Home Inspections – Ontario Building Codes

The Ontario Building Codes are a minimum set of standards that all building must meet when constructed. Although the Ontario Building Code is not designed to be used as a requirement to bring existing buildings up to this standard, not having a knowledge of the code would not allow a person to know what deficiencies existed in a building.

Existing buildings only have to be built to the standard of the existing building code that was in effect at the time of construction. This is known as “Grandfathering” and will apply to most buildings unless they have under gone a “Major Renovation, Change of Use or Occupancy or a Building Permit has been issued that would involve bringing building up to current requirements. Most older buildings would fall under Part 10 or 11 of the Ontario Building Code and not require extensive upgrading, especially if the building was over 5 years old.

Knowledge of the Ontario Building Code is essential when performing Home Inspections. Some home inspectors mask their lack of skills and training by refraining from ever mentioning the Ontario Building Code and this lack of knowledge can lead to missed deficiencies that a trained inspector would pick up. If your house was built to the minimum standards set out by the Building Codes, how could any professional not be trained in their use and application. As a member of the Ontario Building Officials Association I ensure that my knowledge is maintained at the current editions of the Building Code, to do other wise would be unfair to my customers. Continue reading “Home Inspections — Ontario Building Codes”

Canada Day – Take a minute to reflect!

These are some interesting pictures I received in an email asking the reader to think about God for one minute. I have no idea if these pictures are real or have been re-touched, either way they are interesting. I have included the message also. Celebrating Canada Day is a opportunity for people to think and pray for those who are less fortunate than we are. A poll on the radio suggested that over 95% of Canadians are proud of our country. We should then reflect on what we can do for those less fortunate. Have a good Canada Day and don’t drink and drive.

Continue reading “Canada Day — Take a minute to reflect!”

Fresh Air Mix Boxes – HVAC

Fresh Air Mix Boxes – Barrie Home Inspections

During my inspections of Barrie’s many new homes I have come across many furnaces with a Fresh Air Mix Box installed. I always point this feature out to my clients but as many of them are totally unaware of the purpose of this feature I decide to give a brief explanation for those home owners who wondered what the purpose was.

The Fresh Air Mix Box is designed to allow your HVAC system to introduce air from the outside into your house. The difference in air temperature can vary radically so this is where the mix box does its work. Air from your furnace is mixed with outside air combining the two to create warm air. Continue reading “Fresh Air Mix Boxes — HVAC”

Fix Your Damp Basements

A wet basement can be obvious – water trickling across the floor or standing several inches deep at the base of the stairs. But there also are less obvious signs.

A wet basement may just feel humid and have a damp, stuffy smell. If so, wood in contact with concrete may be wet or decaying. Efflorescence, a chalky white substance left by the evaporation of water, may be seen on the walls. Basement floor tiles may be loose or popped. A carpeted floor may smell musty.

Find the Water
Fixing a wet basement begins with finding the cause. Infiltration of surface water, infiltration of groundwater, presence of outside humidity, and presence of indoor humidity are common causes of wet basements.

Surface water intrusion is when water runs toward the foundation and finds an entry. Groundwater enters through the walls and floor by wicking action or by hydrostatic pressure when the surrounding soil is saturated or the water table is high.

Warm, moist summer air can enter a house and condense on the basement’s cooler floor or walls. Indoor activities,like an improperly vented dryer, can create humidity that settles in the basement.

Fix the Problem
To avoid ongoing problems with mold or mildew, get rid of any water-damaged furnishings and possessions unless they can be properly cleaned. Then identify and treat the source of the problem.

Surface Water
If surface water is the culprit, watch how the roof drainage system works and where rain water flows during a rainstorm.

A gutter or downspout plugged with debris may be sending rainwater over the gutter, down along the foundation, and into the house. Regular cleaning or installing a product that prevents debris from getting into the trough will end that problem.

If there is no debris but rainwater is still overflowing, the downspouts may be clogged, incorrectly sized for the roof area, or insufficient for the size of the house. Consider getting larger gutters, adding another downspout, or increasing the downspout size and its corresponding gutter opening.

Downspout extensions that direct rainwater away from the house may be improperly placed or not long enough to protect the home from surface water. Experts suggest extensions of at least 10 feet to get the discharge away from the house without sending water into a neighbor’s yard.

Help keep your basement dry by maintaining a good gutter system to direct surface water away from the house.

Check the grade to see if it has been improperly set or has settled in spots, sending water toward the foundation. Check paved areas, driveways, and walkways that may be directing water toward the house. Proper slope has to be regained and may mean replacing pavement.

Basement window wells and stairwells can collect water, causing leaks into the basement. For a window well, put a drain system underneath, cover it with a clear plastic cover and be sure the well has a raised-lip edge to repel water. For a stairwell, consider a raised-lip edge and a roof to cover the area.

Groundwater
Groundwater is difficult to control. The ground surrounding a basement may become saturated with rainwater or an underground spring, especially if the soil is a heavy clay. Water pressure from saturated soil will push water through tiny cracks in the foundation. If groundwater levels rise above the basement floor, water will leak in.

If the problem is small, a homeowner may try patching cracks from the inside. Interior crack repair does not prevent water from getting into the exterior section of the wall. Water trapped inside the basement wall can weaken the foundation. After pinpointing the source, a homeowner might dig down along the foundation to see if outer wall repairs are small or large before making a repair decision.

Large cracks may require a structural engineer or basement specialist to fix any cracks, seal the outside, and install a drain around the perimeter of the house.

Humidity
Warm moist air, from inside activities or the outside, can condense on cooler basement walls and floors. Install energy-efficient windows, use a dehumidifier or air conditioner, and circulate household air to prevent moisture buildup.

Indoor humidity can have several sources. A working sump pump can produce unwanted humidity, but can be easily controlled. Put a tight-sealing cover on the sump pump and install a floor drain with a trap so that water can get to the sump.

A dirt floor or crawlspace may also emit moisture. One possibility is to pour a concrete floor over a sealed polyethylene moisture barrier on the floor. For crawlspaces, a ground cover will reduce the moisture coming up through the earth. Insulate perimeter walls if water pipes or heating ducts are in that area. Insulate cold-water pipes and walls. Install proper dryer exhausts and vent basement showers directly outside. Don’t hang wet laundry in the basement.

Fixing a wet basement may mean replacing decaying wood. If wood supports or framing appear water damaged, check with a professional to see if there are structural problems.

This article is provided by the “Barrie Home Inspector” as information only, always consult with an expert or contractor prior to commencing any projects. Read other articles by the “Barrie Home Inspector” at http://diy.napoleon.cc

Barrie Home Inspections Experiences Phenomenal Growth

Napoleon Home Inspections is proud to welcome aboard two highly qualified inspectors. Carl Kolbe is an experienced building inspector with over 10 years in the building industry and Brent Rowe is a graduate A.Sc.T. both fully trained and with excellent credentials. Napoleon Home Inspections has been based out of Barrie ON for the past five years and has built a solid reputation jumping into the fore front by introducing introducing their Fair Pricing Policy and a 100 % Money Back Guarantee Policy.  These industry leading commitments have lead to such a large increase in business that the “Barrie Home Inspector” has had to expand to meet the needs of the Simcoe County area.

In accordance with our Mission Statement to always provide exceptional service to our clients we have now added Thermal Imaging technology to our inspection process. This exciting new technology is allowing Professional Home Inspectors to detect hidden deficiencies by reading the heat signature radiated of the products used to build your home.

Thermal Imaging is an invaluable tool for energy loss detection. Our Thermal Imaging Camera has the ability to show air leaks and missing insulation. With a minimum of 10 deg F temperature differential we can identify where insulation was not installed, has slipped or was just installed improperly. Imagine the difference in your heating bills with just having a couple areas of missing insulation.

As always our goal to keep our clients as informed and educated as possible. We endeavor to do this by constantly exceeding training requirements and qualifications of all major home inspection associations and also investing in the latest technology to ensure we always provide a superior service in comparison.

As always, CAVEAT EMPTOR – buyer beware :)