Safety Issues

Home/Safety Issues

Renovation Experts- Asbestos testing in Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Port Moody, Maple Ridge

 

Summer is upon us and renovation season is underway. Did you know that as a homeowner you are responsible to ensure the safety of anyone that is on your property or in your house? Did you know that this includes contractors that you have hired? A lot of people are not aware that Work Safe B.C. has the ability to fine home owners who fail to properly protect workers. Most home owner policies do not include coverages for workers. It is very important to ask your renovation company if they have General Liability coverage for their workers and Errors and Omissions coverage for the work they are doing and also to know the limits they are covered for. If they are doing a $200,000 renovation and only carry $100,000 coverage, this is not enough.

If you are renovating a home that is pre 1990, there is a good chance that there is asbestos in the building products (for more information on Asbestos Containing Materials please read my post Asbestos- What’s the Problem. Not all contractors are concerned about the risk of asbestos exposure and will downplay the risks to you, your family, your neighbors and their workers because they are more concerned about making money and know that asbestos related diseases take several years to develop.

And although it is true that asbestos removal and remediation can be expensive it doesn’t outweigh the cost of losing one’s health or that of a loved one. The first priority should be asbestos testing because only if you are sure that the product contains or doesn’t contain asbestos can you be confident of the risk to your health. Asbestos does not always have to be removed from a home, it can be encapsulated with a special product or simply covered over. The important thing is that the asbestos fibres do not become air borne due to the asbestos being disturbed.

Asbestos testing is not expensive and the turn-around time from the labs can be less than 24 hours so the project needn’t be burdened with extra costs or unnecessary delays. However, bear in mind that Work Safe B.C. inspectors can halt work should they suspect that asbestos is present, which can burden the project with extra costs (fines) and delays.

Please also be aware that the results of any environmental testing (molds, water, oil tank etc.) including asbestos testing should be attached to your disclosure statements when the house is put up for sale. Negative results are a positive for home value so I always recommend including ALL test results whether they are bad or good. And beware, the failure to properly disclose any of these results leaves you open to a potential lawsuit.

Stonegate Home Inspections offers ASBESTOS Testing among other services. Please feel free to contact us and request a free quote if you require any of our environmental services (mold sampling, asbestos testing, air quality testing) or require any of our inspection services (home inspection, commercial inspection, WETT inspection, maintenance inspection or fire and safety inspection).

Disclaimer

“Please note that while my blogs may offer links to individuals or companies, it is the readers’ responsibility to do their own due diligence when choosing to accept these links. Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd and its’ officers and employees do not receive referral fees or other kick-backs from these links or recommendations for service from the suppliers.”

 

References

Spring Renovation Show- Asbestos Containing Materials

Spring Renovation Show. Vancouver Home Inspections

If you are considering doing a home renovation this Spring or later in the year, you should consider attending the annual Spring Home Renovation Show brought to you by the Greater Vancouver Home Builder’s Association and FortisBC.

The annual event is full of great ideas and the latest trends. Homeowners are able to meet Renomark renovators for a free consultation. There are also 20-minute seminars on such topics as kitchen design trends, design for small spaces and heritage renovations.

The Spring Reno Show is on May 24th from 10 am to 4 pm at VanDusen Gardens, 5251 Oak Street. Check out the website at http://www.westvancouver.com/gvhba-spring-home-renovation-show/15982/

 

If you are considering renovating and your home was built prior to 1990 you should have asbestos sampling done to protect yourself and any contractors that may be exposed to asbestos fibres during the renovation work. Please see my blog on Asbestos Containing Materials- http://stonegate-home-inspections.com/blog/asbestos-whats-the-problem/

Stonegate Home Inspections offers affordable Asbestos Sampling to help identify Asbestos hazards within your home. Please feel free to contact us and request a free quote if you have any concerns relating to Asbestos exposure.

Disclaimer

“Please note that while my blogs may offer links to individuals or companies, it is the readers’ responsibility to do their own due diligence when choosing to accept these links. Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd and its’ officers and employees do not receive referral fees or other kick-backs from these links or recommendations for service from the suppliers.”

References

Mold Prevention, Mold Remediation

Mold Prevention

Further to my post on Understanding Mold, mold sampling and Air Quality testing, here are a few tips on how to prevent mold growth within your home.

Remembering that molds can grow almost everywhere and on any substance providing moisture, food and correct temperature range is present. Of the three inputs (moisture, food and temperature), the easiest to remove is moisture, thus the best method of prevention is to reduce the amount of moisture.

By keeping the relative humidity between 30% and 50% (inside the home) you are choking off the water supply and preventing the mold from thriving. To accomplish this goal, prevention measures include:

  • Vent showers and other moisture generating sources directly to the outside. It was common practice in the 1980’s and some into the 1990’s for the construction trades to vent exhaust fans into the attic without penetrating the roof or simply running the exhaust pipe to the soffit but not actually out of the attic. These practices led to numerous complaints of wet insulation and mold growth in attics.
  • Control humidity with air conditioners and/or dehumidifiers (It is important to remember that when using air      conditioners and dehumidifiers to keep them in good condition. Empty any water collectors regularly so this water does not contribute to the moisture problem! If you use humidifiers, ensure that they are cleaned regularly).
  • Use exhaust fans when cooking, dishwashing, or laundering (especially in the food service or laundry areas) or when cleaning large areas.
  • Insulate cold surfaces to prevent condensation on piping, windows, exterior walls, roofs and floors where possible.
  • Keep the building and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in good repair.
  • Clean up any floods or spills immediately (within 24-48 hours).
  • For floors and carpets, remove spots or stains immediately. Reduce the amount of water used when cleaning carpets as much as possible.
  • Do not install carpet around fountains, sinks, bathtubs/showers or directly on top of concrete floors that are prone to leaks or frequent condensation.
  • Do not stack firewood inside the house. A chord of wood can release up to 10 gallons of moisture into the living space.
  • Open windows1/2”-1” in bedrooms to allow air exchanges while sleeping.
  • Regular cleaning and dusting to prevent organic material (food for mold) from accumulating.
  • Regular maintenance inspection to ensure flashings, through wall penetrations, roof and attic condition are all in      optimum condition to prevent moisture ingress.

Mold Remediation

Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd. offers services to help you understand the extent of any mold problem from localised damage (stained caulking in bathrooms) to major damage (mold growth from indoor Marijuana Growing activities). Please feel free to contact us and request a free quote if you have any concerns relating to potential mold problems.

Disclaimer

“Please note that while my blogs may offer links to individuals or companies, it is the readers’ responsibility to do their own due diligence when choosing to accept these links. Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd and its’ officers and employees do not receive referral fees or other kick-backs from these links or recommendations for service from the suppliers.”

References

http://stonegate-home-inspections.com/blog/?p=45

 

 

Asbestos- What’s the problem?

Asbestos in houses

In a home, asbestos is most commonly assumed to be used as a covering for pipes and boilers. However, it was also commonly found in the following areas:

  1. Exterior siding products (Asbestos cement (transite) board siding and under-sheeting and even stucco),
  2. Window putty,
  3. Downpipes can be made of asbestos cement,
  4. Flooring (vinyl tiles and linoleum sheet flooring and flooring adhesive)
  5. Electrical outlets and switches
  6. Main electrical panel and older fuse boxes (each fuse wire has an individual asbestos flash guard)
  7. Gypsum board filling compound and patching and joint compound for walls and ceilings,
  8. Boiler and furnace insulation including the door and gasket covers,
  9. Furnace duct tape and pipe insulation,
  10. Heat reflectors for wood stoves,
  11. Insulation on older electrical wiring,
  12. Exterior deck under sheeting,
  13. Roof gutters and soffit boards can be made of asbestos cement,
  14. Roof felt and shingles,
  15. Attic insulation (vermiculite),
  16. Textured or stipple-coated walls and ceilings,
  17. Recessed and incandescent lighting (backing material),
  18. Acoustic tiles (popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s),
  19. Artificial fireplace logs and ashes and
  20. Asbestos pads under the fireplace hearth extension.

It should be noted that while asbestos has been present in our homes for many years it is not a health risk unless it has been disturbed either by mechanical damage or natural wear.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural mineral with unusual qualities that has been used by humans for the past 4500 years. It is strong enough to withstand high temperatures, chemical attack and wear. A poor conductor, it insulates well against heat and electricity. The crystals can become long, flexible, silky fibres that can be made into a variety of forms. It can be used as yarn or cloth and added to materials like cement. This combination of properties has made it a valuable product and used in hundreds of applications and products over the years.

What health problems are associated with Asbestos?

Asbestos poses health risks only when the fibres are present in the air that people breath. Asbestos fibres that are contained or encapsulated pose no health risks.

When the asbestos containing material becomes ‘friable’ (i.e. damaged to the extent that asbestos fibres become airborne) the asbestos fibres can be inhaled. Once inhaled, the fibres can become trapped in the lung tissues and ultimately lead to severely impaired lung function (asbestosis) and cancer of the lungs.

When can asbestos be a problem?

The main cause of asbestos fibre release is renovation work. Many people are unaware of the potential for asbestos in everyday materials because it doesn’t look like asbestos in many forms.

There are over thirty (30) different varieties of asbestos being used today. To determine is a product actually is asbestos and to ascertain what risk is involved, requires a laboratory analysis. If you do not know if asbestos exists in a particular product in your home, you may wish to have an experienced contractor inspect them. If the presence of asbestos is confirmed, the best procedure may be to seal (encapsulate) the surface so that particles will not be released into the indoor air.

Alternatively, removal of asbestos is a complex and expensive matter. It is best left to an experienced contractor, as maximum precautions must be taken to safeguard the workers and the home owners during the removal process.

If you are considering renovating a house that is pre-1990 it is recommended that you have an asbestos evaluation before any work is carried out.

 

Stonegate Home Inspections’ Services

Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd. offers an asbestos evaluation (as a subset of the safety inspection) for homeowners that are considering renovations or that may have concerns related to asbestos contamination in their homes or out buildings. In addition, Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd. is also able to take on asbestos abatement (i.e. removal or encapsulation) for both small and large jobs.

Please contact us for a free quote on either asbestos evaluation or asbestos abatement.

 

Disclaimer

“Please note that while my blogs may offer links to individuals or companies, it is the readers’ responsibility to do their own due diligence when choosing to accept these links. Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd and its’ officers and employees do not receive referral fees or other kick-backs from these links or recommendations for service from the suppliers.”

 

Maintaining Drainage Tile Systems

The importance of proper drainage

Proper drainage around a foundation is essential to ensuring a dry basement. Ninety-nine percent of basements will develop leaks if the drainage of rain water and ground water is not managed. The components involved in rain water collection and drainage are:

  1. The roof and roof flashings,
  2. the roof gutters,
  3. the gutter downspouts and
  4. the drainage tile system.

The drainage tile system is underground and is therefore not inspected during a visual inspection. It is not uncommon for a home inspector to recommend further evaluation of the drainage tile system (by a qualified contractor) when there is evidence of problems above ground.

The drainage tile system is responsible for collecting rain water from the roof drainage and helping direct the ground water away from the foundation. If the drainage tile system is blocked this can allow hydrostatic pressure to build up against the foundation wall. This hydrostatic pressure is what forces the water to find the cracks in the foundation wall and eventually into the interior of your cherished basement. If you have water damage coverage in your insurance policy it should cover the damages to the interior elements but it won’t be able to replace family heirlooms or sentimental objects like photographs should they be damaged.

Changes to Insurance Policies

A recent article in “The Canadian Home Inspector” (Volume 18, Number 3- Fall 2013) quoted CBC News (Aug 29, 2013) as their source for the article stating that insurance companies consider water damage as a “major issue” for insurers whereas in the past where coverage was often added as an after-thought. The combination of changing weather patterns “causing rains to come on strong, sudden and dump extreme amounts of water” and the fact that “people are spending extreme amounts of money on their basements” has led to a huge increase in insurance claims. This increase will be offset by increases in insurance premiums.

For this reason, I recommend maintaining your homes’ drainage system.

Recommendations for Maintaining a Drainage System

An essential part of keeping your foundation and basement dry is performing the dreaded task of cleaning out the gutter and drains. While there aren’t many people who look forward to this particular chore, it is important to keep debris from getting into the underground portion of the drainage system. It is also recommended that you pay attention to the gutters and downspouts during periods of heavy rain to observe for leaks and blockages. Unclogging or repairing gutters and downspouts is far cheaper than unclogging or repairing the underground portion of the system.

How to clean gutters

In October or November (or whenever trees near your gutters are shedding their leaves in earnest), get out the ladder and clean the guttering. A word of caution regarding the use of ladders, “be sure to follow proper procedures and NEVER over extend or lean while on a ladder”.

Use a garden trowel or small shovel to scoop out the decaying leaves and wet muck that almost certainly is lining the gutters. Do not take a rubbish bag up with you to put the decaying leaves into. If you’re using a ladder, or standing on a step, adding extra bags is a sure way to increase your risk of over-balancing. Instead, simply stand a wheelbarrow near your ladder and toss the muck into it. It’s all ready then to wheel down to your garden compost bin. Finish off by flushing the pipes clean by using a hose with a spray nozzle.

How to unclog drains

Your drains can become blocked with debris anytime throughout the year and it is well worth walking around your home every month just to check that none of the drain covers has become clogged with leaves or rubbish. If they have, simply scoop all matter out, then follow with around 100ml of neat bleach down the drain.

Stonegate Home Inspections’ Services

Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd. offers a maintenance inspection for homeowners that do not have the time or perhaps the energy to check the components of their drainage tile system.

 

Disclaimer

“Please note that while my blogs may offer links to individuals or companies, it is the readers’ responsibility to do their own due diligence when choosing to accept these links. Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd and its’ officers and employees do not receive referral fees or other kick-backs from these links or recommendations for service from the suppliers.”

 

Determining the age of your hot water tank | Stonegate Home Inspections (778) 960-4357

This installment is aimed at home owners. The intention is to provide information on How to determine the age of a hot water tank or hot water heater.

There are several dozen manufacturers of residential hot water heaters in North America and they all have a date code so they can track warranty or production defects throughout the products’ life cycle. Fortunately there are only a hand-full of manufacturers that make up the majority of the hot water tanks that we, as home inspectors, come across on a daily basis.

The generally accepted life expectancy of a residential hot water heater or hot water tank is 10-15 years. There are several factors that can affect the life of a hot water tank, most notably the load that the tank is under, the chemistry of the water being heated and the environment in which the tank is located.

The following information will enable a home owner to determine the age of their hot water heater (for the most common brands seen in the Greater Vancouver Region).

Manufacturer: Rheem

The date code can be found in the Serial Number. Rheem water heaters have a ten digit serial number, the first 2 digits are the month of manufacture and the next 2 digits are the year

Example: 1001X4567 = October 2001

Manufacturer: John Wood

The date code can also be found in the Serial Number. John Wood water heaters have a ten digit serial number. The date code is either the first four digits or the last four digits. More recent water heaters will be coded to the first four digits, if your water heater is coded to the last four digits it is probably well beyond its’ expected life cycle. With the John Wood water heater coding the first 2 digits are the year of manufacture and the next 2 digits are the month.

Example: 100134567 = January 2010

Manufacturer: Bradford White

The date code can be found in the Serial Number. Bradford White water heaters have an Alpha numeric serial number, the first letter represents the year of manufacture, the second letter represents the month of manufacture. The following table is used to decode the year:

A=2004 E=2008 J=2012 N=1996 W=2000
B=2005 F=2009 K=2013 P=1997 X=2001
C=2006 G=2010 L=2014 S=1998 Y=2002
D=2007 H=2011 M=1995 T=1999 Z=2003

 

The following table is used to decode the month:

A=JAN E=MAY J=SEPT
B=FEB F=JUNE K=OCT
C=MAR G=JULY L=NOV
D=APR H=AUG M=DEC

 

NOTE: Some January 1997 models were erroneously marked “OA”, when really they should have been marked “PA”.

 Contact us at Stonegate Home Inspections 12593 115 Ave, Surrey, BC V3V 3P8 (778) 960-4357

For other models not listed here or for other questions concerning your home, please feel free to contact  Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd for a free consultation. Happy New Year!

 

Disclaimer

“Please note that while my blogs may offer links to individuals or companies, it is the readers’ responsibility to do their own due diligence when choosing to accept these links. Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd and its’ officers and employees do not receive referral fees or other kick-backs from these links or recommendations for service from the suppliers.”

SAFTY CONCERNS: Product Recall IKEA SMILA wall mounted lamp

Welcome to the Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd blogging website. The intention of this website is to provide useful information for homeowners, tenants, landlords and for the general public.

This installment is aimed at families with small children. It is important to know that every year there are product recalls and although you may have purchased an affected product, you may not realise that it has been recalled. The onus is on the consumer to be aware of product recalls. The quickest and easiest way to look for product recall information is to check the Health Canada product recall website.

For example, on Dec 11’13 there was a product recall for IKEA involving a children’s wall mounted light. Although there have been no reported injuries in Canada, 1 child has died and 1 child has been injured in separate incidents in Europe. If you have purchased one or more of the affected products, in this case, the SMILA wall mounted lamp, there is a repair kit available at any IKEA Canada location.

I hope that by providing this information, Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd is able to educate and help prevent consumer injuries. Keeping families safe in and around their homes is one of Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd top priorities, this is why we provide Fire and Safety Inspections for our clients. If you would like to book a Fire and Safety inspection, please contact us for a free consultation.

Disclaimer

“Please note that while my blogs may offer links to individuals or companies, it is the readers’ responsibility to do their own due diligence when choosing to accept these links. Stonegate Home Inspections Ltd and its’ officers and employees do not receive referral fees or other kick-backs from these links or recommendations for service from the suppliers.” 

Go to Top