What is Radon?

Have you heard of radon?  I assume your answer is ‘yes’ since most people have.

Do you know what radon is? I assume your answer is ‘no’ since most people don’t. At least not in any great detail.

So what is it? One explanation is that radon is a gaseous radioactive element in the decay chain of uranium.  Uranium is present around the globe from the surface to deep underground.  When it decays into radon it rises to the surface due to pressure differences. As it rises it can infiltrate and accumulate in basements.

Another answer is that radon is a toxic gas that causes more deaths than traffic accidents. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. To make matters worse, if you are a smoker, radons is even more likely to cause cancer than in a non-smoker.  Regardless of where your house is, there is a potential for elevated radon accumulation in your home.

Galvanized Steel Plumbing

Galvanized Steel plumbing is commonly found in homes built in the early/mid 1900s. It was the preferred material.  While it is no longer installed, it still exists in a lot of homes. When found, a plan should be made to replace it as soon as possible. 

Galvanized steel pipes

Galvanized steel pipes

Galvanized steel pipes can be identified as grey in colour with threaded fittings. It has a lifespan of 40-50 years and since it hasn’t been installed for longer than that, you can assume that any galvanized pipes you find have exceeded their lifespan.  

There are two primary concerns with this material. The primary issue is leakage. These pipes corrode and leak points can occur at the threaded fittings. These are located throughout the house hidden in walls and floors. A leak could start in some hidden area and not be noticed until significant water damage has occurred. 

Pipe corrosion doesn’t only cause leaks. As the corrosion builds up thickness inside the pipes, it chokes down the water flow. Plumbers routinely find that galvanized pipe corrosion has reduced inside area of the pipe by more than half. If you have galvanized plumbing and you find that your water pressure and/or volumes are low, this is the likely reason. 

If these issues aren’t enough to convince you that replacement of galvanized steel plumbing is necessary, there is another good reason:  home insurance. Many home insurance companies simply won’t insure homes with this type of plumbing due to the frequent and increasing failures.

if you suspect that you have galvanized steel plumbing in your home, contact a plumber to assess the system and help you decide how to avoid the cost and hassle of water damage and flooding in your home by replacing your galvanized plumbing with pex or copper.

 Click here to contact Jason Cherry at Cherry Home Inspections with any questions or to book an inspection appointment. 

A Primer on Household Wiring

A Primer on Household Wiring

This piece is intended to provide a brief description of the rest of the wiring that is common in homes.  Have you ever noticed the writing along the length?  It describes various things like the manufacturer and the testing and safety standards they were built to meet.  You are also likely to see ‘NMD’ with a number, such a NMD 7 or NMD 90.  ‘NMD’ stands for ‘non-metallic dry’.  It means the jacket, or the sheathing, around the wire is not a metallic material and it’s for dry locations.  Other types of wiring may have a metal sheathing or be rated for exterior and/or wet conditions.  

Exhaust Fans Venting Into Attics

Bathroom exhaust fan venting in attic space

Bathroom exhaust fan venting in attic space

Watch out for unfinished DIY jobs. A bathroom exhaust fan terminating inside an unfinished attic can cause many problems.

A bathroom fan is intended to remove humid air from the bathroom.  A properly vented exhaust fan delivers that air directly outside.  If the duct is vented into the attic, problems can arise from the excess heat and moisture.

The moisture can settle on the framing and insulation leading to mold and rot. In the winter the warm air being sent into the attic can heat an area of the roof and cause snow melt. The melt water will run down the roof until it reaches a cold area where it will refreeze. This is how ice dams form. Ice dams force water under the shingles which can lead to water damage in the house.

When you are buying a home, make sure your inspector confirms the proper installation of these devices, especially when it looks like a DIY job.

Click here to contact Jason at Cherry Home Inspections in Southern Ontario if you have any questions or if you would like to book an inspection appointment.