Orillia Home Inspector Tips

Providing Valuable Home Owner Resources for Maintenance

Category: Real Estate

WETT Inspection Orillia

Chimney Definition

Commonly a chimney is described as a vertical structure incorporated into a building and enclosing a flue or flues that extends above the roof and carries smoke and/or fumes to the exterior.  Defective chimneys are the cause of most failed WETT Inspections.

Common Types of Chimneys

The masonry chimney is probably the most common form of chimney that I have inspected in the past ten years.  Many older homes had one or multiple masonry chimneys installed.  The problem with masonry chimneys is water penetration.  All masonry chimney  materials, except stone, will suffer premature deterioration as a result of extended contact with water. Masonry materials deteriorate rapidly when exposed to the freeze/thaw process, in which moisture that has penetrated the materials periodically freezes and expands causing damage. Water in the chimney also causes rust in steel and cast iron, weakening or destroying the metal parts.  In Ontario you are required to use a one piece concrete cap with drip edge rather than old style mortar caps which were the cause of most water related problems.   Adding a rain cap to your chimney can also greatly extend life of masonry and metal products.

Chimney Liners can consist of clay, ceramic or metal vent installed inside your chimney and are designed to keep products of combustion contained and directed to the exterior of building.  The liner has three main functions, which are:

(1) The liner protects the house components from heat transfer, protecting combustibles.

(2) The liner protects masonry components from corrosive products of combustion.

(3) Liners provide the optimum flue for efficiency of fireplace or wood stove.

Clay tiles are the most common types of liner found in masonry chimneys.  Clay liners are susceptible to cracking from heat or water intrusion and must be repaired prior to using chimney.

Cast in Place liners are light weight, castable, cement like product that provide a smooth, seamless passage for products of combustion in your chimney.

Metal Chimney Liners are the most common type of addition to aging or damaged masonry chimneys. For wood burning stainless steel liners are required and must be installed in accordance with manufactures instructions.  Liner systems are tested and rated by UL or ULC and may not be modified beyond scope of installation instructions.

Chimneys and your homes Neutral Pressure Plane

Homes that have been renovated or newly constructed are made more airtight. This prevents makeup air from entering the home. This is common described as, “hot air rises”, and so does the warm air in your home.

When the warm air rises to the upper areas it’s creates a stack effect. That trapped air creates a pressurized area and forces its way out – through even very small openings such as recessed light fixtures and window frames. At the same time replacement air is trying to enter in the lower part of the building to make up for the escaping air.

Somewhere in your house is an area called the Neutral Pressure Plane (NPP). Above this theoretical plane, the air pressure is slightly positive compared to the outdoor air pressure and is trying to force its way out of the house. Below the plane, it is slightly negative and the house is trying to draw air in. The location of the NPP can constantly change in response to changing tempertures and openings in your home.

All of the factors that affect airflow in the house also influence the level of the Neutral Pressure Plane.  Some affects are using dryers, cooking exhaust fans and bathroom fans.

Anytime a fireplace or fuel-fired heating appliance (except direct vent) is below the plane, air will tend to flow into the house through the chimney or vent. A common example of this is found in homes with two fireplaces, one below the other. As the upper level fireplace uses air for combustion and chimney flow, it depressurizes that level slightly causing air to flow upwards from the lower level. Since the lower level fireplace is below the NPP, it draws air into the basement through the chimney. Unfortunately, since those two flues generally exit the chimney close to each other, the makeup air can contain some smoke from the fireplace above and it can pick up unpleasant chimney odors as it passes down the chimney flue.

Call the Orillia WETT Inspections for your Fireplace, Wood Stove or Pellet Stove certified inspection.  WETT Certified for over 10 years.  Call Roger at 705-795-8255

When buying a home with a wood stove, pellet stove or fireplace you can receive a $50.00 WETT Inspection in Orillia as part of home inspection package.



Mould in Your Home

Mould in Your Home – Information for home owners brought to you by the Orillia Home Inspector.

What is mould?

Moulds are microscopic fungi; a group of organisms which also includes mushrooms and yeasts. Mould is a fungi that lives on plant and animal matter. It thrives in damp and poorly ventilated areas and reproduces by making spores.. There are over 270 species of mould have been identified as living in Canadian homes.

When is Mould a Problem?

Mould needs moisture, heat and protein to grow. Water leaks in your home can provide moisture from outside the home, through the floor, walls or roof; or from plumbing leaks. . Water enters the building when there is a penetration or failure in the structure. Moisture accumulates within the home when there is not enough ventilation or fresh air to remove moisture. Mould can be any colour, some common colours are black, white, red, orange, yellow or blue. Damage to materials is one concern of having mould – i.e. stains or discolouration; however, continued mould growth can be indicative of moisture conditions that are conducive for growth of fungi that cause wood rot and structural damage. If mould like this is growing inside your home, there could be health concerns. If you are in contact with mould you are more likely to have respiratory problems, allergies or asthma. Mould can also affect the immune system.

How to tell if you have a mould problem?

Two simple ways to determine if there is mould in your home is Discolouration or Mouldy Smell. If you see stains on a carpet that you think is mould, place a drop of household bleach onto a suspected area. If the stain loses its colour or disappears, it is possible that it is mould. If there is no change, it is probably not mould. Mould can often be hidden from view and your only indication maybe a musty or earthy smell.  Not all moulds give off a noticeable odour.

Dealing with minor mould problems

Clean-up Methods

You can clean small areas of mold yourself using an unscented detergent and water. The mold area is considered “small” if there are fewer than three patches, each patch smaller than one (1) square meter. If you have more than three patches or the areas are larger, you need a trained professional to assess your house. You may also need a trained contractor to clean extensive areas of mold.

When cleaning:Mould Remediation

  • use household rubber gloves or similar protection;
  • use a face mask, rated N95, capable of filtering fine particles;
  • use protective glasses or goggles;
  • rinse well with a clean material and dispose of immediately after use;
  • dry area completely.

Moldy ceiling tiles and carpets should be removed and discarded. Drywall that remains stained after cleaning with detergent and water may need to be removed. Try washing fabrics. If the mold odour or stain persists, discard.

The proper cleaning procedure involves removing the mold. Chemicals, such as bleach and fungicides are not recommended. It is important to remove all mold residues as they can cause allergies or illness.

Dealing with larger mould problems

Workplace health and safety organizations often employ a similar, sized-based Mould Hazardclassification system that classifies mould as Level I (< 1 m²), Level II (1-3 m²), Level III (3 – 10 m²) or Level IV (> 10 m²). For each level, there are recommended procedures to protect the health of clean-up personnel and people working nearby during the remediation. Some mould inspection and remediation companies may employ these classification systems when dealing with mould problems in homes.

Cleanup and Biocides

Biocides are substances that can destroy living organisms. The use of a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup. There may be instances, however, when professional judgment may indicate its use (for example, when immune-compromised individuals are present). In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area; a background level of mold spores will remain – these spores will not grow if the moisture problem has been resolved. If you choose to use disinfectants or biocides, always ventilate the area and exhaust the air to the outdoors. Never mix chlorine bleach solution with other cleaning solutions or detergents that contain ammonia because toxic fumes could be produced.

Mould Inspection Tip

When deciding to hire a professional to test for mould, consider hiring a company that also does remediation.  This way you will ensure you get the best value for your money.  While anyone with a kit can detect mould, it is always better to invest your money in a company that just specializes with detecting mould and its removal.

The Orillia Home Inspector always recommends you use a third party for mould  inspections.  Although many individuals may have the capability to test for mould it is in your best interest to hire a company that has the expertise to remove or repair problem.

Read about Pex Plumbing in your home.

Victoria Military Relocation Realtor’s

Victoria Military Relocation Realtor’s.  Call Geoff and Jodi for your next house hunting trip and enjoy the Peace of Mind of dealing with Experienced Professionals.

If you ask anyone connected to the Victoria, BC real estate market, or any of the thousands of people who have listed their Victoria properties for sale with Geoff McLean over the years, they’ll confirm that one of his defining characteristics is his integrity.

Geoff approaches his real estate vocation with honesty and straightforwardness. As a husband, father and homeowner, he understands the family/work balancing act that everyone negotiates. At the heart of his service is Geoff’s respect for his clients, fellow Realtors and the industry.

Three generations of Jodi Baker’s family have been involved in the Victoria Real Estate industry. Jodi’s grandmother was a realtor in Victoria, her mother (Heather Wilde) is a realtor and Jodi grew up knowing that she would be a realtor too!

After attending grade school locally, Jodi enrolled at Camosun College, taking Business Administration and majoring in marketing. She graduated in 1991, the same year she was licensed as a Real Estate Agent and joined Re/Max Camosun.

Since then Jodi has been been building her career based on a desire to provide friendly professional service to people who want to sell or buy properties in Victoria, winning several awards along the way. In 2003 Jodi joined Geoff McLean and Associates, and she enjoys being part of his team of real estate experts.

Are you thinking about buying a new home?  Have you been hesitant to do so because of the HST?  There is now a solution to that problem; subject to approval by the legislature, the BC government intends to implement a BC First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus.  This temporary program is meant to improve sales of new homes until the HST is repealed.

Eligibility for the BC First Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus

You are eligible if:

  • You buy or build an eligible new home in BC;
  • You, or you and your spouse or common-law partner have never previously owned a primary residence;
  • You file a 2011 BC resident personal income tax return, or, if you move to BC after Dec. 31, 2011, you file a 2012 BC resident personal income tax return
  • You are eligible for the BC HST New Housing Rebate, and
  • You intend to make the home your primary residence.

Eligible New Home

An eligible new home includes new or substantially renovated homes purchased from a builder or owner-built.  You can claim the bonus when you buy from a builder and:

  • A written agreement of purchase and sale is entered into on or after Feb. 21, 2012;
  • HST is payable on the home, and
  • No one else has claimed a bonus in respect to the home.

In the case of owner-built homes you may claim the bonus when:

  • A written agreement of purchase and sale in respect of the land and building is entered into on or after Feb. 21, 2012;
  • Construction of the home is complete, or the home is occupied, before April 1, 2013; and
  • No one else has claimed a bonus in respect of the home.

Eligible homes include; detached houses, semi-detached houses, duplexes and townhouses, residential condominium units, mobile homes, floating homes, and residential units in a cooperative housing corporation.

If you are applying for the bonus with the purchase of a substantially renovated home, it must be one where all or most of the interior of a building has been removed or replaced, generally, 90 per cent or more.

Amount of the First Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus

The bonus is equal to 5% of the purchase price or, for owner-built homes, 5% of the land and construction costs subject to HST to a maximum of $10,000.

There is a phase out of the bonus for higher income earners based on net family income.  It kicks in at $150,000 and the bonus is erased at $200,000 ($250,000 for couples).

Applying for the First Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus

You must apply for the bonus through the BC government and application forms will be available on the BC Ministry of Finance website.

This opportunity to receive a bonus of up to $10,000 dollars is only available when construction of the home is complete, or the home is occupied, before April 1, 2013.  If you have been considering the purchase of a new home and meet these qualifications, it could be the right time for you to buy.  You can read more about it on the 2012 First Time Home Buyers’ Fact Sheet.  If you have any other questions about this program please feel free to contact us.

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