Saturday, February 25, 2017

Facts About Carbon Monoxide

In the winter, the risk for carbon monoxide poisoning is at its highest, because it’s almost always related to the heating systems. 

Although some governments in Canada have taken regulatory actions on carbon monoxide, fatal accidents still occur, that is why it is extremely important to understand some facts about carbon monoxide (CO).

CO is an odourless, colourless and tasteless gas that can cause sudden illness and death.

CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by cars and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, and gas ranges and heating systems. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces. Breathing it can poison people and animals in these spaces.

Because CO is basically undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include: headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. High levels of CO inhalation can cause: mental confusion, vomiting, loss of muscular coordination, loss of consciousness and ultimately death. Symptom severity is related to both the CO level and the duration of exposure. Unless suspected, CO poisoning can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other illnesses. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die from CO poisoning before ever experiencing symptoms.

How does CO poisoning work? Red blood cells pick up CO quicker than they pick up oxygen. If there is a lot of CO in the air, the body may replace oxygen in blood with CO. This blocks oxygen from getting into the body, which can damage tissues and result in death. CO can also combine with proteins in tissues, destroying the tissues and causing injury and death.

All people and animals are at risk for CO poisoning. Certain groups — unborn babies, infants, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems — are more susceptible to its effects.

Carbon monoxide (CO) can only be detected with an alarm (detector). You should have at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home, in addition to a smoke alarm. Smoke alarms alert you to fires, not carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide detectors can be purchased at any hardware or home equipment store.

Install a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certified carbon monoxide detector. The CSA certified product will have the CSA mark on the product. This will have an alarm you can hear to warn you of high carbon monoxide levels in your home.

Make sure to follow the manufacturer's suggestions for:
  • Installation
  • Testing
  • Use
  • Replacement
The most important place to install a detector is in hallways, outside of sleeping areas.

Test your detectors regularly. Replace batteries and the detector itself as recommended by the manufacturer. Write on the battery or device to remind yourself when it was installed and when it should be replaced.

Contact your municipal or provincial government office for more information on the use and installation of carbon monoxide detectors in your area. Your local fire department may also be able to assist you.

Keep your home and cottage air clean and free of carbon monoxide by:
  • Preventing indoor smoking
  • Keeping the door between your house and the garage closed
  • Not idling vehicles in the garage, even when the garage door is open
Never use:

1. Gas-powered machines in the garage, such as:
  • trimmers
  • generators
  • lawnmowers
  • snowblowers
2. A barbecue or portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a:
  • home
  • garage
  • vehicle
  • camper
  • tent
3. Kerosene or oil space heaters and lamps in enclosed areas unless they're specifically designed for indoor use

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

7 Homemade Natural Cleaning Recipes

Most modern cleaners contain dangerous chemicals that could cause health problems to sensitive individuals. Many of these cleaners also contribute to indoor and outdoor pollution. Luckily, there are various inexpensive alternatives to home cleaners that are less likely to damage one’s health and the environment. Here are some of them:

All-purpose cleaner: this solution is made by mixing ½ cup of white vinegar, ¼ cup of baking soda and ½ gallon of water. It can be used to clean, deodorize and disinfect surfaces. For dirtier surfaces, only white vinegar should be used, but a spot test should be performed first.

Tile cleaning: First, a paste of ½ water and ½ baking soda should be applied to the grout. After waiting a few minutes or up to 2 hours (for very dirty grout), the grout can be scrubbed with water.

Oven cleaning: Use a solution with 1 teaspoon of borax, 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and 2 cups of hot water. Once the solution is applied, it should be wiped with a cloth after 20 minutes.

Window Washing: Use this solution of ½ teaspoon of liquid soap, ¼ cup of vinegar and 2 cups of water. The solution should be mixed into a spray bottle. Alternatively, rubbing alcohol can be used.

Furniture polishing: Use a mix of 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 10 drops of pure lemon oil and 2-3 drops of olive oil. The solution should be used with a soft cloth to wipe off dust and give furniture a fresh look.

For various surfaces that are tough to clean, we recommend using a mix of 2 teaspoons of borax, 1 teaspoon of washing soda, 4 tablespoons of vinegar, ½ teaspoon of natural liquid soap and ¼ teaspoon of tea tree oil. The ingredients should be mixed with 2 cups of hot water into a spray bottle.

You can do your Dish Washing with a mix of equal parts borax and washing soda. If the water is hard, more washing soda can be utilized.

These are just some of the numerous green cleaning solutions that can be made at home using products available at regular stores. Many more can be made by experimenting. One last important thing to note: some substances should never be mixed, such as ammonia and bleach!

Using green products will help you have cleaner healthy indoor air!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Benefits of having your renovation professionally inspected

Homeowners renovate to update, add value or prepare their homes for sale. But no one wants to invest in a renovation only to see it cost more money later in revisions or repairs. A CIBC poll done in 2016 suggested that 37% of Canadian homeowners planned to renovate or improve their home.  If you are considering a renovation to your house, a home inspection can help you prioritize your requirements and actually save you money in the long run.


A home renovation can be fun and exciting, but it’s also a time when clear planning and forward thinking are most important. Going over budget, unforeseen mishaps or delays, disputes with builders and contractors – these aren’t what you envisioned as part of your dream renovation process. Careful research, investigation and planning are required in the decision making process. The Canadian Homebuilders Association (CHBA) and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) are excellent resources. According to the CMHC, almost all homeowners who undertook renovations remodeled rooms, while more than half engaged in painting or wallpapering. Plumbing fixtures and equipment accounted for 38 percent. Most of these renovations were paid for using personal savings. The safety of your home and the savings in your bank – two absolutely crucial considerations that make a renovation home inspection a safe bet and money well spent.


When you hire a home inspector you are providing yourself with a critical, trained eye to verify you are getting what you paid for in renovation. An inspection by a licensed and professional home inspector can significantly reduce the chances of unforeseen renovation headaches by finding out what you need to know before the construction begins. An inspector can offer expert and objective information to assist you in creating an accurate and realizable renovation design plan, and alert you to any structural, electrical, plumbing and heating considerations that may cause an issue now or in the future with regards to your renovation project. An inspector can also give you recommendations to increase comfort, reduce maintenance costs, and make your home safer and more energy efficient.


Hiring an inspector keeps you protected; it’s like taking out insurance against any future mishap that may occur. An inspector will ensure that your renovation meets the specifications you agreed to, and the construction methods used are consistent with industry standards. Being proactive before a problem occurs is far less expensive than reacting to a problem after it’s already happened.

With any renovation safety is the primary concern and an inspection before and/or after your renovation is money well spent. In your search look no further than Inspect it All. Our full and extensive renovation inspection includes a comprehensive and detailed report, and we encourage your participation in all areas of the inspection. Book your renovation inspection today! We are available 7 days a week in the Regina and surrounding areas.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Importance of getting a Condo Inspection

When a condo is bought and sold a condo inspection is highly recommended to alert both buyers and sellers to the condition of the property in question. The condo inspector’s role is to enter the condo and analyze all of the major operational and structural elements of the property which usually spans three hours for detached single homes, and two hours for condominiums, but can depend on the size, age, and complexity of the property. I always encourage clients to attend the inspection as an opportunity to hear verbal feedback from the inspection, as well as a last opportunity to be within the condo before waiving conditions for a more prolonged duration than the viewing.  Typically, the participant requesting the inspection will be provided a detailed report of findings with written and visual components. Below I’ll discuss some myths regarding condo inspections as well as how to select a trained professional that can advise you on one of the biggest purchases of your lifetime.

One of the most prevalent myths is that condo inspections are not required for new builds. I cannot stress enough that this statement is inaccurate. Just because your condo is brand new unfortunately does not mean it will be problem-free. After spending months saving for your very own piece of home, carefully selecting your neighbourhood and hand selecting the professionals that represented you in the buying process, the last thing you want to do is gloss over the tangible aspect of the contract; your condo. Instead of potentially spending large sums to correct issues down the road re-actively, performing a condo inspection can be a preventative step towards condo ownership. Some clients argue the cost of an inspection isn’t justified, but if you have spent hundreds of thousands of your hard earned money saving for a place to call your own, to skip out on a few hundred dollars seems like a poor investment decision. You wouldn’t buy a car based on a kick of the tires and without a test drive, consider a home inspection your testing opportunity.

Another myth to debunk is that  condo inspections are only for buyers.  A seller who is providing transparency of a seller’s inspection boasts confidence of ownership that can back your asking price (and potentially then some) to condo buyers that are attempting to work quickly to lock down a property. Providing unbiased, professional proof that the operational and structural elements of your condo are top notch is extremely desirable to sellers, especially first time buyers who may not be versed with home repairs.

So we have exposed some of the most common myths associated with condo inspections and we have sold you on the idea of protecting your investment, but how do you select a trained professional? First, inquire if the other participant will be selecting a home inspector and which company. We suggest gaining this knowledge to select a differing company to rule out bias, fraud, or deception. Two impartial condo inspections are invaluable. While professionals in the buying and selling process can advise you on home inspection selection, it is always encouraged to analyze reviews, and request referrals from the inspector to ensure quality, professional work has been performed previously. Lastly, I encourage being well versed with what elements of your condo will be analyzed by the inspector. Typically, topics of plumbing, electrical, chemical concerns (think asbestos), pests and infestations, heating and air conditioning systems, as well as structural elements are all considered and should be thoroughly documented within the reports the inspector provides. We recommend being prepared to ask your inspector the following questions, trust me, your due diligence will pay off!
  • What professional home inspection associations are you a member of?
  • What is your background (typically inspector’s transition from a trade)
  • How many years have you been an inspector? What property types do you specialize in?
  • What is the typical duration of your condominium inspections? May I attend the inspection?
  • What operational and structural components will you be inspecting?
  • Can you provide me an example of the home reports you provide clients?

If you’re looking for a home inspector that can answer all these questions with confidence, Inspect it All 306-551-3832 to schedule your appointment today.

Inspecting your home for water damage

Water damage is one of the most common and costly repairs for homeowners to deal with, leading to increased maintenance costs, decreased property value, and a decline in indoor air quality. It can strike indoors as well as outdoors, and the longer you leave it the more expensive it will be to fix. Water damage needs to be taken care of as soon as possible to avoid the occurrence of mildew or mold, which are not only unsightly but have been known to cause considerable health hazards. This article provides information on identifying and eliminating excess moisture that could potentially lead to water damage in the home.


The first place to inspect is the bathroom. Bathrooms have a number of areas where water commonly causes problems, but you have to look carefully. The most common areas are tiled shower stalls and tub enclosures. Moisture behind tiles, unless severe, is not usually visible. Ceramic tiles are quite waterproof, so the problem area is the grout between the tiles. If you look closely and see hairline cracks in the grout it’s a sure indication that water has migrated behind the tiles. In this case you will need to replace the existing grout as soon as possible to prevent further damage. A professional home inspector will use a moisture meter to ascertain moisture levels behind the tiles.


In kitchens most water issues are found under the sink. Besides the sink, there are drainage pipes, sink traps, and dishwashers where water or moisture can fast become a problem. You also need to check the water shut-off valves and waste disposal units. Sinks are easy to inspect as you can look beneath them to determine if the trap or water supply lines are intact. Look for rusted supply tubes and leaking water shut-off valves and drains. Dripping or leaking toilets can be difficult to diagnose since the symptoms are usually not visible. As such, a home inspector’s moisture meter can identify moisture under the flooring and prompt recommendations for repair before the flooring starts to deteriorate.


A roof usually lasts about 15 years. Improper drainage systems and roof sloping reduce roof life and become a primary source of moisture intrusion. Missing, worn or broken roofing materials may allow water to penetrate and deteriorate the roof structure. Leaks are also common around vents for exhaust or plumbing or rooftop air-conditioning units. Inspect your roof periodically, especially after a storm. Ceiling stains are invariably signs of a water leak in the room above, so start there.


Keep air inside the home circulating with vents and fans to avoid the build-up of condensation. Use exhaust fans in the bathroom when showering. Dry your laundry outside or make sure your dryer is vented to the outside. Condensation around old or draughty windows can cause mold, so fix or replace these windows. An added bonus to new draught-proof windows is that you will save money on your utility bills.


Water in the basement is usually caused by improper grading and is a sign you have a drainage problem. The ground may slope towards the house, water from the roof may not drain properly into the downspouts, and the downspouts may not point away from the home. These issues can cause runoff against the foundation, eventually causing cracks in the concrete. Signs of this water leakage into the home are water marks on baseboards, rust, stains or mold. Fix or replace leaking, dripping, or draughty fixtures as necessary.


Water damage and the resulting mold can make your home unfit for sale. In addition, these conditions can make your home life uncomfortable at best, and uninhabitable at worst. As part of your regular home maintenance checklist, do a periodic check of all rooms so that repairs can be done before significant and costly moisture damage occurs. Proactively, booking a home inspection can forestall these issues from happening in the first place, or prevent you from buying a home with current water damage or a high potential for future water damage. Re-actively, booking a home inspection can provide you with fast and efficient means to fix the water damage and advice on how to prevent it from reoccurring in the future.

Inspect it All Home Inspections provides a quality home inspection that meets the InterNachi standards, and one that will exceed your expectations as a valued client. We provide flexible scheduling that will allow you to participate in the home inspection, and an inspection report that is clear, concise, and gives you a comprehensive understanding of your home. Contact us today for great quality, professional home inspection services.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Is there too much moisture in your home?

Have you noticed tiny droplets of moisture – otherwise known as condensation – forming on the inside of your windows this winter? If so, you likely have an issue of high indoor humidity. So, why does it happen? New homes in Canada are built to be airtight, limiting the flow of air in and out of the home to reduce heat loss. As a result, it’s difficult for excess moisture to escape during the winter months when windows are constantly closed.

High indoor humidity can fog up and eventually rot your windowsills. With excess amounts of condensation, mould will begin to grow on vinyl windows. And that’s mold that you and your family will breathe in every day. Bathrooms and kitchens are moisture monsters – steamy showers and boiling pots build up water vapour in the air that condenses when it touches cold walls and windows. In this environment, mould will eventually start to grow.

Excess moisture is a problem you don’t want to ignore, but you’ll be happy to hear that there are many simple ways to remedy the situation. Here are some tips for reducing moisture levels in your home: 

  • Use exhaust fans. Be sure to run the bathroom fan for about 20 – 30 minutes after showering. Get in the habit of turning on your range hood when cooking to clear the air. 
  • During the winter months, avoid drying wet clothes on racks inside. If you must, dry them in the bathroom with the fan on. 
  • On a day that isn’t too frigid, crack open a few windows for an hour or so to let some of the moisture escape. 
  • If you’re replacing your windows, opt for windows with a high R-value – the higher the R-value, the better equipped the window is to prevent condensation from forming. 
  • Install a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). Many new homes are being built with HRVs to help eliminate this problem. This suitcase-sized appliance typically has one fan to bring in outdoor air and another fan to push out the stale, moist air. Heat is transferred from the outgoing air to the incoming air by passing the two air streams through a heat-exchange core, also helping to reduce heating costs. 
Contact the Healthy Homes professionals at Inspect it All who can help you troubleshoot moisture or other indoor air quality problems in your home.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Harmful Effects of Mould to Pets

Even though it is well known that mould is harmful to humans, not many people realize that toxic mould can also pose health risks to pets, such as cats and dogs. While only a handful of mould species are toxic to people and pets, the most common type - toxic black mould - can bring serious illnesses and even death to people and pets.

Mould spores enter pets’ bodies by inhalation in areas where mould is present. In most cases, mould develops in damp, warm and dark places, usually after a flood occurred. It may be visible (on the exterior of walls), but it can also hide behind walls and underneath floors, where it’s difficult to detect or remove. If a home has experienced flooding, it is best to call in a mould remediation company to inspect and eliminate any traces of mould if there are any.

When exposed to mould, pets can exhibit symptoms such as:
  • Respiratory difficulties and illnesses: wheezing, coughing and struggling to breathe
  • Pulmonary hemorrhage
  • Bleeding from the nose
  • Scratching themselves in the absence of fleas; pets may develop sores or even bleed from excessive scratching
  • Chewing on their extremities or at their skin, which can also develop sores or bleeding
  • Excessive licking that can cause hair loss
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny eyes and other symptoms that may also be caused by common allergens, not just mould
Mould can also contaminate pets by ingestion. Spoiled products such as cheese or sour cream may contain mould that releases poisonous chemicals, called mycotoxins. Pets that eat this poisoned food may exhibit muscle spasms or body tremors.

Tips to keep pets safe from mould:
  • If mould growth is noticed in a home, the owner or a Professional Mould Inspector must do an inspection as soon as possible. Professional companies like Inspect it All will make sure the job is done properly and in a timely fashion.We can test the mould to confirm if it's toxic.
  • Any household mould must be cleaned up immediately using a mix of water and detergent. However, for areas larger than 1 square meter, a professional mould remediation company should be contacted.
  • The pets should be kept away from mouldy food and environments.
  • The pet’s food should be stored in a sealed container to keep out moisture and mould growth.
  • Pet beds and toys that can be washed in hot water, thus keeping mould and dust mites at bay, are recommended.
  • Shampoos that fight allergies for pets can help.
  • If the pet begins showing symptoms of toxic black mould poisoning (such as changes in the typical behavior, eating patterns and energy level), it must be taken to the vet immediately. The doctor must be informed that the pet might be affected by mould.
  • If the owner has to delay a visit to the vet, the pet should be taken to a non-contaminated area to avoid further exposure to mould.
Household mould is a serious problem and must be treated immediately, as it can harm not only the pet, but the family, as well. Inspect it All is ready to provide a thorough inspection and take samples for you. We can confirm what type of mould it is, if the mould is toxic and help you with a remediation plan.

What you need to know about winter home inspections

You may be tempted to forego a home inspection if you’re buying in a competitive market, especially when multiple offers are a possibility. But before you make a decision on whether to include a home inspection in your contractual offer, be aware that different seasons and weather conditions tell different stories about a home’s condition.

While some shortcomings of a home will not be as evident under snow coverage, winter also presents an opportunity to see other things that snow can teach us about the condition of a house. For example, a snow-covered roof may hide the overall state of the shingles and underlay, while large spotty patches of melted snow on a roof and dripping icicles are indicators of insulation deficiency. Likewise, snow piled on the outside of a home can show tell-tale signs about the inside of a home, revealing foundation cracks and basement leakage problems.

Every season teaches us something about the condition of a home, but cold weather and snow may prevent a home inspector from accurately evaluating certain features, such as the grade of the land. You’ll want to know if rain and moisture drains away from rather than toward the house. In rural areas, testing the health of a septic system is a task much better left for warmer weather. Also remember that it’s not possible to test the state of an air conditioning system during cold weather.

In order to protect yourself from possible future expenses that result from a winter inspection that cannot uncover certain conditions, contact Inspect it All to understand your options.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Buying an Energy-Efficient Home: 5 Things to Consider

Purchasing a home is a big step in the course of your life. If you want to be sure your home is a match, you must do your research. There are many factors to consider:
How many bedrooms do you want?
Do you need a garage?
What about central air?
Would you like a pool?
And, these questions could be easily answered if you’re looking for an energy-efficient home.
Considering energy efficiency may add to the stress of purchasing a home — it’s just one more aspect to investigate—but the rewards to choosing an energy-efficient home may well be worth it. Energy efficient homes save you in monthly expenditures—this is a given. Solar paneling alone may eliminate your electric bill altogether. Investing in energy efficiency also cuts down on your home’s carbon footprint.

Here are some things to consider if you’re in the market for buying an energy efficient

1- EnerGuide Rating
The EnerGuide rating is one of the most basic things you need to consider when investigating energy-efficient homes. The EnerGuide compares the energy performance of houses based on standard operation assumptions. Basically, it shows how energy efficient the home is. The scale goes from 0 to 100, with 0 representing a home with very high energy consumption and 100 representing a home with no required purchased energy on an annual basis.

A brand new house with a rating of 80 or higher is considered excellent in energy efficiency. Homes with a 65-72 rating are those just built to code. A 73-79 rating means that the home has a few energy-efficient improvements. An energy-efficient new home will get a rating of 80-90, and a house requiring little or no purchased energy will have a 91-100 rating.

2- Old vs. new

Very rarely will you run across an old home that was built for energy efficiency. Most homes aren’t built with energy efficiency in mind. Instead, they are “upgraded” to cut down on energy costs. Most homes can be made at least 30% more energy-efficient with energy-efficiency improvements. However, if you want the most efficient home, your best bet is with a home that was originally built for energy-efficiency.

Once a home is built, it is more difficult and more costly to improve its energy efficiency. Retrofitting an older house can cut its energy usage, but you won’t get the most bang for your buck. If you’re looking for the most energy efficient home, your best option is one that was originally built for just that.

3- Solar panels

Now to the specifics of your potential cost-cutting, energy-saving home. Solar energy is an aspect anyone looking for an energy-efficient home should consider. Buying a home with solar panels is a little more expensive, but well worth it in the long run. Solar panels dramatically lower electricity bills. Most homeowners who use solar energy experience at least a 50% decrease of their electrical expenses. Some even cut their electricity bill out of their budget completely. With electricity costs on the rise, this is a very smart investment. Over 25 years, you could experience a 200% return on that investment.

Solar panels also reduce your carbon footprint and help to conserve natural resources. Households generate carbon dioxide through electrical use, and carbon dioxide creates global warming. Also, powering your home means using coal and nuclear energy. Using sunlight reduces coal and nuclear energy usage, while conserving the water used to produce those materials.

Solar panels are the aces of energy efficiency. Anyone looking for an energy-efficient home should consider producing solar energy.

4- Home insulation

Energy costs go up when heating or cooling your home. A home that implements effective insulation can cut down on energy consumption and costs. To maintain comfort, heat lost in the winter must be replaced by your heating system and heat gained in the summer must be removed by your cooling system. A home that is properly insulated will provide effective resistance to heat flow and decrease the need to turn up the heating or cooling system.

Those looking for an energy-efficient home should take a look at the home insulation’s thermal resistance or R-value. The R-value depends on the type of insulation, its thickness, its density, and how and where it is installed. Insulation that is compressed will not give you the full R-value. Installing more insulation will increase the R-value, and the higher the R-value, the more energy efficient the home is, so make sure you know the R-value of your potential home’s insulation.

5- Window tinting

Window tinting is yet another way that a home conserves energy. Keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter depends on your home’s ability to neutralize the outside temperature. Window tinting is an energy-saving strategy that reduces incoming heat. Some window tinting models can reduce your home’s increase in temperature up to eight degrees.

Not only can window tinting cool homes by up to 60% and reduce cooling needs, it's also a tax-deductible expense in some provinces. If you’re looking for your dream, energy-saving home in a warm climate, window tinting is certainly an option you should consider.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Appraisal vs. Home Inspection

A home is one of life’s most important purchases. Before committing to a purchase it makes sense to learn as much as possible about any property you wish to acquire. Understanding the important differences between an appraisal and a home inspection will help you to obtain detailed information about the home’s value and condition.

An Appraisal

An appraisal allows the lending institution to determine if the property being purchased is suitable as security for a mortgage. For conventional mortgages, a lender will in most cases require that a professional third party assess the property to ascertain its current market value.

In the case of a “high-ratio” mortgage (with a down payment of less than 20 per cent), the mortgage insurer will go through its own internal appraisal process. In particular, lenders and insurers are concerned that the property (in terms of its age, condition, and remaining economic life) constitutes a good match with the borrower and their ability to repay the mortgage.

An appraisal does not usually include a detailed property inspection.

A Home Inspection

A home inspection is NOT used to determine property value, but will provide an assessment of the physical condition of a property. A well-trained home inspector will perform a comprehensive visual inspection to determine the condition of the building and all of its major systems (roof, structural, heating, plumbing and electrical systems, etc).

While an appraisal is intended to provide the lender with sufficient information to decide on mortgage financing, a home inspection will hopefully reveal to a potential homebuyer whether the building and its systems are in sound working order.

If there are outstanding issues, a good inspector will provide the potential purchaser with a schedule outlining the estimated costs and when these repairs will need to be completed.

If you want to learn more or book an inspection contact us today! 

Tips to Eliminate Musty Smells from Clothing

When clothes smell musty, they have been wet or damp for too long, allowing mould or mildew to grow on them. Another reason for the musty smell can be that the washing machine or dryer (where the clothes have been in) contains mould or mildew.

Several ways to get rid of musty smells in clothing:

  • The washing machine and dryer should be checked for mould. If the clothes smell musty right after a wash, mould may be present in the washer. The mould can be cleaned by running an empty cycle with hot water and bleach or detergent.
  • If that doesn’t work, the washer should be carefully disassembled and any traces of mould should be removed with hot water and a cleaning product. If the task is too difficult, the washer has to be serviced.
  • In case the clothes smell musty because they are infested with mould, they need to be washed. A mould inhibiting product, such as bleach, vinegar, baking soda, ammonia or borax, should be added to the washing cycle.
  • When using bleach, the “do not bleach” warnings on clothes must be taken into consideration. After starting a normal cycle with the musty laundry and detergent, it should be paused when the washer has filled with water in order to add a cup of bleach, after which it can be resumed. Alternatively, the clothes can be soaked in a solution of 1 cup bleach and 8 liters hot water for at least one hour.
  • Vinegar, baking soda, borax or ammonia can be used to achieve the same result. A cup of the preferred product is added at the start of the wash cycle. The cycle should be stopped when the clothes have become soaked. After at least one hour, it can be resumed.
  • WARNING: ammonia and bleach must never be mixed. The resulting solution creates toxic fumes that can harm the lungs.

To prevent clothes from smelling musty, they should be dried out immediately after washing. Another good tip is to dry them outside, in the sun, as heat and light inhibit mould growth.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The 10 Hidden Dangers in Our Homes

Hazardous chemicals can be found in a variety of environments, even within the safety of a home. Over the years, these “hidden” substances can affect the occupants’ health in several ways. Below is a list of some of the most notable of these dangers, including tips on how to prevent them:

1. Lead causes serious health issues and can often be found in lead-based paints (in older homes), soil, dust and tap water (if the home has lead pipes). The members of a family should be tested for lead levels, and, in the case of older homes, hiring a certified professional to remove lead paint is recommended.

2. Mould exposure is especially harmful to those with respiratory diseases. Mould grows in damp and humid areas with poor ventilation. INSPECT IT ALL can do an inspection and mould sampling in your home to determine if your mould is toxic. We can recommend a remediation plan and give you referrals to professional remediation companies.

3. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas released from burning organic fuel in wood stoves, fireplaces, gas heaters and other heating devices. Proper ventilation is imperative to prevent CO contamination. Homes should include a CO detector and a professional should be hired to service furnaces.

4. Pesticides contain toxins that account for most childhood poisonings. Pesticides must always be stored in a locked cabinet and away from children. Those who handle pesticides should follow the instructions on the label and must wash their hands after each use.

5. Salmonella and E. Coli are bacteria transmitted through contaminated raw foods like meat and vegetables. These foods should be kept separate in the refrigerator and all meats must be cooked to safe temperatures. After cooking, the dishes that were in contact with raw meat need to be thoroughly washed.

6. Air fresheners contain Phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), substances linked to various health problems. It is recommended to replace commercial air fresheners with filter-based air purifiers.

7. Radon is a carcinogenic gas that seeps in through the soil and rocks under a house. Homes must be tested for Radon with a specialized monitoring device. A radon-abatement specialist should be hired, if the Radon level is above normal (2 to 4 picocuries per liter).

8. Aerosol sprays carry harmful gasses that trigger asthma and allergies. It’s recommended to protect the mouth and eyes when using sprays. Pump products are good replacements for hair sprays.

9. Plastics in toys or household products often contain BPA (Bisphenol A), Phthalates and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). When buying plastic products, the recycling symbols with the 1, 2, 4 and 5 numbers should be chosen, whenever possible.

10. Tap water may contain contaminants such as radioactive substances and industrial waste. To eliminate toxins from tap water, use a water purifier.

Awareness of these hidden dangers is only the first step. We must reduce or eliminate these harmful substances from our homes by taking action immediately.

If you have any concerns and you want to have an inspection or air sampling done in your home then INSPECT IT ALL is always available. Contact us anytime!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

6 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality at Home

Tips to clear the air  and find your way to better health

Animal dander, dust mites, mould, pollen—it’s all right there in the air, not to mention your bath towels, bedding, and furniture. These particles can exacerbate respiratory symptoms, bronchitis, and asthma for people with such conditions. It’s no wonder that of respondents to a 2016 survey by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies who reported having healthy-home concerns; almost 70 percent cited indoor air quality as their top worry. There’s no silver-bullet solution, but these do-it-yourself measures will go a long way toward easier breathing.

Control Moisture

Use an air conditioner (with a clean filter) or a dehumidifier to help keep things dry in the basement and other damp spaces, where mites and mold tend to thrive.

Air It Out

Open windows when weather permits and turn on exhaust fans at other times to remove indoor pollutants. You can also use portable or whole-house air purifiers that have a clean-air delivery rate of more than 350 or a minimum efficiency reporting value of more than 10.

Cut Down on Toxins

Instead of ammonia and bleach, try milder cleaning substances; a 50-50 solution of water and vinegar can be used to clean windows. The solution can even cut through grease and mildew. And purchase items such as paint, paint strippers, and adhesive removers in small quantities so that you’re not storing partially used containers. Even closed, these products can emit gaseous volatile organic compounds, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Test Your Home

Houses built before the late 1970s may have been constructed with toxic materials such as asbestos, and homes in certain parts of the country are more likely to contain radon, a colorless, odorless gas that increases the risk of lung cancer. Testing is the only way to detect radon; check the map at to see whether you’re in a high-radon area. A radon level of 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) indicates that you’ll need to fix the problem through a qualified radon-mitigation contractor, according to the EPA, though even lower levels carry some risk.

Vacuum Regularly

It’s a simple way to help control airborne particulates: Vacuums suck up dust that settles on carpets, furniture, and other surfaces. Choose a top-rated one that cleans while minimizing emissions back into the air. You’ll need a full-sized vacuum for deep carpet cleaning and one that also has HEPA filters, an extra layer of protection for allergy sufferers. For day-to-day maintenance, you might consider a robotic vacuum. It can scoot around your home sucking up dirt and other surface debris while you’re out living your life.

Make Your Bedroom an Allergen-Proof Zone

Encase box springs, mattresses, and pillows in covers made from woven microfiber fabrics (with a pore size no greater than 6 micrometers) designed to keep them free of dust mites and animal dander. Wash your bed sheets weekly in hot water and dry on high heat. If you have a high-efficiency top-loader, choose a low spin speed when washing waterproof fabrics to prevent them from trapping water and causing the drum to become unbalanced.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Lead Paint Common Sense

Contact Inspect it All if you want your home inspected or
tested for lead paint. 
Since 1978, lead-based paint has been banned in the United States, so there is practically no risk in newer homes, except from older painted furniture. Homes built between 1950 and 1978 are likely to have lead-based paint, while ones built before 1950 almost certainly have lead-based paint. 

Lead was used in all kinds of paint, so any older, painted surface is suspect. Cracked or peeling paint poses the most obvious threat. 

There is also risk when an older painted surface is sanded, scraped or sawed as part of a painting, repair or improvement project. In addition, windows can be problems because friction in the sashes slowly grinds up layers of old paint–some of which may contain lead. The resulting contamination can be easily inhaled or ingested.

Lead tends to build up in the body causing a wide variety of mental and physical health problems. The risk is greatest for children under seven and for pregnant women, but lead is bad for everyone. In fact, more ill effects are being discovered all the time.  One long-term strategy for minimizing the problem is to maintain all painted surfaces so that older paints don’t get a chance to crack and peel.

Lead Paint Containment

Anytime a repair or improvement project involving cutting, sanding or scraping of older painted surfaces is going to take place, try to seal off the area with plastic tarps. This way the dust cannot travel indiscriminately throughout the house or yard. When the job is finished, the tarps should be carefully folded and discarded. Use a spray bottle of water to wet surfaces in order to minimize airborne dust levels.

Some power tools, such as sanders, can now be purchased with built-in vacuum systems that capture the dust as it is created. To be effective against lead, the vacuum system must be marked as being of the HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter) type.

Personal Protection Against Lead Paint

If you are going to spend time in the work zone, you should wear a respirator with a HEPA filter. A regular face mask won’t do much good.  Also, if there is a lot of dust or if you’re certain contains lead, consider wearing disposable coveralls.  If you don’t wear disposable coveralls, remove all work clothes as you leave the work area and wash them separately from other clothes.  Generally, you want to keep dust levels at a minimum. After any kind of work has been done, it becomes critical to clean up thoroughly and immediately. The best strategy is to use a high phosphate detergent like TSP (trisodium-phosphate, available at hardware and paint stores) or automatic dishwasher soap and thoroughly wipe all surfaces.

Remember to never use a standard vacuum cleaner, as it just stirs up the dust and redistributes it more widely throughout the house. Only HEPA vacuum cleaners are effective for picking up and trapping lead paint dust.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thermal Imaging Saves Time and Money

Inspect it All uses Thermal Imaging with every inspection
that we do for our customers. 
Many innovative technologies developed for security, military and space exploration applications later find their way into industry applications that benefit us every day. That is certainly the case with thermal imaging. Breakthroughs in the late 1990s enabled manufacturers of thermal imaging cameras to marry an uncooled detector to earlier TI cameras, so that lower costs of what is technically known as a microbolometer could be brought to market. One of the major advantages of the microbolometer is that it has no moving parts and is therefore less susceptible to breakdowns. It is also less expensive to produce which allowed thermal imaging camera manufacturers to bring the price of their products down considerably. 

Since that time, thermal imaging technology has allowed Inspect it All technicians to check for water intrusion without cutting through drywall or tearing up carpet. Its use has been a cost and time saver in locating and cost-effectively repairing water damage. Today, Inspect it All technicians use this fascinating  technology in many other beneficial ways, quickly and easily showing home owners, home buyers and realtors more vivid photographic evidence of any issues. We include our images in your report. Today’s thermal imaging detects failing electrical circuits and breakers as well as leaks in concrete foundations.

Does it save time – yes! Does it save money – lots! Can it help you and us better serve home and business owners in their time of need – of course! Inspect it All technicians are fully trained and equipped to bring the benefits of modern thermal imaging to every inspection, speeding up the process and saving time and money. Never hesitate to ask for this innovative technology when and wherever it can serve your needs.