Thursday, December 28, 2017

How to Keep Warm and Prevent Space Heater Fires

During the winter months and extremely low temperatures, we see many home and business owners turning to alternative sources of heat. 50% of home heating fires occur during the months of December, January, and February. Whether to save on energy costs or to warm up a drafty room, space heaters are best used with caution.

Follow these safety tips to keep your home or business warm during the winter months and prevent fire damage.

Electric Space Heater Safety Tips
  • When purchasing a space heater, look for a safety certification from a well-known source, such as Underwriters Laboratories Canada (UL).
  • Auto shut off features are beneficial to prevent overheating and hazards if the space heater tips over. 
  • Maintain 3 feet of space around the space heater. Take care to remove flammable materials such as curtains, bedding, and clothing. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) estimates that space heaters placed too close to combustible materials are the second leading cause (behind cooking) of house fires. 
  • Space heaters do not typically come with GFCI plugs. To prevent electrocution, keep the heating unit away from water. Bathrooms and kitchens are a bad idea for electric space heaters.

Never use an extension cord with space heaters or electric blankets. The amount of power drawn from these units is too much for a low amp extension cord to handle, causing the cord to overheat and spark a fire. Unless you know the specific amps that the extension cord and the space heater are rated for, it is best to avoid this and plug directly into the wall outlet.

  • Plug only the space heater into the wall outlet so as not to overload the circuit. 
  • Keep the space heater on the floor, preferably wood or tile. Low pile carpet is acceptable but stay away from high pile and shag carpeting. Space heaters are not intended to be used on a table or shelving. These situations pose a fire hazard if the space heater tips over and the unit does not come with an auto shut off tip feature.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Wagging tails and little hands pose a fire hazard as well as the potential for burns.
  • Make sure to turn off the heating unit when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Check for worn or frayed wires before using the space heater. Discontinue use if you discover any damage.
  • And the ever important tip- make sure you have working smoke detectors on every level of the home and outside each bedroom.

Gas Space Heater Safety

If there is a power outage or you chose to use a gas space heater, follow the above tips as well as:

Protect yourself against carbon
monoxide poisoning

Choose a propane or kerosene space heater rated for indoor use. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious threat when using gas to heat your home. It is colorless 
and odorless as well as deadly.

  • Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in addition to smoke detectors in the home.
  • Be sure to allow proper ventilation.
  • Read all safety directions before use.
  • Do not attempt to move the heater when lit.

We hope you have a warm and safe winter season, but if you do need our services, we are available 24/7/365. CONTACT US or call 1-306-540-6832.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Easy Tips for Improving Indoor Air Quality in Winter

Winter often means a decline in indoor air quality (IAQ), largely because as business owners and homeowners we are often doing our best to keep cold winter air OUT and warm indoor air IN. This can help keep our heating bills down, but it can also lead to poor indoor air quality inside your residential or commercial property.

Indoor air quality can deteriorate due to many factors, including an inadequate outdoor air supply, poor indoor environment (excessive humidity and poorly controlled temperatures), and indoor air contaminants (everything from common household dust to food odours to perfumes and chemical cleaners to off-gases from new building materials).

All of these factors have the unintended effect of decreasing indoor air quality and contributing to health conditions that include asthma, allergies, Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), Building-Related Illness (BRI), Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), “sick home syndrome” and many others.

If poor indoor air is a concern where you live or work, consider these easy tips for improving indoor air quality during this winter season.

First, just add plants.

Many common tropical and indoor plants help purify and clean the air by trading oxygen for carbon dioxide, removing toxic chemicals from the air, and rendering them harmless or absorbing them into their leaves and/or soil.

How many plants do you need?

Well, NASA researchers recommend at least one plant per 100 square feet of space in their Clean Air Study.

Some of the plants studied in NASA’s Clean Air Study include English Ivy (Hedera helix), dwarf date palm (Phoenix roebelenii), spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) areca palm (Dypsis lutescens), Aloe vera (Aloe vera), peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’), Rubber plant (Ficus elastica), Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’), and Kimberly queen fern (Nephrolepis obliterate).

If you have pets, make sure that your chosen plants are safe for your furry felines or canines. This page has a helpful list of some of the plants that are appropriate for pet-friendly households.

You can review the full list of plants studied in NASA’s Clean Air Study, the chemicals that these plants have been shown to remove from the air, and whether each plant is toxic or not to cats and dogs.

Next, attend to any mold.

If you have any mold in your residential or commercial building property, it’s important to attend to it before it gets worse and before it begins to impact your overall health. Attics with inadequate ventilation, basements, or mold-prone rooms like bathrooms, kitchens and indoor hot tubs/saunas, are a few good places to start.

Third, vacuum regularly.

Vacuuming regularly (more than once a week) can help keep pet dander, dust mites, fleas, pollen and other potential outdoor allergens from affecting and decreasing indoor air quality.

And lastly, get some air.

Sometimes easy tips are also simple and free: open your windows! Weather permitting of course, but this is really an effective way to replace some of the stale air inside with fresh air from outside.

If you live in a newer building and/or one that is tightly sealed, this is particularly useful so open your windows on a regular basis and your indoor air quality should begin to improve.

Looking for a Saskatchewan-based inspector to perform  residential or commercial indoor air quality testing? We can do an inspection, testing and give you a report for solutions to improve your indoor air quality (IAQ), in spring, summer, fall and winter. Call us today at 306-540-6832 to book your appointment.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Tips for Insulating Your Home During Cold Weather

If you’ve questioned whether your house was insulated well enough before now, you’ll probably get the answer this winter! Time to batten down, cinch up, and insulate to your heart’s content (for the sake of your personal comfort, and to ward off a scary heating bill).

Getting your home comfortable for the winter months is DIY at its finest; from weatherstripping your entryways to curing drafty windows, the tips below are need-to-know for homeowners of every skill level. In no particular order:

Maintain your furnace and HVAC system

Change your HVAC filters monthly, especially when the system is active during the winter. Not only will it help air quality, but you’ll also keep your system running more efficiently than it would if the filters were congested. Clear obstructions like tables and furniture away from vents too, to maximize the flow of air throughout the room. Learn more about maintaining your furnace, and winterizing your water heater too.

Assess your heating zones

Which rooms are you spending your time in? If you have a second or third heating and cooling zone in your home, remember that they don’t all have to be set equally. Lower it in the rooms you don’t frequent, and shut doors to help keep the warmth where you need it most instead of allowing it disperse through unused space.

Swap out sheers for heavier curtains

It contradicts the previous tip a little bit, but when you have very drafty windows, won’t regret sacrificing light with an investment in cellular shades to keep the heat in and cold out. (DIY these heavy roman shades if you’d like – felt never looked so fine!)

Seal your doorways

Put foam weatherstripping around the inside of your door to create a seal and prevent air exchange. Double Draft Stoppers are a great short-term solution for preventing a draft at the bottom of the door. 

Re-glaze, or add a layer of insulation over your windows and doors

Improve the R-value of non-insulated doors with plastic sheeting, which is installed using double-sided tape and a hair dryer. Don’t forget to re-glaze any panes that are loose and need maintenance.

Change out the insert in your storm door

Don’t forget to change out the screen in your storm doors to a solid glass pane (goodbye summertime cross-breeze). Very easy to forget to do this on doors that you don’t use daily!

Insulate your attic

This is a pricier effort, but an easy DIY. Roll sheets of unbacked insulation between all of the floor joists in your attic; if it’s already between the joists, apply a second layer with the lengths running perpendicular to the joists. Maximum protection to keep the heat in your house, and out of your attic space. (Insulate exposed pipes in your basement too, so that the warmth from the pipes isn’t heating the basement before it reaches your living space.)

If you need any advice, want a maintenance inspection or home inspection done then Call Us! We're here to help you! INSPECT IT ALL SERVICES 1-306-540-6832

Friday, October 13, 2017

What to Do About Frozen or Burst Pipes

One of the most stressful problems for any homeowner to deal with is a burst pipe and the resulting water damage that goes along with it. Even less than a few millimeters of water can cause great damage to your home and your belongings. Frozen pipes, a common plumbing issue in the wintertime, can easily burst if not properly thawed out.

The water damage restoration experts at INSPECT IT  ALL SERVICES want everyone to be familiar with how to prevent and how to deal with water damage resulting from burst pipes.

The most easily recognized sign of a frozen pipe is if only a small trickle of water comes out when you turn on a faucet. You should be able to locate the frozen pipe by inspecting the pipes along your exterior walls. It'll be the one covered in ice!

Frozen pipes can be thawed in numerous ways in order to prevent water damage in your home. Using a hair dryer or a heating pad are probably your two best options for melting the ice. Wrapping hot towels around the pipe can also help, as can placing a space heater nearby. You'll want to keep the faucet open while trying any of these strategies, as the running water can further help thaw out the pipe.

If you find the frozen pipe only to see that it has already burst or has a crack in it, then you need to turn off the water and call a plumber right away. You should also get in touch with a plumber if you're unable to access the frozen pipe, or if none of your efforts at thawing it out seem to be working.

Furthermore, if the bust pipe had already resulted in water damage, then your next step is to remove the water. Using towels, mops, buckets, or whatever you have available, try to soak up as much of the water as you can. The flooded area must be dried and disinfected, or it can become a hotbed of mold and bacteria growth. You'll also need to go through your belongings and figure out which items unfortunately need to be thrown out.

Complete water damage restoration is best left up to the professionals who have the tools and expertise for the job. If you try to take care of everything yourself, you'll likely miss spots of moisture and won't be able to tell which belongings you should no longer keep in your home.

INSPECT IT ALL SERVICES can help you get everything back in good shape after a burst pipe causes water damage in your home. We'll make sure that all excess moisture is removed and that everything is properly cleaned, disinfected, and dried. We can also help identify any damaged belongings that you should catalog for insurance purposes.

You can call INSPECT IT ALL SERVICES immediately at 1-306-540-6832 (24/7) if you have a water damage emergency.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

School Indoor Air Quality

As our kids (big and small) return back to the hallowed halls of academia, pulling on backpacks and sharpening pencils, the indoor air quality of their learning environment certainly isn’t on their minds. A school both new and old can have harmful indoor air quality that may be affecting your child’s ability to learn as well as their health. Most people know that outdoor air pollution is bad for our health, but in indoor environments, pollutants that affect indoor air quality can be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. Since we all spend nearly 90% of our lives indoors, making sure that the indoor air quality of our schools is beneficial to both our children and their teachers.

Poor indoor air quality in school buildings can be caused by many things. Many old schools are plagued by mold growth, which happens when moisture and poor air circulation meet organic materials, like insulation, the grout in bathrooms, or even school books and other paper materials. Mold can be hazardous to indoor air quality and your health because to spread, mold releases airborne spores that are easy to breathe in. Mold spores can irritate children and adults with asthma and other chronic lung conditions, as well as cause itchy watery eyes, nasal congestion, and headaches.

Indoor air quality pollutants like VOCs and other chemicals are often a problem in learning environments as well. These harmful chemicals can come from a variety of sources such as building materials, soft or hard furnishings, or the materials used to clean the building. There is a growing awareness of scent-free environments in the adult workplace, but it’s not a bad idea to consider it for schools as well, as many students are easily affected by scents in their indoor air quality.

In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that approximately 50% of schools have indoor air quality issues. Children are especially at risk because they are still growing and developing, and poor indoor air quality has been shown to make it harder for both children and adults to concentrate and focus. When the indoor air quality environment is poor, cold and flu viruses also spread quickly and affect more people, causing more absenteeism and lost learning experiences.

If you are concerned about the indoor air quality of the school your children attend, or a school where you work, the best way to create change is to get involved. Asking your parent association, school council, or board of directors to run indoor air quality testing to make sure that your school’s indoor environment is safe for everyone can give you peace of mind, especially if you have a child that suffers from chronic illness. indoor air quality issues in a school can require fixes both big and small, but providing a healthier learning environment benefits us all, and can start from small fixes, like changing to scent-free cleaning products, to larger solutions, like upgrading old HVAC and removing old building materials, such as things containing asbestos.

Get in touch with us at INSPECT IT ALL SERVICES if you’re interested in testing the indoor air quality of your school or workplace.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

How are Properties Restored After Fire Damage?

After a fire, properties are in critical condition due to fire, smoke and water damage. The only true way to restore a property after a fire is with the help of a damage restoration company. These companies use specialized equipment and techniques in a step-by-step process to bring back the property to its pre-loss condition. Here are the different stages of the fire damage restoration process:

Assessing the Degree of Damage

The restoration technicians inspect the property and assess the extent of the fire, smoke and soot damage, as well as damage from the water that was used to extinguish the fire. The restoration team will then discover all the visible and hidden damage.

Handling of Contents

After the extent of the damage is determined, the workers will move or remove items from the property. Items can be either restored or discarded, depending on the amount of damage they suffered. Restorable items can be restored on site or at a different location.

Protecting the Property

In a fire damage event, roofs, walls and windows will most likely be damaged. This can compromise the security of the property. The restoration contractor will provide board-up and roof-trap services to the property to secure it from intruders.

Removing Water and Drying

Once the property is secured, the damage restoration continues with removing the excess water that resulted from extinguishing the fire. After the water is removed, the technicians will dry the property completely to prevent further water damage.

Removing Smoke and Soot Residue

When the property is dried, the restoration team will clean the soot from surfaces, such as ceilings, floors, walls and items, using specialized equipment. The contractor will also eliminate biological and chemical pollutants and remove smoke odors using equipment such as foggers, ozone generators, and hydroxyl generators.

Cleaning and sanitization

At this stage in the fire damage restoration process, the remaining dust, debris, smoke and soot residue will be removed from items and surfaces, and the property will be sanitized.

Property restoration

In the final step, the restoration team will work to get the property back to its pre-loss condition. If needed, the property will undergo repairs and reconstruction, such as painting, replacing drywall or carpet, remodeling, or other necessary modifications. Some companies also offer demolition and complete property reconstruction services.

Finding the right fire damage restoration company is a difficult but critical task. The INSPECT IT ALL SERVICES team stands ready to provide professional restoration services to any property affected by fire, water or mold damage.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Safe Flood Clean-up Tips

Before entering a building where flood damage may have occurred, make sure it’s safe: check for electrical hazards and structural damage, and use proper protective gear like boots, gloves and respirators. Before you start any construction or repairs, check for common hazardous materials like lead paint and asbestos, which may require help from professional and licenced contractors.

Then, follow these tips:

Act quickly
The severity of damage escalates the longer water sits and building components and contents stay wet, so time is of the essence in the aftermath of a flood. In fact, mold will grow within 48-72 hours, so aim to start removing water and drying the environment within 48 hours. Have a list of professionals on hand to call, and understand your insurance policy, as some only cover mold damage up to a certain amount, while others don’t provide any reimbursement for mold.

Ventilate affected areas to prevent mold growth
Mold loves moisture and organic materials such as paper or particleboard. In order to mitigate or slow damage, open windows if weather permits and place fans inside of them to keep air moving and maintain moderate temperatures. Work toward the fan as you clean to minimize cross contamination.

Assess damage to items and materials
Assess the type of water absorbed by items, such as rainwater, water from broken pipes, contaminated river water or bacteria-filled sewage. There are ways to salvage specialty items but the decision on whether to save or trash an item will vary depending on the dollar and sentimental value to the owner. It may not be worthwhile to salvage drywall, carpets and pads, mattresses, pillows, box springs and particleboard. On the other hand, it might be worthwhile to restore costly Persian rugs, leather couches and antiques or heirlooms. Wet clothing and many household fabrics may be salvageable through machine washing, and a 10-minute soak in detergent and hot water, to remove contamination and stains. The IICRC strongly recommends that in water damages where there are contaminants present (e.g., bacteria, sewage, mold) or where small children or immune-compromised individuals are present that an inspection be conducted by an appropriately trained restorer and remediator.

Expose pockets of saturation
Hidden and concealed pockets of saturation need to be opened for cleaning and drying. Layers between building materials hold water that must be discovered and removed or dried. On walls, find the water line and inspect at least a foot beyond it to make sure all damage, wet materials and mold are discovered. Remove and discard the damaged drywall and wet wall insulation. Wet carpets can usually be dried by professionals with the right equipment, but carpet padding, which is like a big sponge, should be discarded. Wood base trim and hardwood can also be saved with the right equipment if they can be accessed and completely dried on both sides. Remember to investigate concealed cavities such as behind walls, in mechanical spaces, under cabinets and furniture, and in crawl spaces.

Conduct a thorough cleaning
Durable, non-porous or semi-porous materials, such as studs and joists, hardwood flooring and vinyl products, can be cleaned with common cleaning products or specialized products with detergents. During cleaning, take care to protect areas that are unaffected by the water or mold. After a thorough cleaning of salvageable materials, a disinfectant solution may need to be applied in case of harmful bacteria from sewage, river water debris or even standing water that has gone bad. Professionals like water restoration and mold remediation contractors and indoor environmental professionals can help you decide what is best for your situation. Once you’ve cleaned the wet materials, conduct another round of cleaning. If you choose to vacuum, use a HEPA-filter vacuum to remove allergens, fine dust and spores.

Confirm drying before reconstruction
In order to prevent dry rot and structural damage, it’s important not to reconstruct or cover wood and other wet materials until the moisture content has been adequately reduced. A water restoration professional can confirm proper drying before reconstruction.

In most cases its best to call the professionals to clean up and tear out the affected materials.  If you need help contact INSPECT IT ALL SERVICES. We can help you with every step!

For emergency services you can call 306-540-6832  - We have a 24 hour hotline! 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The warning signs of asbestosis

Asbestosis is a debilitating condition that requires immediate medical attention. However, due to the fact that many of the symptoms of asbestosis are associated with other respiratory problems, many sufferers do not receive the urgent medical attention that they need. To help you recognize the warning signs of asbestosis, we have created the following list of warning symptoms, for which you should be on the lookout:

1 – Shortness of breath

This is one of the primary symptoms of asbestosis and occurs as a direct result of inhaling asbestos fibres over a prolonged period of time. These toxic fibres can constrict lung movement and can cause sufferers to become increasingly tired and fatigued.

2 – Swelling

Inhaled asbestos fibres can also induce increased blood pressure and cause sufferers to accumulate fluid around their heart and lungs. These symptoms present themselves as swellings around the neck and face.

3 – Bloated abdomen

Once a person has inhaled asbestos fibres, these toxins can disrupt the natural processes of the body. In turn, these disruptions can lead to fluid developing in the abdomen as well as bloating and tenderness, a loss of appetite and gradual weight loss.

4 – Crackled breathing

The inflammation and scarring of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos fibres can prevent oxygen from efficiently entering the bloodstream. These symptoms can develop into a dry, crackling noise which can be heard as a person inhales.

If you, your friends, family or work colleagues notice any of these symptoms, either on their own or in conjunction with one another, then you should contact a doctor immediately. By seeking immediate medical attention you can receive an accurate diagnosis of your symptoms and receive the appropriate treatment.

Moreover, if you have any further questions about the symptoms of asbestosis, about asbestos removal procedures or if you suspect that there may be asbestos or asbestos containing materials (ACMs) lurking within your residential property or commercial facility, do not hesitate to contact Inspect it All today. Our team of asbestos removal specialists will be happy to discuss your concerns, via email or phone.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Why does condensation form on the outside of some windows and not others in the morning?

The dew point is the temperature at which moisture in the air will condense on a surface. It fluctuates with the outdoor temperature and relative humidity, which have an inverse relationship to each other. 

Because cold air can hold less moisture than warm air, as the temperature falls the relative humidity rises and, when the temperature of a surface falls enough, it reaches the dew point—which is 100% relative humidity—and condensation forms. The window glass of an air conditioned home will be cooler than the outdoor air on a warm morning and reaches the dew point temperature before other outdoor surfaces. 

Occasionally, we get asked the question “Why do I have condensation when my windows are insulated?” An insulated window still has some heat/cold transmission, and the exterior glass surface will still be slightly cooler because of the chilled indoor air.

Trying to determine why one window has condensate on it and a nearby one does not can get complicated due the variables at the different locations. Here’s few things that can affect the formation of condensation:

  • The direction the window is facing.
  • The level of shade from an overhang or tree.
  • Minor leakage of the gas between the panes of an insulated window will deteriorate its performance and allow the outside  surface to be slight cooler than an adjacent window with no leakage.
  • Moisture is constantly rising out of the ground and, if a window is over damp soil, the higher humidity above the soil may cause condensation sooner than a window on a screen porch on the same wall. 
  • The indoor temperature of one room of the house may be slightly cooler than another room and decrease the temperature of the glass.
  • Any combination of these variables.
If you suspect that the condensation is due to the loss of the inert gas between the panes of an insulated window, eventually the problem will show itself as a cloudiness on the glass. It forms on the surfaces of the panes of glass that face the inert gas space, so the haze cannot not be cleaned away.

If you want your windows inspected then call us! We are home inspection experts! We can inspect your windows and give you a report on the condition and advise on replacement or repair. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Buying a Century Home

Living in a century home is a romantic proposition: The high ceilings, hardwood trim, large fireplaces, plaster walls, and decorative ceilings are all features that are rare in a more modern home.  Anyone who appreciates antiques or old cars knows that there is something special about the old designs. 

These homes are also commonly located near the downtown areas and are in very established neighborhoods with large trees and expansive parks. Who wouldn’t want to live in an old home? Century homes certainly have their charm, but it is not all roses owning one. Before you purchase a century home it is important to have the right expectations.

Common Deficiencies

Older homes come with older mechanical systems, much of which will be at its end of life. 100+ year old plumbing and electrical have served its time and may need to be updated. These types of projects are potentially expensive and invasive in order to retrofit an older home to modern standards. If the electrical and plumbing has already been updated, was it completed by a qualified professional, or was it done by an unskilled homeowner. It is common for home inspectors to find that the electrical and plumbing was only partially or poorly updated, and the more costly undertakings are not completed.

It is also normal for older masonry walls and stone foundations to need some repairs. Masonry, like all building materials, needs maintenance and is commonly ignored as it does not typically affect the homeowners’ daily routine. The mortar is the glue that holds the structure together and ignoring it too long can weaken the building and result in more expensive repairs.

A large percentage of century home basements leak. There was no foundation damp proofing, no drainage membrane, or weeping tiles when it was built. They relied on being built on high ground which may have changed over time.  Many of the homes have damp musty basements and in some circumstances the structure has wood rot if the moisture problems were ignored over long periods of time. Controlling the dampness can be as simple as fixing grading and installing a dehumidifier or as complicated as damp proofing the foundation.

Rotted wood sills, lintels, windows, and structure can be found in particularly poorly maintained century homes. Wood rot can be problematic as you will not be able to understand the full scope and cost of the repairs until everything is pulled apart.

Living in a century home is not always as comfortable as a modern home. In the past 50 years there have been great advancements in energy efficiency. For older homes this means significantly higher heating and cooling costs. For example, it is typical for century homes to lack a second floor furnace return as it was not necessary before air conditioners were invented.  This can create an awfully warm second floor in the summer.

Are older homes better built?

It is common to hear someone profess ‘they don’t build them like they use too’.  While there is a kernel of truth in this statement, it is mostly based on nostalgia. Some century homes are very well built and have stood the test of time, while others were poorly built by unskilled homeowners. Remember, there was no building code a 100 years ago, anyone could build what they could afford.  Typically the nicer more solidly built century homes were in affluent neighborhoods.

Insurance Challenges

It has become increasingly difficult to find insurance companies that will cover homes with knob & tube wiring, fuse panels, 60 amp electrical service, galvanized plumbing etc. Many people are surprised to find out they will be required to make repairs or replace systems on their insurance companies timeline to obtain coverage.

Insurance on century homes can be more expensive than a modern home due to the increased costs in repairs and higher risk. It is highly recommended to consult with your insurance provider prior to looking at century homes and then again after your home inspection to assure you can obtain the coverage you need.

Environmental Concerns

There are a number of building materials in older homes which are known to have health concerns. Most notably is asbestos. The likelihood of a century home containing asbestos is fairly high as it was potentially used in almost all materials that are not metal, glass, or wood. Some of these materials are considered low risk if left undisturbed. It is important to note since most home improvements involve some demolition, additional costs may be incurred where asbestos containing materials are suspected due to the necessary remediation.

Lead pipe was used in many houses up to the 1950s as the water service line from the street. Lead was also a component of solder for copper pipes until the 1980s. To a lesser extent, lead can also be found in some plumbing fixtures.

For the typical homeowner, the highest risk of exposure to lead is from paint. Lead was used extensively for pigmentation and as a drying agent in oil-based paints until the early 1950s.

It is important to understand the potential concerns with these materials prior to buying a century home. Both Health Canada and the Environmental Protection Agency have good articles on the subject.

First time home buyers

The underlying concern for first time homeowners is that they are not financially prepared for the additional costs associated with owning a century home. It is normal for a first time homeowner to sink all of their savings into the down payment. If the home inspection uncovers one or two major repairs, there isn’t the reserve funds to cover the costs. You should have substantial emergency funds in addition to your down payment to consider purchasing a century home. If you are still set on purchasing a old home I highly recommend using an online calculator to determine if the costs of ownership are within your budget.  Remember that the cost of repairs, heating & cooling, and insurance are all higher in an older home.

After reading this you may think that we dislike century homes. In fact, we love old homes! Inspecting a 100 year old building is like a walk through history. Each one telling its own story. While it is important to have the right expectations when considering a century home, they can be a joy to live in for the right owner.

Mike Cornford is a Certified Inspector with over 20 years experience in construction.Inspect it All Home Services provides professional home inspections in the Southern Saskatchewan Area. Call us today!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Indoor Air Quality In Cars

We often wonder about the indoor air quality in our homes, But has it actually crossed your mind that the air you are breathing in your car could be even more toxic than the air you breath at home? 

Is The Air You Breathe Inside Your Car Toxic?

It is true we all require clean indoor air quality in our homes, but have you thought about the effect of the air quality you breathe in your car.Lungs in our bodies are the primary filters we have. When they become filled, our health suffers. Most of the people in North America drive 100km a day between home and office, then add to that, driving to after school activities for the kids and then our own after hour activities, and you could easily be spending 2 to 4 hours inside your car.

Many cars, trucks, and especially RV’s also have tiny leaks that allow moisture to get into the vehicle, which allows sinus infection causing agents to thrive. RV’s are troublesome as they tend to have more seams that leak, which allows mold to grow, creates that mildew smell, and if you spend time there, allows a sinus infection to happen. RV air conditioners often promote mold and bacteria growth because they are seldom cleaned, and the condensation provides the necessary moisture.

Sorry to say, but latest and continuing surveys show that air inside your car is twice or five times more polluted than that of your house or your place of work. After all, the car is just a smaller version and more enclosed space than your house or workplace and is more susceptible to allergies related to fungus and symptoms similar to sick building syndrome. Fungi can penetrate the air through air streams and aeration systems, spreading virulent allergens and microorganisms. Every passenger in your car and that includes you is inhaling particles of dust, greenhouse gasses, and car exhaust fumes – in addition to formaldehyde, other numerous irritants in the car from pet dander, spoiled food to cigarette stains.

According to Anders Lofvendahl, project manager at Volvo, “In hot climates, volatile hydrocarbons evaporate from plastics and textiles.” All of these factors can exacerbate asthma and allergies and create a toxic environment for you and your family. Also, the study done by The International Center for Technology Assessment showed that in the 23 independent methodical experiments carried out, it revealed that air pollution levels in cars often reach concentrations that may endanger human health. The study continues to assert that air inside vehicles contains more deadly chemicals (the likes of carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene), fine particle matter, and nitrogen oxides than ambient air as shown on the outcome in nearby monitoring stations utilized to calculate government air quality statistics.

Think about it – every car and truck on the road are inhaling and exhaling toxic air – and that air is in your car. The whole time that you are on the road that is the air that gets into your lungs and breathes while you remain inside that enclosed, polluted space.

So here are a few suggestions on how to battle the toxic air in your vehicle;

Air Filters;

Changing the air filter in your car is as vital as changing the furnace`s filter, The air filter in your car is the first defense against air pollution before your lungs! Try to change the air filter regularly, And never go for the cheaper air filters.This is not something you would want to cheap out!

Plug-in Air Purifiers:

A few suggestions are to plug in an air purifier (in the cigarette lighter plug in – better use for it anyway) that uses negative ions to remove contaminants from the air, air filtration systems for the car, or air freshener ionizers. The outer opening is shut while the windows are kept up. The only thing is – your dog won’t be able to hang his head out the window!

Don`t Smoke in Your Vehicle:

Smoking in cars is as bad as smoking indoors.

Aside from the health hazards on your lungs, Cigarette smoke will deteriorate the indoor air quality in your car, Some people tend to believe that airing out the vehicle with diminish the harmful effects in terms of the vehicle`s indoor air quality but that could not be further from truth!

Try To Air Out the Car by Opening the windows as much as possible:

Rolling down your car windows will always allow fresh air in while letting the toxins out, It has been recommended to roll windows down 30 seconds for every 5 minutes of driving. (Depending on weather/traffic) conditions.

Try to Avoid Driving During The Rush Hour as Much as Possible:

In this day and age it might sound almost impossible to avoid driving in rush hours completely but keep in mind that vehicles emit emission gasses, Regardless of their age nor brand, What exits from other cars exhaust will get sucked into your vehicle.

Get Your Car Steam Cleaned:

Whether the interior of your car is made out of cloth, Or leather, It is good to know that there will always be bacteria and toxins in your car`s carpet or seats, The same principal with carpets at home, Try to get the interior of your car steam cleaned at least once a year.

Be Mindful of the Air Freshener You are Purchasing for your Car:

The Air Freshener industry is not regulated! Click here to read the blog post regarding air
fresheners, If most of them are hazardous to your health, The same rule applies to car air fresheners.

Try something natural like lavender, Lavender will freshen up your car without leaving any harmful effects on your car`s indoor air quality.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Home Inspections AFTER PURCHASE are now a thing!

You have bought your dream home, BUT you had to by-pass the home inspection so you could make an offer without conditions just to get it!  Although it is not a good idea, unfortunately in today’s market this is what is happening. The good thing for you is, it's not too late!  You can still get that home inspection after the sale has gone through.  

No, it won’t change the fact that you are the new owner of the home and any problems are now your responsibility… will give you a heads up as to what potential problems you may encounter.  If you are aware of what may arise, at least you will be able to budget for the repair and plan ahead.  Knowledge is power and knowing if you are going to have problems will definitely give you the upper hand.

There is no difference between the home inspection that will be done after the purchase compared to before.  The professional you hire to do your inspection will review and check everything the same way.  Since there is no pressure to get your home inspection done immediately, you now have the opportunity to take your time and make sure you are having a reputable company do your inspection.

Keep in mind the following when choosing the company:
  • They are certified to perform quality home, property and building inspections
  • They have experience in performing inspections
  • They are licensed (mandatory in some Provinces)
  • They carry Liability Insurance
  • They have professional training and participate in ongoing training
  • They provide thorough and detailed reporting at the time of the inspection
  • They are welcoming, professional and courteous
A full inspection should include:
  • roof, vents, flashings, and trim;
  • gutters and downspouts;
  • skylight, chimney and other roof penetrations;
  • decks, stoops, porches, walkways, and railings;
  • eaves, soffit and fascia;
  • grading and drainage;
  • basement, foundation and crawlspace;
  • water penetration and foundation movement;
  • heating systems;
  • cooling systems;
  • main water shut-off valves;
  • water heating system;
  • interior plumbing fixtures and faucets;
  • drainage sump pumps with accessible floats;
  • electrical service line and meter box;
  • main disconnect and service amperage;
  • electrical panels, breakers and fuses;
  • grounding and bonding;
  • GFCIs and AFCIs;
  • insulation and ventilation;
  • garage doors, safety sensors, and openers;
  • and much more.

Your home is a major investment, the more information you have about your new purchase the better.

Mike Cornford is a Certified Inspector with over 20 years experience in construction. Inspect it All Home Services provides professional home inspections in the Saskatchewan Area. Call us today!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Forest Fire Smoke and Your Health

Forest fire smoke can affect your health. Persons with respiratory or heart conditions, such as asthma, can experience worsened symptoms during minor and severe smoke events. During severe smoke events even healthy individuals can be affected and may experience irritation of the eyes, throat and possibly shortness of breath.
Everyone – and in particular those with pre‐existing respiratory or heart conditions – should monitor their symptoms and seek medical care if symptoms worsen.

Who is at risk?
Those with pre‐existing heart and respiratory conditions such as asthma are most at risk; however, everyone can be at risk during a severe smoke event and should monitor their symptoms. Take appropriate precautionary measures and seek medical care if symptoms worsen.

How do I protect myself?

During a severe smoke event:

  • Reduce or avoid strenuous outdoor activities – especially if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation. Children, the elderly and those with pre‐existing medical conditions, such as heart and respiratory disease,should be especially cautious.
  • Do not rely on dust masks, bandanas, and cloths (even if wet), since they are designed to trap large
  • particles and not designed to protect lungs from smoke.
  • Reduce or eliminate exposure to outside air when inside (e.g.) close windows and close ventilation
  • systems that bring outdoor air indoors.
  • Stay inside and turn on your air conditioner (check to make sure it does not bring outdoor air indoors). Or, go to an air‐conditioned public space (mall, library, church) to reduce exposure to outdoor air.
  • If you have an HEPA air cleaner that will reduce levels of small particles in indoor air, use it and stay in the room where it is located.
  • Avoid tobacco smoke exposure ‐ smoking puts added stress on your lungs and those around you.

Where can I go for more information?

  • Current air quality conditions and the air quality index (AQI) can be accessed from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment
  • Visit HealthLine Online at for advice on symptoms and precautions.
  • HealthLine is available 24/7 across Saskatchewan at 811.
  • Alberta Wildfires
  • Alberta Ministry of Environment
  • BC Air Quality Advisories