Category Archives: Blog Posts

Sometimes it is worth it to get WET!

Rain: During the next heavy rainstorm WITHOUT lightning, grab an umbrella and go outside.

Walk around your house and look around at the roof and property. A rainstorm is the perfect time to see how the roof, downspouts and grading are performing. Observe the drainage patterns of your entire property, as well as the property of your neighbor. The ground around your home should slope away from all sides. Downspouts, surface gutters and drains should be directing water away from the foundation.

One important maintenance task – is to monitor and maintain the drains and piping. Drains and piping should be open and clear of leaves, earth and debris. A garden hose can be used to check water flow, although its discharge cannot approximate storm conditions.

Cold Weather vacation Tips

cold-woman

I think many people in Calgary are looking for a break from the bitter cold…..are your bags packed????

What most people don’t know, is that you’ve made a promise to your insurer – that you will do certain things in the event you leave home for four or more days.
In essence, if you will be away for more than four days, you need to take some steps to ensure your insurance policy remains in force.

Here are some helpful tips:

– Forward your mail and stop newspaper delivery.
– Ask a trusted neighbor, relative or hire an agency to check on your home on a daily basis. I always leave a calendar sheet on the counter and have them initial each day – to prove they were actually there. Ask them to walk all the floors quickly to ensure all in order – with special focus on entry points, furnace and hot water tank. They can remove flyers and other items that may have been left at your door as well.
– Arrange for someone to proactively clear snow from your driveway and walkways.
– Turn on your alarm systems and motion-activated lights and set interior lights on timers.
– Secure valuables that you are not taking with you in a safe deposit box or other secure location.
– Shut off water to dishwashers and clothes washing machines (individual shut off valves).
– Set the temperature to a minimum – but leave the furnace running to prevent all pipes from freezing.
– Unplug all appliances and phones.
– Clean the home thoroughly before you leave, check for potential openings and remove all open food to discourage pests.
– Arrange for a trusted relative, neighbor or friend – to be available and have access to your house (and your travel plans) – in case of emergency.

Frost In Attics

Ventilation in a Canadian attic does very little to remove moisture when the temperature in the attic is below freezing. During that time, the moisture is in the form of Ice and the passing air simply won’t remove it — whether you have passive vents or power vents. When things warm up, if the collection of frost is not too heavy, it will melt and be taken away with the above freezing ventilation air. If there is too much frost or ice, it will drip down into the ceiling below before it manages to dry up.

Find the source of moisture

So if we have serious moisture build-up in an attic, we are forced to look for the source of the moisture since during the cold season, there is no practical way to get rid of it once it freezes in the attic. It surprises many people to learn that it is relatively rare that the water source is from the outside, although it could be due to bad flashing or ice damming. Much more common is that warm moist air escapes from the house below into the attic. This moisture laden air moves towards the vents but hits the freezing cold roof before getting to the vent and deposits its moisture — finally going out the vent quite dry. When you add a power vent or a turbine to a house that has this very common problem, the suction from the power vent will draw more air through the soffits, which does no good because it is freezing cold, and will draw more moist air from the house below — often increasing the quantity of ice in the attic rather than reducing it. Power vents and turbines do remove moisture as soon as the temperature is above freezing — but should not be functioning while it is colder. For this reason, turbines are rarely of any real use in our cold Canadian climate, although quite useful in the southern US.

Air leaks from the house

Where does this moisture laden air get into the attic? Through light fixtures. Through plumbing chases. Through electrical holes. Through cracks in the top of partition walls. Through any hole in the ceiling. Bathroom fans that do not exit outside are serious sources of moisture — even when the duct is exhausted out through the soffits because the warm moist air rises up and comes back into the attic. Serious moisture problems have to be solved by cutting off the source of moisture — sealing the house at the level of the ceiling. If you take a look in the attic on a freezing cold day — you should see the frost accumulation because it will be white. If you see is generalized all over — you have a generalized problem. If you see a cluster of it, look almost straight down and you will usually find a light fixture or some other hole to the house below. Seal off that hole so that the air cannot get into the attic, and you will cut off the moisture and not have to worry about trying to ventilate the moisture out.
Function of ventilation during the winter
In the cold of winter, the real function of attic ventilation is more to keep the roof frozen, to keep the snow on the roof from melting so it will not form ice cycles or ice dams on the lower edge of the roof. In the Spring, Summer and Fall, ventilation will help to keep an attic dry — but not in the Winter.

Priorities

Attic bypasses – are passageways for warm air to leak into the attic. A few common places to find these gaps are around furnace vents, plumbing vents, electrical boxes, and any bath fans into the attic. locating attic air leaks and sealing them is important to preventing moisture into the attic.
Lower the humidity in your home – Turn on your bathroom exhaust fan during showers and leave them on for a half hour after every shower.
Install an HRV or a continuous exhaust fan. Either one of these will dramatically lower humidity levels in a home.
Minimum passive ventilation, well distributed in the attic, is all the ventilation a Canadian attic needs. Air sealing between the attic and the house is more critical. The best ventilation system has continuous un-obstructed soffit vents that let air in all along the bottom of the roof, and then three or so passive vents high up on the roof, or better yet a continuous ridge vent.

Why You Should Have a Pre-Listing Inspection

As the seller, many people think that only the buyer has a home inspection – upon buying the home.

However, you as the seller can benefit from a pre-listing inspection because it avoids unnecessary problems down the road.  If you are selling your home, consider getting pre-listing  home inspection services.  See my website or call me for more details:

403-862-2230 or go to www.calgaryhomeinspections.com

pre home inspection

 

 

Get the Most out of Your Air Conditioning!

filter 2 filter

 

Summer is officially here, and the warm weather we had last weekend gave homeowners with air conditioners a chance to make sure their systems were still operating properly.  If your air conditioner isn’t cooling your home the way you expect it to, check on these simple maintenance items before calling out a professional to service your equipment.

The Air Filter

The single most important thing for homeowners to maintain is the air filter, and by “maintain” I mean “change religiously”.

The Condensing Coil, Condensing coils also need to be cleaned regularly.

Inspect all sides of your outdoor unit and clean the coils off annually, or as needed.

First day of summer!

summer in calgary

OK…we have had above average temperatures and it has “felt” like summer in Calgary (which I LOVE!)  However, the first true day of summer is today.

The day of the summer solstice is the longest day of the year.  The length of time elapsed between sunrise and sunset on this day is a maximum for the year.   There is about 14½ hours of daylight on this day.

Enjoy every minute….and don’t forget to wear sun screen!!

 

What a week….

people

In the past week – Fort McMurray has been in the headlines all over the world.  Fires have created unbelievable impact and damage – both physically and emotionally.  Yet every day, I read another positive and/or heart wrenching story, coming out of this tragic situation.  Firefighters, volunteers, neighbors, family, friends, co-workers and perfect strangers – coming together to do whatever is needed.  Donations pouring in from all over…money…food…water…gas….clothing…acts of kindness…anything needed – to get from one day to the next.  Makes me very proud to be an Albertan.

Know What You Are Getting – When You Hire a Home Inspector!

cmi

It is very important, that before you hire a Home Inspection Company, that you ask for these credentials.

All inspectors must have completed a minimum level of education. The regulation also sets out the requirements for home inspection contracts – and for the inspection report – that the inspector provides to the consumer.

Home inspection businesses must have:

a licence from the Government of Alberta

a bond or other form of security

errors and omissions insurance.

Home inspectors who are working for an inspection business must have a licence. To have a licence, a home inspector must:

  • be employed by a home inspection business
  • be a Registered Home Inspector (RHI) or Certified Master Inspector (CMI)

Please visit the Service Alberta web site – for more consumer tips on home inspections  http://www.servicealberta.ca/pdf/tipsheets/Hiring_a_Home_Inspector.pdf