Monthly Archives

May 2016

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.


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:

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

Gutters should slope uniformly, without sags, 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.

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.


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.
(403) 585-6279

What To Know About Indoor Air Quality

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Indoor Air Quality Issues

Indoor air quality is generally worse than most people believe, but there are things you can do about it.

Some Quick Facts:

  • Indoor air quality is on average 2-5 times worse than that of outdoor air.
  • Problems can arise from moisture, insects, pets, appliances, materials used in household products and furnishings, smoke, and other sources.
  • Effects range from minor annoyances to major health risks.
  • Remedies include ventilation, cleaning, moisture control, inspections, and following manufacturers’ directions when using appliances and products.

Many homes are built or remodeled more tightly, without regard to the factors that assure fresh and healthy indoor air circulation. Many homes today also contain furnishings, appliances and products that can affect indoor air quality.

Signs of indoor air quality problems include:

  • unusual and noticeable odors;
  • stale or stuffy air and a noticeable lack of air movement;
  • dirty or faulty HVAC;
  • damaged flue pipes and chimneys;
  • excessive humidity (recommended to keep below 30%);
  • the presence of molds and mildew;
  • adverse health symptoms that the cause cannot be determined;
  • adverse health reactions after remodeling, adding new furniture, using household and hobby products; and
  • feeling noticeably healthier outside.

Common Sources of Air Quality Problems
Poor indoor air quality can arise from many sources. At least some of the following contaminants can be found in almost any home:

  • moisture and biological pollutants, such as molds, mildew, dust mites, and animal dander;
  • high humidity levels, inadequate ventilation, and poorly maintained humidifiers and air conditioners;
  • combustion products, including carbon monoxide from unvented gas stoves, ovens and heaters, and back-drafting from furnaces and water heaters;
  • formaldehyde from  textiles, particleboard products, such as cabinets and furniture framing, and adhesives used in composite wood furniture and upholstery;
  • household products, such as paints, solvents, air fresheners, hobby supplies, dry-cleaned clothing, aerosol sprays, adhesives, and fabric additives used in carpeting and furniture, which can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs);
  • asbestos, which is found in most homes more than 20 years old. Sources include deteriorating, damaged and disturbed pipe insulation, fire retardant, acoustical ceiling tiles, and floor tiles;
  • airborne particles from dust and pollen, fireplaces, wood stoves, kerosene heaters, and unvented gas space heaters; and
  • tobacco smoke, which produces particulates, combustion products and formaldehyde.

Tips for Homeowners
•       Ask about formaldehyde content before buying furniture, cabinets and     draperies.
•       Promptly clean and dry water-damaged carpet, or remove it altogether.
•       Vacuum regularly, especially if you have pets, and consider using area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpeting. Rugs are easier to remove and clean, and the floor underneath can also be easily cleaned.
•       Eliminate unwanted moisture intrusion by checking for sources (such as holes and cracks in the basement and other areas, and leaks from appliances), and by using a dehumidifier.
•       Open windows and use fans to maintain fresh air with natural and mechanical air circulation.
•        Always open the flue damper before using the fireplace.  This will also prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning.
•       If your air conditioner has a water tray, empty and clean it often during the cooling season.
•       If you smoke, smoke outdoors and away from any windows and doors.
•       Use the range vent above your stove whenever you cook.
•       Use the bathroom vent whenever you use the bathroom.
•       Don’t leave vehicles or lawn care equipment running in your garage.  Make sure the door leading from the home to the garage has a door sweep to help keep out vapors.

Source: Internachi