Home Inspection Articles

Kaitlyn Yantzi

Recent Posts

Trees: A Thing of Beauty or a Liability?

Posted by Kaitlyn Yantzi on Feb 19, 2013 1:24:00 PM


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For many, especially those living in urban areas where green space is limited, having a tree in the front yard is considered a benefit - a luxury even. They provide shade in the summer and picturesque foliage in the fall. The only downside homeowners typically associate with trees is the amount of raking their leaves require. Few consider the damaging effect trees, more specifically their roots, can have on their property. As Greg Leger of Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drains Service explains, "When we receive a call regarding a 'clogged' or 'blocked' drain line, the problem is usually caused by tree roots."



Learn more about the primary cause of drainage issues in homes, and what preventative steps homeowners can take, from our Specialty Services and Homeowners Association partner: Roto-Rooter. 

Carson Dunlop (CD): What is the most common problem your technicians encounter? 

Roto-Rooter (RR): "Tree roots are the most common problem. If a drain line is found to be collapsed, often times it is due to roots having constricted and subsequently busted the drain line. Blockages of paper often get caught on very fine roots that have grown through a small opening or a shift in the drain pipes and create a back-up."

CD: What are warning signs homeowners can look for that indicate blocked pipes? 

RR: "Some signs of blocked pipes may include but aren't limited to:

  • Basement fixtures (for example toilets, showers, laundry tubs, etc.) taking a long time to drain
  • Musty smells coming from the floor drains
  • Small pools or puddles of water around floor drains
  • Sewage or storm water in the basement
  • Roots actually coming up from the floor drain - this is more common than many might think"

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CD: What is the average cost to fix a tree root induced draining issue; is it less expensive if caught early?

RR: "If caught early enough, snaking will usually still be a viable option. In many cases, roots are not too invasive - snaking the drain line annually can help ensure it remains clear of obstructions, until the point where the roots become thicker and end up collapsing the drain. With tree roots it is always the same end result: the roots will get in and the drain line will need to be repaired. Snaking and camera inspections are typically a few hundred dollars. More in-depth remediation tactics, such as excavation, can be upwards of several thousand dollars."

CD: Who has to pay for remediation - When is it the homeowner's responsibility compared with the municipality's responsibility?

RR: "Every neighborhood and city is different. It's important to know what applies in your area. In the city of Toronto, the homeowner is responsible for all of their underground drains from the inside of their home to the city property line; look for the water shut-off, this usually offers a guide as to where the property line is. However, in Durham region, three feet past the most outward portion of the home is the city's responsibility. In Barrie, the homeowner is responsible for the entire drain line from inside their home all the way to the city connection, which is commonly found in the center of the road. Not only that, the homeowner is also responsible for the backfilling, compaction and repaving of the city roadway."

As a professional Home Inspection consulting company, our aim is to help homeowners stay safe, warm and dry. Our Specialty Services complement our Home Inspections, targeting potential areas of concern which fall outside the scope of a regular Home Inspection. This new program allows us to provide our clients and real estate partners with fast, easy and cost-effective access to qualified specialists, like Roto-Rooter, all with a single call. 

In addition, the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association partners with companies like Roto-Rooter to help provide homeowners with the knowledge and the tools to protect their properties. As Homeowners Association members, Carson Dunlop clients receive a $50 discount towards plumbing, drain, sewer and water proofing services. To learn more about this partner, please click here. To learn more about the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association, please click here



February Poll


Last month, 23 homeowners told us what they felt was the most common material for residential piping. The majority were correct: copper is the most common material for residential supply piping. Here are their responses:

507[1]Congratulations to last month's winner: Michael Schmidt.


Carson Dunlop has recently launched a Specialty Services program. This program aims to facilitate requests or concerns which fall outside the scope of a regular Home Inspection. Now our clients are able to seamlessly book a Specialty Service with ease and save themselves the headache of trying to find a qualified provider.

The program is launching with the following services:

  • Asbestos Assessments

  • Indoor Air Quality Assessments

  • Mold Inspections

  • Pool Inspections

  • Septic Tank Evaluations

  • Sewer Camera Inspections

  • Water Quality Evaluations

  • Termite Inspections

  • Wood Energy Transfer Technology (WETT) Inspections

To learn more about our Speciality Services program, please click here or call 800.268.7070.


Topics: Home Inspection, Monthly Newsletters, Homeowners Association, Carson Dunlop, Specialty Services, Homeowner Tips

Winterizing Your Home Can Help Avoid Cold Weather Woes

Posted by Kaitlyn Yantzi on Nov 16, 2012 11:01:00 AM
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 One of the great joys of living in Canada is the change of seasons. Autumn's colours and crispness will soon give way to winter's first snowfall. While people react differently to seasonal changes, all homes react much the same way: climate change is hard on homes and the freeze/thaw cycles can cause damage.

At Carson Dunlop we believe prevention is the key to a safe and comfortable season. Here are our areas of focus and suggestions to get you through the winter months:

>>  Roof - We are big believers in annual roof tune-ups, and fallis the perfect time for your roofer to address any small issues before they become big ones. The roof suffers the brunt of winter weather abuse. Correcting damaged shingles, loose flashings and torn valleys can prevent water damage from leaks and avoid expensive repairs. Tree limbs overhanging and touching the roof should be cut back, and missing mortar or loose bricks on chimneys should be repaired.

>>  Eavestroughs - We can't overstate the importance of having free-flowing, leak-free gutters and downspouts to get roof water away from the house and keep it out of the basement. If eavestroughs can't control the rain or melting snow, or if downspouts don't carry water at least six feet away from the home, the ground next to your home will get soaked. Saturated ground usually means a leaky basement. Poor grading is another common and easily-corrected cause of basement leakage. For more information on how to address this issue, check out our article on How Proper Grading Can Prevent Water Damage.

>>  Catch Basins - Make sure any catch basins in your driveway, garage and yard are clear. It's also a great idea to clear any storm grates in the street in front of your house so all that rain and melting snow can get into the storm sewers.

>>  Windows, Doors and Walls - Check your windows and doors for any wood in need of paint, and any joints that need re-caulking. The corners of sills are a common weak point. Check the caulking at pipes, vents and other wall penetrations as part of regular maintenance.

>>  Furnace - Taking care of your furnace is very important, especially in the winter. We recommend annual service plans for heating and cooling systems. If you haven't yet, schedule a heating system maintenance call, even if your system is relatively new. For more information on easy steps you can take to extend the life of your furnace, check out our article on Furnace Maintenance. 

November Poll

Last month 30 homeowners told us what area of the home they believed suffered the brunt of winter weather abuse. Here are their responses:

October Graph

The Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association

At Carson Dunlop we want to provide homeowners with the knowledge and the tools to protect their properties, which is why we created the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association. This not-for-profit program gives clients access to discounts on a variety of products and services. Association partners like Canadian Tire help members maintain and upgrade their homes. Canadian Tire Home Services is pleased to offer Carson Dunlop customers a 5% Canadian Tire 'Money' On The Card bonus when using their Canadian Tire Options MasterCard for the purchase of any heating and/or cooling system from Canadian Tire Home Services. To learn more visit canadiantire.ca/homeservices. Attractive financing options available. 
For more information on the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association and its partners click here or call 800.268.7070. 

We've Gone Social


Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association

Canadian Tire
The Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association saves you time & money through our strategic partners, like Canadian Tire. Click here for more information.

Horizon Home Protection Plan

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Avoid the high costs of breakdowns with the Horizon Home Protection Plan. Click here to learn more.











Topics: Homeowners, Monthly Newsletters, Homeowners Association, Carson Dunlop, Homeowner Tips, Newsletter

Home Inspection Newsletter - Putting Mold in Perspective

Posted by Kaitlyn Yantzi on Oct 22, 2012 10:28:00 AM



Putting Mold in Perspective

At Carson Dunlop we recognize that homeowners want their homes to break the mold, literally. Mold is a common cause for concern. Not only does it present potential health issues, it can also be indicative of other issues within the home.Every home has the potential for mold - if it can grow on your bread, it can grow on your walls. This isn't meant to cause alarm, but rather to show when an alarm should or shouldn't be raised. The objective of a mold-free home is unrealistic. Mold cannot be entirely eliminated, but it can be controlled. Mold needs four things to grow:

1. Mold spores

2. A food source

3. Temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit

4. Moisture

Small quantities of mold spores are present in the air of every building, food sources are present in every home, and no human is comfortable in temperatures less than 40 degrees or more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Ultimately, the best and really the only way to prevent mold from growing is to control moisture. Curing leaks, improving drainage, and drying things up are important steps in controlling mold. Regular system maintenance, home repair, and home assessment are critical in controlling mold presence.

>> Check the drainage around the exterior of your home. Make sure the ground slopes away from your foundation wall to keep water away from your basement.

>> Gutters and downspouts should be kept clear of leaves and debris and any leaks should be repaired.

>> Ensure your attic is properly ventilated and that there are no exhaust fans discharging into the roof space.

>> Make sure there are no leaks in your roof or wall systems.

Professional Home Inspectors are building scientists rather than health scientists, and unless they have special qualifications, typically do not inspect for mold. Inspectors look at all building systems and components in a general Home Inspection, and identify readily accessible and visible moisture issues. Where mold is a concern, a professional mold inspection may be logical. Having an indoor air quality assessment performed will help in identifying excessive mold issues and provide advice on remediation tactics.

In most homes, good maintenance and common sense are the best weapons against mold. As Home Inspectors have been saying for years: moisture is the biggest enemy of homes. Mold may be one of the results of that moisture.


Meet the Newest Members of the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association

The Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association is pleased to announce the addition of two new partners: Canadian Tire and Perkopolis. The Homeowners Association is a not-for-profit program developed Canadianexclusively for Carson Dunlop clients. It provides continued support after the Home Inspection has been performed. Clients are offered discounts and preferred rates on a variety of product and services through program members.


>> Canadian Tire Home Services is pleased to offer Carson Dunlop customers a 5% Canadian Tire 'Money' On The Card bonus when using their Canadian Tire Options Mastercard for the purchase of any heating and/or cooling system from Canadian Tire Home Services. To lean more, visit canadiantire.ca/homeservices. Attractive financing available.


>> Perkopolis is a free benefits service, providing participants with discounts and deals on a wide range of items, from event tickets to cable prices.

The Homeowners Association is part of Carson Dunlop's commitment to providing extraordinary value and exceeding expectations. For more information on the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association or any of its partners, click here or call 800.268.7070.

October Poll

Last month we asked homeowners what they believed to be the primary cause of mold in a home:


Topics: Mold, Homeowners, October, Newsletter


Posted by Kaitlyn Yantzi on Sep 28, 2012 9:41:00 AM

Simple Furnace Maintenance: Changing Your Filter Will  Save You Money & Energy

For many homeowners, the old adage "if it's not broken, don't fix it" has become "if it's not broken, don't think about it." At Carson Dunlop, we understand why most homeowners have taken this approach, since it seems everyone is busier than ever before. As leaders within the Home Inspection field, we are encouraging homeowners to take the odd five minute break to think about their home since it can save you a lot time, money and frustration.  

 The furnace is one of the most neglected items in a home, until it breaks. Most homeowners are unaware that changing their furnace filter can save them money and improve the comfort of your own home. 

Setting aside a few minutes each month to check your furnace filter will provide you with the following benefits: 

  >>  Help to reduce heating and cooling costs

  >>  Improve the comfort of your home

  >>  Protect the heating and cooling equipment 

Let's adopt a new mantra when it comes to furnaces: "if it isn't broke, it's because I maintain it." This quick step once a month will allow for a better and more energy efficient lifespan for this system. 

We've listed a few considerations below to help with this process:

How often should I check my furnace filter? On a monthly basis to determine whether or not it needs changing or cleaning.  

Where is my furnace filter located? The filter is typically located in the fresh air return which can be placed on either side of the furnace.

What type of furnace filter should I purchase? The first thing you will need to determine is whether or not you should purchase a cleanable or a disposable filter. Most homeowners select disposable given how busy they are, but either one is an excellent choice. 

How much does a furnace filter cost? Furnace filters can range from $5 to $30 depending on the type of filter you select. Visit a local Canadian Tire or other home improvement store to see their vast selection. 
Helpful Tip: Write down the size of your existing furnace filter before going to purchase a new one.  

September Poll

A lot of homeowners are already on the right track when it comes to their furnaces - last August 83 homeowners admitted:

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Horizon Home Warranty: Added Protection

In 2011 Carson Dunlop launched the Horizon Home Warranty. The bridge between a Home Inspection and home insurance, this warranty aims to further support Carson Dunlop clients in making informed decisions in regards to their properties. 

The Horizon Home Warranty is cost effective, flexible and helps protect against sudden breakdowns or mechanical failures. Qualified service professionals are a simple phone call away to give you the added protection you deserve. For more information, click here or call 800.268.7070. 


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Topics: Monthly Newsletters, Carson Dunlop

Carson Dunlop Newsletter

Posted by Kaitlyn Yantzi on Sep 26, 2012 11:13:00 AM


90% of Homes Will Leak at Some Point:  

Help Reduce the Frequency and Severity of Water Entry into Your Home

While April showers bring May flowers, North America sees a lot of rain in August. High humidity and temperatures often cause heavy rainfall, storms, and flash flooding. Many homeowners are blinded by the sunny skies of June and July, and don't realize that this weather can translate to basement dampness and water damage.

Minimizing water leakage and maintaining mitigation strategies are tasks that require focus year round. Homeowners need to take steps to reduce the chances of water entering their basements, even when the weather might indicate otherwise. There are four key areas of the home to consider in order to reduce the frequency and severity of water damage: 

Grading - Ensure all grading is directed away from the perimeter of the house and foundation.

Gutters - Ensure all gutters and downspouts are in good condition to allow rain water from roofs to channel at least six feet away from the house.    

Roof - Ensure all roof surfaces don't allow water penetration into the house (focus on damaged or missing shingles, loose or missing roof flashings).   

Window Wells - Ensure they are in good condition as they are a common source of basement water leakage. 

Statistics suggest that 90% of homes endure some form of water leakage. Actively taking preventative measures, rain or shine, will help keep you high and dry.

As a professional Home Inspection consulting company, our aim is to help homeowners become more informed, safe and secure when it comes to their property. A Home Inspection itself is not a life-long guarantee; it is an investigation of a home during a specific point in time. It is not a shield to protect your home forever, but more like the tools to build one. For more tools, knowledge and advice visit our resource centre.  



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Topics: Monthly Newsletters, Carson Dunlop