News

Clocks spring forward - March 9, 2014

posted Mar 8, 2014, 7:51 PM by Barry Relf   [ updated Mar 8, 2014, 8:00 PM ]

 
 
Most Americans and Canadians set their clocks 1 hour forward on March 9, 2014 and move the clocks 1 hour back on the first Sunday in November.

This is a good time to do the following:
  1. Check you furnace filter and change it if required. See article on furnace filters
  2. Check your Ground Fault Circuit Interupter receptacles. See article on GFCI's
  3. Check you smoke alarms and change the batteries if required. See article of Smoke Alarms"Change Your Clock - Change You battery"
  4. Check you carbon monoxide detectors and change te batteries if required. See article on carbon Monoxide Detectors

Replace your furnace filter

posted Mar 6, 2014, 6:48 PM by Barry Relf

 
Replace your furnace filter regularly

Your forced air furnace filter plays an important role in maintaining the air quality in your home. Checking and replacing the furnace air filter is one of those chores most people know they're supposed to do, but few remember.

Check our blog for the whole article

 

Learn How Smoke Alarms Can Save Lives

posted Feb 25, 2014, 4:51 PM by Barry Relf   [ updated Feb 25, 2014, 4:52 PM ]

Inspection by 42 Home Inspections - Smoke Alrm with expiry label - (Ottawa Home Inspections)
 
Check out the latest blog entry Smoke Alarms Save Lives!
 

The Safe House PDF

posted Feb 18, 2014, 6:45 PM by Barry Relf   [ updated Feb 21, 2014, 5:10 AM ]

The Safe Home - Ottawa Home Inspection

 
Check out this latest PDF of useful home safety information prepared by InterNACHI.
 

Here is a taste of the infomation available in this 226 page PDF:

CHILD SAFETY

12 SAFETY DEVICES TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN
CRIB SAFETY
FURNITURE AND TV TIP-OVER HAZARDS
ANTI-TIP BRACKETS
WINDOW FALLS
SAFETY GLASS
CHILD-PROOFING WINDOWS AND STAIRS
GARAGE DOORS AND OPENERS
TRAMPOLINE SAFETY
TREE SWINGS
TREEHOUSES

LADDERS AND STAIRWAYS

LADDER SAFETY
ATTIC PULL-DOWN LADDERS
STAIRWAYS
DECK SAFETY

SWIMMING POOL SAFETY

HOME POOLS
SWIMMING POOL BARRIERS
POOL ALARMS
POOL DRAIN HAZARDS
POOL WATER PATHOGENS
SAUNAS

HOME SECURITY

BURGLAR-RESISTANT HOMES
BUMP KEYS
THE 10 BEST PLACES TO HIDE VALUABLES IN YOUR HOME
WINDOW BARS
SAFE ROOMS (PANIC ROOMS)

FIRE SAFETY

DRYER VENT SAFETY
PILOT LIGHTS
HEARTHS AND HEARTH EXTENSIONS
HOLIDAY SAFETY
FIRESTOPS
CLOTHES CLOSET LIGHTING
BARBEQUE (BBQ) SAFETY
KEROSENE HEATERS
ATTACHED GARAGE FIRE CONTAINMENT
NON-CONFORMING BEDROOMS
WINDOW WELLS
FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
SMOKE ALARMS
FIRE SPRINKLERS
HOUSE NUMBERS

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

ALUMINUM WIRING
KNOB-AND-TUBE WIRING
UNGROUNDED ELECTRICAL RECEPTACLES
GROUND-FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTERS (GFCIS)
ARC-FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTERS (AFCIS)
ELECTRIC FENCES
GENERATORS

ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS

ASBESTOS
ASBESTOS CEMENT SIDING
LEAD FACTS
FORMALDEHYDE
CARBON MONOXIDE
BACKDRAFTING
FIREPLACE FUEL
VENTLESS FIREPLACES
MOLD
CENTRAL HUMIDIFIERS
BATHROOM VENTILATION
SEWER GASES
PESTICIDES
PET ALLERGENS
GREYWATER
BACKFLOW PREVENTION
CARPETED BATHROOMS
CHINESE DRYWALL
HOME HEATING OIL TANKS
UNDERGROUND FUEL STORAGE TANKS
COMPOST PILE HAZARDS
HANTAVIRUS
PLANTS AND INDOOR AIR QUALITY

MOTHER NATURE

EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS
TORNADO INSPECTIONS
WIND MITIGATION
WINDBREAKS
TREE DANGERS
LIGHTNING
POISON IVY, OAK AND SUMAC
RODENTS
BED BUGS
VENOMOUS PESTS
SNOW GUARDS
DEFENSIBLE SPACE
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

ELDERLY SAFETY

AGING IN PLACE
AGING-IN-PLACE CHECKLIST
ANTI-SCALD VALVES

 

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)

posted Apr 18, 2013, 6:54 PM by Barry Relf   [ updated Feb 21, 2014, 5:11 AM ]

 
GFCI - Ottawa Home Inspector

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters are safety features in your home electrical system. These outlets and devices reduce the risk of severe or fatal electric shock by monitoring for electrical current loss/leaks or "ground faults". If the outlet notices a leak (this is measured by 6 milliamps or more of the electrical current leaving the device is not returning), they are designed to shut off the electricity to protect you from being electrocuted. By detecting dangerous current flow and instantly shutting off power, ground fault circuit interrupters save hundreds of lives every year. 

Where to use them

 Anywhere close to water. They are typically near kitchen sinks, in bathrooms near sinks, tubs, whirlpool and showers, exterior outlets, garages, hot tubs and near laundry tubs.

Where not to use them

Some areas that you may not want a GFCI are: sump pump, freezer, fridge and sewage ejector. If the GFCI trips, it could have costly impacts to your home, especially a sump pump.

Different Types of GFCIs

GFCIs can be special breakers in your electrical panel (look for a Test button) or special receptacles (outlets) with Test and Reset buttons. Often you can find the letters “GFI” or “GFCI” on them.

Circuit Breaker:
 A Circuit breaker GFCI is installed in the electrical panel box. This not only allows the GFCI to protect selected circuits that may encounter a ‘ground-fault,’ but it will also trip when there is an electric short or overload. GFCI circuit breakers feature a "test" button on the front that you can use to test that it's working properly. This is the same sort of feature you find on GFCI receptacles (see below). After you press the "test" button you will have to reset the breaker to turn the circuit back on. The curly white wire pre-attached to a GFCI breaker must be tied into your breaker panel neutral bar when installed by a qualified electrical contractor. Note: When you test, this will disconnect the power to everything on that circuit until you reset the breaker.

GFCI Circuit Breaker

Receptacle:
This is the most common type used. This type of GFCI fits into a standard outlet box and protects against "ground faults". This ensures that any electrical device plugged into an outlet is protected from "ground faults".

Portable GFCI:
These units can be plugged into an outlet and in turn, the electrical device is plugged into the GFCI. This adds extra protection to plugged in devices when a circuit breaker or receptacle circuit GFCI is not in use. Keep in mind that portable GFCIs should only be used on a temporary basis and should be tested prior to use.


How to Test

#1 : Use a Circuit tester To test the GFCI with a circuit tester, plug in the tester and push its TEST BUTTON (see below). If the power to the outlet goes off, the GFCI is working. Press the GFCI reset button to restore power. If the power doesn't go off, the GFCI should be replaced.

#2 : Press the reset button Push its test button. If the power goes off to the outlet, the GFCI is working. Press the GFCI reset button to restore power. If the power doesn't go off, the GFCI should be replaced. Note: The reset button alone won't tell you if a pre-2006 GFCI outlet is still working properly - you'll need to check it with # 1 above.

Test once a month and after thunderstorms.


When to replace

When older units are tripping often or when the test fails. A reliable way to check an older GFCI is to use a circuit tester that has its own GFCI test button (sold at many DYI centers and hardware stores). GFCIs can fail or become damaged and cease to function correctly. GFCIs devices can be damaged by lightning or electrical surges

All GFCIs manufactured after mid-2006 are designed to tell you when they fail. The vast majority indicate failure by shutting off power permanently. So someday your GFCI (and any other outlets connected to it) may simply stop delivering power and the GFCI will need to be replaced.

References

http://www.cpsc.gov/Regulations-Laws--Standards/Voluntary-Standards/Topics/Ground-Fault-Circuit-Interrupters/

http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/offerings/perspectives/consumer/productsafety/groundfault/

 
Testing of GFCI receptacles are standard part of Inspected by 42 home inspections.
 

Keep an eye on those foundation cracks

posted Apr 1, 2013, 9:42 AM by Barry Relf   [ updated Feb 21, 2014, 5:14 AM ]

Foundation Crack - Ottawa Home Inspection

 
As mentioned in the Spring Maintenance tips, cracks in your foundation walls are easy spots for water to enter your home . Monitoring the condition of the cracks is necessary to prevent water from entering the basement. Minor cracks may seem harmless, but they can quickly become problems and can result in high repair costs. Larger cracks should be assessed and repaired as required by a professional.

 

Inspected by 42 Home Inspections - foundation crack

Inspected by 42 Home Inspections - foundation crack

If you discover minor cracks on your foundation walls, you could be in danger of your basement leaking. Here are a few things you can do to:

  • Inspect your foundation often and call a professional if the gap is larger or appears to be growing in size.
  • Inspect your downspouts and extensions. Make sure your downspout extensions will direct the water from your roof (4-6 feet) to the lawn and not along the side of your home near the foundation. When the water is being absorbed by the grass, it reduces the amount of water trying to penetrate through the foundation.

  • Add downspout extensions

  • Make sure the water from your downspouts is draining on to your own property, not on to your neighbours or City owned property
  • Maintain proper lot grading. Always slope the landscaping along the side of your home towards the lawn or away from the foundation, that way there is less water trying to enter the cracks in the foundation.
  • Maintaining/replacing the weeping tiles is another way you can deter water from entering the basement through the cracks. Mind you this is not an expensive task.

The best method of defence to a leaking foundation is to properly seal or repair the cracks. This will greatly reduce the amount of water that may enter the basement.

See these other Resources:

http://www.nationalpost.com/Mike+Holmes+Cracks+shrinkage/3316106/story.html - Horizontal cracks

http://www.crackbuster.ca/articles3/types-of-foundation-cracks/ - Types of foundation cracks

http://realestate.msn.com/is-that-crack-serious-foundation-issues-101 - foundation cracks 101

http://inspectapedia.com/structure/FoundationCracks.htm - diagnose foundation cracks

Inspected by 42 Home Inspections - Kanata and Ottawa surrounding area

11 Spring Maintenance Tips

posted Mar 19, 2013, 7:19 PM by Barry Relf

Spring is just around the corner. It`s time to start thinkimg about some home maintenance. Regular maintenance protects your home investment, extends the life of systems and can reduce your operating costs. It makes sense to do as much home maintenance as you can to save yourself money and keep your home in tip top shape. Below are some suggested maintenance activities:

1. Eaves and Downspouts

Clean debris from eavestroughs and downspouts. Check for loose or leaky eavestroughs, check that they are clean and free of leaves, branches and other debris that could cause them to clog or overflow. Make sure downspouts drain 4 to 6 feet away from the foundation Poor drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space.

2. Air Conditioning

Remove the cover and schedule service (power on if needed). Check the exterior unit coils and clean as required. Clean coils will allow the AC unit to operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels.

3. Furnace Humidifier

Turn off the power and water; drain and clean filters. Close the bypass damper at the furnace on units with central air conditioning.

4. Roof and Shingles

From the ground, use binoculars to examine the roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. Shingles that are cracked, buckled, loose or are missing granules will need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys should be checked and repaired by a qualified roofing contractor. If your roof looks like the one in the photo above, it`s time to budget for roof replacement.

5. Clothes Dryer Exhaust Vent

Clean the clothes dryer exhaust vent and space under the dryer. Remove all lint, dust, and pieces of material. Check the exterior vent cover and replace any broken or missing louvers. A clogged vent can reduce your dryer’s efficiency and create a fire hazard.

6. Heat Recovery Ventilator (also known as HRV)

Clean and/or replace the heat recovery ventilator filyrtd as needed. The filters should be cleaned at least every two months. Also check the drain line is free of blockages. Check your user manual if you are not sure how to do this.

7. Driveway, Walkways, Patios

Check and repair any cracked, broken or uneven driveways, walkways and patios to provide a safe level walking surface.

8. Window and Door Trim

Check the trim around windows and doors. Repair or paint them before the spring rains can do more damage to the exposed wood and openings. Repair loose or missing caulk from around windows and doors.

9. Exterior Hose Bibs (faucets)

Check the outside hose bibs (faucets) for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, there is a good chance that the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be repaired or replaced. While you're at it, check the garden hose for dry rot. (do this only after all danger of frost has passed)

10. Foundation

Examine the foundation walls for cracks, leaks or signs of moisture, and repair as required. If cracks in the foundation exist, routine caulking won't do the job. You'll want to hire a foundation specialist, who can employ a two-part epoxy injection system that will bond those cracks chemically depending on the size of the crack.

11. Sump Pump

If you have a sump pump, ensure sump pump is operating properly before the spring thaw sets in. Ensure discharge pipe is connected and allows water to drain 4 to 6 feet away from the foundation. Having a backup ready is a good plan.

Once you've finished, sit back, relax, and feel proud of the great work you've done. Inspected by 42 - Home Inspections also provides maintenance inspections. If you want a detailed to do list. Give Barry a call today at 613-799-3698.

Low Level Photography

posted Mar 12, 2013, 5:28 PM by Barry Relf   [ updated Mar 12, 2013, 5:32 PM ]

 
We are now offering a low level photography service, also known as mast photography.  Since we often use this pole and remote camera setup to inspect roofs that are not otherwise accessible, we thought we might as well offer the use of it as part of our service offerings.
 
 
 

Prevent Kitchen Range Tip Over

posted Mar 7, 2013, 4:30 AM by Barry Relf

Anti-Tip

THE CAUSE

Free-standing kitchen ranges and even built-in ranges can tilt forward when too much weight is placed on an open oven door.  This can result in death or serious injuries from being trapped under the range, not to mention scalds and burns caused by hot food and liquids falling from the cook top.

This type of accident could happen to anyone, small children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to accidental kitchen range tipping. Parents should  supervise children when they are in the kitchen and educate them about the safe use of the range. A small child may stand on an open oven door in order to see what is cooking on the stove top and accidentally cause the entire unit to fall on top of them. Never use the oven door for support or as a step.

THE IMPACT

Based on the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports, there were 143 incidents between 1980 and 2006 that involved kitchen range tip over as a result of not having an anti tip bracket. Thirty three deaths occurred, 19 children, and all 33 deaths were caused by the victim being trapped under the range that fell on them.  Anti-tip devices became a UL requirement June 3, 1991.

THE SOLUTION

For protection against kitchen range tip-over, ensure the anti-tip device (should be included with the range when you buy it) is installed. The kitchen range anti-tip bracket is a single or two piece metal bracket that secures the range to the floor, wall or cabinet and helps prevent it from tipping. Remember to re-engage the anti-tip device if the range is moved for cleaning or repair.

Contact your kitchen range manufacturer, your appliance dealer or an authorized service agent for information and assistance to obtain a replacement anti-tip device. 

 


Read your manual that is supplied with the kitchen range before using it range to make yourself aware of safety guidelines. Read the instructions on how to check your range for the proper installation of the anti-tip bracket/device.  Some important safety tips: 

  • Educate children on the proper and safe use of the range
  • Never use the door as a step stool, seat or as a support for body weight or other objects.
  • Keep the range door closed when not in use
  • Make sure the proper anti-tip device is correctly installed.
  • Check whether an anti-tip device has been installed. There are a couple, of ways this can be done on a range that is turned off and not hot:

          o  Take a look under the range to see if an anti-tip bracket is installed on the floor  (it may be attached to the rear leg of the range),

          o  Carefully pull the back of the range to see if it pulls off the floor,
               (Safety Note: do not tilt the range more than several inches off the floor!)

           o  It may also be possible to see a wall-mounted bracket by looking over the rear of  the range;

           o  some models with removable drawers can be removed and a flashlight can be used to search for the bracket.

In response to this danger, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) created standards in 1991 that require all ranges manufactured after that year to be capable of remaining stable while supporting 250 pounds of weight on their open doors. Manufacturers' instructions, too, require that anti-tip brackets provided be installed.  Ranges are susceptible to tipping if they are not equipped with anti-tip brackets.

YouTube videos of interest: 


RESOURCES:

Anti-Tip Brackets for Freestanding Ranges - InterNACHI

http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/135118/tipover2012.pdf

http://www.lawatyourfingertips.com/wp-content/uploads/casenotes/CNSTOVETIPPING.pdf

 

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