Home Inspections Victoria - Coastal Inspection Services
Victoria BC Home Inspectors. Book your Home Inspection today in Victoria, BC, Canada CanNACHI Inspector Member - Canadian National Association of Certified Home Inspectors
Book your Home Inspection today - Coastal Inspection Services, Victoria, BC, Canada



Coastal Inspection

Rates & Details

Areas Serviced

Inspection FAQ

General Maintenance

Life Cycles and Costs

Did You Know?

Mold Issues

Inspection Glossary

Inspection Resources

Client Comments

Real Estate Links


Did You Know:

 · Mortar problems in masonry chimneys are the cause of more fires than any other fireplace or chimney problem.

 · The auto-ignition temperature for wood is 450° F.

 · Creosote build up in chimneys results from burning wet wood, insufficient air for combustion and lazy slow burning fires. Creosote can be shiny black or dark brown fluffy, flaky material. At room temperature it is hard but when hot, the creosote becomes a liquid and flows. It is extremely combustible and is a major cause of chimney fires. Burn hard wood rather than soft wood. Use dry seasoned wood rather than green or wet wood. Provide adequate of combustion air. Do not burn driftwood, painted or pressure treated wood. Do not burn magazines, newspapers, plastic or garbage. Fires that burn hot are more efficient.

 · A masonry fireplace built at grade with a 20 foot high chimney will weigh roughly 12 tons. Assuming the fireplace is about 3 1/2 feet deep and 6 feet wide. This will exert a pressure of 1000 PSF (pounds per square foot) on the soil.

 · Burning natural gas primarily gives off water and carbon dioxide. One of the products of incomplete combustion is carbon monoxide, which is poisonous. Natural gas is especially dangerous because it is colorless, odorless and highly combustible. Since natural gas is lighter than air it tends to rise and dilute quickly.

 · Propane is heavier than air and will accumulate in low spots creating a dangerous situation.

 · At normal atmospheric temperature and pressure, natural gas is a vapor, not a liquid.

 · Natural gas is perfumed so you can smell a leak.

 · The most common item to fail on a high-efficiency furnace are the induced-draft fans.

 · Water often gets into oil tanks from condensation. Water is heavier than oil, settling to the bottom of the tank. Over time it reacts with the sulfur in the oil, making a mild sulfuric acid, rusting out the tank.

 · The life of a buried oil tank is 10 - 20 years after that it is an environmental concern. Contamination of soil resulting from oil leaks can be very expensive to clean up.

 · One BTU is roughly the heat given off by a match.

 · One BTU is the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water one Fahrenheit degree.

 · One cubic foot of natural gas contains about 1000 BTUs.

 · One cubic foot of propane contains about 2500 BTUs.|

 · One gallon of heating oil contains about 140,000 BTUs.

 · One cubic foot of dried, split, stacked firewood can contain anywhere between 100,000 and 225,000 BTUs.

 · Hot water boilers for heating the home should never have their water changed, it is best to keep the water inert. The chemicals in new water will accelerate the corrosion.

 · Electric heating systems are designed to deliver 5 - 8 watts of heat per square foot of living space.

 · Typical residential furnace blower has a static pressure (push on the air it moves) equal to 1/56th inch of a psi. Dirt on the blades can dramatically reduce its capacity, comfort and increase heating costs. It can also overheat and shorten the life of a heat exchanger (heart of the furnace or most expensive part).

 · Bigger the heating duct size the better. Round ducts are the best, then square, further from square the worst it gets for air flow. The longer the duct the more resistance to air flow. Corners are killers. Standard round elbow is equal to 10 linear feet of round in terms of pressure loss. Flex duct will have 3 times the pressure loss of rigid because of its corrugated walls. Blower speed and blade profile influences the amount of airflow. Furnace location is paramount, center of building is best.

 · Adding extras to duct systems such as air conditioning can half the blower pressure because of the evaporator coil located in the furnace supply duct plenum. Electronic air cleaner can reduce blower pressure by 20% again because it is located in the furnace supply duct plenum. These are large pressure losses, that if not designed in originally can seriously effect the efficiency of a heating system.

 · Water left sitting in humidifiers in the off season can be breeding grounds for bacteria because of the warm, wet environment. This can be a health issue.

 · Residential construction live floor loads are deigned for 40 pounds per square foot.

 · An earthquake over 7.5 on the Richter scale is a major earthquake. House failure modes during a quake include posts moving off piers, beams moving off posts, cripple or pony walls moving off foundations. This is why it is important for sill plate anchors and hold downs to have their washers and nuts on. Post saddles, joists hangers, hurricane clips and straps fully nailed. Hot water tanks secured. Gas valves that shut off automatically if a line ruptures. And shear walls that help resist strong lateral forces during an earthquake or hurricane.

 · Hot tap water should not be used for drinking or cooking because hot water leaches lead from pipes and solder joints.

 · Cross connections are a possibility wherever the supply plumbing and solid or liquid waste could come together. A cross connection is a serious health issue. There is a risk of illness or death if the potable water for drinking, cooking and washing is contaminated with waste. 1. Fixtures where the faucet spout is below the overflow or flood rim of the fixture. This occurs on older bathtubs and laundry tubs, for example. 2. Fixtures where handheld showers, extendable faucets or vegetable sprayers can be left in tubs, basins or sinks. 3. Garden hoses left attached to a hose bibb. 4. A toilet tank where the fill water enters at the bottom. 5. A dishwasher where a solenoid valve separates the clean water from the gray water (a term used to describe water that is no longer clean but does not include human waste). 6. A clothes washing machine with a discharge pipe in a laundry tub. 7. A water softener. 8. A humidifier connected to the supply plumbing system. 9. A lawn or fire sprinkler system. 10. A bidet where water enters the bowl at the bottom. 11. A hot water boiler (boilers are connected to the supply plumbing piping so that make up water can be provided to the boiler). 12. A swimming pool fill outlet that is located below the flood level of the pool. 13. A trap primer without an air gap. We have to prevent the waste water from getting back into the supply water. Cross connections are caused by the arrangement of plumbing fixtures. It can be the design of the fixture itself or the way it's installed. The health implications are serious if cross connections exist.

· Many supply water fixtures have backflow prevention devices to stop potable water from becoming contaminated. Every outlet in the water distribution system should have either an air gap or a backflow prevention device of some type.

· Rot is the biggest enemy of wood. Air, moisture content greater than 20% and temperature between 40° F and 115° F is the perfect conditions for rot to exist. Wood under water will not rot. Dry wood will not rot. Reducing moisture levels is the best way to control it.

· Sunlight does not dry wood the way most people assume. Yes the sun evaporates water but in wood it drives the water into the material and all the way through, hopefully. The importance of the drying potential (air movement), on the back of wood siding is important.

· There are some wood siding buildings in North America that have lasted more than 300 years with out any finish. Quality of wood and installation is a factor to achieve this kind of performance.

· Paints and varnishes are surface finishes, while stains and preservatives are penetrating finishes. Peeling paint is often due to poor surface preparation or different expansion and contraction properties. Blistering is usually caused by to much moisture in the wood or paint drying to fast when applied. Some wood like cedar have natural resins that resist rot. Any wood product will rot if the moisture content is consistently above 20% and temperatures are between 40° F to 115° F range. Fungus or mildew at edges indicate high moisture levels.


· Roofing terminology - one square is a 100 square foot area (10 feet X 10 feet) of roofing material installed with its intended exposure. 3 bundles of asphalt shingles = 1 square. 4 bundles of wood shakes or shingles = 1 square.

· One of the oldest wood roofs on record was a house built in 1794. The roof lasted for more than 130 years. The shingles were white oak held in place with hand forged iron nails.

· Clay tile roofs have a life expectancy up to 350 years. They have been used since the days of Greek and Roman empires in Europe. Arguably the best steep roofing material available.

· There is a church in England with a 1200 year old slate roof.

· Copper the "Cadillac" of metal roofing can last over 100 years.

· Improper attic ventilation can cause condensation where the warm house air meets the cool attic air. Wet insulation will lose it's insulating ability, wet wood will eventually rot the roof structure. Exposure to high attic heat from lack of ventilation over a long period of time can cause asphalt shingles to blister, buckle and shorten their life expectancy.

· Mold, mildew and rot are all fungi. Fungi grow from spores or seeds released by mushrooms. These spores are present in the air everywhere. When these spores settle on surfaces that favor growth, they will establish small filaments called hyphae. These hyphae release enzymes that break down the organic matter to become food. Oxygen, temperature, moisture and food (wood) are the necessary elements for growth. It is the condensation in crawlspaces, walls and roofs that is the danger.

· Spalled (flaking or crumbling) concrete surface can be caused by using salt for deicing. Salts are harder on concrete since they crystallize and expand below the surface, causing spalling. Many recommend urea-based deicing agents rather than salts.

· Water in basements and crawlspaces is the biggest home owner issue. 90% of it is originates from surface water. Properly functioning perimeter drain is important. 98% of all basements will get wet at some point. New home warranty statistics say 38% of homes have water in there basement in the first 5 years.

· Wonder why basements leak? One cubic foot of water weights 62 pounds. Lets say the water table rises one foot and the footprint of your house is 1000 square feet. 1 ft X 1000 sq.ft X 62 pds = 62,000 pounds or 31 tons of hydrostatic pressure pushing against the foundation. Maybe the perimeter drain is clogged or collapsed and is not properly functioning. Besides leaks you may also get heaving of your foundation or floor slab. If there are any signs of moisture in the basement or crawlspace the downspouts should be redirected away from the foundation so they empty at least 6 feet away.

· Central air conditioning and refrigerators operate on exactly the same principle. Both use a refrigerant called Freon which is non corrosive, toxic or flammable but is not great for the earths ozone layer. This refrigerant is a colorless gas at atmospheric temperature and pressure. The refrigerant Freon has a boiling point of -20° F at atmospheric temperature. This is the temperature it changes from a liquid to a gas. Its boiling point rises as the psi (pressure per square inch) is increased by the compressor.

· Always give freezers, refrigerators and air conditioners five minutes before restarting to allow the pressure on both sides of these low torque compressors to equal out. Other wise the compressor will be damaged.

· The cooling capacity of air conditioning is measured in tons. One ton equals 12,000 BTUs per hour. The term 'one ton' comes from the amount of heat required to melt a block of ice that weighs one ton. Guide lines for calculating air conditioner size are one ton per 1000 square feet of living space.

· Cool air is more heavy and dense than warm air. Warm air rises, cool air sinks. Location of heating and air conditioning registers is important for return and supply air.

· An average size air conditioner (3 tons) can generate two gallons of condensation per hour on a humid day. The air conditioner evaporator coil is usually located right above the furnace heat exchanger in the supply air plenum. The evaporator coil has a condensation pan located right beneath it to catch all the condensation. If the condensation pan leaks from rusting out or overflows from a clogged drain on to the heat exchanger, the heat exchanger will rust out, reducing the furnaces effectiveness. Possibly creating an unsafe situation with a risk of carbon monoxide entering the house. Furnace replacement is normal when a heat exchanger becomes defective. Maintenance regularly is an under statement.

· Air filter maintenance has a huge impact on equipment efficiency. Poor air flow will cause heat exchangers to overheat. No air filter will clog up air conditioner coils, heat exchangers, dirt build up on blower fan blades and dirt in ducts. Poor performance and possible health affects are the issues.

· Rough rule for calculating heat pump sizes is 40 BTUs per square foot.

· An electrical current flow of less than one amp can kill a person.

· Electricity travels at nearly the speed of light, which is 186,000 miles per second. That's a mile in .0000053 of a second.

· A regular 100 watt light bulb has a surface temperature of roughly 380°F . Light bulbs will generally burn cooler and last longer if they burn with the base down.

· At 10 cents per kilowatt of electricity, if you left a 60 watt bulb on for 24 hours a day for a week it would cost $1. If you left it on for a year it would cost $52.

· Smoke detectors, etc. may use batteries. Conventional alkaline batteries may last one to two years. Lithium type batteries can last up to ten years.

· Loose electrical wire connections cause more fires than any other electrical fires.

· Aluminum wiring is known for overheating problems. It was used from the 1960's to the mid 1970's. Tends to creep out from under terminal screws. Receptacles with heat generating appliances plugged into them on a regular basis are the most troublesome. It is recommended to have aluminum wiring checked on a regular basis for loose connections that cause overheating.

· The small slot on a female plug is the hot connection and the large slot is the neutral. Polarity matters with some appliances. Electricity is meant to flow through the button on the bottom of a light bulb socket. If the polarity is reversed (neutral and hot terminal reversed), the threaded collar could be hot, much more likely to get a shock just changing a light bulb. With an appliance the power should only go as far as the switch. If the polarity is reversed, power will go through the appliance back to the switch. Many appliances will work just fine, however, the polarity has to be right to provide the protection designed into the system.

· Operating high temperature relief valves on hot water heating tanks is important. For example water can become superheated in a hot water tank by a burner that won't shut off because of a defective thermostat. Lets heat the water up to 300° F. Water boils at 212° F, but in a hot water tank it can't expand so it can boil off into steam. When the tank ruptures, we have 40 gallons of water that would really like to be steam. There is a tremendous amount of energy released as this amount of water converts to steam. Every cubic inch of water becomes a cubic foot of steam! The steam explosion is enough to lift a house off its foundation. Water heaters have gone right through houses and up well over a 100 feet into the air. These temperature relief valves along with other isolating valves that do not get used except in emergency or repair situations should be checked by a plumber, mainly because of their lack of use they tend to drip after they have been used.

· Water heaters that keep water at 160° F may only have a 60% life expectancy of a water heating tank kept at 140° F.

· Oil fired water heaters have the fastest recovery rate and so have the smallest tanks. Gas fired water heaters are the next fastest. Electrical hot water heaters have the slowest recovery rate and usually have the largest tanks.

· Propane is heavier than air. Propane water heating tanks should not be located in low areas. Leakage of propane gas may cause an explosion.

· Garborators can be tough on septic systems because of the amount of solids put into the system. If the solids don't separate or decompose, they will find their way into the tile bed and cause it to fail prematurely.

What is the magic of 34 feet with reference to wells. Atmospheric pressure is 14.7 psi. One psi can push water up 2.31 feet. 14.7 psi X 2.31 feet = 34 feet. Minus resistance, 25 feet is a practical number. Shallow well is anything less than 25 feet. Deep well over 25 feet. A pump can pull water up about 25 feet, any deeper than 25 feet requires further evaluation.

· 3/4 inch diameter copper pipe is actually 225% bigger than 1/2 inch pipe in a cross sectional area. The water flow through the 3/4 inch pipe is actually 270% greater than flow through 1/2 inch pipe with some pressure loss.

· A home inspection is an educational and informative experience. It helps understand the nature of the problem if any and general approach for corrective action. This helps deal with tradespeople from a position of strength and knowledge. Learn regular home maintenance and gain valuable guidance to preserve the property. Helps you recognize components that are functioning now but may wear out and require replacement. Being alert to systems that may be approaching the end of their life and future expenditures.




Certified by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors - Click here to verify.

Licensed by Business Practices & Consumer Protection Authority of British Columbia

AHIT Certified

Licensed by Consumer Protection BC
BPCPA License #47767

Phone: 250-391-6645 | Toll Free: 1-855-TO INSPECT (1-855-864-6773) | Email: info@HomeInspectionsVictoria.com

Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Twitter
Find us on Google+

© Copyright 2007-2017 - Coastal Inspection Services Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Statement   

Visual Illusion Web Design