Oct 152012

Shorter days, cooler evenings, less sunlight all make for a beautiful transition from summer into fall. The brilliance has just begun. Take advantage of the next few weeks where enough sunshine and warm afternoons still allow you to perform all those maintenance tasks in preparation for winter.

Clean, re-caulk and weatherproof doors, windows, gutters and around exterior venting to minimize condensation accumulation when warm indoor air hits cold outdoor air; helps to minimize rot and to keep out the insects from moving indoors to hibernate too. Take care of any unwanted drafts now.

Keep landscaping free of falling leaves that will rot and breed mildew and mold. Cut back perennials and pull out the annuals for the same purpose. Make sure paving stones are level before the snow and ice arrive to minimize tripping hazards. Take advantage of the landscaping specials and re-seed lawns with winter fertilizer and weed and feed products to thicken sod and minimize spring weed growth. Keep watering if precipitation is low before the freeze comes to be sure plant roots do not freeze dry.

Clean or replace furnace filters and have the heating mechanisms serviced for optimum efficiency. Don’t forget to continue ventilating the air during these cooler months by running kitchen and bath fans for up to an hour daily as indoor hot water use during bathing and cooking will cause condensation issues.

 Visit www.ivinspect.com or e-mail or call Iron View Inspections Inc. for maintenance check lists to ensure your home will be care free and cozy for the coming winter season.

Happy Thanksgiving

From Jim, Cathy, Nelson

The Iron View Team taking a Solid Look at your Home

Jun 042012

Got a call the other day from a potential client concerning ozone treatments. He was considering putting an offer in on a million dollar home in the east end of Toronto.  He loved the layout, size and location. The home was well maintained. The deterrent to offer was the cooking odour that caused him to cringe as he entered the home. The odour lingered through the rooms as he walked through the home. I answered all his questions about the process. His final question was;

“Would you guarantee 100% that the odour would be eliminated?”

 We know remediation companies that do only this kind of work, who would not give 100% guarantee that odour would be eliminated. We know homes where extensive ozone shock treatments were performed however the building materials had been saturated with bodily fluids, cooking and smoke odours. As fresh as the first few weeks were after the treatment, the odours returned. They could only be fully eliminated when the affected building materials were thoroughly cleaned or replaced.

I asked if the home had multiple offers and if he was considering entering a bidding war.  He laughed and answered with frustration and sarcasm;

“Is there any other kind of offer on the market today?  I lost the bids on six homes prior to this one in the last few months. I waived all conditions including inspections.”

He really liked this home but the pungent cooking odour was so offensive to him. I asked how long the owner had lived there. He told me they were the original owners for 30 + years. I sadly informed him that those odours have most likely saturated some of the building materials in that home and if he were to bid and win, waiving an inspection, he would be fully responsible for the cost of cleaning the air and eliminating the odours.  In all probability he would not be able to go back to the realtor or seller for any compensation.

Iron View Inspections recommended he have a Pre-offer inspection. We would be able to identify if any carpets and draperies needed to be cleaned or removed all together. We would suggest he ask that walls and cabinets were cleaned with liquid ozone as well ask for the ducts to be professionally cleaned as part of the bid. Only then would the ozone shock guarantee the best possible outcome.

 

Ozone treatments kill bacteria, viruses and some moulds that linger in the air not the ones embedded in layers of dust in ventilation systems or organic or synthetic materials that have been saturated with the odours over a long period of time. Ozone shock will kill plants and small pests as well. However, if the source of the odour is not eliminated first, it may creep back into the air you breathe and smell.

A Pre-offer or Pre-Listing Inspection on any properties, especially in this current market, is a benefit to the buyer and the seller. Either of theses inspections from Iron View Inspections would give a better idea of what they are dealing with prior to an offer. A Pre-Listing Inspection would help the seller make their home much more marketable as well.

~Be As Informed As You Can Be~

May 312012

Have you noticed lately that weather announcers are not standing by any of their predictions?  They have been suggesting to prepare for anything as a possibility. Environment Canada is calling for a very dry summer. That is yet to be seen.

So far the humidity levels in the GTA and surrounding areas have been up during this early start to summer.  The long weekend  in May was evidence of that. We at Iron View Inspections recommend preparing for anything.

On the days when humidity is up, use your fans to keep air circulating and to keep the moisture at bay.  Keep windows closed on those days too.

On dry days when humidity is low and breezes are cool, open windows, while at home. Nothing beats fresh air circulating our breathing spaces. Be cautious though, especially if you suffer from allergies. If you do have family members who suffer from seasonal allergies, keep those windows closed at all times, keep  the A/C running around 72-73 Fahrenheit  for optimum comfort and make sure your furnace filters are changed regularly,  as they are catching the pollen  and molds you bring in on your clothes and shoes.

If you haven’t performed Spring maintenance, make time to do it before the weather is so brutally hot you won’t want to. This is the best way to keep your investment in top condition and the place you call home a place of which you can be proud.

Mar 262012

An Iron View Inspection Blog Post by Jim Bodnarchuk

On Your Mark…Get Set…Get Ready….GET Your Fans Going!!!

Whoa! We’ve experienced and welcomed the record warm temperatures for five days longer than expected. Where are those so called Thunder Storms? Had a taste on Thursday evening, March 22 with 2 large rumbles in as clouds darkened the sky around dinner- time bringing a half hour of spitting, couldn’t even call it a sprinkle, in the Mississauga region. A balmy breezy evening continued into the night.

Apparently the Jet Stream has split. That is the reason for the unseasonably high temperatures we have been experiencing. Yet just an hour north of us and much closer to the lakes the weather has been beating down   the rain, wind and lightning storms, hail and sleet. This has increased the humidity in our GTA, 83% last night and climbing. 

This kind of weather also increases the “Nasty’s” that come with high humidity; fungi, mold, bugs, the wood boring types. We’ve seen an increase in carpenter ants this week. Last year was considered an epidemic year by pest controllers. This year they have a head start.

Reduce humidity in your home by running kitchen and bathroom fans, opening windows when the breezes are blowing, keeping windows closed during high fog and smog days and staying on top of any leaky situations.  Replace damp or rotting wood on decks or any entrances into your home like doorways, windows, soffits and fascia too. 

~ Be As Informed As You Can Be~

Mar 152012

A post by Jim Bodnarchuk, Iron View Inspections

AAHHH New Life, Colour, Sound…and a few things we don’t want around. We really have had a pleasant winter here in the GTA 2011-2012, even though there have been more grey days than sunny ones. Spring is only a few weeks away. However, it looks like it is going to come in and go out like a Lion.  Both environment Canada and the Farmer’s Almanac are calling for squally, stormy, weather the next few months, bringing strong winds and heavy thunder showers and a few more snow flurries at the end of March. We will experience storms from the east, from the west and across the Great Lakes. This means a lot of moisture along with driving winds is going to hit our properties and homes in these next two months.

According to the forecast we are not going to dip to the freezing point during this time but we will have only a few weeks, March 12-15 and April 4-7, where fair weather makes a pit stop. You might want to consider cleaning out the gutters and eves troughs on those fair weather days, as well as make sure extensions on downspouts are intact to allow good flow of water away from the foundations of your home. Gather up and discard of any rotting leaf debris away from your home too.

Be sure any wood surfaces have good ventilation around them.  And get rid of any rotting shrubs and trees too. Damp wood attracts pesky boring insects. You may have already experienced those tiny non-boring ants and spiders that are creeping in to visit in search of food, with the ensuing warming temperatures. The boring species will not be far behind. The damage they do can be very costly.

Spring storms give you a chance to observe whether your property grades are away from the buildings you inhabit and flowing toward the roads and streets. Watch for water pooling or for any leaks in foundations, roofs, doors or windows. These are the things you want to be aware of and remedy ASAP because this is the season when mold spores flourish, along with those little critters and you don’t want to be spending any fine weather to follow, making major repairs when you could be tending to the minor ones now. You also don’t want the head ache of compromising your health due to poor air quality in your living environment. This is the time of year that mold allergies increase because the spores “wake up”.

Spring heralds in signs of new life, evident everywhere in nature and our living and working environments. Watch for insect, rodent, fungal and mold infestations. Be watchful for the signs of rising damp, structural damp, as well as small leaks in the envelop of your environment, so you can remedy them before summer  so you can “sing a song of cheer”  as you “roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.”                      

~Be As Informed As You Can Be~

Links to more Information:

http://toxicmoldsolutions.posterous.com/?tag=springtime

http://www.entomology.wisc.edu/insectid/wood-attk.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_rot

http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/biol_hazards/iaq_mold.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damp_%28structural%29

Jan 302012

A post by Jim Bodnarchuk, Iron View Inspections

With the rain, sleet, snow and wind, hitting us these last few weeks and about to continue for the next month, those of us in the GTA are seeking the heat in more ways than one.

For those who will not be traveling to drier, warmer climates, we will be using our hot water heater to the max. It is a good time to be checking out our hot water heaters that are functioning to capacity during this season. We are taking those extra-long hot showers and baths as well as doing more laundry due to soiled snow pants, jackets, mitts and towels. If we are traveling we want to make sure our tanks are in optimum condition so as not to return to leaky connections.

Look for corrosion, rust, loose fittings. If any of these are present with your appliance call a heating technician to inspect and remedy the issues. Consult the owner manual for your hot water tank then carefully drain off a dishpan full of water from the clean-out valve at the bottom of your tank to control sediment and maintain efficiency.

You can also checkout the  CMHC website for more tips on home maintenance during the winter months.

~Be As Informed As You Can Be~

Dec 192011

It’s that time of year again, where our time is consumed with preparations for the season. Iron View Inspections offers helpful hints to keep the season jolly. Take a few hours one evening to follow these steps and reduce your worries. With all the warm wet weather we have been having in the GTA these hints might be especially welcome.
1.       Clean out dryer vents as lint can build up to narrow the heat ventilation and cause fire.
2.       Change the furnace filter.
3.       Install carbon monoxide detector near your mechanical room (furnace and hot water tanks). They make great safety gifts too as the law will soon require every home to have one.
4.       Test fire alarms and be sure to have one on every level of your home.
5.      Keep humidity levels at norms. Added company body heat and cooking will stay in check by running your bath and kitchen fans a few hours each evening.
6.       Before stringing lights check for frayed ends or cracked covers and loose connections.
7.       Use strands that have fused plugs for the out of doors strings.
8.       Invest in ground fault interrupter outlets for outdoor lights to minimize risk of shocks and shorts due to moisture and water build up.
9.       Check extension cords intermittently for over-heating and change them if they are hot to touch.
10.   Don’t hang lights with staples, tacks or nails as they can pierce wire and cause fire hazard. Use insulated hooks instead.
11.   Tie off your ladder when stringing on high trees,poles or roofs. It is wise to tie yourself off too.
12.   Have someone standing by as you string lights just in case you need assistance. Two always make the work more fun anyway.
13.   Use chord protectors or tape down cords running on the ground or flooring to prevent trips.
14.   If you are the type who likes the real tree be sure to water it liberally to prevent tinder drying.
15.   Turn all lights off when you are not home or have them monitored on a timer.

Happy Holidays/ Merry Christmas

Sep 212011

Fall seems to be a popular time to decorate and renovate our homes. Spruce ’em up in time for the upcoming Festive seasons. Sales on Reno material is proof, especially for the DIY’s at this time of year. Before tackling any home improvement, especially in closed quarters, you may want to be cautious.

Check your Home Inspection reports for any mention of possible materials that may become hazardous to your healthy environment. Although the inspector cannot say for sure from a visual perspective, he is bound, by ethics, to record the possibility of such materials. A good inspector will be aware of what materials may be hazardous if disturbed.

For example;… When purchasing a home, apartment building or business property that was built before 1970 it is important to note the possibility of materials that may contain Asbestos. It is a well-known fact, documented by Toronto Public Health and the Canadian Centre or Occupational Health and Safety, that there is a good chance that asbestos was used in adhesives, plasters, some insulators and outside wall tiles and most often in darker vinyl flooring, especially in buildings over 50 years old.

If the flooring and walls have been well maintained there is little issue or risk for being exposed to Asbestos contamination. But if these materials are in need of repair or replacement it is best to have them tested for a minimal fee of $50-100 dollars at local labs and take the proper precautions before renovating to ensure health and safety regulations are adhered too and to minimize exposure to Asbestos dust. There are regulations for hired contractors that must be

followed if renovations need to take place in commercial or industrial buildings and apartments with 4 or more units. These abatements could be costly. Any company or contractor hired to renovate or perform work in a building must ensure that they take all of the legislated safety precautions required if asbestos has been found or is even suspected in the work area. The legislation applies to building owners with more than four units and those individuals who work for them.

Building owners, and those contracted by them, must determine whether or not the material they will be working on, material that will be damaged during a renovation, contains asbestos. Working in an environment where asbestos is present without an asbestos management program or the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is illegal and puts workers and passers-by in danger. Employers and owners who fail to take the appropriate safety measures can face significant penalties. Even more importantly, when working without these abatements or precautions, exposure to friable asbestos can lead to Asbestos disease that won’t manifest until many years have passed.

As a private home owner these legislations are not enforced. However, we at Iron View Inspections petition you to be just as precautionary in your living environment and consider the risks to you, your family and the surrounding neighbours. Check out the following sites for further information.

~Be As informed as you can be~

Sep 142011

We first contacted Iron View Inspections prior to the purchase of our new home as we were concerned about the air quality and thought the house may have smelled like cigarette smoke. From the first time we contacted Iron View Inspections we were very impressed and happy with the level of customer service and general concern of our inquiry and were explained to, in great detail, about their Ozonation process and it’s method for removing such odors from the house, if that was in fact what was required.

We were told that Jim could come out to the property first and inspect it to see if the ozonation machines were required if we decided to purchase the house and upon further conversation we found out that Jim also performed Home Inspections so we decide to have Jim perform the home inspection and also check if the odor was cigarette smoke. Jim was very friendly and professional and took the time to inspect the house thoroughly and also notify us that the odor was not cigarette smoke but since the house had been closed up for some time it just needed fresh air and so the ozonation machines were not required.

At the time of the inspection Jim went over, in detail, some of his findings and also gave us some helpful hints regarding the house and how to best care for it. Later, Jim sent us the full report including pictures and reminders of his hints so we can refer back to them in the future. We did, in fact, purchase the house.

We were very impressed with Iron View Inspections, very happy with our decision to have them perform the home inspection and we would readily recommend Iron View Inspections to anyone in the future.

~Angela, Toronto

Sep 122011

As we’ve been experiencing this past week in the GTA, these months can be very harsh with unpredictable weather changes from heavy rains to gale force winds and some very humid days in between. At this time you will probably discover issues like leaky roofs or windows, dampness in the basement, gutters that need repair. You will want to get on top of these issues before the colder winter months. Check the following to be sure your home will be the warm, safe haven you return to after a day at work.

  • Service your heating system -every two years for gas – every year for oil. Your GAS co. can set up a heating protection plan with you.
  • Clean furnace humidifiers or disconnect and use a portable room humidifier to add years to the life of your furnace
  • Check the circulating pump for rust, clean and lubricate, on your Hydronic heating system
  • Bleed air and sludge from Hot water radiators using installed bleed valves
  • Disconnect electrical to Forced Air furnaces and clean fan blades. Check fan belt or blower drum for wear and correct any loose parts.
  • Check and clean or replace filters every month
  • Disconnect electrical feed to baseboard heaters before removing the covers and vacuuming. Check for damaged fins or electrical connections.
  • Remove floor or wall grills of Forced Air systems and vacuum. If dirt is heavy consider calling in a professional duct cleaning co.
  • Clean filters and cores of heat recovery ventilators then pour water down the condensate drain to test it if it has been off for the summer.
  • Clean any portable humidifiers.
  • If you are on Well water have it tested for bacteria every six months.

As with all mechanicals follow your manufacturers guide lines for all maintenance requirements.

Get ready to enjoy the indoors this coming season as much as you have the outdoors this summer.

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