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Tuesday’s Tips

Walter Krebs - Tuesday, March 06, 2018
Tuesday’s Tips
Join us in our weekly Tuesday's Tips as our very own Walter Krebs shares helpful insight on some of the things he looks for during a home inspection.

March 6, 2018, Edition #1: The Door
Welcome to this week’s episode of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips!

Today, we are going to talk about the first thing you see when you enter the home, the front door. Did you know, that, the condition of the front door can often be an indicator of the state of the rest of the home.

In the video, I will share a few of my home inspection tips and help you to measure the condition of the home’s doors.

Please join me in the video...

Click here to watch Episode One of Tuesday's Tips!

Video Transcript
Hi there! I am Walter Krebs of Prairie Home Inspection. Thanks for inviting me in.

I am the president of Prairie Home Inspection and a licensed home inspector. And, today, I will be your host and guide for this video.

Each Tuesday I will be sharing a home inspection tip. These tips are meant to help you in your search for a new home. To help you make the right choice, and to make an offer to purchase with confidence.

Of course, these Tuesday’s Tips are not meant to replace a home inspection. A professional home inspection, done by a knowledgeable and friendly inspector, like me!

Today I want to talk about the first thing you will see as you enter the home, the front door. During a home inspection I always observe the function and condition of the doors. How does it swing? Is it noisy? Does the sweep drag across the welcome mat as a push the door open?

Now, watch the door as you close it. Does it close smoothly? Can you see any daylight around the door?

Also, check if the door has any damage and if it has been maintained.

This door is in pretty good shape. It has a dent on the outside, but that is about it

The front door can set the tone for the rest of the home. It is important to “listen” to what the door has to “say”.

Well, that is the end of today’s home inspection tip.

But, I will be back next week…

Next time, I will ask you to look up, at two very important house systems that are often neglected and overlooked.

Next time… On Prairie Home Inspection’s Tuesday’s Tips! I am Walter Krebs saying, thanks for joining me, and, see you next week…

Oh, hey! Would you mind helping to set up the ladder? I want to have a look at the…

 

March 13, 2018, Edition #2: Be Safe!

This week, I will talk about two neglected devices for the home: smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors. Did you know that they come with an expiry date?

Also, I will touch on the benefits of HomeBinder in regards to managing home maintenance tasks.

Click here to watch Episode Two of Tuesday's Tips!

Video Transcript
Oh, Hi there.

I’m Walter Krebs of Prairie Home Inspection. Welcome to this week’s episode of Tuesday’s Tips. Your weekly home inspection tips that will help you during your search for a new home.

Last week, I said I would ask you to look up. What you are looking at is the smoke detector for this home. This is one of the two house systems that I mentioned, last week, that are often neglected. The other one, that is missing from this home, is the CO monitor.

Both devices can save your life in the case of either a fire or dangerous carbon monoxide leak. Did you know that they come with an expiry date?

This home’s smoke detector has expired and needs to be replaced immediately. Also, I will advice this home owner to purchase a CO monitor at the same time.

Both devices are life savers. But, they are often forgotten. I recommend to all my clients that they replace or provide smoke detectors and CO monitors as soon as the move into their new home. It is a small investment in time and money to keep your family safe.

To help you remember this important maintenance tip, I give all my home inspection clients get a free, life time, subscription to Home Binder. Home Binder allows you to enter maintenance tasks, like checking your smoke detector and carbon monoxide monitor. Its just a little something extra to help make your life easier and to help keep you safe.

Well, that is the end of today’s home inspection tip.

But, I will be back next week…

With another of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips!

I am Walter Krebs, saying, see you next time!

Do I smell bacon?

 

March 21, 2018, Edition #3: The Kitchen

This week, I will spend some time with you in the kitchen. There are many forms of subtle damage that can happen to a kitchen. Many of the products used in cabinets and counter-tops are susceptible to water and heat damage. I will suggest some spots you should check when you are viewing a home.

Click here to watch Episode Three of Tuesday's Tips!

Video Transcript
I thought I smelt bacon…

Oh, Hi there…

I’m Walter Krebs of Prairie Home Inspection. Welcome to this week’s episode of Tuesday’s Tips. Your weekly home inspection tips, that will help you, during your search for a new home. Today, I find myself in the kitchen… When I inspect a home, I always examine the cabinets and counters for damage and function.

This cabinet door has suffered from some heat damage and will need to be replaced. Try a few other cabinet doors to see how they are.

Do the same with a few drawers too

This type of laminate counter top is susceptible to water damage. But, it might not be visible, so run your hands across the surface and see if there are any bumps.

You might not be able to see this through the camera, but the counter is delaminating a bit here.

I see there are an adequate number of outlets over the counter and that is good. But, is the electrical that is within reach of the sink, on a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter?

I am sure you know that water and electricity do not mix. I will recommend this home owner calls a qualified electrician to come and make this kitchen safer.

This kitchen is in pretty good shape overall, but, it does require a bit of work. You should keep your kitchen renovation budget in mind when you make your offer to purchase.

Well, that is the end of today’s home inspection tip.

But, I will be back next week…

With another of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips!

I am Walter Krebs, saying, see you next time!

Oh, hey, are you done in there? I need…

 

March 27, 2018, Edition #4: The Bathroom

Today we are going to the bathroom! Did you know that water is the number cause of deterioration to washrooms? I will show you where you should look and feel for water damage. And, the one spot you should not feel! (yuck)

Click here to watch Episode Four of Tuesday's Tips!

Video Transcript
Hi There!

I’m Walter Krebs of Prairie Home Inspection. Welcome to this week’s episode of Tuesday’s Tips. Your weekly home inspection tips, that will help you, during your search for a new home.

Today we are in the bathroom. The function of this room should not be a mystery to any of you, I hope. But, what can be a surprise is the amount of damage you can find here. Damage that is caused by water.

There are several sources of water here, sink, toilet, and the bathtub. Water is the element that causes the most damage to a home. Not only can a leak destroy the home’s finishes, but it can affect the structure too.

When I inspect a home’s bathroom I will visually check for water damage. I will also take full advantage of my moisture meter and my infrared camera. Now, I don’t expect you to invest in a moisture meter or IR camera that you would carry to every home you view. But, you can look at the locations I will show you…

Under the sink: Most cabinets are made of particle board, which tends to not tolerate water very well. Open the doors and drawers and see if there are any water stains or damage to the inside of the cabinet. This is a sure way to discover if the sink, tap or drain leaks.

The bathtub: The floor or the wall adjacent to the tub should be dry and smooth. Any imperfections of the surface suggest water damage.

The toilet: Although the toilet is just another plumbing fixture, it serves a very different and specific purpose. For that reason, I suggest you don’t spend a lot of time feeling for surface imperfections. Stick with a visual inspection of the area around the toilet.

But, there is no harm in reaching around back to see if the supply line is dry. And, as I said, looking for water damage.

One last point… this can be a very valuable tool. If you smell a musty odor you may have detected water damage with your nose.

Walter: Well, that is the end of today’s home inspection tip.

But, I will be back next week…

With another of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips!

I am Walter Krebs, saying, see you next time!

 

April 3, 2018, Edition #5: The Walls

This week, we will check out the walls of a home. The drywall, that is used in most homes, can easily be damaged. Movement in the structure and moisture intrusion are the two most significant forms of damage that you should be aware of. I will give you some tips on where to look as you view a home to purchase. And, yes, this week’s tips will involve the “feeling” of home finishings too.

Click here to watch Episode Five of Tuesday's Tips! 

Video Transcript
Walter: Hi There!

I’m Walter Krebs of Prairie Home Inspection. Welcome to this week’s episode of Tuesday’s Tips, your weekly home inspection tips… That will help you, during your search for a new home.

Today, we are going to talk about walls. And what to check for as you view a prospective home.

The drywall that you see here, is common in most homes, and is susceptible to different forms of damage. It will crack if there is movement in the structure and can turn to mush if it is exposed to water.

So where will we find cracks? The areas that commonly show movement in the structure are: where walls meet, where the walls and ceiling meet and around doors and windows.

Some movement in a home is normal and is not always reason for alarm. If, during a home inspection, I find alarming cracks, I will bring them to your attention and suggest a course of action.

Check around potential sources of moisture for water damage to the wall surface. Like outside of a shower stall. I always check the walls below windows for water damage. It is not just that the wall is damaged and requires repair, it is more that water, has found its way where it is not supposed to be.

And you know, from watching my video series, that water and moisture intrusion is the number one source of damage to a home. So, spend a bit of time checking for walls damage in this way. It could save you a lot of money and grief.

Well, that is the end of today’s home inspection tip.

But, I will be back next week…

With another of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips!

I am Walter Krebs, saying, see you next time!

 

April 10, 2018, Edition #6: Lights and Outlets

Welcome to this week’s episode of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips! This week I will show you the safe tests you can perform on a home’s electrical system. And what to look for as you view your prospective home. Please join me in the video...

Click here to watch Episode Six of Tuesday's Tips! 

Video Transcript
Hi There!

I’m Walter Krebs of Prairie Home Inspection. Welcome to this week’s episode of Tuesday’s Tips, your weekly home inspection tips… That will help you, during your search for a new home. Today, we are going to look at some basic aspects of the home’s electrical system.

When I do a home inspection, I will look at the home’s electrical system in detail. I will test outlets, lights and switches for safe function as well as examine the electrical panel.

These are the sort of tests that I would never expect a home shopper to do. There is always an element of danger when you are inspecting electrical components. So, leave that part to me. But, there are many tests you can perform that are safe. Just flipping a light switch can tell you a lot about the home’s electrical system. By doing this simple thing, I can see that the switch functions and that the light on the circuit operates. By turning this switch on, I can see that all the bulbs in the fixture work and that it is an incandescent type of fixture.

I can watch the light for a few seconds to see that the amount of light is steady, and the light operates as it should.

There are various types of fixtures and multiple styles of bulbs: you should know the basics of their operation if you plan on doing any testing.

This light fixture illuminates this stairwell. For safety reasons, it must be on a circuit that has three-way switches. This means that a switch at the top of the stairs and a switch at the bottom of the stairs operates the same light fixture. I would suggest you test both switches. This is an important safety feature and a good indication of whether the home has been wired correctly.

Now, let’s talk about electrical outlets. Your examination of outlets will be mostly visual. As you pass through a room, see how many there are. Do you see a lot of extension cords with multiple devices plugged into them? This, could be an indication that the number of outlets is inadequate for the current home owners needs, and, perhaps, inadequate of your needs. One other thing you can do is to test the GFCI outlets. You can push the test button to see if it trips. A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is meant to cut out if it detects an unsafe grounding situation.

Meaning, you are using an electric hair dryer over a sink full of water and you drop the dryer into the water. I think it is good to know if the GFCI is working and that it will save your life! And, don’t forget to reset the outlet, you don’t want to leave the home owner in the dark.

Well, that is the end of today’s home inspection tip.

But, I will be back next week…

With another of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips!

I am Walter Krebs, saying, see you next time!

 

April 17, 2018, Edition #7: Flooring and Stairs

Welcome to this week’s episode of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips! Today, I talk about stair safety and flooring. Did you know that muscle memory will tell you if the stairs, you are traversing, are built correctly, or not. And, your feet have a lot they can tell you about a home’s flooring. You should listen to them!

Click here to watch Episode Seven of Tuesday's Tips! 

Video Transcript
Hi There!

I’m Walter Krebs of Prairie Home Inspection. Welcome to this week’s episode of Tuesday’s Tips, your weekly home inspection tips… That will help you, during your search for a new home.

Today, we are going to talk about stairs and flooring.

When I do a home inspection, I will check stairs for condition. But, more importantly I check them for safety. You can do the same, during a viewing. Muscle memory will help you gauge if the stairs are built properly.

How you instinctively place your feet, as you move up and down the stairs, will tell you if they are built correctly… With the correct rise and run.

A tug on the railing will confirm if they are secure enough to hold you if you stumble.

There are some issues with the condition of the floor coverings on the stairs that are worth noting. The cats have been scratching here. This damage is probably a good indicator as to the flooring’s condition throughout the house. We should keep our eyes open.

Although this damage is considered cosmetic and therefore not included in a home inspection report, I would still note it as courtesy to my client. Replacing the flooring can be expensive. Aside from some cat customizing and the occasional creak, I would say these stairs are safe to use.

Let’s go look at some flooring in other parts of the home.

Your feet will tell you a lot about the flooring. A question to ask, as you walk about the house, is: Are the flooring transitions easily traversed? This one is basically even and is not a trip hazard.

While I was inspecting the kitchen cabinets, my feet found a seam opening on the sheet flooring. This could be repaired but, more than likely, the flooring should be replaced.

So, the flooring in this home does not present any sort of hazard. But, cosmetically, I would think that any purchaser would want to replace it due to the wear, and, low quality of the product. That’s something too keep in mind as you determine your purchase price and renovation budget.

Well, that is the end of today’s home inspection tip.

But, I will be back next week…

With another of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips!

I am Walter Krebs, saying, see you next time!

You said the panel is in the garage? Uh…

 

April 24, 2018, Edition #8: The Electrical Panel

Welcome to this week’s episode of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips! Although the electrical panel can be a dangerous and confusing mess, I will show you how to safely examine the panel. You can learn a lot about “brains” of the home’s electrical system with out risking a shock. So, put your hands in your pockets and… Please join me..

Click here to watch Episode Eight of Tuesday's Tips! 

Video Transcript
Hi There!

I’m Walter Krebs of Prairie Home Inspection. Welcome to this week’s episode of Tuesday’s Tips. Your weekly home inspection series, that, will help you during your search for a new home.

Today, I find myself in the garage, and ready to inspect this home’s electrical panel.

You might be wondering, “Is the panel normally located in the garage?” And I would have to answer, “not often”. Most times you will find the electrical panel in the basement of a home, close by the other utilities.

Before we get started with inspecting the panel, I must talk about safety. Because, electricity can kill you. If you can not identify an unsafe installation, or, you don’t know what you are doing around an electrical panel: then you should stay well away from it.

I am a qualified and certified Home Inspector. And when I inspect a home, I always start with a visual examination of the panel.

From the outside, I can see that all the conductors are secure and neatly organised. This is a good sign that the installer cared about the quality of his work. I see the box does not have any openings either.

During installation, electricians will make an opening when they feed the wires through. Sometimes, an opening is created and not used. This is a shock hazard and should be corrected by a qualified electrician immediately.

It is also a good idea to visually check for signs of water too.

At this point, if I identified any sort of hazard I would not proceed any further with my inspection, and, I expect you to stop too.

But, things look good so let’s open the panel door. Now that the door is open, I would recommend you put your hands in your pockets. And avoid the temptation to poke around. Each layer you peel on this onion brings you closer to getting a shock.

What you can do, while your hands are safe in your pant pockets, is scan the panel. Look for rust and signs of moisture intrusion. And see if the breakers are sitting straight and level in their spots relative to the dead front.

Breakers and connections can fail or weaken. This can result in arching and hot spots. This often shows itself as burns to panel components and discoloration.

But, it may not show at all. Unless… I use my thermal imaging camera to scan for hot spots. This is a very effective use for this technology.

Let’s look a little closer at this breaker, here… This one is a different color. This is an Arc Fault Interrupter breaker. From the panel labelling we can see that it is a circuit for the bedrooms.

This breaker is a safety device that will trip if it detects electrical arching in this circuit. This AFCI can stop an electrical fire from ever starting and may save your life.

You may have noticed the test button on the breaker. It is meant to test the AFCI’s operation. In previous weeks, I had you test the GFCI in a washroom. But, this is different.

This circuit has alarm clocks, computers and maybe the pump for the exotic fish tank on it. I would suggest not testing it to avoid getting an angry phone call later.

So, how do we know that the home’s electrical system has enough power for your needs? The main breaker is a great indicator of that. This one is 100 amps and that should be enough for the needs of most households.

Sometimes, a home owner has special power requirements. If that is the case, then, you should have a qualified electrician advice you.

Well, that is the end of today’s home inspection tip.

But, I will be back next week…

With another of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips!

I am Walter Krebs, saying, see you next time!

 

May 1, 2018, Edition #9: Tiny Utility

Welcome to this week’s episode of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips! There are some condition issues with the appliances in the world’s smallest utility room. I will point out these issues to you and discuss them. I’ll also talk about combustion air, and, humidifiers that barf on furnaces! Please join me in the video...

Click here to watch Episode Nine of Tuesday's Tips! 

Video Transcript
Hi There!

I’m Walter Krebs of Prairie Home Inspection. Welcome to this week’s episode of Tuesday’s Tips. Your weekly home inspection series, that, will help you during your search for a new home.

Today, we meet in the utility room. A very, tiny utility room. And, just like our tour of the electrical panel last week, I would suggest keeping your hands in your pockets, here too. I don’t want you to get hurt.

When I first entered this small, crowded room, I thought: It’s so tiny I wonder if there is sufficient combustion air for the gas appliances?

The furnace and hot water tank both have specific requirements, in order for them to operate safely. This small room may not have an adequate volume of air to provide for both appliances, running at the same time.

But, I see that there is a source of fresh air and, therefore, enough combustion air. And, no need for further investigation. Let’s get a closer look at the front of this furnace

Can you see this hard water stain running down the front of the furnace? It looks like the furnace humidifier threw up at some point and spilled its contents where you see this staining.

During the course of a home inspection, I would open the burner compartment and the blower compartment for a closer look. And, with this furnace, to see if the humidifier may have ruined it. I would say that if you are considering purchasing this home, that, this furnace should be serviced by a qualified technician.

Let’s move to the other gas appliance in this room, the hot water tank.

I am sure you have already noticed the rust at the top of the tank. This is caused by the products of combustion not venting properly. Their corrosive nature made quick work of this tank.

This coupled, with the age of the home, suggests that this tank needs to be replaced. So, be prepared to negotiate your home purchase price, or, to pay for a new hot water tank.

While you are in the utility room, have a look at the plumbing manifold and the main shut off. I would say for you to check to see if there any signs of damage or leaks and that is about it.

The inspection report, that I provide for my clients, would document any of the issues I uncover in the utility room. My reports also include links to a digital version of this: The Home Reference Book by Carson Dunlop.

This Home Reference book is full of great information on how to operate and maintain your home. It includes a chapter on heating: You can gather information on how to maintain your furnace and humidifier. There is also a plumbing chapter that includes a section dedicated to hot water tanks.

You will find the links, to the various chapters of the Home Reference Book, on the last page of your inspection report. Or, if you have not had your home inspected by me, you can buy a hard copy through Carson Dunlop.

ME: Well, that is the end of today’s home inspection tip.

But, I will be back next week…

With another of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips!

I am Walter Krebs, saying, see you next time!

Ow, let’s go up to the master bedroom… more room there!

 

May 8, 2018, Edition #10: The Master Bedroom

Welcome to this week’s episode of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips! I know, as a home inspector, I tend to prattle-on about safety. This episode, I will be more considerate of your needs and chat about your comfort. And, because I am such a nice guy, I will share my system for planning a room’s furniture placement. Please join me in the video...

Click here to watch Episode Ten of Tuesday's Tips! 

Video Transcript
Hi There!

I’m Walter Krebs of Prairie Home Inspection. Welcome to this week’s episode of Tuesday’s Tips. Your weekly home inspection series, that, will help you during your search for a new home.

Today, I’m in the master bedroom. When I inspect a bedroom, I examine systems like: heating, electrical, structure and so on…

But, I know, when you are shopping for a home, that you are only a little interested in these systems. I have been in your position and I know that your heart often has the final say as to which home you will buy.

So, today, I’m going to meet you half way. I am still going to talk about safety, but, I will help you assess this room for comfort too.

Now, I have already tested the light and switch. I’ve also determined that there is an adequate number of outlets.

I checked below this window for water damage… as I have suggested in previous videos. Let’s go see if the window hardware functions.

You want to know if this window works properly because, you will likely want the option of getting some fresh air and maybe catching a breeze on a hot summer night.

As a home inspector, it is important to me to check for egress … in case of a fire.

On the subject of fresh air: do you remember this inspection tool? What did you smell when you came into the room? If anything? Did the air smell stale, musty, or heavily scented? This will be the air that you, breath every night.

Also, the air in this room will be affected by the adjoining bathroom. We have a nearby source of moisture that will affect the breathable air in the bedroom, and, your overall comfort.

On the subject of comfort… How did you find the temperature as you entered the room? Would you be OK getting ready for your day here? Let’s take a minute and have a look at this room’s heating set up.

I see this room has its own unobstructed cold air return. And, it was installed on an interior wall as it should be.

Now, let’s go look for the supply register… This is good, it’s under the window and not blocked.

I usually take the cover off, so I can see how dirty the vent is. You don’t have to do this: Sometimes the register covers are hard to put back.

I would say that the supply and return are properly positioned and sized for a reasonably comfortable room. How this room is insulated is also important to creature comfort.

If this were your home I was inspecting, I would use my infrared camera to check for gaps in insulation on the exterior wall and the ceiling that is shared with the attic.

The attic space is right there. It is important that the living space is properly insulated.

There is another important thought I would like to share with you: when I’ve been home shopping with my family, and, we found the perfect place… I take the time to measure out the living spaces.

It gets expensive to buy new furniture every time you move so I usually check if my existing furniture is going to fit.

You may not have time to measure during the first viewing, but, you will likely have a chance during subsequent visits.

Let me show you how easy it is to do: It does not take very much time to measure a room. As you lay-out the room, keep in mind that your large pieces of furniture will be the hardest to place. So, it would be handy to have their dimensions, with you, as you begin measuring.

Now, start by doing a sketch of the room’s footprint. Make sure to include the doorways and windows, and anything else, that will affect the placement of your furnishings. I usually start at the room’s entrance, and, go around the room in one direction.

Keep it simple. I would start to this side of this closet: because the other space is too narrow for any furniture that I have. Measure from the casing to the corner, then from one corner to the other, and so on. Then keep going around the room until you are back where you started. Before you know it, you will have drawn an accurate representation of the room and you can now begin planning the placement of your furniture.

This simple process can save you money and reduce the stress of moving in. While you have your tape measure out, check-out the home’s available storage.

This is something you may not be focused on during first viewings. But, try to be cognizant of your storage requirements, and, if the home has room for all your possessions.

I have frequently underestimated the amount of… stuff… we have and often found myself scrambling to make room for our… stuff, after we moved in! Lucky for me, I am really, good at making shelves!

Well, that is the end of today’s home inspection tip.

But, I will be back next week…

With another of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips!

I am Walter Krebs, saying, see you next time!

 

May 15, 2018, Edition #11: Windows

Welcome to this week’s episode of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips! This week, we chat about the evolution of windows and what you should look for when you are viewing a home. If you see a great lump of ice on the inside of the window, there is a chance you may want to replace that window! Did you know the seal of a window will fail, over time? Please join me in the video...

Click here to watch Episode Eleven of Tuesday's Tips! 

Video Transcript
Hi There!

I’m Walter Krebs of Prairie Home Inspection. Welcome to this week’s episode of Tuesday’s Tips. Your weekly home inspection series, that, will help you during your search for a new home.

Today, we are going to talk about windows.

Last week, we tested this window for function and egress. This week, I want to go into a bit more detail: I want to talk about things you should look for in a home’s windows, in order for you, to determine their condition and quality.

Here we have a fixed window and a casement window in one frame. Having a non-opening window combined with a window that does open is a common arrangement. Your Budget, and the rough opening size, will dictate the window design. This casement style of window is a superior. Let me show you why I feel it’s better.

You see these seals? There are two on the window and one of the frame. When this window is closed, and latched tight, there is very little space between the sash and jamb. Therefore, there is only a small loss of warm air that occurs.

Now, a sliding window, does not have the same seal arrangement. And it will leak more air than this window. Seals create friction that would restrict the movement of a slider. So, they can not seal tight, otherwise, they would be very hard to open.

It’s important to know this for when you are evaluating a home’s comfort. You will find vertical and horizontal sliders in many homes, because they are less expensive than casement or awning windows.

PVC windows replaced aluminum and wood windows. PVC frames have a lower level of thermal conductivity than their predecessors.

ME: I am sure you have seen old aluminum windows with ice on them. That should never occur with a window constructed of PVC. To improve a PVC window’s energy efficiency, manufacturers commonly use double or even triple panes of glass.

The panes of glass are separated by a spacer and often have a special gas in-between them. The spacers and gas help to lower the amount of heat that is lost through conduction. This helps to keep your home a little warmer in the winter. But, the seal between panes does fail over time.

If you see a window that has moisture or a fog inside of it, then you know the window needs replacement.

Upgrading a home’s windows usually does not have a significant impact on your heating bills. The R-value of a double pane window is only 3. But, upgrading the windows could improve how comfortable your home is. You may not feel the cold draft as you did before. And, replacing a window is not difficult.

But, there are still plenty of things that can go wrong! Especially If you are not fully aware of the proper installation process. Then maybe you should hire a professional. And, make sure that, your contractor is qualified to install the windows you chose.

One other thing about windows. Actually… windows and high humidity. We all know how dry our winters can be. And, the usually response of home owners is to crank the furnace’s humidifier up to 50%.

I have to say, that, your house is not happy about that! Your windows certainly are not. The ice that accumulates on the glass will damage the finishings in your home. And decrease your comfort in that room.

So, please, keep your humidifier below 25%. 15% is even better. And buy shares in companies that sell moisturizer in Canada! Haha!

Well, that is the end of today’s home inspection tip.

But, I will be back next week…

With another of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips!

I am Walter Krebs, saying, see you next time!

Mmm… how are we going to shoot that? I might be too short to reach the…

 

May 22, 2018, Edition #12: The Ceiling

Welcome to this week’s episode of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips! This week, I will ask you to look up, way up! And I’ll call Rusty! (Just a Friendly Giant reference). I will ask you to look up at the ceiling and use your most valuable inspection tool: your eyes! Ever heard of Attic Rain, or, Truss Uplift? You have now! Please join me in the video...

Click here to watch Episode Twelve of Tuesday's Tips! 

Video Transcript
Hi There!

I’m Walter Krebs of Prairie Home Inspection. Welcome to this week’s episode of Tuesday’s Tips. Your weekly home inspection series, that, will help you during your search for a new home.

Today, we are going to talk about the ceiling. The ceiling of a home is, usually, made of drywall or drywall and stucco. Both products are susceptible to all kinds of damage: water damage, cracks, mechanical damage and so on…

If we were inspecting the walls, we would be able to feel our way around typical damage locations. But, with ceilings, we will have to rely on another, important inspection tool: your eyes!

I am going to show you where to look and how to look for issues with the ceiling. Remember episode 5? I showed you where to look for wall cracks. It is the same basic idea when you look for cracks in a ceiling. Look for points where structure meet structure. Let me show you…

You know, from our wall episode, too look here: where the ceiling meets the wall. But, you have the entire perimeter of the house to look at and both sides of every interior wall.

When I inspect your home, I will inspect every one of these locations. For you home shoppers, I would say to make random checks of these spots: Just so, you still have a time to view the home.

This is a beam that is wrapped in drywall and part of this home’s structure. Make sure you check both sides of this beam for cracks. The beam can move independently of the ceiling and this movement can crack the finishes.

The trusses and rafters of a home are also structure and will move independently of the ceiling. This can result in cracks in the middle of the room as well as around perimeter.

Damage, should not always deter you from buying a home that you love. But, further evaluation, by a qualified professional, is a good idea.

Sometimes, a ceiling is new or freshly painted. That will limit your ability to spot damage. This is when you really need your home inspector’s help.

Their experience and knowledge will come in handy.

Let’s move on from cracks to water damaged ceilings. Your inspection of the ceiling can, actually, start on the outside of the home…

If you saw signs of ice-damning, on the exterior of the home, then you should look closely at the ceiling. Ice damns will trap water at the eaves. If this water found its way into the home, you will most likely see the damage where the ceiling meets the exterior walls. But, water damage to a ceiling does not only happen at the building’s perimeter…

A failed roof covering, or bad flashing, could result in a leak that causes damage to the ceiling, anywhere!

A strange phenomena, that is related to damaged ceilings, is: attic rain! This occurs during the winter months in some homes. Warm, humid air enters the attic from the home’s living space. Due to inadequate attic ventilation, the moist air condenses, then freezes in the winter cold of the attic. When it warms up, the ice and frost in the attic melts and rains down onto the attic insulation.

Invariably, there is sufficient attic rain to damage or destroy the ceiling in these homes. The water damage may only show itself through a brownish stain.

The stain itself is not serious. But, what it represents can be serious. It might be the suggestion of more extensive moisture intrusion and, therefore, cause for concern.

Again, a freshly painted ceiling may hide the stain from you. But, if drywall or stucco is still holding water, my thermal imaging camera has a good chance of uncovering it… even though it may not be visible to the naked eye!

While you are still looking up: back yourself into a corner and “eyeball” the ceiling. This “macro-view” will help you check for overall failure of the ceiling, or, even the results of structural failure.

A very unusual phenomena that can occur to structure is: truss uplift. I won’t go into a lot of detail today, I will talk about it more in my structure episode. But… Truss uplift can result in gap opening between the walls and ceiling in the winter. And, then, closing in the summer. This is not a deficiency, believe it or not. But, it sure can be disturbing to the home shopper when they see this gap.

As a home inspector, this bizarre effect is something that I am aware of. And I will document it in your inspection report, if, the house suffers from it.

Well, that is the end of today’s home inspection tip.

But, I will be back next week…

With another of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips!

I am Walter Krebs, saying, see you next time!

How about we start at the foundation and work our way up?

 

May 29, 2018, Edition #13: Foundation and Lot Grading

Welcome to this week’s episode of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips! Today, we are going to talk about lot grading and foundations. In this episode, I will explain the relationship between the two of them. I will help you to determine whether the foundation of the home, your viewing, makes the “grade”. Please join me in the video...

Click here to watch Episode Thirteen of Tuesday's Tips! 

Video Transcript
Hi There!

I’m Walter Krebs of Prairie Home Inspection. Welcome to this week’s episode of Tuesday’s Tips. Your weekly home inspection series, that, will help you during your search for a new home.

Today, we are going to talk about foundations and lot grading. So, what does lot grading have to do with a home’s foundation, you ask… One protects the other. And you might be thinking, “uh?” In an effort to make sense of all this, we are going on a field trip!

I am going to take you to an excavation, and to where a home has just started construction.

An excavator has recently dug a basement. You can clearly see that this hole is below ground level, or below grade. I am sure you can image that; this excavation could just as easily be for a swimming pool as it is for a home’s foundation.

Are you thinking about lot grading now? No? OK. Come on, let’s get into the Prairie Home Inspection van. I have another site for you to see.

Here, is the foundation and footings for a new home. The footing is formed, poured and cured. Its purpose is to take the weight of the home and spread it, evenly, over the ground. We dig basements, in our cold climate, to keep the footings below the frost line. Frost heave can move the footings and crack a foundation.

The home is much more stable with its base below grade. The foundation is also formed, poured and cured. It is keyed into the footings to prevent the foundation from slipping out.

Current best, building practices are to coat the foundation in a water-resistant product, or, to wrap it in a water proof membrane. You see, concrete is porous, and water will get drawn into it.

Our frequent freeze and thaw cycles, as a result of our climate, can cause a lot of damage to a wet foundation. Or a foundation that has wet soil pressed against it.

Mmm.. I think you can now see the relationship between a properly graded lot and a home’s foundation. I have a lot grading demonstration to show you…

I have a wood block representation of a concrete foundation. I have used this sand to play the role of the soil that surrounds every home.

If you look from a low angle, you can see that the “grade” of our model is sloped.

Watch this….

You see how a correctly graded property will direct ground, or, rain water away from the house.

Now, let’s see what happens if we allow the soil to settle close to the foundation.

Instead of directing the water away from the home… It now holds the moisture against the concrete.

Now, we have a house that has wet soil in contact with the foundation. Let’s see what happens as winter arrives and the saturated soil freezes to the foundation and then begins heaving.

You can see all the cracks that have formed in our wood block foundation. These openings represent failure of structure and entry points for ground water.

So, lot grade protects the foundation.

A property that directs water away from the home will keep your foundation safe and dry.

From the home shopper’s perspective: there are many things that will limit your inspection of the foundation. But, you can easily examine the lot grade. You have a much better chance of buying a home with solid footings and a dry basement if you find one that has the proper grade.

And, if you are not sure, consult with your home inspector.

Well, that is the end of today’s home inspection tip.

But, I will be back next week…

With another of Prairie Home Inspection’s, Tuesday’s Tips!

I am Walter Krebs, saying, see you next time…


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