Monitor cracks in concrete

We’ve been getting some beautiful days recently, so take a few moments to walk around your home – carry out a visual inspection of the foundation, paths, steps and concrete sidewalks to ensure that no wintertime damage has occurred. While small cracks are nothing to worry about, if new ones appear and they seem to be getting wider, you may need some expert advice. Rapid deterioration can be prevented by sealing cracks. Avoid them turning into a big problem and increasing your maintenance costs.

Sidewalk with cracks

Mould/mildew prevention in your attic space

Mould or mildew spores are everywhere but only develop if three conditions are met. They are:
1) A food source, usually the wood components;
2) The right temperature (40-140 degrees F);
3) Moisture.

The easiest thing to control is moisture. The main source in the attic comes from moisture laden air from the living space. It enters from uninsulated ceiling light fittings, any gaps in the vapour barrier or un-weather sealed attic hatches. Any moisture that does enter should be removed by adequate air flow in the attic space, hence the importance of the ventilation provision.

attic mould

Improve your attic insulation

If you are thinking of improving your attic insulation by using a “blown in” insulation product, remember to install baffles between each rafter or truss to maintain outside airflow from the soffits.

If installing insulating batts or blankets, keep these away from the soffit areas to maintain air flow.

Outside air flow in the attic is essential to remove warm moist air from the living area that may have entered the attic space.

 

 

 

Flexible plastic ducting

This material is frequently used to connect the dryer with the exterior so that warm moist air can be exhausted to the outside. It’s cheap and easy to use but I’m not a great fan of this material because the ridges can trap lint and severely restrict air flow. The photograph below shows excess plastic ducting used to connect the dryer with the exterior. It is located in a large crawlspace and the area is likely to be cold. Here’s what can happen:
• Due to the long run and changes in direction, the movement of exhaust air will be restricted. It is likely that before the air reaches the exterior, it will cool;
• The high moisture content in the air will condense and collect at the lowest point;
• The weight of the water will also pull the ducting down, making the situation worse;
• Eventually, the condensed water will totally block air flow;
• Being uninsulated in a cold or unheated crawlspace, the water could also freeze during the winter;
• The build-up of lint may also be a fire risk.
I recommended to my clients that they replace this with an insulated metal duct and have a horizontal run from the duct entrance above the white pipe to the exterior wall on the right, as shown by the arrow. This is a simple and inexpensive solution that will prevent major problems.
ducting Jan 21, 2015

 

Advice about vermiculite

What is it? Vermiculite is a granular material used as a loose fill insulation in homes. It was most prevalent in homes built during the 1950s and 1960s and is usually found in the attic. It was marketed under the brand name of Zonalite.

What are the concerns? It was found that some vermiculite, specifically from Libby Montana and a mine in Virginia, was heavily contaminated with asbestos. Asbestos that becomes airborne is a health hazard. However, not all vermiculite contains asbestos.

What should I do? Removal of vermiculite is recommended. If you are about to list your home, the presence of vermiculite may, and probably will, deter buyers. If it’s found in a home you intend to buy, have it removed before the deal is finalised simply because it may still be a potential health hazard and will pose a difficulty on re-sale. Typical remediation is under $20,000.

What should a Home Inspector do? A Home inspector is required to notify you of the presence of vermiculite and of the potential health risks. Best practice is to recommend further evaluation by a specialist to verify the presence of asbestos or not. Home inspectors are not usually certified to conduct asbestos testing of vermiculite as this requires specialist knowledge, training and equipment.

Home Maintenance Tips July 2014

Installing an above-ground pool? Check this info: http://www.zillow.com/blog/above-ground-swimming-pool-guide-155527/?utm_content=buffer8f095&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Safety in the home: make sure you have fire extinguishers on every floor of your home – the one located near your kitchen should be suitable for grease fires. Also plan fire escape routes from your home, especially from the upper stories.

Home maintenance tip: check the condensation pan for leaks in air conditioning/heat pump installations.

Home maintenance tip: change your forced air systems air filter every 3 months. This will maintain interior air quality and reduce wear on the blower fan

Home Maintenance Tips June 2014

SLIDING DOORS AND WINDOWS: ensure their tracks are cleaned every three months and also, to reduce the risk of water damage to your home, check that the drain holes are open.

FOR THE SPRING: remove leaf debris from gutters and the screen at the top of downspouts. If you don’t have screens, it is recommended that these are fitted as they are a cheap, cost-effective way to prevent problems arising. The ability for water to drain from your home is the key to preventative maintenance.

Home Maintenance Tips June 2014

Summer maintenance: have your heating system serviced during the summer months on an annual basis.

Summer maintenance: complete exterior house painting during the fine summer weather in time for the onset of winter.

Summer maintenance: check caulk condition at window trim and frames to ensure that wind driven rain cannot penetrate. Repair in time for autumn and winter.

Importance of Annual Furnace Servicing

With winter upon us, isn’t it great to return to your warm cosy home? Please remember that with the long hot summer, it may be some time since your furnace last ran, and now it’s likely to be running frequently. Here are a couple of tips that you may have done already, but let’s consider them reminders:

1. It’s important to have your furnace serviced on an annual basis. This is to ensure that it runs efficiently and safely and now is the ideal time to do it.
2. If your forced air heating system is fitted with a conventional air filter, clean or change it on a monthly basis. Conventional air filters sit in the return air plenum, just upstream of the blower. Clean filters improve the comfort of the home and help reduce heating costs.

Home Maintenance Tips December 2013

Do you have an unfinished basement or crawlspace with uninsulated water pipes running through these spaces? Check them and ensure they are insulated. If not, try some of the foam wrap available in most home improvement stores. The foam simply clips around the pipe and protects the water in the pipe from freezing, leaving you to spend time in the great outdoors rather than waiting for a plumber and insurance assessor. Minimum cost for maximum risk prevention!

HOME SAFETY TIP: make sure there’s at least one fire extinguisher on every floor of your home, and remember that the one near the kitchen must be suitable for grease fires.

Also, plan escape routes from the upper stories of your home. Having a rope ladder may be a necessity.

Home Maintenance Tips November 2013

Do you have an unfinished basement or crawlspace with uninsulated water pipes running through these spaces? Check them and ensure they are insulated. If not, try some of the foam wrap available in most home improvement stores. The foam simply clips around the pipe and protects the water in the pipe from freezing, leaving you to spend time in the great outdoors rather than waiting for a plumber and insurance assessor. Minimum cost for maximum risk prevention!

HOME MAINTENANCE – TIP HEATING AND AIR-CONDITIONING SYSTEMS: House Sound Home Inspections recommends that you set up a service contract to ensure that your heating and air-conditioning systems are properly maintained to make sure they are inspected and serviced to protect your investment in them.