Cold, long winters means that having a warm home is of utmost priority. So, if you have an above ground oil tank as a source for heating your home, you need it to be working effectively. What are some simple checks you can do to make sure it is not damaged or leaking in any place? Check for the following signs:
The first thing to do if you are concerned there may be a leak is to have good look at the area surrounding the oil tank. Can you smell a strong smell of oil? If it is sitting on grass or vegetation of some type, is it discolored or dead? These would be some obvious signs that the tank is leaking.
Another simple check is to give the tank itself a thorough check to observe any sign of damage of deterioration. Do you observe any metal patches that appear discolored or does it look like the tank has been repaired and patched up in the past? What do the legs supporting the tank look like? Are they rusting or look uneven? An oil tank is extremely heavy so its important that it has proper support. Its also good to be aware of the damage that could be caused by the above ground tank being subjected to all types of weather extremes. Try to avoid further damage and make sure that water, ice or snow is not constantly falling or dripping on it.
It is extremely important to maintain your above ground oil tank. Check any disconnected fuel lines for signs of nests or insects etc. These could easily cause a blockage. Remember also that a leaking oil tank is not only a problem for you as the home owner, but it can also create problems environmentally.
On our thorough home inspections, we check everything to make sure it’s working correctly. But what about you as the homeowner? Are there any areas of your home that you can check yourself to make sure they are working well? One area that is good to have a periodic check of are the toilets in the home. Think about it, we use them constantly but hardly give them a second thought, however, we would be in utter chaos and misery if they broke so it’s worth taking a few minutes to maintain them.
While they may seem simple, toilets are reasonably complex in their design. Every part needs to work for the proper functioning of the toilet. So, what are some things you can check? First, have a good look at the toilet bowl and check for damage such as chips and cracks in the porcelain. If a home inspector finds this type of damage, it will be noted as a defective toilet.
Another very simple test to perform is to flush each toilet in the house and observe the amount of time it takes for the system to fill back up again. If it seems to be taking a long time, there may be some fault that needs addressing. The same can be said if the toilet seems to take longer than normal to flush also.
A common issue with toilets is water constantly running. It might be something you’ve become used to but this can cause damage and cost you money, especially if you have a private well, as damage could be caused to the pump as well as the wasting of water.
Regular home maintenance is the key to saving money later on. Seeing that the average person uses the toilet approximately 2500 times a year, we can see why regular maintenance of the toilets in our house is so important
Radon Gas exists everywhere as a naturally occurring decay product of uranium. Radon Gas is measured by collecting particles given off from the decay process of the gas over its half life of 3.8 days. This is because while scientifically we know there is Radon Gas there is virtually no easy way to actually test it directly and this is why a process was developed to test for its decay products.
Depending on several different items. Radon Gas concentrations in our soil and therefore in our homes can vary greatly between homes and buildings. Just because the home next to someone tested low or high for Radon gas levels does not mean that home or business is going to test the same.
Controlled testing in locations across Canada showed concentrations in one home at below the 200BEQ/m3 benchmark but the one right next to it was at over 600BEQ/m3. This was found to be the case all across the country.
Since radon is odourless, tasteless and colourless it is one of those background hazards that until recently wasn't on the minds of a lot of people. Radon is not a fast acting cancer hazard because it takes on average over 7 years to possibly develop cancer if it is going to develop in a person. Smokers living in homes with above minimum levels of radon gas in their homes have shown a much higher risk of developing lung cancer. This is one of the main reasons Health Canada is recommending every building should be tested.
Health Canada has set a guideline for radon gas concentrations in residential properties and most general commercial properties at 200BEQ/m3 (bequarls per meter cubed) as a relative safe level. This safe level does not mean that if a home, school, daycare or business has a level this low that no one residing there or working there will not develop cancer. As for everything guilines and upper and lower limits need to be set to provide benchmarks.
The guidelines for radon are as follows:
1. Below 200BEQ/m3 a radon mitigation system is fully up to the person or company getting the test done.
2. Between 200 to 600BEQ/m3 a mitigation system is recommended to be installed within 2 years.
3. Above 600BEQ/m3 a mitigation system is recommended to be installed within one year.
There are test kits available at some local hardware stores as well as directly from Health Canada. The difference between using one of those kits and having a professional come to the home or business to set up the test is that professional can go over everything and properly determine the placement of test samplers. Also there have been instances where the locally available kit packaging had been damaged and since radon gas is everywhere it will penetrate the container and give a false reading as to the levels. The professional measurement technician will test the sample they are using at the time of the installation and keep a record of that measurement giving an accurate starting point and ending point for the measurement.
There are short term and long term test units. The short term test only takes a few days. It is not deemed a very accurate test and is only a rough idea at best and a potential false sense of well being.
A long term test is always recommended as the best course to follow. It takes between 6 to 9 months and a professional measurement tech will usually set up a short term test to get a snapshot of what to expect.
Test samplers are set up in areas of the business or home where people are spending on average of 4 hours per day. Most homes for an initial short term test should have 3 sample locations depending on the size of the home. Schools, daycares, businesses have a much different set of guidlines for sampling and are to variable to discuss here.
Mold issues cause many problems, not to mention pose a real health risk. With good reason then, we want to do all we can to prevent it from forming in our homes. One area that we may not always think about when it comes to mold is carpeting. However, carpet, given the right conditions, is the perfect environment for mold growth. How can we prevent this from happening?
Let’s think about ideal conditions mold needs to thrive, it loves a warm, humid environment, so think about areas in your home which would be more likely to have these conditions. The bathroom is an obvious place as well as the basement (if its prone to damp). Instead of installing carpet in these areas, you might want to choose an alternative flooring type.
The quality of flooring will also play a role. For example, select under carpet padding that is high quality and sturdy. Its also wise to select one that contains antimicrobial elements.
Any water or liquid that has been spilled on a carpet, if not cleaned immediately, could provide those mold growing conditions. Check that the carpet, padding and floor underneath is cleaned and completely dried. Although carpeting will need to be cleaned every so often, in the same way, make sure all layers of flooring are thoroughly dried or, better still, use a dry-cleaning type of method.
We all want our homes to be a comfortable place to be and carpet can provide that comfort but take care to maintain it well and prevent mold from being any type of issue with your carpet.
Have you just moved into your new home? Whether this is something you’ve done a few times, or you are a first-time home buyer, there is no disputing that it is a very stressful process. After a move like that, you will, no doubt, want to take some time to settle in and unpack. But, after you have settled in, its good to start a good routine of property maintenance as soon as you can. Why is it so important to do this? After all, perhaps your thinking, what needs to be done, it was just inspected?
The following video provides you with some information on why setting up a good program of maintenance is important for your new home, as well as some tips on what to do. Please feel free to contact us for all your home inspection needs.
The title of this article might seem strange if you’ve not heard the term “living wall” before. So, what is it? Also referred to as a “biowall” or “green wall” a living wall is basically a wall that has been covered in living plants. They can be used on inside as well as on outside walls. There are a couple of ways this is done. One, known as the felt system, uses felt which is backed with a waterproof layer. Plants are placed into the felt, then their roots grow downwards which acts to stabilize them. The other way is known as the panel system which is comprised of soil packed into plastic bags which then contain the plants.
Living walls provide numerous advantages, for example, not only do they look pleasing but when used on exterior walls in city areas, they help reduce the Urban Heat Island effect.
They can help improve an office environment by helping to reduce the effects of Sick Building Syndrome. They also help to purify the air of an office space by providing a natural air filtration system. A living wall can also contribute to saving energy by providing a layer of insulation.
Anyone who is interested in a green roof would also enjoy a living wall, plus, a living wall does not cause as much structural strain on a building.
From this brief review of living walls, we can see that there could be some great advantages to considering one for your space. Do your research first though, as it might not be a good idea for some places.
What homeowner doesn’t want their household to be safe, especially in the home? After all it is the place they should feel the safest. Unfortunately, many injuries are caused by accidents within the home. It is a good idea, then, to do all we can to keep our homes well maintained so as to prevent as many accidents as possible. One area that should be taken care of is the staircase. Stairs can be particularly dangerous for households with young children, the elderly or even handicapped residents. Here are a few ideas to ensure the staircase is well maintained:
Simple checks like these, should not take long, but they will go a long way to ensure the safety of you and your household.
If you have moved into a new construction home within the last year, then this month’s video will be something you will want to watch.
The majority of builders provide a 1-year warranty with their new homes. This means that should any issues arise due to the construction of the home, you will be covered. But, what if there are some problems you are not aware of because they are not too apparent? You would, no doubt, want to find out about these things before the warranty expires. This is when an 11-month home inspection comes in.
This brief video will give you a good idea of what an 11-month inspection would involve and what to do if problems are found.
We want you to enjoy the home you live in and not be responsible for any possible construction errors. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or to schedule a home inspection.
Are you about to buy a home need to have a home inspection performed? The home buying process can be a little daunting, especially if you are a first-time buyer. With that in mind, we thought we would answer a couple of basic questions many people ask regarding the home inspection.
Is it a good idea to be present for the home inspection?
Yes, being around for the home inspection is a good choice. This is because as you go through the property with the inspector, you will be educated about the home you are looking to buy. You will then have a better understanding as to how the house functions, you will also learn the locations of areas like the heating and plumbing systems. Your home inspector can also show you any problems or defects with the property. It is much better to see something with your own eyes than to just read it from a report.
How long does a home inspection take to complete?
The amount of time it can take depends on a range of factors. Obviously, the size of the home will make a difference as well as its location and whether additional buildings on the property etc. will need inspecting. But, in general you should expect the home inspection to take around three hours. Be a little wary of anyone who takes significantly less time than this to perform the inspection, it might not be as thorough as it needs to be.
A good home inspector will be happy to answer any of your questions regarding the home inspection and will be happy for you to be there while the inspection is being performed. This is your new home, so make sure you get the best. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule your comprehensive home inspection.
One of the most likely areas in a home to experience damp or flooding is the basement. The positioning of it below grade makes it prone to a number of damp related problems such as mold, poor air quality and even rotting foundations. While there are different causes for these issues, one way a basement becomes damp is when water pools around the foundation of the home. How can this be prevented?
Pooling often happens because of incorrectly installed, or leaking gutters and downspouts. It’s good to do a check of these to make sure they are properly installed and that gutters are clear and not blocked up. Downspouts need to be positioned to drain away from the house in order to prevent pooling, 10 feet away is best. In this way water is diverted away from the foundation.
Inadequate or uneven grade (or slope) can be another cause of water pooling around the foundation. To remedy this problem, you might have to even out some of the uneven areas.
Water can very often be a problem if your home is situated at the base of a hill or incline. One way to divert water away from the house is by creating small ditches known as swales. Ideally swales should be situated about 10 to 15 feet away from the house so as to prevent water runoff from reaching the buildings foundation.
There are various options for treating water damage in a basement but doing whatever we can to prevent it is the best option.
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