Odour Remediation

The smell of a person’s home can be as unique as the home or the person itself, and there are no two homes that smell exactly the same. Smells within a home can vary widely depending on the food that is cooked, cleaning and laundry products that are used, whether there are pets in the home, whether the inhabitants are smokers, and the list goes on. In the home inspection industry, unwelcome contaminants that alter the smell of a home are referred to as ‘malodors.’  

Anything from smoke, char, mold, wet materials, sewage, pests, and mildew are all examples of things that can cause the development of unwelcome and unpleasant smells within a home. Whether you are preparing your home to be sold, are considering purchasing a home, or are simply wanting to eliminate unpleasant smells in your home, there are many things that can be done. Here are our best tips when it comes to removing unpleasant and unwanted smells from a home: 

Identify the Smell 

While this may seem obvious, it can often be one of the most difficult parts of odor remediation. In some cases, identifying the source of the odor is easy (such as tobacco smoke, or mold) and sometimes it can be more complex. This can also be difficult because it is common for smells to be experienced differently by different people.  

Remove the Source 

Once you have identified the source of the odor, the next step is to remove the source of the odor. Again, how involved this is will depend on what is causing the unpleasant smell. In some cases, this means removing rugs and carpets that cannot be salvaged or finding removing pests or deceased wildlife. In other cases, it can mean a more involved odor remediation plan, such as addressing smoke damage following a fire. 

Do a Thorough Cleaning 

Once you have identified and removed the source of the odor, you are well on your way toward eliminating the odor from your home. The next step involves a deep and thorough cleaning of the area, or ideally, the entire home. It is important to remember that using products that are heavily perfumed, including air fresheners and scented candles, will not be effective in eliminating the odor, they will only mask it.  

The Power of Baking Soda  

While there are so many products available to help remove unpleasant odors, they can be expensive and often release unpleasant smells of their own. Depending on the severity of the smell, baking soda can be incredibly effective. Leaving whole boxes of baking soda open in the area where the smell is most concentrated will allow the baking soda to absorb and trap the odor. Baking soda can also be sprinkled on carpets and rugs, used in laundry, and more.  

Fresh Air & Ventilation  

Even though you’ve removed the source of the odor and cleared the home thoroughly, the smell in your home may still linger. The best thing you can do at this point is open up all your windows, and use fans and air purifiers. Moving the air with the unpleasant smell out of your home and replacing it with clean, fresh, outdoor air will do wonders.  

Ask an Expert  

If all of the above tips fail, it’s time to call an expert. Home inspectors are experts when it comes to identifying, removing, and eliminating unpleasant odors in residential homes. Not only will a home inspector be able to identify the source of the smell, but they will also be able to provide you with their best advice on how to eliminate the odor completely. Working with an experienced home inspector means you won’t waste time on methods that don’t work, or struggling to identify the source of the smell, which can save you lots of money and stress in the long run.  

The Bottom Line  

When it comes to unpleasant odors in a home, the solution for removing them isn’t always black and white. It is important to correctly identify the source or the smell in order to effectively remove the odor, and this can often be the most difficult part of the process. Hiring a licensed and experienced home inspector is often the best option when it comes to odor remediation. At Building Insights, we bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table and pride ourselves on providing the highest level of service and experience. Contact Building Insights today for a free quote or to book your home inspection today!



Home Inspection Tips for Buyers in 2023

The process of buying a home can often take months. By the time you feel prepared to close on a certain property, you may think you know all there is to know about it. However, it can be difficult to know what to keep an eye out for when examining potential problems and repairs later down the road.  

Hiring a home inspector during your home-buying process can ensure that the property you choose is right for you before you move in. A home inspection can also inform what the level of maintenance on the property will be. There are a few key things to keep in mind during the home inspection process to ensure that you are informed and protected when purchasing your home. Our top home inspection tips for buyers in 2023 include:  

Understand the Home Inspection Process 

A home inspection involves a detailed visual examination and evaluation of a home, and is typically part of the home buying process, though home inspections can be helpful in other situations as well.  

In most cases, a home inspector is hired by the prospective buyer, and the inspection occurs prior to closing but after the buyer’s offer has been accepted by the seller.  

A home inspection helps to identify potential flaws in the systems within or structure of the home. This helps to ensure that unsuspecting buyers don’t move into a possibly hazardous home. While a home inspection adds a relatively small cost to the buying process, it can save the buyer significant amounts of money, stress, and time in the long run. If the home inspector uncovers problems or the need for necessary repairs during the inspection, the buyer can negotiate with the seller to have the repairs done or offer a lower sale price. The buyer also has the option of backing out of the sale should the inspector discover significant issues with the home.  

A home inspector will conduct a thorough examination of all interior and exterior elements of the home, from the roof to the foundation. This includes examining the heating and cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems, as well as all structural elements such as windows, doors, floors, walls, ceilings, and staircases. Once the inspection has been completed, the inspector will create an extensive report that includes the details of all of their findings.  

Appreciate the Importance of a Home Inspection 

While a home inspection adds another expense to what can already be a costly process, it almost always proves to be money well spent. A home inspection protects the buyer and ensures that they have all the necessary information before committing to one of the biggest purchases of their lifetime. When problems are identified during a pre-close home inspection, those issues are still the responsibility of the seller and must be addressed in some way.  

A home inspection also helps to inform the buyer about the projected maintenance costs involved with the home. This extra step during the home buying process helps to ensure that you are moving into a home that is safe, in good condition, and won’t result in significant unwelcome surprises and expenses as time goes on.  

Ask The Seller About a Pre-Listing Inspection 

Sometimes, a seller will hire a home inspector before they list their home on the market. This can help to protect both the seller and the buyer and can eliminate surprises or failed deals during the selling process. If you are considering or are in the process of purchasing a particular home, ask the seller if they had a pre-listing home inspection done.  

A pre-listing home inspection can also help the seller price the property accurately, and give them the opportunity to make any major repairs or replacements before listing the home. 

Find the Right Home Inspector 

Finding the right home inspector is maybe the most important element of the home inspection process. An accurate and thorough home inspection requires extensive training, expertise, and knowledge on the part of the inspector. When choosing a home inspector, you want to examine their licensing, certifications, experience, and reputation within the industry. A home inspector who has dedicated their time and money to developing their craft and gaining the necessary training and certification will usually be among the most highly recommended in a particular region.  

At Building Insights, our inspection services and reports far surpass the standards within the industry. Keith Langlois is a registered home inspector who is qualified through the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors. Keith also brings more than 20 years of experience and expertise to the table and prides himself on providing the highest level of service and integrity. Contact Building Insights for your free quote or to book your home inspection today!


10 Common Issues Found on Home Inspections

Everybody knows that buying a house is serious business. Whether you are considering a newly constructed estate or a modest fixer-upper, getting an inside look at your possible new home is essential. An experienced and qualified home inspector is always the best option when it comes to a thorough home evaluation, but having a good general understanding of what to look out for is a good idea.


Here are the top ten most commonly found issues during home inspections:


1. Faulty Wiring – Whether it’s the result of outdated systems or inadequate homeowner additions, issues with bad wiring are among the most commonly found defects, particularly within older homes. Any problems with the home’s electrical system are safety-related and should be addressed immediately.


2. Roof Problems – Roof problems as a result of improper installation or aging surfaces can occur frequently. It is also common to see improperly installed or absent flashing at transitional areas of the roof. In some cases, the roof can be repaired, and in other cases, the entire roof may need to be replaced depending on the location and severity of the damage.


3. Defective Heating/Cooling System – Inadequate maintenance practices, improper installation, and older systems and components are commonly found when inspecting the heating and/or cooling systems in a home.


4. Plumbing Problems – Some of the most commonly found issues during a home inspection are related to leaking, problematic, or older plumbing systems. In most cases, repairs or minor replacements can be made, but sometimes a total system replacement is necessary.


5. Poor Insulation and Ventilation – A poorly insulated ventilated space, especially in the attic or basement, can result in excessive utility costs and an overall lack of occupant comfort.


6. General Poor Maintenance – When general maintenance tasks are avoided or deferred, this can result in a potentially high-cost situation when it comes to bringing the house up to code and into good condition. If the current homeowner neglected to properly care for their home, the next owner will have to.


7. Poor Drainage Surrounding the Structure – It is essential that water drains away from the house around its perimeter in order to prevent water from leaking into the home and causing damage. In some cases, roof gutters and downspouts can be added to eliminate site drainage problems.


8. Cracks in Window Perimeters – Gaps or cracks in the structure or at the perimeter of windows can allow cold air and water to enter the home. When water gets into the wall cavities, mold can begin to grow inside and can cause widespread damage and serious health and safety concerns.


9. Structural Damage – Sometimes cut and/or broken trusses are seen in attic spaces and occasionally the inspector may see that entire structural components are missing. Typically repairs are needed to ensure the safety and structural integrity of the home.


10. Potential Environmental Problems – Indications of mold growth and/or water damage are among the most commonly seen issues during home inspections. Water damage or dampness, especially in the basement, can be a sign of larger issues with the foundation and insulation of the home and should be taken seriously. Potential homebuyers might want to consider a comprehensive environmental inspection and evaluation of the property before purchasing.


What Happens When a Home Fails an Inspection?


While learning that the house you’re interested in buying has one or more of the issues on this list can be disappointing, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any options. After the home inspection, the interested buyers can request that repairs be made to the property in what is called a ‘repair request addendum.’ Within this document, the buyer can list any problem areas they wish to be repaired and addressed or be offered financial compensation for the repairs. Before submitting this document, it is a good idea to have a licensed contractor provide you with a quote of what the cost of the necessary repairs might be. While you are entitled to submit this document, the seller is not obligated to comply. If the seller refuses, the potential buyer is protected as they can walk away from the agreement and have their money returned, and simply continue their house search.


In some cases, the buyer may be so in love with the home that they are willing to spend their money on minor repairs. The best course of action depends on how severe and extensive the problems may be and what the cost of repairs could be.


Finding an experienced and reliable home inspector is one of the most important parts of the home-buying process. At Building Insights, we bring a wealth of knowledge, integrity, and expertise to each and every inspection we conduct. Contact us today to schedule your home inspection and get a free quote!


Home Maintenance Seasonal Checklist

Just like routine checkups with your doctor or dentist, having a regular maintenance schedule for your home is vitally important for the health and longevity of your home. Routinely evaluating the state of your home’s exterior, heating and cooling system, plumbing, appliances, electrical system, foundation, roof, and windows and doors will help to keep your home looking great, prevent problems, and save you money in the long run.  

We’ve compiled a list of routine home maintenance tasks which will help you to schedule seasonal cleaning, repairs, and updates, as well as tasks that should be completed every month. It is important to revisit this list regularly, as well as at the change of seasons to ensure your home is in the best condition possible. If you discover that any of the repairs or maintenance tasks are beyond your skill or comfort level, consider hiring a professional to help with those.  

The fall can be an ideal time to tackle some routine home maintenance tasks because the weather is typically quite dry and the temperatures are usually moderate. Read on to discover our seasonal home improvement tasks for the fall: 

Have your Furnace and Heating System Inspected – Before the cold weather sets in, have your forced-air heating system and furnace inspected by a professional. It is best to schedule an inspection in the fall before the heating season begins. 

Check Any Fireplaces for Signs of Damage or Hazards – Examine any fireplaces for signs of damage or hazards and consider having a professional inspect and clean the chimney and fireplace flue before using it for the season. 

Clean your Windows and Screens – It is a great idea to clean the exterior of your windows and screens before the winter arrives.  

Seal Any Cracks or Gaps in the Doors or Windows – The fall is the time to seal any cracks and gaps in windows and doors with caulk or weather stripping. This will help to prevent cold drafts and high heating bills in the winter months. 

Consider Replacing Older Windows – You may need to consider swapping out old, drafty windows for newer and more energy-efficient options. 

Power Wash, Repair, and Touch Up Siding and Exterior with Paint – Fall offers a great time to clean up the exterior of your home. Take some time to power wash the brick or siding of the exterior of your home, watching for signs of damage. Repair any damage and touch up with paint as needed.  

Inspect Your Roof – You don’t want to wait for the cold and wet months to find out your roof is damaged or leaking. Inspect all roofing for any missing, loose, or damaged shingles and potential leaks. 

Clean out Your Gutters and Downspouts – Fall means lots of leaves on the ground, and in your gutters. Leaves can clog up your gutters which can result in overflowing gutters and downspouts which in turn can damage your home and the foundation.  

Replace Batteries in your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors – It is important to test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every month. Batteries should be replaced every 3-4 months. It is essential to ensure that you install a smoke detector on every floor of the home, including the basement. 

Inspect your Water Heater – Visually inspect your water heater for any signs of rust or damage. Consider having it inspected by a professional at least once per year.  

Drain and Store / Insulate Outdoor Plumbing Fixtures – Fall is the ideal time to drain and store outdoor hoses, as well as drain your in-ground sprinkler system. This is also the perfect time to wrap insulation around any outdoor faucets and/or pipes in unheated garages. 

Clean and Tune Up Major Appliances Before the Holidays – You don’t want to wait until it’s time to put in the Christmas turkey to discover that your oven needs to be serviced! Fall is a great time to clean your major appliances and ensure they are in perfect working order.  

Have your Dryer and Heating Ducts Cleaned Out – This is a very important task, as neglected dryer vents can be a major fire hazard. You also want to make sure all your heating vents are clean and clear of any dust, pet hair, and other debris.  

Check for Any Frayed or Damaged Wires and Cords – Do a visual inspection of all wires and cords in your home, looking carefully for signs of damage, and any wires that may be frayed or need to be replaced.  

When in Doubt – Call a Home Inspector!  

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of tackling the tasks listed above, or simply want to leave those jobs to a professional, your best option is to hire an experienced home inspector. A home inspector will do a thorough examination of the interior and exterior of your home and will pay special attention to any areas that may pose a health or safety concern or need to be replaced. A qualified and knowledgeable home inspector knows exactly what to look for when inspecting a home, and will likely catch things that the regular homeowner might miss. Hiring a home inspector can save you a mountain of stress, time, and money in the long run. Contact us at Building Insights today to schedule a home inspection. We will go above and beyond to ensure your home is completely ready and safe for the cold winter months ahead.  


Fall Landscaping

As the seasons begin to change again, and the cooler fall weather is arriving, this is the perfect time to spend some time outside preparing your yard and garden for the coming winter months. While many people think of spring as the season to work in your yard, professional landscapers and home inspectors know that the fall is the best time to work in the yard, complete home maintenance tasks, and set your gardens and yard up for success come springtime. It is common, over the first few months of fall, to spend less time in your yard than you did during the summer. However, there are a few simple tasks that you can work on to prepare for winter and ensure ideal growing conditions once winter is over.  

Read on to learn about the most important fall landscaping and maintenance tasks to complete to keep your home and your yard healthy and thriving all year long.  

Reseed and Fertilize Your Lawn 

This is the time to address any bare patches on your lawn. Early fall is the best time to sow grass seed for the cool season because the soil beneath is still relatively warm and rainfall is particularly plentiful. This makes for ideal conditions for the grass to root, ensuring it will grow thick and lush come springtime.  

This time of year is also the best time to fertilize your lawn. Spreading fertilizer in October and November will help to stimulate root growth before the ground becomes freezing. By working to strengthen the roots of the grass now, you will help your lawn survive the harsh conditions of winter, as well as promote speedy growth once spring arrives.  

Cut Back Shrubs and Trim Dead Limbs & Branches 

If you are thinking about trimming back your existing shrubs and bushes, fall is the time to do that. Doing this job in early fall means that new growth will have a chance to harden off before the first major frost comes. This will help your shrubs to be in strong and healthy shape by springtime.  

Trimming dead or diseased limbs off your trees is also a good task to complete in the fall months. Identifying dead limbs is easier while the trees still have leaves on them. Removing the weaker branches before they become covered in snow and ice is important as the additional weight of the snow could cause them to break, which poses a safety issue for both your home and your family members.  

Cover Flower Beds with Leaves 

While it may be tempting to rake and bag up all the fallen leaves in your yard, those leaves actually offer excellent protection for your flower beds over the winter months. While the look of leaves covering your flower beds may not be ideal, the organic matter of the leaves will actually work to insulate your plants from snow and ice, which keeps them healthy as the colder months set in.  

Clean out your Eavestroughs 

While most trees don’t drop a whole lot of leaves or sticks throughout the summer months, by the end of the fall your eavestroughs and gutters will probably be quite full. Take the time before winter sets in to clear out clogged gutters and eavestroughs. This will prevent ice dams from forming in winter and overflowing gutters come springtime.  

Fill Foundation, Pathway, and Driveway Cracks 

Fall is the best time to fill any cracks in your driveway, foundation, or pathways. When water gets inside a small crack, the freezing temperatures will turn that water into ice, which will expand and further widen the existing cracks. If you take the time now to fill those cracks you will prevent the damage from becoming worse.  

Stock Up on Snow Removal Equipment and De-Icer 

You don’t want to wait until the first big snow or ice storm of the season to realize you don’t have the appropriate snow removal equipment. These supplies are essential to keep your walkways, stairs, and sidewalks clear. Stock up on shovels and salt-free de-icer in the fall to ensure you are ready when the cold weather comes.  

Sweep Off & Inspect Your Roof 

Fall is the best time to clear off your roof and inspect it for signs of damage or areas that need repair. Once the majority of the leaves have fallen off the trees, it is a good idea to sweep the leaves off your roof, as once the snow and ice come the weight of the leaves and debris will potentially cause damage or weaken the roof. If you aren’t comfortable or it doesn’t feel safe for you to inspect your roof, hire a professional to take this task on.  

Hire a Building Inspector 

Apart from the tasks listed above, one of the best things you can do to ensure your home and yard stay healthy and safe throughout the winter months is to hire a home inspector to do a walk around of your property. An experienced and licensed home inspector can help you examine the more dangerous or hard-to-reach places and catch areas of concern or damage that the untrained eye might miss. At Building Insights, we bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table, and we pride ourselves on offering the highest quality in service and integrity. Contact us now for your free quote!  


How Can You Purify the Air in Your Home?

Regardless of whether we’re inside or out, air quality as we breathe can have a significant impact on our health. Research has shown that poor air quality outdoors can lead to strokes, lung cancer, and heart disease. According to the WHO, poor air quality and air pollution result in approximately 7 million deaths across the globe every year.  

While it is difficult to control the quality of air outdoors, especially in public spaces, the air inside your home can be cleaned and purified with a bit of extra care and attention. In fact, studies have shown that the air inside your home in some cases can contain even more pollution than the air outdoors. Research has shown that we spend the majority of our time indoors, so taking care to ensure the quality of the air inside your home is important for the health and wellbeing of yourself and your family.  

What Causes Air Pollution Indoors? 

There is a wide range of reasons that the air inside your home may be polluted or of low quality. In some cases, items such as new furniture or building materials may release pollutants continuously. Other sources such as cleaning materials, smoking, or renovations can sporadically release pollutants and contribute to poor air quality. Sometimes, appliances can be the culprit, if they are not properly vented or are malfunctioning. This can lead to the release of pollutants indoors that may be at dangerous levels. Even higher-end or “trendy” appliances (such as gas stoves) can negatively affect air quality. 

The use of aerosol or sprayed air fresheners may make the air smell nice, but they are also a type of air pollution, releasing more possibly harmful chemicals into the air of your home. One study showed that health problems connected to the use of air fresheners cost hundreds of billions of dollars in treatment and productivity expenses.  

How Can I Improve the Air Quality in my Home? 

Open Your Windows – This may seem like an obvious point, but opening your windows often is the most inexpensive and simple way to improve the air quality in your home. Even just 5 minutes of open window time each day can go a long way toward alleviating the accumulation of air pollutants indoors.  

Get Some Houseplants – There are several types of popular houseplants that actually work to filter the air in your home and remove potentially toxic pollutants and vapors from the air. For instance, the well-known ‘spider plant’ effectively reduces the levels of formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide in your home’s air.  

Use Natural Products – If you are concerned about the air quality in your home, making the gradual switch to natural products is a great step. Instead of aerosol or spray air fresheners, opt for an essential oil diffuser to make your home smell fresh and clean. Choose beeswax or soy-based candles, to reduce the number of harmful particles in the air. When it comes to cleaning supplies, replace your chemical-based cleaners with more natural items, such as white vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils.  

Remove your Shoes 

The shoes you wear outdoors can track some pretty dirty things including bacteria, pollen, fungi, animal feces, and pesticides. When you walk into your home with your shoes on, anything that may be on the bottoms or sides of your shoes will be tracked and carried throughout your home. The best thing to do is take your shoes off at the door and put on some slippers or indoor shoes. Not only will the air inside be cleaner, but so will your floors! 

Check your Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors  

This isn’t just about air quality, but it’s also about health and safety. Even if you aren’t concerned about the air quality in your home, it is vitally important to inspect, test, and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly to ensure they are working properly. You don’t want to wait until an emergency to find out they are malfunctioning! 

Run Your Air Conditioner & Use an Air Purifier  

If your home has a central air conditioning system, good news! Your house already has a built-in air filtration system. Central air works to filter the air by pulling the air from your home, cooling that air, and feeding it back in. Central air conditioning systems have filters that must be cleaned or replaced regularly. These filters work to trap particles in the air while the air conditioner does its job.  

Using an air purifier in your home is also an effective method to decrease the number of harmful particles that may be circulating in the air. Placing an air purifier in the bedroom is a great option, especially if you (or a family member) have asthma. If the air in your home is on the dryer side, you can also look into humidifiers that also work to purify the air.  

Talk to a Home Inspector! 

While the steps mentioned above are great ways to improve the quality of the air in your home, engaging with an experienced home inspector is the only way to be sure that the air you breathe at home is as clean and safe as possible. A home inspector can not only tell you how to improve your home’s air quality, but they can also identify the sources of potentially harmful or dangerous particles and toxins in the air of your home. At Building Insights, we pride ourselves on helping all of our clients maintain their homes and optimize their health and safety. Contact us today for your free quote or to schedule an inspection. We can’t wait to hear from you! 


Summer Home Maintenance Tips 

As we settle into summertime, the temperatures are continuing to rise, and we are anticipating the summer holidays and some much-needed rest and relaxation. During these warmer months, it’s important to remember that this season offers many opportunities to maintain and care for your home.  

You don’t want to wait until the cold of winter sets in to realize your roof needs repairs or to try to clean your eavestroughs when they’re frozen solid. The health of your home depends on some essential maintenance practices, and the summertime is the perfect time to tick a few of them off your list. By completing these maintenance tasks regularly, you greatly reduce the odds that you’ll have expensive and stressful issues occurring in your home. Read on for our list of the most important summer home maintenance tasks to tackle over the next couple of months. 

Check Out the Windows 

Windows that are damaged or improperly maintained can cause significant issues in your home to arise, such as poor insulation or water damage. Take some time to inspect both the inside and outside of each window in your home, looking for any cracks in the frames, holes in the screens, or faulty opening/closing mechanisms.   

Check out the Exterior 

Take a walk around your home and simply inspect the exterior elements. Examine the siding or brick of your home looking for signs of damage. This is also a great opportunity to power wash or hose down the exterior surfaces of your home.  

Inspect and Clean your Fans  

During the summer months, fans get a lot of use.  Before you fire them up, take some time to clean the blades, which may have collected lots of dust while not in use. This is also an excellent time to make sure they are functioning properly and efficiently.  

Inspect and Clean your Air Conditioner and Ducts  

Whether you have central air, window a/c units, or a portable air conditioner, these machines also require some routine maintenance to ensure they can effectively cool your home. This includes inspection of the unit for signs of damage, cleaning the vents and ducts, and changing out the filters for new ones.  

Check your Outside Space  

Take a walk around your property and examine your outdoor space for anything that may be damaged or need to be cleaned. Power Washing your driveway, sidewalk, and deck/patio is an immensely satisfying task! It’s always fun and surprising to see the “true” colour of things after a good power wash.  

Inspect the Grading Around your Home  

The grading around your home refers to the level of the ground and determines how and where water will flow. The grading around your home should always be ‘positive’ which means it should slope away from your home. Sometimes heavy snow and extreme weather over the colder months can result in damage or changes to the grading of your home. Inspect the ground around your house, looking for large cracks or general changes in the level or slope.  

Check Your Gutters  

The warmer months are an ideal time to clean out your gutters and downspouts. Allowing rainwater to run freely off and away from your home is paramount to its health. Ensuring that these elements are free and clear will go a long way towards protecting your roof, and avoiding water damage indoors.  

Summer home maintenance is vitally important and should not be neglected, even though we love to spend our summers enjoying some relaxation and much-needed vacations. Taking the time to complete the maintenance tasks listed above can go a long way toward ensuring that your home remains healthy and in great condition. In many cases, the homeowners who don’t prioritize these summer home maintenance tasks often end up costing themselves more money over time, because neglected home maintenance can result in some very costly repairs. At Building Insights, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality of service and experience when it comes to helping you maintain the condition of your home. We can help you with home maintenance over the summer months and work together to avoid major repair costs down the road. Contact us for your free quote today!  


How to Determine the Age of Appliances 

Knowing the age of your major appliances is important, whether you are budgeting for your current home or considering purchasing a new home. Not everyone understands why knowing the age of your appliances is important, but the truth is that we depend on our appliances to function properly and run smoothly. When major appliances break down or no longer work effectively, a large amount of stress and frustration can result. This comes in addition to the financial burden of replacing major (and often expensive) appliances when you aren’t expecting to.  

Asking the Previous Homeowner 

The best time to establish the age and installation dates of major appliances is at some point during the process of buying a new home. Sometimes this information is available on a property disclosure statement or through the seller’s real estate agent. In most cases, the homeowner will have a general idea of when the appliance has been purchased or replaced.  

The Age of the Home 

Another great way to try and establish the age of major appliances in a home is to look at the age of the house itself. If the house is fairly new (under 10-20 years old) it’s quite likely that the appliances were original to the house the year it was constructed. You can also look at years that renovations occurred, as often major appliances are replaced during those times.  

Instruction Manuals 

Sometimes, the previous owner will leave behind a collection of instruction manuals for the appliances that exist in the home. The majority of owner’s manuals will have a date noted on either the front or back page, commonly next to the publication number of the manual. If that can’t be found, there might be some helpful information that may help narrow down when the appliances were manufactured.  

Serial Number 

If all of the above efforts fail, you can try to identify the age of the appliances with the serial number. It is important to note that the serial will provide a lot more information than the model number. The serial number can be the most accurate way to find out the age of a major appliance, but it can also be the most time-consuming. Since the 1970s, each manufacturer has had its own coding system that includes the date of manufacture in the serial number of every appliance they make. There are many resources available online that can help you to decode the serial number of your appliance.  


If you are considering buying a new home with existing major appliances, finding out their age is important. This allows you to identify whether they need to be replaced, repaired, or will last for several more years. While using an aging or imperfect fridge is one thing, (as long as it functions properly) heavier appliances such as water heaters, furnaces or boilers might be a different story. Having appliances such as these fail without notice can be not only inconvenient and stressful, but in some cases, it can be dangerous as well. Above all, identifying the age of your appliances can help inform whether they need to be serviced, repaired, or completely replaced.  

An experienced and licensed home inspector can be a great resource when it comes to determining the age and condition of your major appliances as well. Not only is a home inspector an expert when it comes to these things, but they will also be able to provide valuable information about maintenance, replacement options, and what to expect down the road as your appliances continue to age. At Building Insights, we take great pride in providing the highest quality service and experience, whatever your home inspection needs might be. Contact us today to book your home inspection or receive a free quote!  



What to Look for When Checking Out a Home

Searching for a new home to purchase can be a very exciting time, especially when you find one you love. Maybe the house looks amazing in the photos online, it feels like a good fit when you walk through it, and it starts to feel like it could be ‘the one.’ But sometimes, houses can hide some unfortunate secrets that aren’t immediately obvious when looking at photos or even when walking through them. While some surprises can be fun and exciting, surprise problems with your new house are not so fun. They can also be very costly and stressful.  

Here are 6 of the most important things to keep an eye out for when you are walking through your potential new home:  

Damp/Water/Mold – This is one of the most important things to watch for when touring a home that you may be interested in buying. Water damage or excess moisture can result in toxic mold and damage to the structure of the building. Look for watermarks on the walls and ceilings, and check the floors for any signs of warping. The basement is the area where you’re most likely to find signs of water damage or excess moisture, so pay special attention when looking at that part of the home.  

Structural Integrity of the Building – Keep your eye out for any big cracks in the walls, floors, and foundation but keep in mind that some hairline cracks are normal. Also, keep an eye out for door or window frames that appear tilted or off center as that can be a sign of a sinking or unstable foundation.  

Which Direction Does the House Face – The amount of natural light that a home receives can make or break how the house feels to those who live in it. If you can, tour the house on a sunny day so you can get a good idea of how much natural light you can expect the house to have. In the winter, the direction the house faces can be the difference between dealing with tons of icicles and frost (or not!) 

Windows and Window Frames – Look at the state of the external window frames, as they can be a great indicator in terms of the condition of the rest of the house. If the windows have been well cared for and maintained, odds are the rest of the house has been cared for in a similar fashion. If you can push your finger easily into the wood of the window frame that indicates the wood is rotten. If you notice condensation between the two panes of glass, that is a good sign that they are faulty and need to be replaced.  

The Age and Condition of the Roof – Having a roof replaced can be a very expensive endeavor, and one you probably don’t want to experience with your newly purchased home. Newer roofs have a life expectancy of between 15 and 20 years, depending on which materials were used. If the home you’re considering has a flat or nearly flat roof, find out what material was used to seal it. Most roofs today are sealed with a waterproof membrane (as opposed to asphalt and gravel) which is effective at sealing all the seams and edges of the roof.  

Check for Dodgy Wiring/Number and Placement of Outlets – Bad wiring can be really dangerous, and having your new home rewired can be a very expensive undertaking. Make sure to pay attention to how many outlets are in each room and where they are placed. You should also make sure to check out the fuse board as it can give you a good indication of the state of the wiring in the home.  

While it is very important to keep these things at the top of your mind when you are looking at a potential new home, your best resource for ensuring the safety and quality of your new home is to have an experienced professional home inspector inspect the home. A licensed home inspector will know exactly what to look for and will be familiar with all the warning signs and indicators of possible issues. They will also be able to advise you on the maintenance costs and responsibilities of the home and what to keep an eye out for down the road. At Building Insights, we are uniquely qualified and bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, integrity and quality of service to each and every home inspection we do. Contact us for a free quote or to book your home inspection today!  


Things that Will Help Protect your Roof this Winter

While we look forward to spring, winter is still very much here with us. If you reside in Ontario, you are probably aware of the implications and effects that winter can have on your home and property. Snowstorms can cause significant damage to a roof, and this is why it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your roof during the winter and prevent damage from occurring. There are a few things you can do to protect your roof and ensure it doesn’t suffer significant damage over the winter months. While these tips can be helpful, not everyone is able to conduct the appropriate visual inspections and subsequent preventive actions. In this case, contacting a qualified building inspector to advise you on the condition of your roof is a good option.  

Ensure your Attic is Properly Ventilated 

The long-term health of your roof depends greatly on the proper ventilation and insulation of your home, especially the attic. Effective insulation regulates the temperature in your home, which in turn helps to decrease heating costs and keep the outdoor winter temperatures at bay. Proper ventilation works to prevent moisture from building up, which can cause damage to the structure and interior of your home, as well as the materials that make up your roof. When you inspect your attic, ensure that all vents and other ventilation elements are in good working order and are not blocked by any items in the attic.  

Clean your Eavestroughs 

Your home’s eavestroughs (also known as gutters) protect your home from damage caused by water. They keep water away from the foundation of the home by controlling the flow of water during a rainstorm or thaw. If the eavestroughs are clogged, the flow of water will freeze, forming icicles around the home and potentially leading to damage to the foundation.  

During the fall and winter seasons, leaves accumulate in the eavestroughs. When the water can not drain properly, it overflows and can potentially result in damage to the roof, siding, and trim of your home. In some cases, the gutters might even fall off if they have collected too much snow or water. Ideally, the eavestroughs should be cleaned every spring and fall before winter sets in, as once the temperatures are below freezing, clearing them can be much more difficult.  

Clean your Roof 

Even if winter has already set in, it is never too late to take the time to remove debris from your roof. Cleaning your roof is as simple as climbing a safe and steady ladder and sweeping it with a broom as best as you can. There are some products available that are specifically designed to help with this process, such as a “Roof Rake.” This is something that should be done regularly (twice a year) to minimize the build-up of debris and help to keep your roof intact during the winter months. For some people, this task is too challenging, and they choose to hire a professional to clean their roof, which is a great option and will ensure that the roof is cleaned properly without causing additional damage.  

When heavy snow builds up on the roof, it can cause the roof to collapse, especially when the roof in question is flat. When snow isn’t removed and continues to build up, or should it melt and then refreeze, ice dams can start to form. As these ice dams appear and then melt as the temperatures warm up, significant water damage can result. To prevent the buildup of snow and ice on your roof, use a broom or rake with a telescoping handle to remove snow as it accumulates. Using chemicals to melt the snow is not recommended as they can cause major damage to shingles and other roofing materials on your roof. 

Do a Visual Inspection of your Roof Valleys and Shingles  

Once your roof has been cleared of excess snow and debris, you will be able to conduct a thorough visual inspection of the condition of your roof. Watch for cracks or damage to the shingles, and pay extra close attention to areas of your roof that are more prone to damage or leaks such as the areas around the chimney, vents, or skylights. If you do notice signs of damage, the shingles or entire roof may need to be replaced. If you manage to discover the damage before late fall, hire a professional to come and inspect the roof for you and repair any damage before the arrival of winter.  

Most roofing professionals recommend inspecting the condition of your roof and shingles every 6 months. It is a good idea to keep a record of all roof inspections that are done to protect the warranty on your roof and keep track of how often they are being conducted. A good rule of thumb is that if your roof is 15 years old or older or if your shingles are broken or missing, your roof probably should be replaced. 

Schedule a Routine Roof Inspection 

If doing all of this yourself sounds like more than you are able or want to do, you’re not alone. Many people feel uncomfortable cleaning their roof and eavestroughs as well as conducting a thorough visual inspection of their roof twice a year. This is where the professionals come in! An experienced and qualified home inspector is your best resource when it comes to inspecting and maintaining the condition of your roof, as well as preventing damage to your home during the winter. If you want to learn more about how to protect your roof for the winter and how Building Insights can help, contact us today!