,
La Salle, Richer, Niverville and Warren.
Our extended area also includes: Lac Du Bonnet, Beausejour, Libeau, Gimli, Pinawa, Falcon Beach, Winnipeg Beach, Grand Marais, Saint Laurent, and Pine Falls