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 mould, 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.
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:
It’s important to take into consideration all stairs on the property. This would include any outside steps. These especially need regular maintenance. They should have the right amount of slope so that no water pools on or around them. Imagine the calamitous consequences if that water turns to ice.
Make sure all of the stairs are up to code, where possible. They need to be of equal height to prevent them from being a tripping hazard. Bannister's must also be the correct width apart and not loose. A child could easily get their head stuck if the bannister's are too far apart.
Handrails are another thing that can become loose and wobbly over time. As soon as you notice this happening, it should be fixed immediately, as this could become very dangerous for anyone relying on it for support when going up or down the stairs.
Check to see if there is good lighting both on as well as around the staircase. It is important that those using the stairs can clearly see where each step is.
If stairs are wooden, be careful to not over polish them. Also, if stairs are carpeted, check to make sure the carpet is not becoming loose.
Simple checks like these, should not take long, but they will go a long way to ensure the safety of you and your household.
Mould issues cause many problems, not to mention also posing 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 mould is carpeting. However, carpet, given the right conditions, is the perfect environment for mould growth. How can we prevent this from happening?
Let’s think about ideal conditions mould 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 like solid vinyl flooring or tile.
The quality of flooring will also play a role. For example, select under carpet padding that is high quality and sturdy. It’s 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 mould 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 mould from being any type of issue with your carpet.
Is moving to a new house part of your plans in the very near future? If it is, then you will already know how stressful just thinking about it can be. So, what if you find a property that is perfect for you and your household, but it is a home in high demand and there are multiple offers on it. This would indeed be very stressful, and you might even resort to skipping important parts of the home buying process just to have a better chance of acquiring the property. Maybe you feel like you could skip the home inspection, but is that a good idea? Is a home inspection truly optional?
Even with a property that’s in high demand it’s good to think about your long-term needs, after all, this is still a huge investment.
Home Radon testing
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 no way to actually test it directly and this is why a process was developed to test for its decay products.
Radon Gas concentrations in our soil and 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 going to test the same.
Controlled testing across Canada showed concentrations in homes 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.
Radon is odourless, tasteless and colourless. Radon is not a fast-acting cancer hazard because it takes on average 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 guidelines for radon gas concentrations in residential properties and most general commercial properties consider 200BEQ/m3 (bequarls per meter cubed) as a relative safe level. This safe level does not mean if a home, school, daycare or business has a level this low no one residing there or working there will not develop cancer.
Radon level guidelines are:
1. Below 200BEQ/m3 installing a mitigation system is 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.
Test kits are available at some local hardware stores as well as directly from Health Canada. The difference between one of those kits and a professional coming to the home or business to set up the test is that a professional can go over everything and properly determine the placement of test units. There have been instances where locally available kit packaging has been damaged and since radon gas is everywhere it penetrates the container and gives a false reading. 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 and long-term test units. The short-term test only takes a few days. It is not a very accurate test and is only a rough idea at best giving a potential false sense of well being.
Long-term testing 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.
Schools, daycares, businesses have a much different set of guidelines for sampling and are to variable to discuss here.