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Healthy Home

5 Ways Mice Enter Your Home In the Fall

By | Healthy Home, Home Maintenance, Winterizing | No Comments

5 WAYS MICE ENTER YOUR HOME IN THE FALL

In the autumn there is no question about it, mice will find any means necessary to find shelter. This means that your home could be at risk of a mouse infestation. Mice are masters of finding any way in a building they can, this is because they are able to squeeze through holes the size of a dime! And because cracks and holes in your foundation, windows, and roof are inevitable, nearly every home is a candidate for mice infestations.

Mice are full of diseases and they can also do extensive damage to your home:

  • They can spread diseases such as hantavirus (deer mice), salmonella, and listeria through their urine, droppings, saliva and nesting materials.
  • Because mice breed year-round and able to produce five to ten litters per year, with an average of 6-8 babies per litter, you could have up to 60 mice gnawing at your furniture, rugs, and your walls (to name a few of their favourite treats).
  • They can burn your house down, literally. They love chewing on wires to keep their teeth short and to gain access to places that the wires may be blocking. Mice can chew through soft concrete, wood, drywall rubber, plastic pipes, insulation, aluminum and even gas lines. Expensive repairs!

Rodent proof your house, here are my top 4 suggestions:

1.  Caulking – Go around your house and seal off the cracks and holes

2.  Clean up debris around your house – especially dog poop

3.  Don’t leave garbage and recycling in your garage

4.  Weather-stripping, especially your garage door. Mice will stay out

Happy Fall Season!

This article was brought to you by:

Bill Martin
Martin’s Pest Control
www.martinspestcontrol.com
(403) 460-7213

Important Questions to Ask During Your Home Inspection

By | Healthy Home, Home Inspections, Home Maintenance, Uncategorized | No Comments

At Bocc Home Inspections we like to help educate our clients on the important items of their new home. We do this through including tips and photographs in the report, marking important shut offs with custom tags, demonstrating how and where the following items are within each home.

Here is a list of questions we suggest to ask during your home inspection:

  • Grading: Is the grade around my entire home sloped away from my foundation walls and window wells?
  • Smoke alarms: How do I test the smoke detector?
  • Ventilation: What is a ventilation switch? Should it be on or off? How does it work with the heating system?
  • Furnace: Where is the disconnect breaker or switch located for the furnace?
  • Water: Where is the main water shut off? Kitchen and bathroom sink water shut off (if present)? Toilet water shut off?
  • Electrical: Where is the electrical panel? How do I turn breakers on and off and how do I reset them?
  • Detectors: Where are the smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, arc fault circuit interrupters and ground fault circuit interrupters? Where are the instruction manuals that are provided with these devices?
  • Eavestroughs: Are the eavestrough down spouts connected and directed away from my home and not towards my neighbour?

At Bocc Home Inspections we like to answer these questions and provide tips on these extra things to help ensure our clients can have a healthy and sound home, Because Our Company Cares For first time home buyers we also include a home maintenance manual as an extra resource for their journey of homeownership.

Recycling

By | Happy Home, Healthy Home, Uncategorized | No Comments

Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

We are all well versed in the 3 R’s, though it is important to keep in mind that there is an order of importance in the 3 R’s: it is best to look to reduce, reuse or repurpose and then recycle what we can. With the recent changes to waste management in Airdrie we have been reviewing how our household manages waste, and needless to say there is quite a bit of room for improvement.  Sure, we were recycling bottles, plastics, cardboard and paper, but found that there were many more simple changes we could implement to cut down our waste, such as extra recycling bins throughout the house, a compost bin under our kitchen sink, re-purposing old items and donating items to be reused.

Cities are helping us make recycling more convenient through recycling and compost pick ups right from our door.  Are you looking for way to cut down what your household sends to the landfill, but are looking for more information and support to do so? It leads us to question, what items are recyclable or compostable? Which items needs to go to the landfill? I was surprised to find out that fast food packaging can go into compost, as well as meats. Take a look at these images to help guide you along your way to reducing the items your household sends to the landfill:

Upcoming Changes For Airdrie City Residents

Clear bags voted out

On March 20, 2017 City Council voted to remove clear bags from the Waste Management Bylaw.

Starting the week of April 3, you will be allowed one bag of garbage per week (can be any colour of bag). Bag tags for excess garbage bags can be purchased for $3/tag. A total of four bags can be placed out for collection each week (one bag included in your fees plus up to three tagged bags).

Care and Compassion Provision
Council also approved care and compassion provisions that include:

Diaper Exemption
Residents who apply for the diaper exemption will receive excess waste tags for one extra garbage bag each week for six months. The household must have two or more children under the age of four and this exemption must be re-applied for every six months. The application form will be available shortly.

Medical exemption

Residents who apply for the medical exemption will receive excess waste tags for one extra garbage bag each week for six months. This exemption must be re-applied for every six months. The application form will be available shortly.

Waste Audits
Council directed staff to determine levels of contamination by looking for organics and recyclable materials in residential garbage bags over the next year. The results of the waste audits will be presented to Council in 2018.

Reduced fees
Due to successful contract negotiations, the estimated costs for waste management programs came in lower than estimated. The increase from resident’s current utility bill will be $3.92 where the estimated cost was $6.44. This takes into account the savings from the closure of Westside Recycle Depot, the reduction of one bag per of garbage per week, and the decrease in staffing at the Eastside Recycle Depot. It also takes into account the added cost of curbside recycling collection and the reduced commodity revenue from the Eastside Recycle Depot.

Curbside Recycling
Starting the week of April 3, single family homes in Airdrie will start receiving curbside recycling collection. Along with the addition of a blue cart program, changes to garbage collection will be implemented including a reduction to one bag per week of garbage.

SOURCE: City of Airdrie Website – Waste & Recycling,  http://www.airdrie.ca/index.cfm?serviceID=29

For More Information, Check out These Links:

Which Bin? Search Tool to Determine Where to Put an Item (Airdrie): http://www.airdrie.ca/index.cfm?serviceID=1045

What Goes Where? (Calgary): http://www.calgary.ca/UEP/WRS/Pages/What-goes-where/Default.aspx

Details on City of Airdrie Waste & Recycling: http://www.airdrie.ca/index.cfm?serviceID=29

Items that Cannot Be Recycled (Calgary): http://www.calgary.ca/UEP/WRS/Pages/Recycling-information/Residential-services/Blue-cart-recycling/What-Cant-Be-Recycled.aspx

Collection Schedule (Airdrie): http://www.airdrie.ca/index.cfm?serviceID=1094

Creating Hygge In Your Home

By | Happy Home, Healthy Home, Home Beautification | No Comments

Creating Hygge In Your Home

Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a Danish word meaning “Cozy Living”

  • Comfort
  • Relax
  • Peace
  • Social

“Hygge inspires joyful living, simple pleasures, togetherness, peace and warmth. It celebrates family and friends and taking time for relaxing and recharging. Hygge embraces community and the everyday; it is sharing a meal at the kitchen table and sitting quietly by a roaring fire on a rainy night.”  – Krista Hermanson of Krista Hermanson Design

How can we create Hygge in our home? It is more than just design, it includes taking time out of our day to relax, recharge and connect in our home. I believe a space influences our feelings, mood and activities; so by creating a space conducive to these hygge activities, we will be off to a good start!

  • Textures (thick knitted pillows or blankets, soft throws, lush area rugs)
  • Natural items (wool, fur, raw wood, ceramics)
  • Your favorite photos & things that you love
  • Candles (or room diffusers)
  • Music
  • Delicious foods and drinks
  • New bubble bath & pajamas/loungewear
  • Time spent with friends & loved ones
  • A good book or boardgame
  • Take up a new hobby (turn off the TV and reconnect in a calming activity, ex: knitting, poetry, writing, journalling, or crossword puzzles)
  • Simplicity – indulge in the simple pleasures of life. No need for extravagance
  • Flowers & plants

Winterization for our Calgary Winters

By | Healthy Home, Home Inspections, Home Maintenance, Winterizing | No Comments

Fall is the the best time to start winterizing your home before you find yourself with problems to fix in the middle of -20 weather.   Whether you choose to have a professional handle these items or if you are the do it yourself type of person, here’s a list of things you should consider addressing before winter.

Inside: 

Furnace Cleaning: A dirty furnace is less efficient and more likely to have mechanical issues. Have your furnace inspected and cleaned every 2 years (rather than 1) based on feedback from a HVAC Cleaning specialist. If you are in need of a recommendation, please don’t hesitate to contact us, we would be happy to refer you to a quality company.

Change Air Filter: For healthy, indoor air, change your air filter once every 4 to 6 weeks, and we recommend the less expensive filters as they allow more airflow which increases the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Vacuum Heating Vents: Take off the covers and hoses to your dryer, bathroom and stove vents and suction out lint and debris.  This will increase efficiency and decrease fire hazards.

Winterizing your A/C: It is best practice to cover your A/C in the winter season to prevent excess dirt, debris and mold from building up in the A/C unit and to extend the longevity of the A/C. As a fail-safe measure to protect yourself from turning on your A/C via your thermostat with the cover still on, we recommend removing or flipping the breaker on the exterior of the home beside the A/C.

Replace Batteries in Detectors: October is Fire Awareness Month so use it as a reminder to replace batteries in smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms and other safety instruments.

Attic Insulation: A quick way to see if your have enough insulation on the floor of your attic is to simply look across the floor of your attic.  If the insulation is level with or below your floor joists, more insulation is needed. There should be no low spots. Be sure not to cover any recessed light fixtures or soffit vents. Keep at least 3” away from lights (unless insulated ceiling rated). About 10-14” thick insulation or R -38 insulation is recommended.

Weatherstripping: Inspect the weather stripping around your doors to ensure it is in and as a good fit. There are generally one of three types: metal, foam plastic or plastic stripping. Check the metal for dents, bends and straightness.  Check foam plastic for resiliency, and plastic stripping for brittleness and cracks. Make sure it is securely held in place. Proper weather stripping is very helpful to prevent cold drafts, energy loss and other issues. If you are having condensation build-up on the interior of your windows this may mean that you have your humidity level too high, it should be between 30-40%. It also may mean that you are not getting adequate air flow.  Be sure to frequently open your blinds throughout your home to allow airflow in there areas to prevent excess moisture and prevent mold growth.

Water Heater: Drain this annually to help prevent any build up of scale inside the heater.

Outside

Drain Outside Faucets: Water pipes can freeze, swell and burst in the winter months, causing significant damage.  Turn the external shut valve off and open the faucet until the drip stops. And if you can find a place for your hoses indoors then bring them in to extend their life expectancy.

Downspouts: Use a ladder, gloves and a garbage bag to remove debris from the past year. Run water from a hose through the downspouts to ensure they are unclogged. Ensure downspouts are down and have extensions to discharge the water away from the foundation of your home.

Install Gutter Guards: Gutter guards are a good idea to minimize the amount of debris accumulated, but you’ll still need to check for clogs once a year in the fall.

Lawn Equipment: Run all gas powered lawn equipment until the fuel is gone.  Sitting inside your machine over the winter can cause avoidable wear/tear and cause fire hazards.

Seal Foundation: Repair and seal holes with a quality caulking material. Small cracks and holes in foundations are inevitable and can potentially lead to further damage if left untreated.

Inspect Roof Shingles: Shingles protect everything in the home so don’t overlook it. Also, include the metal flashing at all the roof joints to look for signs of leaking, rotting or damage.

Additional Resources:

• City of Calgary Inspections and maintenance for homeowners

• ATCO Gas

 

We love feedback!  Let us know what you do to winterize your home!

Writing Credit

We would like to thank Tyler Baptist (Realtor) for collaborating with us on writing this important blog on winterization. Tyler is a very personable, professional and passionate realtor here in the Calgary Area. Tyler Baptist, also know as the ‘Divorce Realtor’, specializes in easing the separation process for couples through providing resources and her experience to help ensure both individuals can come out on top.

Tyler Baptist

As a CENTURY 21® Real Estate professional, I am dedicated to providing you with the highest quality service possible. My personal knowledge of the Calgary and Airdrie Real Estate market is combined with the power of the CENTURY 21 brand – the most recognized name in Real Estate today.

Let me assist you in finding your dream home, in a neighbourhood that is right for you, and in the price range you want. Or if you are interested in selling a property, I also have the expertise to help you get the fastest sale possible and at the best price.

I look forward to the opportunity of working for you!

New Home Warranty

By | Healthy Home, Home Inspections, Home Maintenance, Uncategorized | No Comments

New Home Warranty

What is a New Home Warranty?

The Alberta government now ensures that there is a minimum of a “1-2-5-10” coverage on a newly built homes who building permit application was submitted after February 1, 2014.  Prior to this legislation home builders often offered varying degrees of a new home warranty, and may continue to offer higher standards than the minimum “1-2-5-10” coverage.

There are a number of warranty providers for home builders to choose from, it is good to know which provider your builder has partnered with. Familiarize yourself with your warranty provider, key warranty dates, and steps to take if you ever need to make a claim. Prior to expiry, we encourage having a licensed & certified professional inspector help ensure that your home’s major systems are built properly through a top to bottom new home warranty inspection.

What is Covered?

1-2-5-10 Coverage

1 Year: Labor and Materials
This includes everything within a home, even the cosmetic items such as trim, flooring and fixtures.

2 Year: Distribution Systems
Distribution systems includes your Heating, Plumbing and Electrical.

5 Year: Building Envelope
The shell of your home, such as wall framing, window installation, siding and roof.

10 Year: Structural Elements
Structural elements that are load bearing or that can cause structural damage such as the footings, beams, floor systems, foundation walls, framing and roof trusses.

What Can We Do For You?

Having a licensed residential inspector ensures that the structural deficiencies that the common homeowner is unaware of will be found so any necessary fixes can be addressed while they are under the home warranty.

Once your home is built, you’re responsible for basic maintenance and upkeep, such as cleaning out eavestroughs and changing furnace filters. You’re also responsible for maintaining appropriate grading with any new landscaping work. Let us provide knowledge on the proper upkeep of the systems within your home to help ensure you can maintain the value of your home!

Request for New Home Warranty Inspection:

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Phone Number (required)

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Warranty Expiry Details

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7 Important Facts About Mold

By | Healthy Home, Home Inspections, Home Maintenance, Indoor Air Quality, Mold, Uncategorized | No Comments
  1. Mold Spores are Practically Everywhere

Mold spores occur in every home and are impossible to eliminate from inside your home. Mold spores are brought inside a home through our windows, doors, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. They also enter indoor spaces by attaching to our clothing, pets, shoes, bags and even our building materials!

The key to preventing mold growth is by controlling moisture levels in your home; an ideal humidity level is between 30 to 40%.

  1. Not all Mold is Bad

Not all mold is bad; in fact, mold has an important purpose in our eco-system to consume dead organic material. With that being said, it can also pose as health hazards when it begins growing in indoor environments. People react differently to mold based on the length of exposure, type of mold, respiratory system, their immunity and allergies. Children, pregnant women and elders are more prone to develop health symptoms.

  1. Why Does Mold Growth Happen Indoors

 Homes can be a perfect environment for mold to growth being that they have ample food sources for mold – building materials and water. Molds feeds on organic material, within a home tends to grow in areas of: wood & wood products, paper & paper-like products, fabric, drywall, leather, fabric, cement, carpet, and grout.

     4Is My Home at Risk for Mold

There is always a risk of some of the mold spores that are present in your home taking sprout and growing, given that they have their key ingredient for growth – moisture!

The commonly known sources of moisture include floods; backed-up sewers; leaky roofs and/or water leaks. Though there are also less familiarly know culprits, such as a humidifier (requires regular cleanings); damp basements or crawl spaces; house plants; steam from cooking and showers; wet clothes hung to dry indoors; inadequate air exchange; excessive humidity; and condensation (which is especially a problem during the winter, on poorly insulated surfaces).

In the presence of moisture, the ideal temperature and ample food, mold will begin growing within 24 to 48 hours.

Did You know? You should always run your bathroom fan for 2X the time you ran your shower?”

  1. Most Mold Is Hidden

Most people think their home does not have mold because they can not see it. This is a problem as most mold is hidden; it can often be discovered behind a leaky shower or tub, behind walls or attics to name a few.

Mold can be detected through smell, visual clues, and knowledge of the building history, and often requires trained professionals with the proper tools, experience and knowledge.

  1. What is Involved in A Mold Inspection?

The first step a mold inspector / indoor air quality specialist will conduct is an assessment to determine if mold may be an issue in a home. The professional will use information regarding building history, health of occupants, moisture readings, and conduct a visual inspection with the assistance of a thermal imaging to investigate for moisture problems and visible apparent mold.

The inspector may also collect mold samples, either with a swab test, tape sample or air quality test for lab analysis to determine the type of mold and spore count present.  The goal of these tests is to determine the extent of the mold problem to allow for recommendations to address the mold issue.

If the tests indicate that there mold is present, then the first step is to fix the source of the moisture problem before removing the mold and having the air cleaned with an ozone blasting treatment.

  1. Failure to Fix a Mold Problem Results in Reduced Property Value

Mold is a serious issue.  If left untreated, it continues to grow and deteriorate the building materials and impact the air quality in your home. Mold is a living organism, as long as it has the ideal living conditions and food sources, it will continue to strive. Failure to fix the underlying causes of mold and effectively removing the mold will lead to further structural damage and reduced property value.
Take the first step to protecting your greatest investment by taking our short online Air Quality Assessment to see whether there may be a mold or air quality problem in your home.

Questions about mold? Call us (403) 585-6279 or email us.  We look forward to helping you ensure your home is healthy and safe!

Rain Rain Go Away!

By | Healthy Home, Home Inspections, Home Maintenance, Mold, Uncategorized | No Comments

In light of recent heavy rainfalls in the Calgary area, we complied a short list of some areas for homeowners to inspect so you can best protect your largest asset–your home. Being a licensed home inspector specializing in waterproofing matters, we have conducted a number of moisture intrusion inspections for home owners recently to investigate the cause of water intrusion issues.  Some clients have minor leaks, while other clients will have extensive repairs to make due to poor waterproofing systems on their home. Water is a home’s worst enemy, and it is worth taking all efforts to keep it out of your home! After all water inside a home left neglected can lead to structural damage, mold or health issues. It is best to error on the side of caution and address any leaks immediately, finding the cause and preventing another leak from happening in the future.

Here are a few areas you can inspect yourself:

  1. Ensure all downspouts are down and draining away from the home (6-8ft). You may need to install extensions on your downspouts to express the rainfall away from your foundation.
  2. Check your downspouts and gutters for blockages and clean out any debris.
  3. Do a full walk around your home to inspect the grading surrounding your home’s foundation. To avoid water intrusion, the ground around your home needs to slope away from the house. Be a nice neighbor, and consider your neighbors grading and how your grading may affect their home’s chances for water intrusion.
  4. Frequently visit the basement within your home, and look for any wet spots; especially after a heavy rainfall.
  5. Inspect your window wells outside. Ensure the wash-rocks within the window well are 6” below the window ledge, and that the weeping tile system is clear for water passage.

For true peace of mind have a licensed home inspector conduct a full inspection of the basement, attic, flashing, roofing, siding, window wells, grading, and more… Home inspectors are equipped with trade tools to help uncovered deficiencies hidden to the naked eye.

A licensed home inspector who is certified to conduct moisture intrusion inspections is your best bet to protect your home from preventable and costly water leaks! Call Adam with Bocc Home Inspections today at (403) 585-6279 to book a comprehensive moisture intrusion inspection, complete with the use of thermal imaging camera and moisture meter. If you have any questions regarding what you found during your own mini-inspection, please do not hesitate to reach us.

Helping ensure healthy and sound family homes.

Bocc Home Inspections Ltd.
www.boccinspections.com
info@boccinspections.com
(403) 585-6279

Plants and Indoor Air Quality

By | Healthy Home, Home Maintenance, Indoor Air Quality, Uncategorized | No Comments

Plants and Indoor Air Quality

by Nick Gromicko and Kate Tarasenko (InterNACHI)
Raising plants indoors is a home-healthy move because of their ability to clean the air of carbon dioxide, but their benefits don’t stop there. According to several studies, the average houseplant can remove formaldehyde, benzene, and a host of other toxins that plague typical indoor air. Golden Pothos
It may come as a surprise, but indoor air is often much more polluted than the air outside. Off-gassing from paints, adhesives, and even unsuspected items, such as clothing and tap water, infuse the air we breathe will a host of chemicals, many of which are proven carcinogens. Newer, tighter homes are especially problematic, since they limit the amount of fresh air that can make its way into the interior. Compound this with the average time that citizens of developed nations spend indoors –- approximately 90% -– and the need for remediation becomes clear. Answering this need can be as simple as the addition of green, leafy plants to the living space.

Interesting Facts

  • Removal of environmental airborne toxins with the aid of plants is called phytoremediation.
  • Plants can reduce stress, increase work performance, and reduce symptoms of ill health.

Study Performed by NASA

While researching the ability of plants to cleanse air in space stations, NASA made some fascinating and important discoveries concerning the role that houseplants play here on Earth. They tested the ability of a variety of plants to remove common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. The toxins tested include:

  • benzene:
    • found in petroleum-based indoor coatings, gasoline, inks, oils, paints, plastics, rubber, cleaning solutions, plastics, and exterior exhaust fumes emanating into  buildings;
    • an irritant and probable carcinogen. Inhalation of benzene has been reported to cause dizziness, weakness, euphoria, headache, nausea, blurred vision, respiratory diseases, tremors, irregular heartbeat, liver and kidney damage, paralysis and unconsciousness.
  • trichloroethylene (TCE):
    • found in a wide variety of products, such as inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives;
    • is a potent liver carcinogen.
  • formaldehyde:
    • found in virtually all indoor environments due to its widespread use in many kinds of products. Specifically, it may be found in:
      • urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI), particleboard and pressed-wood products;
      • paper products, such as grocery bags, waxed papers, facial tissues and paper towels;
      • common household cleaning agents;
      • stiffeners, wrinkle-resisters, water-repellents, fire-retardants and adhesive binders in floor coverings, carpet backings and permanent-press clothes; and
      • heating and cooking fuels, such as natural gas and kerosene, and cigarette smoke.
    • Formaldeyde causes watery eyes, nausea and wheezing. More seriously, the chemical is classified as carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
  • toluene:
    • found in adhesives, disinfectants, rubber, printing ink, lacquers, and leather tanners;
    • Symptoms in low doses include sleepiness, confusion, weakness, memory loss, nausea, loss of appetite, and hearing and color-vision loss. High levels of toluene may cause light-headedness, unconsciousness, and death.

In the NASA testing, flowering plants, such as chrysanthemums and gerbera daisies, effectively removed benzene from the chamber’s atmosphere. Golden pothos, spider plants and philodendron were the most effective in removing formaldehyde molecules. Other top performers were red-edged dracaena and the Peace Lilly. The rest of the plants tested, with the exception of Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestum), were effective at removing at least one of the chemicals from the air. NASA researchers found that plants absorb airborne substances through tiny openings in their leaves, but roots and soil bacteria are also part of the purification process.

The study concluded that in an 1,800-square-foot house, occupants should incorporate 15 to 18 houseplants in 6- to 8-inch diameter containers to improve air quality. The larger and more vigorously they grow, the better.

India Study

The government of India published the results of a groundbreaking study in September of 2008 that analyzed the effects of certain These plants are excellent enhancers of indoor air qualityspecies of plants on indoor air quality. Three plant species –- areca palm, pothos (known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue), and the Money Plant -– were tested for 15 years at the Paharpur Business Centre and Software Technology Incubator Park in New Delhi. The building was 20 years old and 50,000 square feet, and it housed more than 1,200 plants for 300 workers. The study found that the building had the healthiest indoor air in the city. Specifically, compared to other buildings in New Delhi, the building showed reductions of:

  • eye irritation by 52%;
  • respiratory conditions by 34%;
  • headaches by 24%;
  • lung impairment by 12%; and
  • asthma by 9%.
In addition, energy costs were reduced by 15% because less outside air infiltration was required. Worker productivity showed an increase of 20%, perhaps as a result of fewer sick days and increased blood-oxygen levels.
Is There a Downside to Indoor Plants?
Some controversy exists regarding how healthy it is to keep plants indoors.  In a recent paper about plants and indoor air quality, co-authored by BuildingEcology.com editor Hal Levin, it was concluded that the positive effects of keeping plants indoors were negligible, at best, and, in some cases, it could possibly be harmful.
The authors conclude that there are “significant methodological issues” for previous research conducted.  The positive gains, they argue, were likely the result of the potting soil and its abilities to cleanse or aerate indoor air, rather than the leafs of the plants themselves.  Additionally, they point out, some of these earlier studies were conducted under circumstances that do not reflect real-world conditions, so testing results can be skewed.  Experiments conducted in a sealed chamber, such as some of those performed by NASA, will have very different results than one conducted where ventilation rates mimic those in the average office building.  And, these days, there are many interpretations for what an “average” work environment is.  Every workplace is different, and every variable — from the number of people, the level of ventilation, other airborne pollutants (such as personal scents, cleaning supplies, office printers, etc.) can confuse any reasonable measurements, making an across-the-board recommendation realistically difficult.
Additionally, keeping plants indoors will affect the moisture content of the air, which must be regulated so as not to promote mold growth.  Some people may have allergies to certain flowering plants, and moisture, along with airborne pollutants that are not effectively mitigated by plants, can exacerbate such problems for building occupants.
Finally, as with any study promoting a point of view, consumers should be wary of who is behind it.  Just as some of the most publicized research on heart health in the 1990s recommended eating oatmeal every morning was paid for by Quaker Oats, some plant studies have been scrutinized for their funding sources, as well.
Inspectors should note the presence of indoor plants, and whether their containers are leaking, or if there are water stains.  Over-watering indoor plants can lead to cosmetic and even moisture-related structural problems, as well as mold and other serious indoor air quality issues.
In summary, plants can generally be used to enhance the aesthetic environment and the air quality inside buildings, but care must be taken to account for potential allergies, the use of fertilizers and pesticides indoors, adequate ventilation and air flow, and the level of moisture maintained for the plants — all factors that can affect the building and its occupants.

3 Main Areas to Monitor to Avoid Water Leaks

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Property Drainage

Most (if not all) moisture-related problems could become serious and expensive if not take care of quickly and completely. Here is some basic information for homeowners so that smart decisions and appropriate actions can be made to keep their homes dry and comfortable. In this article, we will focus on what the monitor for when it comes to roofs, gutters and downspouts and grading.

A rainstorm is perfect time to see how the roof, downspouts and grading are performing. When this system is not functioning as it should, water build up can occur and compromise the foundation and exterior protection of a home. A home inspector will inspect for proper water drainage systems at the time of an inspection, though it is important to monitor these systems as with all parts of your home, they will wear out, break down, deteriorate, leak or simply stop working.

Roof

Roofing materials can wear out, break, rust, blow off or otherwise fail and expose the roof deck and structural components beneath to moisture intrusion and damage.

  • The most common areas for roof leaks occur around a chimney, plumbing vent, exhaust fan or skylight. Possible cracks, fails and leaks can occur around flashings, sealant joints and intersection of roof surfaces.
  • Monitor for signs of a roof’s deterioration, such as cracking and curling. When having new roof shingles installed, it is best to remove the old layer otherwise is shortens the lifespan of the new shingles.
  • Flat and low-pitched roofs have unique maintenance needs as they are more susceptible to water problems as they don’t have the slope to encourage proper water drainage. It is important to ensure their roof drains and scuppers are remain clear from clogs.  A clogged drain can lead to water being collected on the roof, increasing the risk for a leak and even a possible collapsing of the roof due to the extra water weight.

Gutters and Downspouts

Gutters are designed to drain the water towards and through the downspouts, while the downspouts are to express the water away from a home’s foundation. Without sufficient overhang, water can drain directly to the ground without being collected at the roof’s edge. All gutters need to be kept clean. Regularly inspect your gutters and downspouts for:

Blockage
Build up from shingle particles, vegetation, leaves, needles, dirt and debris compromises the function of gutters and can lead to water penetration of a home and its systems. Homes near mature trees are at a higher risk of debris from vegetation build up in gutter.  If there is a screen or similar device to prevent anything but water flowing into the gutter, its performance during rainstorm should be checked to be sure that water can actually enter the gutter. Basket strainers at the top of downspouts are helpful to prevent blockages

Leakage
Gutters should slope uniformly, without sages, to downspouts. Inspect to ensure water travels through the gutter system and not overflowing on either side over-top of the gutter.  Inspect the gutters and downspouts to ensure that they are held secure with straps and that the joints are sealed through soldering or mastic, and are not experiencing water leaks. Rusted fasteners and missing hangers should be replaced.

Downspouts
As a rule of thumb, there should be at least one downspout for every 40 feet of gutter. Undersized or an insufficient number of downspouts can cause gutters to overflow and issues to arise. Make sure downspouts are long enough and directed to drain away from the foundation of the home. There should be attachments or straps at the top, bottom and at each intermediate joint. Often, they are designed to be moveable to allow for proper lawn maintenance, however, remember to place the downspout back down after lawn maintenance. For buildings with multiple roofs it is best practice to use downspouts pipes to discharge the water from upper gutters to lower gutters. Otherwise, the excess drainage of water will wear out your roofing material faster.  Occasionally, wooden gutters and downspouts are used, and they may be built into the roof eaves and concealed by roof fascias.  Wooden gutters are especially susceptible to rot and deterioration and should be monitored.

Grading

The ground around your house should slope away from all sides.  Otherwise water can pool beside your foundation and lead to damage, cracks and leaks.  Most are homes are unfortunately not waterproofed, they are merely water resistance, so the property drainage systems become import to ensure the longevity of the structure and health of a home.

When it comes to your current or new landscaping it is important to consider the grading and the effect changes may have on water flow surrounding your home.

Did you know?
Flower planters should not be adjacent to house’s exterior wall as the structure around the planting bed traps water.  It is best to avoid having water collect outside of foundation walls as they can lead to penetration, cracks and possible leaks.

If you are unsure about the function of your property’s drainage and would like a professional assessment and inspection, please do not hesitate to contact us at Bocc Home Inspections Ltd.
www.BoccInspections.com
(403) 585-6279