As Montreal's trusted home inspector I am often asked, How do I know how to prepare my home for the (4) seasons.
As Montreal's trusted home inspector, here are some Fall Maintenance Recommendations.
With fall here and winter closing in fast, lets look at some Fall Maintenance Recommendations outside the home.
1: Soil: No better time to build up the soil with a mix of back-fill and planting soil. Insure you build up any settled or soil erosion close the the foundation lost throughout the spring thaws, rains and summer shrinkage. This well help negate basement seepage from spring thaws and help avoid foundation settlement cracks.
2: Trees, Bushes, Plantings.
Trim back trees, bushes and remove plantings that will not regrow next year.
Insure bushes and plantings are not close to the home. Plantings can be moved away from the foundation when they are dormant.
3: Gutters & Downspouts.
Clean out Your Gutters. Clogged Dirty Gutters = Ice dams = Expensive home repairs for you next spring if eave icicles has been an ongoing cycle.
Might require added attic venting and insulation in the attic as well. We will get to that on our next blog, (Fall Maintenance Recommendations Inside)
Get out the ladder and dig out the leaves from your gutters before anything bad can happen to your home. Insure downspouts are away from the foundation by 6' to 8' feet discharging water away from the home. Remove downspout extensions once the temperature gets below freezing. Put them back on in the spring.
4: Caulk, Seal & Weather strip!
Look at wall openings: Windows, doors, penetrations and protrusions.
Look to see if the caulking, sealing or weather stripping are going their job.
Caulking shrinks, stretches, breaks, and detached from what it is/was applied to.
Seals/flashing's beak or degrade over time.
Weather striping get worn and ineffective.
Look at vents and louvers for the dryer, stove top and bathrooms.
Electrical conduit, pipes at the foundation or wall possibly from a air conditioner or heat pump compressors leading into your home through the veneer. Is the foam insulation in good shape?
Make sure everything is caulked, sealed and weather striped to stop wind, air/weather, moisture migrating into the wall assembly or the home.
5: Chimneys, Chases & B-Vents.
The chimney. Prepare your Chimney for use. Make sure the chimney is clean and in working order. Look at the crown at the top for cracks. There should be a ember guard and rain cap as well. It is also a good time to stock up on firewood. Only bring in enough to use for that day.
Chases. Make sure the siding material does not appear to have cracks, openings or damage.
B Vents. Look to see if a bird nested. Look at the vent housing to see if it shows signs of ware, is scorched or rusted. Insure it is far away enough from windows.
6: Roofs. Best left to the certified professional but if you maintain your roof you want to look at flashing's, caulked and sealed areas, roof vents, does the roof look worn, etc.
We will continue adding installments to Fall Maintenance Recommendations.
have a great day and remember our motto; Putting information where you need it most, "in your hands." Robert Knows Homes!
During the electrical component of a home inspection often reveals electrical defects or deficiencies the homeowner was unaware of. What type and how many differ greater in importance and safety.
To understand the electrical panel, service and service equipment such as over current devices, ground fault protection, and branch circuits are dependent the home inspector, the tools & equipment he utilizes, and his/her understanding electrical systems and how they operate & function.
By testing/analyzing branch circuits at outlets can/may allow a home inspector to determine the condition of that branch circuit and make valuable recommendations.
Analyzing electrical service and equipment.
Outlet/receptacle branch circuit analyzers, such as the type we use during a typical home inspection, allow the condition of that branch circuit to be revealed.
Common yet defective conditions might be:
1: Open Hot. The "hot" wire (usually/typically black) not actually being hot.
2: Open neutral: The white, usually not so white in older home's, the(neutral) wire, is not connected well somewhere.
3: Open Ground: An open is likely often the case of someone never connected a ground wire to the receptacle, or there was no ground to connect.
4: Poor ground impedance.Grounding the electrical service, the electrical system, is to provide a low impedance path for fault or transient currents into the earth.
5: False grounds.
False ground are common during our electrical surveys. A home owner adding an outlet in a bed room mismanages the wire on the outlet.
6: Missing ground.
Missing ground are suspect in older updated homes.
7: Missing ground fault protection.
In short, missing ground fault protection.
A (GFCI) outlet / receptacle is electronic equipment protection device. It protects the occupants from the effects of ground faults which are dangerous.
The National Electrical Code® (NEC® ) has specific ground fault equipment protection requirements in 215.10, 230.95, 240.13 and 517.17. Ground fault relays (or sensors) are used to sense low magnitude ground faults.
8: Low voltage availability under load.
A bad connection or a broken wire somewhere.
9: High ground-to-neutral voltage.
Mis-wired receptacles. 120V receptacles wired incorrectly...
Welcome to the Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc. Homeowner’s August Newsletter!
Each, every month, you’ll find plenty of useful information for keeping your house in great condition so that you can enjoy it for years to come. Preserve your investment—and keep your family safe and healthy—by maintaining your home using the following tips.
Let us get down to the nuts and bolts of the August months News Letter.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral used in many construction products. It is considered to be a carcinogen. Asbestos has been used in: sealant, putty, and spackling compounds; vinyl floor tiles, backing for vinyl sheet flooring, and flooring adhesives; ceiling tiles; textured paint; exterior wall and ceiling insulation; roofing shingles; cement board for many uses, including siding; door gaskets for furnaces and wood-burning stoves; concrete piping; paper, millboard and cement board sheets used to protect walls and floors around wood-burning stoves; fabric connectors between pieces of metal ductwork; hot water and steam piping insulation, blanket covering and tape; and as insulation on boilers, oil-fired furnaces, and coal-fired furnaces. The use of asbestos was phased out in 1978, but many older houses contain asbestos-bearing products.
Products containing asbestos are not always a health hazard. The potential health risk occurs when these products become worn or deteriorate in a way that releases asbestos fibers into the air. Of particular concern are those asbestos-containing products that are soft, that were sprayed or troweled on, or that have become crumbly. In this condition, asbestos is considered to be in a friable state.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency believes that as long as the asbestos-bearing product is intact, is not likely to be disturbed, and is in an area where repairs or rehabilitation will not occur, it is best to leave the product in place. If it is deteriorated, it may be enclosed, coated or sealed up (encapsulated) in place, depending upon the degree of deterioration. Otherwise, it should be removed by a certified professional.
A certified environmental professional could perform an inspection and make the decision whether to enclose, coat, encapsulate or remove deteriorated asbestos-containing products. Testing by a qualified laboratory, as directed by the environmental professional, may be needed in order to make an informed decision. Encapsulation, removal and disposal of asbestos products must be done by a qualified asbestos-abatement contractor.
For more information, visit www.nachi.org/go/epaasbestos
If ingested, lead can lead to a variety of health problems, especially for children, including brain damage and other serious issues.
Lead-based paint may be a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew or that get a lot of wear and tear, such as windows and window sills, doors and door frames, stairs, railings, banisters, porches and fences. Lead from paint chips that are visible and lead dust that is not always visible can both be serious hazards. Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is dry-scraped, dry-sanded, or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together, such as when windows open and close. Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people touch. Settled lead dust can re-enter the air when people vacuum, sweep or walk through it.
In 1978, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) set the legal limit of lead in most types of paint to a trace amount. As a result, homes built after 1978 should be nearly free of lead-based paint. In 1996, the U.S. Congress passed the final phase of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, Title X, which mandates that real estate agents, sellers and landlords disclose the known presence of lead-based paint in homes built prior to 1978.
Lead-based paint that is in good condition and out of the reach of children is usually not a hazard. Peeling, chipping, chalking or cracking lead-based paint is a hazard and needs immediate attention.
If the house is thought to contain lead-based paint, consider having a qualified professional check it for lead hazards. This is done by means of a paint inspection that will identify the lead content of every painted surface and a risk assessment that will determine whether there are any sources of serious lead exposure (such as peeling paint and lead dust). The risk assessment will also identify actions to take to address these hazards.
The U.S. federal government has standards for inspectors and risk assessors. Some states may also have standards in place. Call your local housing authority for help with locating a qualified professional. Do-it-yourself home tests should not be the only method you use before embarking on a rehabilitation project or to ensure your family’s safety. For more information on lead-based paint, consult the HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control website at www.nachi.org/go/epalead
ROBERT YOUNG, CMI
ROBERT YOUNG'S MONTREAL HOME INSPECTION SERVICES INC.
Welcome to the Homeowner’s Newsletter!
Each month, you’ll find plenty of useful information for keeping your house in great condition so that you can enjoy it for years to come. Preserve your investment—and keep your family safe and healthy—by maintaining your home using the following tips.
The Attic An attic is an unconditioned space between the roof and the ceiling, and can be between the roof ceiling and walls of the building’s inhabited or habitable space. In a small house with a pitched roof, the attic is usually partially or fully accessible. In a house with a low-slope roof, it may be inaccessible or virtually nonexistent. When there is an accessible attic space inspecting that space is highly recommended.
Roof Leaks: Look for signs of and monitor water leakage from the roof above and try to locate the source. This may be difficult to do beneath built-up roofs or loosely laid and mechanically fastened single-ply roofs, since water may travel horizontally between layers of roofing materials. from my experience in the trades, roofing being one, most often water enters penetrations, protrusions or flashed areas. Most all roofs will leak eventually but that is no indication that the roof requires replacement. That means it is time to have a professional fix the leak and assess the roofs condition. professional roofers and roofing association recommend "yearly roof inspections" followed by/including annual roof maintenance and roof tune ups when required. Depending upon the material a professionally installed roof covering following the manufacturer's recommendations roof should last 20 to 30 years with annual inspections, maintain and roof tune-ups. The life of your roof is directly related to how often it is inspected, and how quickly small problems are identified and repaired.
Attic Ventilation: Signs of inadequate ventilation are rusting nails (in roof sheathing, soffits, and drywall ceilings), wet or rotted roof sheathing, and excessive heat buildup. Adequate attic ventilation can be measured by calculating the ratio of the free area of all vents to the floor area. The free area of vents is defined as their clear, open area. If a vent has an insect screen, its free area is reduced by half. The free vent area-to-floor area ratio should be 1 to 150. If the calculated ratio is less, consider adding ventilation, especially if you’re in a hot and humid climate.
If the attic also contains an occupied space, check that the ventilation from the unconditioned, unoccupied areas at the eaves is continuous to the gable or ridge vents. Also check that the free area of eave vents is approximately equal to the free area of ridge or gable vents. If ventilation appears to be inadequate and additional vents cannot be added economically, consider adding mechanical ventilation.
Vents, Birds and Rodents
Vents, Birds and Rodents: Make sure ventilation openings are clear of dirt and debris. At larger ventilation openings on a building’s exterior and where louvered grilles are used, such as at gables, check for the presence of 1-½-inch-square 14- or 16-gauge aluminum mesh bird screen. If there is none or it is in poor condition, consider having new bird screen installed.
Plumbing Stacks and Exhaust Ducts: All plumbing stacks should continue through the roof and should not terminate in the attic. The stack pipes should not be loose, broken or damaged. Exhaust ducts should not be kinked, broken or damaged. They should not terminate in the attic but should continue through the roof, gable or wall.
Thus concludes July monthly newsletter.
If you have any questions please call us at (514) 489-1887. It would be our pleasure.
ROBERT YOUNG, CMI
ROBERT YOUNG'S MONTREAL HOME INSPECTION SERVICES INC.
Maintaining Your Roof Plays an Important Role
A homes roof plays an important role in protecting your home or building by providing protection to the occupants, interior structure, components and systems in a home or building from outside forces such as wind, rain, snow and so on.
Maintaining Your Roof
Homeowner maintenance includes cleaning the leaves, twigs, branches and debris from the roof covering, roof’s valleys and the eavestrough gutters. Home-owner maintenance includes cleaning the leaves, twigs, branches and other debris from the roof deck covering, roof valleys wall abuts and the eavestrough gutters.
Debris in the valleys can act like a dam causing water to be wick in as well as under the shingles mat or even find a small opening and cause damage to the roof deck and the interior of the home eventually.
Clogged roof gutters and downspouts can cause water to flow backwards filling the gutters allowing water to go under the shingles and salvage paper above the eaves and cause structural damage at the eaves regardless of the roofing material. This includes composition shingles, wood shakes, tile or metal or slate.
The best way to preserve your roof is to stay off it. Also, seasonal changes in the weather are usually the most destructive force like fallen leaves and falls freezing temperatures. Roofing industry professionals recommend performing roof covering maintenance in spring and fall, as well as after major weather events, such as high winds and snowstorms with freezing rain in the winter.
what can a leaky roof do? A leaky roof can damage a home's ceilings, the walls and assemblies, the furnishings, trim and paint, and do all around extensive damage until the source of the leak is uncovered and properly repaired.
To protect buildings and it's contents from water damage, roofers maintain as well as repair roofs made of BUR, or build up roofing, better known as tar or asphalt and gravel, EPDM, or synthetic or natural rubber, TPR, a thermoplastic, Metal roofing systems, copper or galvalume standing seam, or Asphalt, fibreglass, recycled rubber shingles, Slate.
Professional roofing installers & Roofing associations recommend that roofing systems, sloped or flat, be evaluated by a licensed certified professional and maintained on an annual basis, this includes roof tune-ups when required.
Remember, the life of your roof is directly related to how often it is inspected, and how quickly small problems are identified and repaired.
Montreal's Home Inspector responds to, How Do I Know, and understand what the repeated term "Serviceable" or "Appears Serviceable" means in my home inspection report?
As one of Montreal's experienced home inspectors, (CMI) certified Montreal home inspector Robert Young replies, the Dictionary defines the term Serviceable as, and including, “Fulfilling its function adequately” or/and “functional and durable, rather than attractive.”
The term “Serviceable" is often used as a generalization term to explain the condition of a component in a home inspection report. "Serviceable or Appears to be satisfactory, if not perfect by apparence."
Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc. assesses over 400 hundred components in a home's structure, systems & components combining +3.5 decades of experience, modern brand name tools & technology, then chronicle the assessment utilizing Carson & Dunlop Horizon home inspection reporting software, thus allowing a condition assessment report that is detailed, loaded with images, illustrations and easy to navigate.
Do You Consider This Roof Top HVAC Ductwork Serviceable?
During your Montreal home inspection service with Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services inc., we do not use the term serviceable or appears serviceable in our home inspection reports. Specifics are used to describe condition allowing individuals to understand the status of a component, and further ask you the question, do you consider this roof top HVAC ductwork serviceable?
Welcome to the Homeowner’s Newsletter! Each month, you’ll find plenty of useful information for keeping your house in great condition so that you can enjoy it for years to come. Preserve your investment—and keep your family safe and healthy—by maintaining your home using the following tips.
Laundry and Utility Rooms Laundry Room: Watch for leaks and kinks developing at plumbing connections to the washing machine. Water can overflow from the top or bottom if the machine is overloaded with a load that’s too big, or if it is resting on an uneven surface.
Protect the electrical or natural gas connections to the dryer and ensure that they are not disturbed or accidentally dislodged from their connections.
A gas dryer vent that passes through walls or combustible materials must be made of metal. The length of a dryer exhaust ensures that its blower will be able to push sufficient air volume to take away the laundry’s damp air and lint. The maximum length of the exhaust hose should not be greater than 25 feet from the dryer to the termination at the wall or roof. The length can be increased only when the make and model of the dryer are known.
Inspect the dryer venting to make sure it is not clogged or restricted, which will help the unit operate efficiently and normally, as well as prevent the unit’s motor from overheating and failing. A clogged or restricted vent hose may also lead to an accidental fire caused by the ignition up built-up debris.
The clothes dryer exhaust poses a different problem than other exhaust systems because the air is damp and carries lint. Ensure that the vent exhausts to the outside and not to the attic, crawlspace, or attached garage because the wooden structural members of the house could be affected over time. The exhaust vent’s termination should have a backdraft damper installed to prevent cold air, rain, snow, rodents, and birds from entering the vent. The vent termination should not have a screen on it, as this can trap lint and other debris and pose a fire hazard.
Furnace Room: Rooms or closets containing combustion or fuel-burning equipment or appliances should not be located off a bedroom in a single-family residence (and must be in a publicly accessible area in a multi-family building).
Retaining Walls If possible, weep holes and related drains should be assessed following a heavy rain to make sure they are working properly. If they are not discharging water, the drains should be cleaned out and observed again in the next rain. Retaining walls more than 2 feet high should be backed with drainage material, such as gravel. There should be drains at the bottom of the drainage material that should discharge the water either at the end of the wall or through pipes. These drains and the drainage material behind the wall relieve the pressure of groundwater on the wall. Failure to drain could be remedied by excavating behind the wall, replacing the drainage material and damaged drainage piping, and backfilling. In all but the driest climates, improper drainage of water from behind a retaining wall can cause the wall to fail.
Look for movement in your retaining walls. Bowing (vertical bulges), sweeping (horizontal bulges), and cracking in retaining walls can be caused by water pressure (or hydrostatic pressure). Bulging can also be a result of inadequate strength to resist the load of the earth behind the wall. Bowing and sweeping failures may be correctable if found early enough and if the cause is poor drainage.
There are other types of failures of retaining walls. Failure by over-turning (leaning from the top) or sliding may be caused by inadequate wall strength. In addition, water behind a wall can create unstable earth, especially in clay soils, and contribute to sliding. Retaining walls also fail due to settlement and heaving. Settlement occurs whenever filled earth below the wall compacts soon after the wall is built, or when wet earth caused by poor drainage dries out and soil consolidates. In cold climates, poor drainage contributes to failure by creating heaving from frozen ground. Both overturning and sliding earth may be stabilized and sometimes corrected if the amount of movement is not extreme. Settling may be corrected on small, low walls of concrete or masonry, and heaving may be controlled by proper drainage. Significant failure of any kind usually requires rebuilding or replacing all or part of a wall. Consult a qualified professional when major repairs or corrections are needed.
ROBERT YOUNG, CMI
ROBERT YOUNG'S MONTREAL HOME INSPECTION SERVICES INC.
Wood fibre saturation
In wood fiber saturation, when wood is wet, there are fundamentals to understand wet wood and the damage that can occur from continued or continuing saturation.
The dependability of wood often coincides with water, but that doesn't mean wood can never get wet. Let's take wood and wood products in a building setting.
Wood fiber saturation / When wood is wet.
Wood under a microscope and scientifically. Softwoods utilized in a building structure, softwood more than hardwood's, in their anatomical body, but nevertheless wood is a hygroscopic. This means it naturally takes on and gives off water / moisture, to balance out its surroundings. You can almost think of the relationship as the cells of wood absorbing and dispersing moisture.
Wood fiber saturation / When wood is wet.
In Canadian wood fame construction, which there is an abundance of, wood is most often connected to objects in it's/the environment. So the hygroscopic properties of wood relate to wood saturation, the expansive and contraction properties that wood species, and wood movement in service.
Wood fibre saturation, and (MC) moisture content when wood is wet.
(MC) or moisture content, a measurement of how much water there is in a wood, or moreover an object containing wood partials encapsulated, the fibers/cells, is relative to the wood itself.
The (MC) moisture content, moisture, is expressed as a (%) percentage of (MC) moisture content calculated by dividing "the weight of the water" in the wood by "the weight of the wood" itself.
Wood fibre saturation / When wood is wet numbers.
(2) Two important MC numbers to the equation; 19% and 28%.
We /they tend to call a piece of wood dry if it is at (<19%) moisture content or less. This would be wood Kiln or naturally dried.
Wood Fiber Saturation, or when wood is wet expressed as (28-29%) percent moisture, depending on certain values, for the average wood species. The dependability of wood often coincides with water, but remember, as explained above, that doesn't mean wood can never get wet.
In wood fiber saturation, when wood is wet, Measuring/calculating wood fiber saturation, (MC) moisture content, when wood is wet is important. for several reasons. It is important to know/note the amount of (MC) moisture content of wood, or wood in objects, the (MC) moisture content % percentage readings while assessing wood components.
Wood fibre saturation, (MC) moisture content & Equipment used.
Equipment to measure wood saturation, when wood is wet.
Measurement equipment to measure (MC) moisture content, there are typically divided into (2) two types (groups) of moisture meters used by home, building and property inspectors.
(1) Type One; Pin-type moisture meters. Destructive testing.
As for the gauge for measuring, electrical resistance between two points is used for wood, as well as or other hygroscopic materials.
An electrical circuit is used by driving two pins electrodes, the distance constant, into the wood or hygroscopic material/s or clad/covered substrate.
(2) Type Two; Pin-less meters. Non-destructive testing.
These moisture meters use radio frequency signals as the lever to penetrate the material being tested. On most, contact pads, placed upon the surface of the material or substrate being measured for (MC) moisture content.
Wood fibre saturationside note
Side Note: Professional equipment allow ongoing documentation when surveying wood. Dedicated professionals create a visual representation of the moisture condition further allowing restorative work in a professional measured and efficient manner.
Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc. Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "in your hands." Robert Knows Homes!
Read more about home inspection tools utilized during a Montreal home inspection service. http://montreal-home-inspection-services.com/our-tools.html
A Fall From Grace
Vermiculite was touted as the miracle mineral for it has great fire-resistant properties and has good insulation properties. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Canadian federal government even offered a grant to people who installed products including Zonolite in their homes.
What is vermiculite? It is a volcanic mineral. When vermiculite is heated at high temperatures, it expands into accordion-like pieces that may contain asbestos fibres.
Vermiculite from the Libby Mine in Montana was used in insulation products sold under the brand name Zonolite Attic Insulation in Canada.
W.R. Grace bought the vermiculite mine in Libby Montana in 1963 from the Zonolite Company. There came the fall from Grace.
Tainted Vermiculite Processed for Decades
Asbestos-tainted vermiculite was shipped from a Montana mine to at least 60 processing plants across North America, spreading the deadly material among workers for decades, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Federal regulators and company officials were aware of the dangers but ignored them, the newspaper reported Wednesday, citing government and court documents and internal company memos and reports.
Because of the transient nature of the work force, it might never be known how many processing plant workers died from inhaling tremolite asbestos, a rare and extremely toxic form of asbestos released by mining for vermiculite, the paper said.
Vermiculite, a mineral that expands when wet, is used for insulation and gardening.
Mine owner W. R. Grace & Co., and previous owner Zonolite Co., ignored the dangers, the newspaper reported.
The mine was closed in 1990, but health officials say asbestos-related contamination continues to affect people.
Implamenting Trust In Grace.
We are pleased to advise you that W.R. Grace's Plan of Reorganization became final on February 3, 2014. Consequently, W.R. Grace has now funded the Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust from which eligible ZAI claimants will be reimbursed. This webpage contains all the information you need to submit a claim for reimbursement.
Left click on the above Zonolite Attic Insulation Trist image and follow the link.
Follow the ending link to learn more. http://www.zonoliteatticinsulation.com/faqs/